Yesterday, I referenced a story in an industry tabloid (that I am not going to mention by name again) that, via a ‘report’, that makes it appear that Windows 7 is far less efficient in memory usage than Windows XP. Of course, we (you and I) know this is just not true, but, today, Ars Technica published a very nice explanation as to why it is not true. The facts are that Windows 7 uses memory way more efficiently than any previous version up to Vista. Yes, even Vista was good at memory management but 7 appears to be better. The main difference between XP and 7 is the way that unused memory gets, well, used. XP would just leave it alone while Vista and 7 use something called Super Fetch. Super Fetch caches disk data that Windows thinks will be needed. There’s some algorithms to figure this out-it’s much smarter than I am. At any rate, the data is ready and, if it is needed, will be available nearly instantly. Even so, the cache memory is considered available but not ‘free’ but can be freed if needed. So, where XP does not do any of this, it could report gobs of free memory while Vista/7 would report very little free memory but gobs of available memory. Apparently, the Devil Mountain analysis software did not account for this.
Head on over to the Ars-Technica article for a more in-depth and better written explanation.