in my usage, i haven’t gone over 2gb of RAM used according to bpytop. You’re limited by how much the CPU can handle multi-tasking, not the RAM. Generally, the workload that maxes out the CM4 in my unit would be, per say, Firefox with 5 tabs as well as a game like Minetest in the background. The bottleneck there isn’t the RAM but the CPU. See attached picture. But, if you have a specific memory hungry application like idk Stable Diffusion, then the extra RAM will help.
I feel like it would fall in the line of a design software in some area like video or game/graphic design, as i was looking into getting godot on pi4, they said that a 4gb ram one would be fine for 2d game design but if you want to do 3d games youll have to go with 8gb ram
Wellllllll, mostly for the giggles, I decided to see if I could get a full blown, indistry standard, back end SIEM and XDR solution running on a Pi… (Security Information and Event Management), ( Extended Detection and Response]
Loh and behold, I manged to get the Wazuh platform running on it, running 10 (home) end points , all comms secured through a Zerotier virtual network.
You do need the 8Gb RAM to run but… so far so good.
My experience at work has been if I buy recommended specs I always end up replacing with something bigger in less than a year. That goes for RAM, Storage and CPU. So if “they” say all you need is 8gig with 512gb SSD and an i5 What goes on the desk will be 16gig, 1TB with i7. Made life easier for all of us. Granted it can be over kill for some things – Just my opinion and not worth more than a cup of coffee at that.
Waiting for my uconsole I have my 8gb version in the devterm…
Depends on your OS first… The one pre-packaged is pretty lite… If someone makes an Ubuntu mate image… You will need over half of the 4gb memory just for the desktop… If you do cli you don’t even need 2gb…
After that… as people have said… you will hit a cpu bottleneck first typically…
A sega Dreamcast had 16MB of ram…ps2 had 32MB
If you are gunna emulate… You will be comfortable with 4gb.
My personal use though… I dunno what you will do with yours.
I don’t have one yet myself, but I have quite a few Raspberry Pi computers. I used a Pi 4 with 4 gigs of ram as my primary machine for quite a while. Memory was an issue due to firefox. But, that was the only problem. And, even then I had a button set for xfce to just kill firefox if it got too hungry. Re-open and all the pages come right back, but inactive tabs don’t load.
I spend most of my time in a terminal, so this was not a huge issue. I ordered the model with the cm4 which has 4 gigs of ram. If I later decide that it’s not enough, I’ll just swap the cm4 out. No big deal.
Using zram helps a lot. It reduces the need to swap to disk. And, that’s really a problem on a pi as micro sd cards don’t tend to have wear leveling. So, they wear out far too quickly if you hit swap often.
I’ll be running XFCE on mine when it shows up. It’s light and offers more features than LXDE.
I detailed the process in this thread. TL;DR I overclocked it to 1800mhz on the CPU, and 750mhz on the GPU, with a 512mb GPU cache/vram allocation (note that this takes away from system RAM).
Now the long version. After doing this I saw an increase in FPS in Minetest (default game, no mods, lowest settings) from a range of 25-29 FPS to a range of 35-40 FPS. I went from no Nintendo DS games being playable through DeSmume, to some DS games running at full speed with frame skip set to 1.
The cost associated with this was heat, and power. Before my overclock the CPU wouldn’t go over 40 celsius. Now it touches 50 celsius after a few minutes under full load, and even goes up to 52. Power wise, I haven’t been able to measure but I can tell the system uses a lot more power. Tasks where the CM4 isn’t maxed out weren’t affected, heat and power wise. I scaled back the overclock to 1700mhz and 675mhz respectively as everything I played was still playable at that clock and saves a bit of power and turns down the heat a bit.
Mine would just lock up on firefox - I think due to insufficient memory … the 4GB memory CM4 has no issues… I can see how the xcompositor would use up processor time trying to make things ‘pretty’ - disabled it and really no difference in quality - so it was really somewhat
Considering you cannot upgrade the memory after the fact, why would you not want to for as much as possible? For example, if you want to run LLMs you’ll want as much RAM as possible. Even something as simple as running a browser benefits from more RAM. Once the Pi starts swapping, you might as well reboot the machine. The fewer risk of running into swap usage, the better.
Also, I overclocked mine to CPU 2GHz and GPU 750 with overvoltage=6