View Full Version : Please explain memory issues between 3650, N-Gage, etc.

Scott R
28-10-2003, 03:04 PM
Hello all, I don't currently own a Series 60 phone but am very interested in getting one (actually, what I really want is an updated, smaller Communicator that's compatible with GPRS and has a built-in camera, but that's another topic). I had read that the 3650 and N-Gage both had 4MB of memory which can be expanded via MMC cards. My understanding was that this memory was like run-time/heap (or whatever you want to call it) memory, which meant that when you loaded a program from the MMC card, it had to get loaded into this memory limit. Because that's not a lot of run-time memory, it seemed to be the cause of issues with people running (or trying to run) Opera. I had heard that the 6600 had more of this type of memory (6MB?) and so should work better for this sort of thing.

Then I ran into this thread:

There, some folks ( Fleet-C, simeonbubblegum, and GhostDog) stated confidently that the 3650's 4MB of memory is more like fixed-storage memory (e.g. - a HD) and that it actually has 8MB of what I would normally think of as RAM (in desktop computer terms) where programs would run. They also stated that the N-Gage, while having the same 4MB of "fixed-storage", actually had 16MB of run-time RAM.

I had been thinking of getting a Nokia 3650 (or updated 3620/3660) as I've been fairly pleased with sample photos that have been taken with its camera, and I don't really have a lot of interest in gaming on the N-Gage, though the MP3 capability is nice. However, if the RAM increase is true, it would seem to me that the N-Gage would actually be the better device for running 3rd party apps, web browsing, etc. The 6600 might actually be the best device for me (still no stereo MP3 though), but I've heard no word on a US release and if/when it does get released here, it will probably cost a lot more than the 3650 or N-Gage. FYI, I can get a 3650 right now for free after rebates with a one-year contract on T-Mobile or an N-Gage for $200 US with no contract at all.



29-10-2003, 12:03 PM
That's a very difficult choice, if you want to take photos, you obviously can't choose the N-gage, however, if you want to run games and programs, then the N-gage is the best choice at the best price. As I've said, RAM in the N-gage will probably never be a problem, while on the 3650 it is. 3MB vs 11MB (10.5/11) is a lot, If you have the money and can wait for the 6600 that would be great, but that one costs in europe around 600 euros (same in USD) it has a new OS and the same amount of RAM as the N-gage (16MB). It all depends on the money you have, the time you can wait, or if you want photos or no. I have an N-gage because it's the best Symbian phone I could get at a good price.

29-10-2003, 12:17 PM
You are correct in saying that the 4mb is user space (for storing SMS/Email and such), to be honest the space in the 3650 should never be a problem if you own a large MMC card.

I never really had problems with the 7650, which has the same internal storage and no external storage.

3650 will be fine, there were problems experienced with the opera browser, although I never personally had any in the short time I used a 3650.

N-Gage is a great deive, I love mine to bits...but It wouldn't feel right using it as an everyday phone for me, when compared with the P800, it lacks somewhat. (Although clearly aimed at a completely different market)

When you say you want a S60 device, why are you only looking at Nokia, don't forget the SX1, D-700, Sendo X etc.. ;)

29-10-2003, 01:54 PM
Siemens SX1 - 16MB of RAM and ??? of internal memory... + MMC

Sendo X -16MB of RAM and 64MB of internal memory (32MB free) + MMC/SD

Nokia 6600 - 16MB of RAM and 6MB of internal memory + MMC

Samsung D700 (I know nothing about that one, sorry...)

Nokia 3650 - 8MB of RAM and 4MB of internal memory + MMC

N-gage - 16MB of RAM and 4MB of intenral memory + MMC

Nokia use a 104Mhz arm9 processor while Sendo and Siemens use an arm9 at 130Mhz, right now, the best choice would be the Sendo X (for me at least, more space and SD support) but as I've said before, price is also very important.

Scott R
29-10-2003, 02:40 PM
Originally posted by Fleet-C
That's a very difficult choice, if you want to take photos, you obviously can't choose the N-gage, however, if you want to run games and programs, then the N-gage is the best choice at the best price.You left out the MP3 player and FM radio on the N-Gage.

Personally, I probably value the camera over MP3, FM radio, and gaming individually, but taken together they push the N-Gage higher on my list. The memory issue is still a big thing as well, which brings me to J2theIZZO's comments...

Originally posted by J2theIZZO
You are correct in saying that the 4mb is user space (for storing SMS/Email and such), to be honest the space in the 3650 should never be a problem if you own a large MMC card.This confuses me again. I have every intention of buying the biggest MMC card I can afford (and that will work) on whichever device I get. But isn't that card just for storage in the way a hard drive on a PC is used? The main question which prompted this thread was getting to the bottom of exactly how the various bits of memory are allocated on these S60 devices.

Fleet-C, your follow-up reply detailing how the various S60 devices compare memory-wise is helpful but still confusing. Can you (or someone) clarify exactly how the memory is allocated, perhaps using a "desktop PC" analogy?

For example, here's my guess on how the Nokia 3650's memory works, but someone please clarify if/how I'm wrong:

Nokia 3650
-8MB of RAM of which 4MB is used for storage (i.e. - a hard drive on a PC), and 4MB can be used for run-time memory (i.e. - RAM on a PC)
-MMC slot which can be used to expand memory using MMC cards for fixed (hard-drive like) storage.

Using an example other than the Opera browser, another way to get at what I'm talking about is that I want to know how these phones compare in terms of how many apps I can multitask with. For example, having a web browser, email app, and other applications all running at the same time.

Regarding the other S60 phones listed...The Siemens SX1 doesn't really appeal to me because of the weird keypad layout. At least the Nokia 3650's odd layout makes some sense because it "might" increase speed for text typing by laying out the letters in alphabetic order. The Sendo X is very appealing, but AFAIK it hasn't been announced for the US. In fact, it's not out anywhere yet. So, it will probably be pretty expensive for me to get any time soon. Similar situation for the 6600. Whereas, I can get a 3650 for free with a one-year contract or an N-Gage for $200 with no contract.

Anyone hear any word about a camera attachment coming for the N-Gage?


Scott R
29-10-2003, 06:01 PM
Well, I tracked down some information on Nokia's developer web site. Good stuff, but it still doesn't go into enough detail. There's a great chart that compares several specs for the N-Gage, 3650, and 6600. The full chart is here:,6566,015,00.html

Here are some of the specs I've been trying to figure out:

Heap Size
3650: Free RAM , 1.4 MB
6600: 3 MB
N-Gage: Free RAM , 2.8 MB

Shared Memory for Storage
3650: Free user memory , 3.4 MB + MMC
6600: 6 MB + MMC
N-Gage: Free user memory , 4 MB + MMC

Max Jar File Size
3650: 4MB with WAP GW restrictions
6600: *More info to come ???
N-Gage: 4MB with WAP GW restrictions

I see no mention of the 16MB that has been quoted for the N-Gage. I'm also still confused when it refers to "Free RAM" for the heap size.

Still looking for an accurate, detailed layman's explanation for all of this. :)


29-10-2003, 06:14 PM
The N-Gage numbers are based on 8MB RAM data, but actual shipping devices have 16MB (with no applications running, it has about 11MB available; at least the unit I have does).

Use PhoneInfo to verify:

29-10-2003, 06:21 PM
You won't see a lot of details about the N-gage, Nokia has a specific SDK for that device that is not public, only a handfull of software houses have one, so we only know that the N-gage has 16MB of RAM because we can run programs like Appmanager and see it. SO I'll try to explain to you how it works. There is 16MB of free RAM + an "harddrive" of 4MB and a ROM chip of around 14MB I think but I'm not sure about that value. Once you boot up the phone, the SO is copied into the RAM, and it takes aproximatly 5MB, so once the phone (N-gage in this case) has booted, you have a computer with 11MB of free RAM and an "harddrive" of 4MB. Since the SO is multitasking, you may want to run several programs at once, let's say Opera and a game, or whatever you want, just remenber that everything takes RAM, the radio aplication takes ram, if you open the calendar, it takes ram, the mp3player takes ram, the messaging option for sms or whatever you want takes ram, etc... I know that every one of those (exept opera) takes only a few kb, but in the 3650 there is not much room, while on the other devices, there is room on RAM for running a lot, and a say A LOT of aplications at once :) The N-gage has been developed that way in order to have room for demanding games, but in the end, we have a lot of RAM to run every program there is, and a lot of them at once.

So, in the end, the N-gage and the others act almost exactly like a computer, there is only a small difference, that in a computer the SO is located in the hardrive and in this case it is in a ROM chip that we can't modify and is usefull to backup the phone to it's factory form.

Concerning the MMC slot, it's just the same as the 4MB internal memory, everything you run, be it on the internal memory or in an external MMC, have always to be loaded in RAM, so it doesn't matter weather it's in one or another, in this case, only the RAM matters.

As you can see, in theory, N-gage is much better spec whise, but not everyone wants to run big programs and many of them at once, so, in the end, a 3650 might be enought.

Well, that's it, I hope it was helpfull, just compare those devices to a computer.

Scott R
29-10-2003, 06:30 PM
Thank you for that explanation. So it looks like the page I linked to is inaccurate.

OT for the title of this thread, but since I have your attention...Does anyone know how the N-Gage compares to the 3650 in terms of signal strength / antenna / RF (whatever you want to call it)? I've heard that the 3650 is one of the best phones for pulling in a strong signal. Is the N-Gage about the same, better, or worse than the 3650? I'll probably post this as a new thread in the N-Gage forum.



29-10-2003, 06:34 PM
I don't know about the signal strength of the 3650, but with teh N-gage it's pretty good.

Oh, I just checked and found somethin interesting :

"N-Gage has 16 megabytes of ram, of which you can use 8 megabytes for your game / application.

Forum Nokia"

29-10-2003, 06:35 PM
Hey, aren't you scott from tapland? I never thought you would be interested in the N-gage, hehe... I'm kidding, sorry...

Scott R
29-10-2003, 07:59 PM
Originally posted by Fleet-C
Hey, aren't you scott from tapland? I never thought you would be interested in the N-gage, hehe... I'm kidding, sorry... Yup, that's me. Don't tell anyone you saw me here. ;)

Remember that the Zodiac has Bluetooth but no cell phone. If you want to surf the web, check email, etc. with the Zodiac you need a Bluetooth cell phone.

I'm also a developer, and am interested in possibly developing apps for Series 60, so I ought to own one.

Lastly, I launched Tapland more as a business venture. I saw a window of opportunity to launch the first Zodiac-specific web site and did it. My hope is that it (and the Zodiac) will be successful and I can get advertising revenue from my site.

If you read goodthatway (or see my comments on other PDA web sites), you'll see that I'm far too picky personally to ever commit to any one device or OS. They're all imperfect, IMO.


30-10-2003, 11:52 AM
As I said, I was just kidding, I perfectly understand that the N-gage is a phone and the zodiac is not. I myself would get a zodiac _BUT_ god knows when they will be released in europe :(

30-10-2003, 01:36 PM
I wonder why you can only use 8 MB of the 16mb ?..

This nicely also explains why NGage games (like TR/THPS) will never be played on a 3650.

After booting the gage you have about 11 MB free ram (the OS must use about 5), I started up TR and then checked Fexplorer afterwards..

TR on its own uses another 5 MB so there would never be enough free space on the 3650 for it to run.

I guess it does mean that you can fully use the 4MB internal storage for apps/games. I had been keeping it free as I thought it also used that as "RAM"..



Scott R
30-10-2003, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by Fleet-C
As I said, I was just kidding, I perfectly understand that the N-gage is a phone and the zodiac is not. I myself would get a zodiac _BUT_ god knows when they will be released in europe :( I took no offense.

BTW, there's a guy who's planning to make a business of exporting Zodiacs overseas. I'm not sure what his markup is. Also, I'm hoping to start to give away a Zodiac as part of a promotion soon, so register at my forums ( You never know.


30-10-2003, 06:21 PM
Well, importing brings a lot of trouble, first it's more expensive, and second there is the problem of customs... Around 30% more or less in my country... Ouch!!!... Anyway, I'll register :) Maybe I'll be lucky :)

For now, I'm perfectly happy with the N-gage, it's not as big as I initially tought, the screen is not that small and is very bright. There is one problem, if you play too much the battery will not last long :( I guess it's the same problem on all symbian phones...