There is a quote that is frequently credited to Bill Gates that states “640 KB of memory (RAM) ought to be enough for anyone.” And while Bill Gates never actually said this, it does beg the question as to how much RAM do you really need?
What is RAM and what exactly does it do?
Before we get into our recommendations for RAM, let’s talk about what RAM is and what it does. First, RAM stands for “Random Access Memory” and you can think of it as your PC’s short-term memory. RAM is a hardware component that allows your PC to temporarily store all the information it need both right now and imminently.
Your PC uses RAM to store data for everything that is running on your PC, such as web browsers, PDF applications and OS specific services. Access to this information is very fast which is why your PC uses it as opposed to hard drives that are slower but provide long-term storage.
Note that RAM is considered “Volatile” memory, which means it will not hold data in its memory when your PC is powered off.
So, how much RAM do YOU need?
The short answer is…it depends. Although there are a few factors to keep in mind when considering the right amount of RAM for you, it really all depends on the work you intend to use your PC for. Here is a general guide as to what amount of RAM might be right for you:
• 4GB: This is a very basic level of RAM. Some manufacturers offer this as an entry level amount. With this amount you will be able to open a handful web browser tabs, check your email, or run a few-lightweight applications at a time. However, you will not be able to do much more than that.
• 8GB: This is a good starting point for RAM. With this amount of RAM, you will have enough memory to run serval applications at a time. You can also open more web browser tabs at once and stream videos, etc. This is a good option for personal PCs but can also be good for some office users.
• 16GB: This is the sweet spot for most users. Over 50% of all Diligex Managed Endpoints have 16GB of RAM. With 16GB, you will be able to run a greater number of programs at once. This is ideal for most professionals, especially those who work with more memory consuming applications like Excel.
• 32GB or more: This much is only suited for industry professionals who need an immense amount memory power, such as Engineers, A/V editors and users who are rendering intensive 3D models. If you are working with extremely large files, editing 4K videos or modeling 3D environments then you should consider this amount. This is also a good amount for users who have multiple virtual machines installed.
It should be noted that buying more RAM than you need does not yield more performance or a faster PC. It would be prudent to buy only the amount you can use and spend the rest of your budget on a higher tier processor or graphics card.
RAM is a tricky subject, and your mileage may vary regarding how much you need, but hopefully this article has given you a better idea. Still not sure how much RAM you need? Reach out, we’re here to help.