Well, it all started when a friend said their SMT (statistical machine translation) system was ready to download and install. He then casually mentioned it is a bit of a memory hog, "4Gb minimum, 8Gb preferred".
Wow. I looked at my up-until-then-perfectly-adequate-some-might-even-say-overkill 2 gigabytes and felt like a salesman who had just been told he ought to upgrade his sensible car for a sports car in order to look more successful!
I have dual-channel, and two slots free. Another 4Gb was under 5000 yen at Dospara (Japanese only), where I had bought this computer, so I emailed them to confirm it would work. After a few emails, and a bit of research I found out:
* Windows 32-bit will only go up to 3Gb.
* 64-bit Windows, 64-bit Linux are both fine well beyond 8Gb.
* 32-bit linux will allow up to 4Gb per process, and can use more than 4Gb altogether.
(I wanted to stick with 32-bit linux, as Flash is critical to my work and has no 64-bit version.)
Dospara were rather cautious, saying they don't support linux, but I went for it. When I plugged in the extra 4Gb, the bios correctly recognized 6Gb. Then Ubuntu said I had 3Gb. But that was okay, as I'd been expecting it. I went to the package manager and selected the "linux-server" meta-package, then rebooted.
Drum roll please: "free" reports I have 6Gb available. I'm using 475 Mb, and have 5,745 Mb free. See, I told you I didn't need it. But this is city driving. You wait until I take this beast down the local Formula One track, otherwise known as Difficult AI Problems.
Oh, while I was there I also bought a 1Tb SATA drive. Yes, that is a "T". A whole terabyte in a little, diddy box. It was only 10,000 yen (you could get one for 7,880 yen if you go for Seagate, but a quick bit of research showed lots of unhappy people, so I went for Western Digital which seemed to be the reliability brand).
What do you mean: "I bet he doesn't need that much storage either" ? Just because my current 250Gb drive still has 143G of free space after 18 months, doesn't mean I suddenly won't need more capacity...
And you can bet that when the ladies hear I am part of the Terabyte Generation I'm going to be fighting them off with a stick. Oooh, yeah! I am so sexy.