According to (now debunked) legend Bill Gates once said that 640K would be enough for anyone. Well, I for one am glad he didn't really mean that because now my laptop is running with 1GB of RAM.... but it's still not enough!
As RAM prices have dropped and processors have got faster it seems software has been pushing the envelope faster and further and hardware just can't keep up.
I got my current laptop about 18 months ago. It came with a standard 512MB RAM which I immediately doubled - I use my laptop for developing with IIS/ASP and SQL (and sometimes Apache and PHP).
Now I don't push my machine that much. I tend to have Outlook running, a music player, remote desktop connection to my development server, messenger, IE and Firefox, my editor/debugger (sometimes Visual Studio, sometimes Notepad), the usual services (including IIS and SQL) and anti-virus/anti-phishing stuff.
And 1GB is these days no-where near enough. SQL with one database active is using over 1.5GB of virtual storage. Outlook and the SQL Server 2005 Workbench uses almost half a gig each, with the MS Search Indexer (used by Outlook 2007) coming in with a further 300meg.
Couple the thrashing while paging applications in and out of memory with the wasted CPU cycles we have to spend keeping the machine safe my poor little laptop is getting stressed.... but talking to Sony and a number of 3rd party memory vendors the VGN-T27GP can't support more than a total of 1GB (the internal 512MB plus the same sized extension).
While it's easy to be down on the hardware vendors for not thinking ahead it didn't see critical a year and a half ago to be able to stuff in more than 1GB. 512MB had been okay for the preceding machine running a similar mix (SQL Server 2000 not 2005 being the biggest difference) but it's still pretty annoying. I want the horsepower now, but I don't want to splash out on a new machine until the expected crop of Vista optimised boxes appear.
One side effect is that I'm watching how greedy apps are with RAM these days and being quite harsh on the offenders. iTunes 7 required a huge jump in resources over version 6... for no apparent gain, so it's been relegated to loading my iPod while WMP11 Beta is now my day to day media player (no downsides there apart from the current playing song doesn't appear in my Messenger!) and I've started running MaxMem again to let me force apps to tidy their act up.
Makes me think all developers should have to test on really clogged up old machines before releasing their product just to make sure it does still work for us without rolling hardware budgets