Here's our Hardware Tip for.. May 4, 2007
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Windows XP is rated to run with a minimum of 128MB, but it gets a real speed boost from 256MB. Windows 2000 puts its baseline at 64MB but will benefit from 128MB or more and as a server will see optimal performance with 512MB or more. Windows 98 and Me will run with 32MB, but you'll need at least 64MB for decent performance and 128MB or more to shine. Linux users will need at least 48MB to 64MB (depending on the version) but will certainly benefit from 128MB. For a Linux server, you could easily use 512MB or more.
As a rule of thumb, if you base your overall memory requirements on the amount recommended for your operating system, you'll be in the ball park. You'll have to add more if you're processing large, complex files. Remember that Windows also uses virtual memory in the form of a swap file on your hard drive. If you don't want to buy the full amount of RAM that you expect to need, that's okay; your PC will make use of virtual memory to make up any difference. But be aware that this will result in a performance hit because of the hard drive access.