How much Ram use is normal for Vista? Basically even sitting at the desktop im seeing 50% of physicall memory usage.
the system has 1gig in it right now, with no open slots.
1GB is marginal. You will not like it.
2GB is the decent spot. Good for most users, power users will want more.
4GB is the sweet spot.
Basically I quadruple what MS recommends. XP base was 128MB (meaning 512MB was the starting point), 256MB recommended (translated to 1GB), and 512MB optimal (meaning 2GB in reality).
Linux is roughly the same minus a wee bit. Its like 2.5x more than what MS advertises on their boxes. Now days, 2GB of ram is pretty damn good on most PCs, but if you run compositing desktops (Aero on Vista or Compiz Fusion on Linux) you will want more RAM for the GL effects and a slightly beefier 3d card to handle it. Linux for a fact is adding in the ability to bank to disk the desktop when its not visible (like when playing games), I have ZERO idea if or when this will occur on Mac or Windows.