Keeping up with the Joneses using cosmetic internal hardware

Reports are circulating in the technical press that the premium notebook computers will start coming with 4GB of memory standard rather than 1GB as they did at the beginning of this year.

That might sound like a good thing, but I heard no mention of disclaimers saying that 32 bit Vista or XP (i.e. the operating systems practically everyone uses) can’t access all this memory, nor will you notice much performance improvement over having a machine with 2GB inside.

If you think this problem will go away when we’re all using 64 bit operating systems, there’s a good chance the consumer market will never make that move. Trucks might need more wheels than cars, but if you mount duallies when you don’t need them, you will hurt performance and increase expenses.

Similarly, more memory can actually hurt performance if you don’t actually need it because of the resources necessary to manage it. Speed junkies would be better advised not to run programs they’re not actually using.

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