[Review] Fresh RAM

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Fresh RAM

Version reviewed:

v5.0.0

System Requirements:

Windows 95/ 98/ Me/ NT/ 2000/ XP/ Vista/ 7 (x32/x64)

Price:

$14.99 (USD) but you can get it for free for a limited time at Giveawayoftheday.com!

Software description as per the developer:

Fresh RAM is like a shot in the arm for your computer. By optimizing the ways in which your system and applications are utilizing memory, Fresh RAM can boost your computer’s performance, helping you avoid the costly expense of hardware upgrades!

Don’t let Fresh RAM’s friendly and intuitive interface fool you. Underneath those easy-to-understand pie charts and graphs lies an engine of complex memory analysis algorithms that allow you to balance speed and effectiveness and run memory optimizations that will have all your applications running like butter. Combine these optimizations with the included Windows XP tweaks and your machine will run just as fast as it did the day it rolled off the assembly line!

Curious about which of your apps eat the most memory? Fresh RAM’s Process RAM Usage Identifier shows you the biggest memory hogs, while automatic memory optimization options free up memory when you need it most.

————————-{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Straightforward and easy to use.
  • Allows uses to use four different “optimization levels”.
  • “Powerful Optimization” works really well in terms of freeing RAM.
  • Has the ability to automatically run optimization.
  • Comes with a handful of “tweaks” for Windows XP users.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • “Leakage Optimization”, “Quick Optimization”, and “Maximum Optimization” do not work very well. They clear little to no RAM.
  • Uses up a lot of computer resources while the optimization process occurs.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Very easy to use.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”4″}First of all, “Leakage Optimization”, “Quick Optimization”, and “Maximum Optimization” do not work very well. They clear little to no RAM. “Powerful Optimization” works really well in terms of freeing RAM but it uses so much of your computer resources (almost max RAM and CPU) while freeing RAM (takes 10-15 seconds for “Powerful Optimization” to run for me) your computer is most likely going to be locked/frozen if you are doing something else.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”4″}RAM optimizer can be useful… if they work. Most don’t. Fresh RAM works – to an extent – but how it works makes it not very useful (see “Performance” above).
{/for}
{for=”Price” value=”8″}$14.99 is a fair price in my opinion.
{/for}
{for=”Arbitrary Equalizer” value=”5″}This category reflects an arbitrary number that does not specifically stand for anything. Rather this number is used to reflect dotTech’s overall rating/verdict of the program in which all the features and alternatives have been considered.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tdown]
{/rw_verdict} –>

In the past, Peter, our friend from Denmark, has shared with us numourous methods on how to solve Windows’ memory woes. Fresh RAM is a program that would fall under Peter’s strategy of “optimize RAM usage with various different programs”. Fresh RAM is – yet another – RAM “optimizer” software. The catch about Fresh RAM, however, is it received high praise from Softpedia so I was half excited about testing it out for myself. Unfortunately, after testing it myself I was disappointed.

This is what Fresh RAM’s interface looks like:

If looks were everything, Fresh RAM would score a, eh, 9/10 – the interface is fairly nice and professional. Too bad looks aren’t everything.

As you can see, Fresh RAM has four different optimization modes: “Leakage Optimization”, “Quick Optimization”, “Powerful Optimization”, and “Maximum Optimization”. “Leakage Optimization” is supposed to be the weakest but quickest, with “Maximum Optimization” the strongest but slowest and the other two in-between respectively. As per my testing, however, “Leakage Optimization”, “Quick Optimization”, and “Maximum Optimization” are useless – they free little to no RAM. “Powerful Optimization”, though, works very well.

Depending on how much RAM my computer was using at the time, and which programs were open, using “Powerful Optimization” I was able to free anywhere from 2%-12% of my RAM (I have 3 GB of RAM total). For example, during one test my computer was using 49% RAM. I ran “Powerful Optimization” and then my computer was using 37% RAM. Of course keep in mind as with all memory optimizers, this decrease in RAM usage is only a temporary decrease. It will go right back up when I start using my open-but-idle programs. This temporariness, however, is not Fresh RAM’s fault. It is just how it is; no program can permanently decrease the RAM usage of other programs without modifying the actual code of the other program. So, while the other three modes are useless, “Powerful Optimization” works fairly well at freeing RAM. In fact, varying from trial to trial, sometimes even CleanMem couldn’t free up the same amount of RAM as Fresh RAM. And that, my friends, is impressive. The only problem is the method of freeing up RAM used by Fresh RAM makes it somewhat undesirable.

We all know how CleanMem works; it only turns on when it needs to do its thing, and it calls a Windows API to free RAM, thus using little to no computer resources itself. Fresh RAM, on the other hand, uses some other method (not specified by the developer). This other method involves – literally – using up your computer resources while the optimization occurs (the actual amount of computer resources usage depends on the optimization mode being used – “Powerful Optimization” uses about almost 100% CPU and RAM). So it is best to run the optimization while you are not actively doing anything else you run the chance of locking/freezing your computer while the optimization occurs.

To manually optimize your RAM with Fresh RAM, simply select the optimization mode you want to use and click “Optimizer System RAM Now”. A little window…

…pops up and lets you know the optimization is in progress and it disappears when the optimization has been completed.

Whenever you want to manually run the optimization, you can simply do it via the main program window like I just explained, or you can right click on the Fresh RAM system tray icon, and select “Optimize RAM Now”:

“Optimize RAM Now” will use the optimization mode you used last via the main program window. So, for example, if you left the optimization at “Leakage Optimization”, whenever you use “Optimize RAM Now” “Leakage Optimization” will occur.

If you prefer to not manually run your optimizations, Fresh RAM also has an auto-0ptimization feature built in:

Fresh RAM gives users three parameters to set when Fresh RAM should auto-optimize – time, percentage of RAM free, and percentage of CPU usage. The developer was not very clear on if all three parameters are an “and” statement not an “or” statement. As per my tests, they are all “and” statements. In other words, all three parameters have to be true for the optimization to occur.

In addition to setting the parameter, users get the set which optimization mode to use (“Leakage”, “Quick”, “Powerful”, “Maximum”) and to (optionally) disable auto-optimization if the user is on a laptop and running on battery power.

After you change the auto-optimization settings, be sure to hit the “Save AutoDetect Settings” button or otherwise the settings won’t be saved. Also, be sure to enable “AutoDetect RAM Optimization” otherwise it won’t be turned on.

While this auto-optimization feature looks handy, it actually is not. As already mentioned, Fresh RAM uses up a lot of computer resources while optimizing RAM usage. So if the optimization automatically occurs while you are doing something else, don’t be surprised if your computer locks up/freeze/slows down to a crawl because Fresh RAM is hogging the resources. In fact I have first hand experience with this. I was testing out the auto-optimization feature and forgot to turn it off after I was done testing it. Lone behold while I was using my computer – I was in the middle of writing an instant message – and the auto-optimization happens. My computer locked up and I couldn’t do anything. So I waited a few seconds (I didn’t count how many exactly but it was something like 10-20 seconds) and the optimization finished. However, even after the optimization finished my computer was at a crawl. Nothing worked; as I tried to minimize the programs open and Windows told me they (some of them) were not responding. It was so bad I just said “forget it” and did a hard reset. So, what I am trying to say is, think twice before you enable auto-optimization. It may just come back to bite you later.

Other than the RAM optimization features, Fresh RAM has a few other tools up its sleeve:

  • A system resource monitor widget:

  • A “RAM Analyzer”:

  • A handful of “tweaks” for Windows XP only users:

NOTE: Because I was unable to get Fresh RAM to run on my Windows XP virtual machine, I was unable to take screenshots of the Windows XP tweaks myself. The above screenshots are from Softpedia.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

{rw_freea}

AnVir Task Manager

Amongst its boatload of features, AnVir Task Manager allows you to easily deal with memory leaking programs by either manually right clicking them and selecting “Free Memory” or settings all programs using X amount of memory to be automatically freed of memory every X minutes. The great thing about this feature is it is instance and does not lag up your computer like TweakRAM does while cleaning.

CleanMem

CleanMem is one of the few memory cleaning programs that actually work and don’t lag up your computer while doing it.

Memory Fox

Memory Fox is a program that does similar things as CleanMem, except Memory Fox is a Firefox add-on that is focused specifically on optimizing Firefox memory usage.

FreeRAM XP Pro

FreeRAM XP Pro includes automatic memory monitoring and optimization; advanced tray support; fast, threaded freeing with a stop option; multiple system-metric monitors; a simple and attractive GUI; memory reporting and diagnostic logging; and real-time memory information. FreeRAM XP Pro’s AutoFree feature intelligently scales how much RAM is freed with your current system status, thus optimizing RAM without slowing down your computer. Additionally, FreeRAM XP Pro’s unique Global Memory Compression technology frees memory instantly in a way that is completely unlike other memory managers. FreeRAM XP Pro has been designed to be easy to use yet highly customizable by computer novices and experts alike.

-Download.com

***Does not officially support Vista

RAMBooster

RAMBooster monitors the amount of RAM your system is using and allows you to free it up. This will let your PC run smoother and faster, and you won’t have to reboot as often. It will monitor the memory at all times, and if the amount of free RAM gets too low, it will automatically boost it for you, finding unused RAM and returning it to the free pool. RAMBooster will also monitor your CPU usage. Version 2.0 includes replaced CPU-infotext with a gauge. RB now always minimizes to the tray instead of taskbar or tray. The GUI looks almost like the old GUI, to make things easier for those who have used RAMBooster for years. Supports RAM up to 9999 MB instead of previous 99. Help-file problems fixed. Fixed conflicts with CPU-usage meter. Also some dial-up system caused to CPU-reading to freeze to 0%. This part has also been rewritten. Allows only one instance of the program. Lots of code optimization, invisible to users. It is bettter, faster, and more reliable now.

-Download.com

***Does not officially support Vista

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}As I have stated time and time again, I really don’t like these “ram optimizer” programs because most of them never work. In fact, most actually make your computer slower. While Fresh RAM can be effective in freeing RAM (depending on which “optimization” mode you use), the method of its optimization really makes it an iffy program. Thumbs down from dotTech. My recommendation is CleanMem. To date, CleanMem is one of the few programs I have used that free RAM effectively and don’t slow down your computer in the process. If you are a frequent Firefox user, you may also want to consider Memory Fox because Memory Fox will manage Firefox’s notorious RAM leakage better than CleanMem. (I run both CleanMem and Memory Fox.)
{/rw_verdict2} –>

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34 comments

  1. RobCr

    @magamnak:

    Please tell the world not to change the Windows Font size away from the normal setting.
    MS should be shot for even offering that capability.
    The clean solution for the visually impaired (or old ba…eds like me), is to magnify the whole screen, NOT just the text (agh!).
    One of the previous Giveaways is perfect, and I use it all the time – Magnifying Glass Pro.
    You can set it to magnify the whole screen.
    I have the keyboard combination of Ctrl + Windows key to turn it on. When it is on, I see 25% of the screen (it is set to 2x magnification). So if I move the mouse top left, I see the top left 25% of the screen.
    As I move the mouse, my 25% view is navigating over the screen.
    MS should have built that in, instead of offering to change the text size ONLY (agh! again).

    I have recently added another wee solution to my PC.
    I have knocked up a VB6 program to EASILY change my resolution.
    I have the old crt monitor (4:3), and I can toggle between 1024*768 and 800*600
    I move the mouse to top left and a form appears.
    It shows which resolution I am using. and offers a button to change to the other resolution.
    So to change I just mouse top left, and click a button.
    I am using XP.
    If anyone has identical setup to me, and is happy with those two resolution, I could give them a copy.

  2. magamnak

    Welcome back Ashraf,
    Thanks for the review of Fresh RAM. I installed on my PC, but the GUI is corrupt.( using 120 DPI ) I have connected the developers and have got the next answer:
    The DPI setting is normally used by people who have some kind of visual impairment that cause them to be unable to read text of a certain size (or maybe people who have small screens with high native monitor resolutions), and need some way to change the font size for everything on the screen. Respecting global Windows settings is a Good Thing™ because it makes the application usable for those users as well. Most applications IGNORE this setting in order to make sure that their application is always displayed at 92 DPI, in other words displayed correctly.
    Actually unfortunate people that have some kind of visual impairment are able to use our software. Because we let our software increase the font to the size they wish, however at a corrupt GUI cost unfortunately. Our programming respect the standards of Microsoft so our fonts are left free to adjust according to the user’s requirements.

    Other software publishers just ignore such requirements and whenever the user has 120 DPI they will still display 92 DPI fonts. For you it will seem that their software runs fine! For visual impaired people this means that they still cannot read the fonts. Unfortunately it is one of the other. Nice Flashy GUI vs Catering For Visual Impairment.
    So, this is the situation right now !
    J.

  3. Hans oellers

    Great to have you back! Ok, let´s make it short: I use TuneUp Utilities 2010. Now just for not loosing this program (Fresh RAM) for free I installed it, because tomorrow it costs some money. My question: Can I use both programs at the same time or should I uninstall the GAOTD one? My pc is really very old and slow (AMD Athlon XP 1700+1.46 GHz, 1GB RAM). Thanks for reading and helping me out. Have a great day!

  4. Paf

    Hi Ashraf, so good to see you back! Hope we can see you more often than these last few days. Thanks for the review, clear and directely to the point. CleanMem has been a trustful companion in good and bad days, no point in turning to Fresh RAM, no matter how fresh it can be. Take care, my friend.

  5. MikeR

    Ditto welcome back, Ashraf. Here’s to a great 2010 for you and yours.

    Re your review: comprehensive as ever, though academic (in every sense of the word!) from my perspective seeing as how it was you who saddled me with CleanMem on all my computers. . .

    By which I mean, I’ve never looked back since. CleanMem works. End of story.

    Incidentally, I concur with your comments about the interface of the review product: very nice, thank you. But as I’ve posted before, a pretty face doesn’t necessarily mean an optimised brain (just look at me — er, no, don’t: I think I fail on both counts) and it’s a shame so many software users seem to fall for the glitz of the wrapper rather than the contents within.

    CleanMem has no wrapping paper at all, so suits me fine. As, of course, does the wunnerful My DeFrag: ugliest GUI in the business, but oh boy, what a performer!

    Onwards & upwards!

  6. Mike

    I don’t know if it is Windows 7 or revisions to Firefox over the last couple of months, but I have found that my system’s memory leak has dropped dramatically (to the point that it no longer seems to be an issue) since switching over to Windows 7 3 months ago (while continuing to use CleanMem). Very nice to see!

  7. Doug

    Good review and warning. The problem of memory management is inherent to MS Windows. It is a prime reason that most enterprises dislike MS Windows for production servers. Too often, the systems must be restarted just to free up memory that is still allocated to programs that no longer need the memory.

    As a result, I recently missed ArtStudio.

    I am glad to see another review by you. I must admit that I quit going to the SWOTD site every day when you quit doing your regular reviews. Likewise, I rarely visit your site. I today to try it again so here I am.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. mizdoc

    Nice to see you back. Your reviews are the first thing I look for. I missed them.
    Know what you mean about the neck….try putting heat on it. One of those microwavable heat packs works great at loosening up stiff muscles. Hope you feel better soon.

  9. RAN

    @Ashraf:

    It is so awesome to see you back. You have been sorely missed. I hope that your break was a good one and that you feel more refreshed.

    Going to GoTD without your reviews has been something of a pain. I’ve always been able to count on your opinion and I don’t have a great deal of time to do the review myself. I am grateful for your return. Thank you for all that you do.

  10. Sputnik

    Thanks to be back, Ashraf !

    Don’t bother after your stiff neck : usually it is just a natural reaction of your body to protect itself. It happens when your spine is a little bit squeezed : at this moment the muscles freeze so that the situation doesn’t goes worse.

    Concerning the subject of the day, I am using CleanMem since the last time you spoke about it and I find it is really the best soft of that kind I ever tried…

    Thank you, Ashraf !

  11. Evan

    @Mark: Typically, you don’t *need* to add any process to the ignore list. Personally, we (PcWinTech)haven’t found a process that is negatively affected to date but the feature is included for a finer level of control. If you run a server or have back up software running (or something else you consider critical)you might want to exclude a process directly related.

    Thanks for trying out the product! Feel free to drop us a line over at http://forums.pcwintech.com/ if you have any specific questions or support issues.

    -Evan
    PcWinTech Admin (Home of CleanMem and Simple Port Forwarding)

  12. Dennis

    Welcome back, Ashraf! You do such an excellent job of reviewing GOTD offers (and others), you deserved a break. But, know that NO ONE can take your place! Your thorough and insightful evaluations are greatly appreciated by thousands of “dotTechies” around the world. Take a break when you must, but hurry back.

    ATTENTION DOTTECHIES: We can show our appreciation to Ashraf by making a donation. He puts a lot of time and effort into helping others, and asks for nothing in return. It’s the least that we can do.

  13. Mark

    Welcome back Ashraf. We missed you on GAOTD. I don’t think you missed too much there though. Anyway the reason I am leaving a reply is because I took your recommendation on CleanMem. I went and downloaded/installed it. I read the explanation on the developers site. What type of processes should be added to ignore list or is it vital that any be added? I am only intermediately tech savy. I get the concept but specifics of this aspect of the program seem just a bit beyond my grasp. Can you/anyone help?
    Thanx,
    Mark

  14. rachana

    HI ASHRAF SIR,

    HEARTFELT WELCOME.SORRY FOR YOUR STIFF NECK

    DO SOME NECK EXERCISES AND DON’T STARE CONSTANTLY

    RELAX YOUR EYES.DON’T TURN YOUR NECK,TURN ALL AROUND

    AND SPEAK OR SEE.

    USE BLUE TOOTH.

    HAVE A NICE DAY.

    rachana