Turbocharge your PC's memory

If your PC's performance mysteriously starts to drop after several minutes

of work, MemTurbo probably is the solution.

Here's why: As you load and exit programs, blocks of your computer's

random access memory (RAM) tend to remain unused and isolated. New programs

that you fire up get scattered in memory rather than in contiguous blocks.

The result is dramatically slower performance and delays as the system relies

more on the hard drive-based virtual memory to run programs. You might even

experience system crashes associated with low physical memory.

MemTurbo from Silicon Prairie Software solves the problem by doing what

Microsoft Corp.'s Windows should have done in the first place. When your

physical memory, or RAM, reaches a low threshold, MemTurbo defragments it — just as a disk defragmentation program does for hard drives — and reclaims

unused space.

Installing MemTurbo was easy to the point of being trivial, and the

program does not require significant resources to run. The program used

only 2K of memory on the Windows 98-based PC it was tested on. It does not

take excessive CPU cycles, and the defragmentation of memory caused the

CPU to run more efficiently because it found data in its cache more often.

MemTurbo's main window shows how much physical memory is required to

run different programs. Some programs are called "leaky" because they use

memory and don't release it when they are finished. Other programs err by

leaving unused Dynamic Link Library (DLL) files in memory when they exit.

Everyday programs are among the worst offenders. For example, launching

and then closing Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer 4.0 consistently left

the machine with 6M less physical memory. On the other hand, Internet Explorer

5.0 released practically all of its memory upon exiting.

MemTurbo enables you to set your own threshold to trigger RAM recovery

and to set the target level of memory to recover. Beware of setting the

target level of memory to recover too high. The test computer's performance

suffered as necessary DLL files were flushed out of memory. Use the default

levels until you have enough experience with your own system to adjust these

settings appropriately for your own activities.

MemTurbo also lets you trigger RAM recovery at will. When your performance

level slows, it can be gratifying to click on an icon or press a hot key

and suddenly have maximum performance restored. RAM recovery took about

two seconds on a Hewlett-Packard Co. Vectra with a 166 MHz Intel Corp. Pentium

processor and 48M of memory.

The status display provides a Memory Load Index statistic to show the

ongoing demand for RAM on your PC relative to how much is available. If

your usage is 100 percent, then you have proof that you can benefit from

purchasing additional RAM. But until your new RAM arrives, MemTurbo will

help you live with what you have.

— Greer is a senior network analyst at a large Texas state agency. He can

be reached at Earl.Greer@dhs.state.tx.us.

AT A GLANCE

MemTurbo 1.5

Grade: A

Silicon Prairie Software

23316 NE Redmond-Fall City Road

Suite 553

Redmond, WA 98053-8376

www.memturbo.com

support@memturbo.com

Price and Availability: Available on the open market for $19.95. Site licensesalso are available. Runs on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95, Windows 98, WindowsNT 4.0 and Windows 2000

Remarks: Just as hard drives need to be defragmented regularly, memory alsoneeds to be tidied up. MemTurbo gives your PC that just-booted feeling byremoving unneeded routines from memory and reorganizing to turbocharge yourPC speed. This is a "must-have" utility.

BY Earl Greer
Mar. 15, 2000

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