When experiencing ROG gaming phone 5, 18GB of RAM left a deep impression on us.
▲ ROG gaming phone 5.
The extreme scenes of violently opening 25 apps can still be dealt with calmly, and the situation of killing the background is rarely seen without getting stuck.
Even though ROG Gaming Phone 5 is a precedent for ultra-large RAM, in the mainstream flagships of the Android camp, RAM is still dominated by 12GB.
In this way, large RAM is still a special feature for niche "gaming" phones. However, many manufacturers have introduced the concepts of "memory integration" and "memory expandable" in system updates in order to bring a better user experience.
Now, there are not a few models that support "memory integration". Some manufacturers even directly shouted the slogan "RAM 12G becomes 20G in seconds."
It seems that with "memory fusion", it seems to be able to match the effect of native super-large RAM. Is this really the case in practice?
How about the "big" RAM experience that comes out of the fusion?
Before investigating its essence, let's take a look at the actual "curative effect."
This test uses two realme flagships as samples, and purely subjective judgments are the premise.
The two flagship RAMs of realme are both 12GB, which can be expanded up to 7GB under the blessing of "memory integration". There are three levels of "Memory Expansion" of realme UI, which can increase 3GB, 5GB, and 7GB. Each adjustment needs to be restarted to take effect.
In fact, other manufacturers are quite similar.
I tested it several times before and after. Let me start with a conclusion. The gap is not too big and the perception is not too strong.
Open the three mobile games of "Peace Elite", "Glory of the King", and "Bangbai 3" together with commonly used apps such as audio-visual, reading, and RSS. Under normal conditions, reopening the background app will rarely cause overloads.
When the "memory integration" is not turned on, the mobile game will be "killed", and the status of commonly used apps is similar to that of enabling memory expansion.
But this has two premises, one is the system, and the other is the power.
Take the realme UI as an example. The background apps cannot spend the night, and the system will centrally clean up during the night.
Low battery power (below 20%) will also prompt the system to clean up the background apps to preserve battery power as much as possible.
▲ Open three games, jump to the initial app, no need to start.
However, by default, apps like WeChat, which are commonly used by most people, will be locked in the background to avoid being forced out by the system.
During the experience, when the mobile game is reading the article, it will basically not be rejected by the system, but they are more like being "sealed" rather than running in the background. In other words, I have not encountered a mobile game reading to 75%, and then replying to WeChat, and then switching back to read the article directly to enter.
Of course, there are also more accidental situations. When experiencing the realme GT master version, Xiaozhi said, "Once I opened the original god and placed it in the background, two days later, I clicked in when I cleared the task and found that it was still there." When I tested these days, I did not restore this scenario.
Perhaps this time I used 12GB RAM mobile phones, which made the perception less obvious. But when I explored the principles of "memory fusion" and "memory expansion", I felt that the above conclusions were justified.
"Memory Fusion" is essentially "virtual memory"
On Kuan, there is a software called Scene 4. There is an option of "SWAP Setting" in it, after entering it, there will be two functions of Swapfile and ZRAM.
After you get the ROOT permission, you can freely set the "virtual memory" on your Android phone.
In fact, the "memory fusion" and "memory expansion" that have become mainstream recently are essentially virtual memory. It is a basic function of the Linux kernel.
Not only Linux, but also modern operating systems such as Mac and Windows have "virtual memory" technology, which is already a basic function of modern operating systems.
Back to Android, the additional 3GB, 5GB, and 7GB are actually compressed storage spaces. When the storage is insufficient, some data in the background is compressed into the "expanded memory", and this expanded capacity is borrowed from the flash memory.
This caused several problems.
In the computer class of junior high school, we have all learned that RAM is called random access memory, which can be read and written at any time and has a fast speed, but data will be lost if the power is cut off. The ROM is a read-only memory, which stores data stably, and the data will not change after a power failure.
Relatively speaking, the read and write speed of ROM is far inferior to RAM. Therefore, when the space is borrowed from ROM flash memory, the read and write efficiency is far inferior to that of RAM, that is, it is far less smooth than RAM.
In addition, the continuous erasing and writing of ROM flash memory will directly affect its lifespan.
To put it simply, "memory fusion" actually compresses and "packs" part of the data in the background into the borrowed ROM space, and then decompresses and reads it when needed.
Most of the extra memory produced by the "memory integration" of Android manufacturers is essentially ROM, rather than simply turning this part of space into RAM running memory.
As a result, it is not a perfect solution to the background running of multiple apps. The key role is the capacity of native RAM.
12G RAM plus 8G expansion does not equal 20G RAM!
Previously, when ColorOS launched the "memory fusion" function, OPPO's product manager had a concentrated question and answer.
There are two main points worthy of reference, one is whether it is useful, and the other is whether it will affect the life span.
"It's not a gimmick." The virtual memory actually stores inactive application processes in the background, giving way to active processes, "reducing the pressure of real running memory, and frequently used apps will be smoother."
"Hardware life issues have been considered during R&D," and "writes will be controlled according to usage scenarios and device status." OPPO also stated that this technology has undergone aging tests and has limited lifespan impact.
▲ This statement is actually not rigorous.
Whether it is from the memory integration principle or the actual experience, the expanded 8GB space cannot be simply added to the original 12GB RAM, and the actual experience is far inferior to the real 20GB RAM.
In addition, memory integration may have better results on products with less than 8GB RAM. In theory, it will give more margin to background processes and ensure the activity of some commonly used processes.
"Virtual memory" is the original function of the Android system. Its effect is not as exaggerated as advertised. It is only an auxiliary. The real decisive role is the actual running memory RAM.
▲ Picture from: Pocketlint
In fact, Google has added the "Cached Application Freeze" function to native Android 11. After it is turned on, it will automatically freeze the background app process and prohibit the use of CPU resources in order to achieve the purpose of energy saving and power saving.
At the same time, for the sake of fluency, many domestic systems will also strictly monitor and control the background process. Now the probability of stuck in new mid-to-high-end machines has been reduced a lot.
The "memory fusion" technology itself is not a "gimmick", it is widely present in many operating systems, but it has many limitations, and ultimately the product experience is not strong.
But if manufacturers spend great efforts to advocate that "memory fusion" can achieve the same effect as Universiade, it will be a little bit upside down and make memory fusion a gimmick.
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