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If your "Dedicated Sort/Join Memory Usage" setting is set higher than the actual amount of RAM available on your machine, you will get a message in the Results window like this:
My understanding is that the Alteryx workflow will continue to limit itself to the lower memory level throughout the entire duration of running that workflow, even if more memory opens up while the workflow is running. If Alteryx were to check the amount of available RAM periodically while running workflows, Alteryx could take advantage of additional RAM that may open up, resulting in getting results faster. This is particularly valuable for Server environments when many jobs of all sizes are running concurrently.