Baoran wrote on 2020-01-13, 17:01:
Did win9x memory requirements increase much in later 90s? I built my pentium pc in 1995 with just 16Mb of ram and it was fine with that. I am sure 64Mb would probably be much faster but thinking about something needing 256Mb I can only think of winxp and games from around 2005 and later.
Yes, memory footprint increased pretty significantly, both of the OS itself and of applications. It was a perfect example of Andy and Bill's Law ("new software will always consume any increase in computing power that new hardware can provide"). 16MB (I assume you don't really mean 16Mb=2MB...) was more than enough to comfortably run both Win95 at release and pretty much any software available for it. By late 1999 you needed 32MB just for Win98SE's OS to run comfortably, if you ran heavy applications (games), upgrades to 64MB or 128MB would significantly improve performance due to reduced thrashing.
Win2k/XP was a whole new ballpark. You could install and run it on 64MB, but anything under 256MB really felt sloooow, and it could sensibly use RAM well above that too.
Bottom line is that cached RAM is always faster than uncached (at least, in the post-386 world), but that any RAM is vastly faster than any HDD access, so your memory usage determines the impact. One nuance though: with Win9x the OS processes tend to be stuck in the uncached part, with Win>>2k (and Linux) the OS tends to be in the cached part, so the impact of exceeding cache limits in Win9x is greater (OS itself is slowed down) than in >2k (only applications slowed down).