How much RAM do I need? That said, the law of diminishing returns applies. I would prefer an easy to install, easy to use, flash drive. The more RAM your computer has, the more you can do at once. Is it smarter to have the memory installed in my computer, or invest in an external hard drive? Learn about a little known plugin that tells you if you're getting the best price on Amazon. Key takeaway: If your primary uses for a system will be streaming media, a basic 4GB should do the trick just fine. I store all of my pictures on my laptop and keep them organized in files and folders. I put off buying a new computer as long as possible because I feel so overwhelmed with all the information. To help you find the best answer for you, we tested for five specific use cases, each common but distinct in its memory demands: Each of these uses is common, but has distinctly different hardware requirements and memory demands. This smaller memory size can cut a computer price by as much as 10-15%. a 2GB RAM computer is enough to get most work smoothly done in a Windows 10 PC including Adobe Photoshop. Thank you. We did this again, bumping up to 30 tabs, 6 stream and 30 photos. For each program you run, it will actively use some of the space for in-use memory and allocate some of the available space as standby memory, essentially reserved space for potential operations. Windows 7 users see their memory under Total. Before you decide how much memory to add to your new computer, first consider how you plan to use your computer. But if Activity Monitor is telling you your RAM is full to the brim, you probably need more. The sweet spot for memory for both laptops and desktops is 8GB. The 4GB laptop hit that limit after simple opening some documents and a handful of browser tabs. I use my laptop for both business and personal use, so like something that has a lot of memory. You will need at least 2 GB of RAM to use basic programs like Microsoft Word or surf the web. When combining school work with multiple recreational programs and large amounts of media, a computer around the size of 150 GB may be needed. Th 16 GB RAM doesn’t do your computer much good over its other counterparts. We repeated the increasing demands, stepping up to 40 Chrome tabs, 8 media streams and 40 photos in Photoshop. Unless you play a bunch of games or have tons and tons of music you really do not need a lot of memory these days. We ratcheted up to 50 tabs. As we were able, we also ran Photoshop, with 10 photos open. Which one should I purchase? With 13,625 MB of memory in use and 2,562 MB in standby, we had reached the limits of our 16GB of RAM. Single audio or video streams from Spotify or YouTube used less than 3GB of memory (2,747 MB and 2,532 MB, respectively), and you had to bump that up to 4 or more simultaneous streams to get above the 3GB mark. Whatever your mix of uses, we can give you a very good idea of how much memory will be enough to meet the demands of the task. For our tests we assumed that normal browsing behavior included the use of multiple browser tabs, with no additional measures taken to cut down on data usage; meaning no ad blockers, no special permissions for media, and no other data-saving measures. New York, Visit our corporate site. We started with smaller files in multiple programs, opening Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files and photos. You will confuse the uninitiated. The baseline for RAM in a computer is 4GB; typically, it will do the job – just don’t expect to have several applications open at the same time without affecting performance. For this particular game, we’d echo the recommendation to have 8GB of memory or more, and think our 16GB system probably hits the sweet spot for playing demanding AAA titles. Surprisingly, the overall memory demands weren’t that different from regular browsing. My laptop came with 320 gigs on the hard drive and I have used up about 50 of them in three years. These games can generally run on 4GB of memory (sometimes less), and don’t require discrete graphics card. At this point we started to see programs slow down, with jittery navigation and slowness in loading files as they were opened. I never store that much information on my laptop so look for models that are cheaper and have less memory. At this point, programs started to lock up. Word files, likewise, generally take around 100 pages to even reach 1 GB, and so a computer with modest memory can hold many word documents, spreadsheets, or graphs. Then we opened up 10 browser tabs, followed by 2 media streams (one audio, one video). However, you should have at least 4 GB of RAM if you want to open more than one or two tabs at once. While these five use cases are all common, they’re also relatively simple in the sense that the testing focused on one or two specific uses at a time. RAM modules take up precious space, so laptops are typically engineered with only two RAM slots, and both are usually occupied by existing memory when you buy it. At that point, you’re streaming an unenjoyable cacophony of sight and sound, but you can add more if you want. Basic web browsing can be done on almost any connected device, but loading up multiple browser tabs will use up your memory. Our initial testing showed no real impact on memory usage from actual use, with little to no difference between viewing open photos, simply cropping photos or performing complex edits with multiple layers. You can check out our story “How much RAM do I need” for the details. It’s ideal for professional work and more demanding … The moral of this story is pretty straight forward; you want to have more memory than you’ll actually use. Want to edit photos, but you’re not much of a gamer? This test was rather eye-opening in how clearly it showed the impact of web browsing on memory use. If you're not sure where to start, don't worry, we're here to help. For those who already own computers and are running out of laptop memory, there are ways of supplementing your hard drive space without having to buy a new laptop. Photo editing is far more demanding than basic office or web functionality, and is usually right on the cusp of what an affordable system can do well. This is a frequency that indicates the speed of the RAM cards. The initial 10-tab test used 3,333 MB of memory, with an additional 3,963 MB in standby. To make this easier, I’ll describe an average Photo Editor’s Computer. I have a new HP Pavilion dv6 laptop computer. The best computer speakers in 2021. Different media players, file sharing programs, readers, and other software can occupy up to 1-2 GB per program and can use up laptop memory quickly. From 1990 to 2000, Photoshop’s minimum RAM requirement rose from 2MB to 64MB, a 32x increase in 10 years. In the days of old, most laptops came equipped with hard disk drives. This means that a laptop that comes from the factory with 4GB of memory, likely has two 2GB memory modules installed. While your overall performance will largely be dictated by the capabilities of your processor and graphics hardware, your memory allotment will directly impact how well you can take advantage of that performance. We’d recommend a minimum of 8GB for anyone who expects to regularly edit photos. For users filling their laptop memory with songs, television shows, pictures, and movies, the space may fill up fast. 16GB: This is the sweet spot for desktop users. While creating and editing documents is generally a low-resource task, office productivity gets much more demanding as you open multiple files in multiple programs. For personal use, not many users need more laptop memory than 150 GB, and most can make do with half that amount. Whether listening to multiple audio streams or watching multiple videos, the overall memory use didn’t change much. My laptop also seems to run slower when it has so much stuff stored on it. The Pentium processor is the better choice between the two. Ideally, you should go for a laptop with 16GB of RAM. Depending on the uses of your laptop, your budget, and the type of computer you are buying, the differences in memory can be vast. A memory around 125-150 GB may be necessary for users with large amount of entertainment. Right-click on the Windows taskbar and select Task Manager. Note: You will need a 64-bit operating system to make use of this amount of RAM. A mid-range configuration may require double that and high-end gaming systems and workstations need as much as 16GB or 32GB. For MP3 players like the iPod and the Zune that offer 80 GB models, you can fill these with around 15,000 songs or a couple hundred hours of video. External hard drives are available for a quarter of the price of most computers, and many of these offer at least 100 GB of memory. 64GB. Moving from 4 GB to 8 GB of RAM is likely to make a huge difference. Key takeaway: The bottom line here is that you can use Photoshop CC with the minimum 2.5GB required, but you’ll see smoother performance and better photo handling with larger allotments of RAM. When deciding how much memory you need, consider what you use your computer for, the operating system needs, and any software you use that is particularly memory-hungry. The 8GB Dell Inspiron 17 continued with normal functioning. We opened all of our office files, maxing out the least demanding test we ran. You might need 8-16 GB of RAM or more if you do lots of multitasking or use intensive programs. The value is great, and if you are upgrading your RAM, do take a look: 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200MHz RAM. How Much RAM Do I Need? How much is the average cost of a laptop memory upgrade? If it is, you’ll definitely need more storage space than if you have other drives to store your data on. In these titles, the amount of RAM used in total ranges from 6.6GB to 11.3GB (F1 2018 and The Division 2, respectively). If y… This smaller memory size can cut a computer price by as much as 10-15%. The following chart provides a general idea of how a computer will run with various amounts of memory: Minimum: 4 GB Optimal: 8 GB Smooth Sailing: 16 GB or more © 4 GB is found in regular desktops and office computers or those still running a 32-bit OS. Scroll down to Installed Physical Memory (RAM) and see how much memory is installed on your computer. With HDD's, information is stored on a spinning metal disk. We did this on both the Dell Inspiron 17 and the Alienware 15, without trouble. While every gamer knows that the best gaming laptops need to have impressive graphics and processing hardware, the place of memory in that overall equation is something of a mystery. Want to do some document work and web browsing but still want the option to do more? Low-end gaming doesn’t require much in the way of hardware, letting you play games like Cuphead, Minecraft or Overwatch without investing in a purpose-built machine. A system that has at least 8 GB of RAM and a 3.5 GHz processor is plenty for most video games. Please refresh the page and try again. We chose Resource Monitor because it provides more granular information than Windows Task Manager, but both tools are helpful for getting an idea of how memory is used as you run processes and programs. “How much RAM do I need?” It’s one of the most frequent questions asked by anyone buying or upgrading a desktop or laptop, and while there are some reasonable stock answers that people usually share, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and very little of the advice you do see has any real testing to back it up. How much RAM do you really need for gaming? At this point, on both the 8GB Dell Inspiron 178 and the 16GB Alienware 15, you’ll notice that the amount of standby memory changes, reprioritizing things to briefly open up additional free space. On a 16GB system, that’s a sizable chunk of memory to dedicate to a single program. We looked at both audio and video streaming, across several services, to see how much memory was impacted by video, be it cat videos, news clips, or high-definition movies. This little known plugin reveals the answer. Check the graphics hardware requirements for individual games to … If you're serious about your PC, then I consider this … For this level of gaming, 16GB seems to be the sweet spot, meeting all of the memory needs for unimpeded gameplay without throwing extra money into an already-expensive system. We’re here to fix that. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, They also use a mechanical arm with a read/write head that moves around. For use case testing we used an Alienware 15 R3, equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX970M graphics card. We decided to test photo editing with Photoshop CC, Adobe’s current offering, and used unedited photos from a smartphone, each with 5312 x 2988 resolution, and measuring  5-6 MB each. On Windows 10, click on Memory to look at your current RAM usage. Wikibuy Review: A Free Tool That Saves You Time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work. For the most part, today’s home computers have either 4, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, while some high-end PCs can have as much as 32, 64, or even 128 GB of RAM. A swap file still lets you get some things done, but will be dramatically slower. If someone told me a computer had 100 GB of memory, I would have no idea if that was a little or a lot. Everything was holding thus far. To answer these questions we performed some testing, looking at specific use cases, identifying the basic memory requirements for each and providing some hard numbers to back our advice. In addition, memory cards and floppy or CD discs are popular ways to hold extra files or programs when your memory runs out. To upgrade to 8GB, you can’t just buy 4GB of RAM. Those 4GB of standby memory held throughout testing, but every additional 10 tabs used roughly a full GB of memory. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it consists of dynamic memory chips that can be written and rewritten with data very quickly. Unless you plan on doing a huge amount of multitasking while gaming, there’s little reason for most gaming rigs to go beyond 16GB of memory. Remove Memory if Necessary: If all of your memory slots are already filled, you'll need to pull out the … First, we tested how much memory was used opening and running a game. There is no need for me to spend a bunch of money on a computer with a lot of memory. Amazon Doesn't Want You to Know About This Plugin. If you take a look at prices with the Celeron processor, they are noticeably cheaper, but you get what you pay for in this instance. For this test we looked at various programs in Microsoft’s Office Suite, examining how large files stress memory as well as using multiple productivity programs at once. This is my second laptop and I have never even come close to using up the memory that comes with the computer. Here’s how to check how much your system has. How Much RAM Do You Need? If you want to make the most of your multitasking, these are the tests to look at. Here's when it could launch, Nintendo Switch Pro potential leak reveals tons of exciting details. Key takeaway: Multitaskers should really opt for 8 GB of RAM when possible, and those running multiple applications along with a ton of tabs should opt for 16 GB. Key takeaway: If you’re a heavy web user, you can get by with 4GB of RAM, but will definitely see a benefit from a larger allotment, such as 8GB. You may see computer specs for DDR1 or DDR2 RAM. On the Alienware we checked back in on GTA V and found everything running smoothly. I have no idea what is considered a small or large amount of memory space. We started with a list of 10 popular websites and then opened new tabs of these same websites in batches of 10. Then 10 media streams. First, we started at a basic level. Finally, there’s gaming. Check your PC’s current RAM usage. But not everything is quite so demanding, and you can find games that will run on nearly any laptop out there. Programs and software are features on a computer that should also be accounted for when considering how much memory you need on your laptop. One of the other things we looked at was how memory use impacted game performance, and how much memory you might need in order to multitask while gaming. RAM is where data is stored before processing. To test the memory demands of web browsing we used Google’s Chrome browser, which is notable for being both popular and a notorious memory hog. The casual music or video fan with a normal amount of school or business work on a computer can survive easily with around 50 GB. The amount of laptop memory needed by a laptop owner can depend on a lot of factors. It took another 16 years to match this … This is a lot of music and video for most users, but combining the media can add up quickly and may fill your MP3 player and come close to filling older computers with GB amount around 30-50. I would be in a world of hurt if I lost the information on my laptop, so try to keep the important things backed up on a memory card. We look at how gaming impacts memory use, what the requirements are for various current titles, and whether or not it’s worth getting memory that is optimized for gaming. If your laptop has 4GB or less RAM, upgrading to 8GB is a good idea. Laptop Mag is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Generally speaking, more RAM is better. ‘How much storage capacity do I need for my SSD so that I pay only as much as I need to?’ 5 Questions to help you answer this question: 1. About the only thing I store on there is a few pictures and a text document every now and then. Too little RAM creates a bottleneck that slows everything down, and the basic rule of thumb is that more RAM is always better. Time was that 4GB was more than enough for gaming and most daily tasks, but those days are in the past. Many are made to be pocket size, and nearly all external hard drives can fit easily on a computer desk next to your laptop. Whether we had one Word doc open or 10 files open across 5 programs, working with standard small documents barely exceeded 5GB of memory in use, and never exceeded 7GB of memory in use and in standby. If you only have 2GB or less, you might get by with an upgrade to 4GB if your laptop is just for light use such as emails and word processing. 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