The physical memory is among the most important things in a system. Combine a great amount of RAM with a powerful CPU and you'll have a beast for a computer that'll be capable of handling a large number of apps without shaking its performance.
For keeping your system at the highest pace possible a set of cleaning and clutter-removing actions have to be undertaken, such as hard disk and registry cleaning and defragmentation. But to reach this stage of maintenance RAM and CPU power are absolutely essential.
Keeping the system's physical memory allocated only for the tasks that are actually needed doesn't always happen because some computer programs sometimes come with bugs that prevent the software from releasing the RAM when it is no longer needed. RAM leakage is generally fixed quite fast but in some cases it may go undetected for a long time.
Memory optimization software comes to the rescue to fix this issue and release as much memory as possible, giving you the chance to allocate it to other processes. Reohix's Fresh RAM has recently been updated to a new version that fixed several bugs and added new components. The price is $14.99 and you have 30 days to try it to its fullest, with absolutely no functional limitation.
Although the application is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, it is mostly built for XP, as the SuperFetch
function intervenes for a better management of your RAM.
The configuration center is placed to the left hand side of the application window, while all the options are shown in the right part as soon as you pick a menu. You won't have a hard time with the application as everything is pretty much automatic and there are little settings to tinker with, unless you use it on Windows XP.
The main application window jumps directly to the RAM optimization settings and shows details on the physical memory status (percentage of free and used memory) and the amount in MB of the free RAM and total amount present on the system. For a better view there is also a visual representation (pie chart).
When it comes to the options for releasing the memory, Fresh RAM provides four levels of optimization. The simplest and fastest of them all is Leakage Optimization, with Quick Optimization, a more intensive process that tries to free up more memory, coming up next. The third level is even more intensive and even more RAM should be freed, whereas the fourth RAM optimization level is called Maximum Optimization and takes the longest to complete but provides the best improvement.
While there is no explanation as to what exactly the application does during the optimization procedures, during our testing Fresh RAM showed that, indeed, each superior level liberates a little more physical memory than the previous one. Thus, at the leakage optimization test the application did no optimization to the RAM and left it at 47% free physical memory and 53% used. With the Quick Optimization things did not go too well either, but with the Powerful Optimization level the freed RAM amount raised to 57% while the numbers went down to 43% for the memory in use. For the last level, Maximum Optimization, the balance weighed 60% of free RAM and 40% of occupied memory.
Fresh RAM will not keep these figures indefinitely as they are strictly related to the process activity on the system, but it proved that it can unloose a certain amount of RAM to be used by other apps or processes. Even the most thorough optimization procedure does not take long, not even on a low-end PC with a 1.8GHz CPU and 1.5 GB of RAM.
Automatically intervening when certain RAM and CPU values reach a user-defined threshold is available in Fresh RAM. The AutoDetect options allow you to set the necessary values (time, RAM and CPU limits) for starting the optimization job. For laptop users the app features a setting that shows the battery life and lets them disable the automatic procedure while running on battery or if the battery level is less than 50%.
As mentioned before, Fresh RAM is mainly built for XP users, and if the SuperFetch function in Windows Vista did not win you over, the Optimize Windows XP Tweaks section sure will. The tweaks include setting an I/O page lock limit, you can disable executive paging, enable UDMA66 support, disable 8.36 file name creation, incapacitate NTFS last access update, enable CMOS/Real Time Clock priority boost, clear the ge file at shutdown or specify an L2 cache value. More tweaks follow and include unloading DLL files from memory or customizing Windows XP Prefetcher (I would not advise disabling it and would leave it to its default as it covers both application launch and boot files). The last tweak page permits enabling large system cache and adjusting CPU priority for programs or background services.
All these affect the system only if you're running the program on XP. Otherwise the section won't even unfold before you. On the downside, due to the lack of a counter of the tweak pages users may feel a bit confused. Still on the downside, proof-reading needs to be executed on the text in the application as there are some spelling mistakes.
On the upside, Fresh RAM provides valuable indications on each of the tweaks that may lead to improving the performance of your system. This gives newbies a hand in deciding for themselves upon changing the default options or not.
This version introduces the RAM Usage Analyzer, which shows you all the currently running processes out of which the software separates the one that uses the most memory. Visual representation is present, as are the numbers displaying in both percentage and MB the amount of RAM hogged down. If you are worried that RAM Usage Analyzer does not function as a process manager in the slightest, think again because besides the possibility to terminate the process eating the largest piece of RAM you can also do the same with any of the listed items. Moreover, double-clicking on a process will pop out a window displaying all its modules together with their size and modification date.
Slip-ups in the software can be witnessed right in the main application screen, which features two graphs, one for monitoring the RAM and one for checking out on the CPU usage. The first one works just fine, but the CPU monitor showed -1 usage on Vista and 0 on XP on a constant basis. The same disappointment can be viewed in the System Monitors accessible from the context menu of the system tray icon.
Despite its compatibility with Vista and Windows 7, Fresh RAM is designed for Windows XP and it does a good job on this operating system. However, you can use it on the newer operating systems as long as SuperFetch is not active. But, disabling the SuperFetch service will prevent the system from running certain applications faster in the long run.The Good
Fresh RAM provides the necessary tools to free up RAM lodged with processes that require less. It is easy to handle even by a noob and the planning of automatic tasks only makes it more appealing.
It comes with features that prevent the application from doing its job on laptops with 50% battery or not connected to AC power.The Bad
There are still some aspects to be ironed out, such as the graph monitor for the CPU, or proofreading of the text. But our tests showed that the application could not handle 2GB+ of RAM systems (in our case it detected only 2GB of memory on a system with 3GB).UPDATE: The RAM issue has been fixed by the developer and the program can now detect the total amount on systems with more than 2GB of physical memory.The Truth
Memory optimization software is built with the purpose of fixing RAM leakage of some processes on the system. Fresh RAM does that and more. As for XP users, it offers the possibility to tweak the operating system into better performance.
It can also run automatically at user-defined time intervals and when certain RAM and CPU thresholds are reached. But it also misses some aspects, such as support for more than 2GB of RAM, or a simple CPU usage monitoring.
All in all, it does what it says and frees up physical memory. You have 30 days to try it and decide on its purchase.Here are some snapshots of the application in action:
Previous review of Fresh RAM