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How much RAM do I need?

How much RAM do I need?

When it comes to RAM, you only have a few choices. Unlike video cards, processors, or even hard drives, RAM is much simpler a decision to make for PC builders. We talked about graphics RAM before, and while video cards are more difficult to decide on, the amount of video RAM you need is definitely much more simpler to decide on than actual RAM.

The difference between RAM and graphic card RAM is that RAM works for the entire system, not just for videos or graphical processing. Video RAM is used for storing things like textures or animated models temporarily so then you can run video games or video-processing software much easier due to pre-loading of these textures and models. The same thing works with RAM though at the more broad way. While your computer is running, it stores processes and tasks temporarily into what is called random-access memory, which is what RAM stands for. The more RAM you have, the more you can store temporarily. The faster your RAM is, the more easily your computer can bring up and store these objects for future processing. Note that faster or more RAM does not necessarily mean a faster computer. It does mean that your computer can take a more loads, such as more tabs on the web browser at any one time.


We need to analyze how you will be using your computer before you can actually decide on how much RAM you need. The general rule of thumb is that you need at least 4 GB of RAM on any computer, regardless of what you are doing. This is because we are assuming your computer is used for at least basic browsing. The average user uses at least five tabs on their web browser at any one time, which is certainly enough for 4 GB of RAM to handle.


If you are going to be using your desktop for gaming, though, it is best to get at least 8 GB of RAM. This because textures and character models for video games take up significantly more space than anything that general computing does. You also need faster RAM just due to the general nature of video games. There are ton of textures and models to load up and faster RAM will help you bring those textures while you play the game.


Heavy processes such as video production or even photomanipulation or producing in something like Photoshop also require RAM in general. Your computer is under high stress when doing these heavy loads so needs to offset some of that to the side, which is where RAM really comes in handy. The more you have of it, the more your computer can store temporarily and bring up again once you actually need to process it. For those heavy users, I still recommend at least a gigabytes of RAM.


If you are still unsure how much RAM you need, it is best to get as few sticks of memory as possible while still maintaining a high gigabyte amount in your memory. For instance, if you don’t know whether you need eight gigabytes or 16 GB, the best rule of thumb I could give you is to get one stick of 8 GB. This allows you to upgrade further in the future when you decide that you would rather have 16 GB of RAM. This is contrary to simply getting two sticks of 4 GB of RAM, equaling 8 GB total. It makes it much harder to upgrade from two sticks of 4 GB to two sticks of 8 GB, since now you have to sell the two sticks of 4 GB in order to make room for the 8 GB. On the other hand, if you had one stick of eight gigabytes you could easily just add one more stick of 8 GB to total 16 GB of RAM.

Refer to the video below if this concept is still iffy for you. Underground Tech does a great job explaining it in less than 2 minutes.

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