iPhone 3GS -- Twice the RAM... 10x the Impact?

tap tap tap iPhone 3GS RAM usage

tap tap tap points out something that perhaps should have been obvious from the start regarding the iPhone 3GS' 256MB of RAM -- that doubling the memory, once the OS loads and programs start eating away at it, often leaves more than double the free space.

The older iPhone models have been often considered underpowered when it comes to RAM, so even though the RAM amount is technically doubled, in actual use, you’ll often be working with 4x to 10x the amount of free RAM. And that’s one major aspect that’s contributing to the overall speedier feel of the 3GS.

As we saw in our video iPhone 3GS vs. iPhone 3G app launch smackdown, this translates directly into keeping Mobile Safari pages loaded, for example, when you exit out, load a large app, and then come back.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 3GS -- Twice the RAM... 10x the Impact?


Go else where you jealous Ass hats. Your kind aren't welcome around here. Go crawl back under your rock you flip phone small screen poor ass losers.

With such great hardware doesn't even OS 3.0 seem very lacking especially when compared to Sense UI/Android and to some degree WebOS (I know many you hate the Pre, but WebOS is a great OS limited by less than stellar hardware).
Time for a total redesign, maybe?

I'm happy that I can finally keep 8 safari tabs open (maybe not all are cached but they're being used) while listening to music, with push running and not have my phone slow down because I have 50mb of memory left.
While I might not need to use Free Memory anymore I like to monitor how much memory is not being used and I routinely see 50-120mb.
What do you guys appreciate more in the new 3gs, double the memory or the upgrades processor speeds?

The extra RAM is making a huge difference on my 3GS. My 3G used to bog down real bad sometimes. I run a lot of apps through the day, plus sync my calendar, contacts, and email with my company Exchange server. I have a LOT of Exchange data. I'm sure lack of RAM was a big part of the problem. My 3G never bogs down. Everything is instant. It's the best upgrade ever. Truly. I don't care that the phone looks the same, or that some new bell or whistle wasn't added. Performance is what matters, and Apple hit one out of the park with the 3GS.

There is one major advantage: no more paging the memory. I assume that's why sometimes it takes a long time for an App to quit on my iPhone 3G, some elements of the SpringBoard went to the page file and are being recovered, meanwhile I get the feeling I didn't press the Home button for almost 4 seconds (which is time enough for me to press it again, just to either go to the first page or run the double-home command...).