The question in many cases is: how much RAM should I buy? 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. The moral of this story is pretty straight forward; you want to have more memory than you’ll actually use. 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. Sometimes even manufacturers or retailers will mix up the terms. We’re just referring to activating the speed your memory is rated for. For Windows and MacOS, however, you should think about bumping that number up to a standard 8GB. 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. There’s not much you can do to make Windows or MacOS use less memory, but more RAM in your computer means that you can open more browser tabs in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and so on. Everything was holding thus far. Although 8GB of RAM will work, 16GB is the sweet spot for streaming and will allow you to stream quality gameplay. We ratcheted up to 50 tabs. Want to do some document work and web browsing but still want the option to do more? We’d recommend a minimum of 8GB for anyone who expects to regularly edit photos. While you may be able to get away with less, when you’re only saving $30 or so, it’s worth future proofing yourself with 16GB. How Much RAM Do I Need? So long as your gaming rig can handle the game, these simple uses should work without a memory upgrade. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? Phones like an Android One/Android Go phone can get away with 1.5 - … System RAM shouldn’t be confused with the dedicated memory used by discrete graphic cards. It will try to use this swap file in the same way it does RAM, constantly reading and writing the data during operation, but the memory in your storage drives simply isn’t designed to move data as rapidly as DRAM. Even the low-end 6.6GB is … The best Cyber Monday MacBook deals: MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, The best Cyber Monday Chromebook deals for 2020, The best Cyber Monday laptop deals for 2020, Laptop buying guide: What to look for in 2020, and what to avoid. From there, it’s a matter of taking away or adding memory based on what you want to do. According to the hardware requirements reported by Rockstar Games, you’ll need at least 4GB of RAM to run the game, but the developer recommends a minimum of 8GB. 8GB: Excellent for Windows and MacOS systems. But not everything is quite so demanding, and you can find games that will run on nearly any laptop out there. Those 4GB of standby memory held throughout testing, but every additional 10 tabs used roughly a full GB of memory. As for the performance benefit of faster memory, it really depends. How much RAM do you actually need? It's enough to juggle several tasks at once without slowdown, and is sufficient for gaming too. Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. We started with a list of 10 popular websites and then opened new tabs of these same websites in batches of 10. Memory demands stay quite reasonable, running smoothly with 4-8GB of RAM. Opt for speed over capacity unless you really need it. 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. 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. Large and fast DDR4 kits that used to cost hundreds can now be had for as little as $50 for a 16GB kit. There’s not much reason for a gamer to exceed 32GB for now, and no reason to exceed 16GB if all you want to do is watch Netflix. For example, a simple text news story is relatively light on memory, while something like Gmail or Netflix uses a lot more. The 8GB Dell Inspiron 17 continued with normal functioning. Whether listening to multiple audio streams or watching multiple videos, the overall memory use didn’t change much. But what about those times you need to jump back and forth between programs, flipping back and forth between files and tools? The 8GB system did better, providing good support for photo editing in addition to a healthy number of browser tabs and simultaneous media streams, while the 16GB system supported dozens of tabs, an unreasonable number of concurrent media streams and even offered usable gaming right up to the end. Finally, there’s gaming. © How much RAM do I need for a computer? As with games, Photoshop is optimized for optimum resource utilization in most systems. If you are doing a lot of graphic design work or are planning on dabbling in some higher-end gaming, you may want to consider increasing that to 16GB. Visit our corporate site. Buying a generous amount is wise, but don’t go crazy. 4GB: Typically installed in budget notebooks. Memory capacity is often confused with the long-term storage offered by a solid-state or mechanical hard drive. We started with smaller files in multiple programs, opening Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files and photos. 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. Although many think that "better than not missing", it is often absurd to spend extra money on RAM … How much RAM does your VPS need? 10 GB or 12 GB (or 16) of RAM is complete overkill for a typical Android phone. Most of the latest high-end or AAA games require 8GB of RAM. You’ll want more in a laptop or desktop. The initial 10-tab test used 3,333 MB of memory, with an additional 3,963 MB in standby. All rights reserved. Or do I need 8 GB? Th 16 GB RAM doesn’t do your computer much good over its other counterparts. Switching between windows became difficult and the laptop finally locked up when we tried to open more browser tabs or photos. For something like a Chromebook, which mostly relies on cloud-based apps and provides very little storage space, you won’t need much in the way of RAM. The good news is that, as PC components go, RAM is easy to install and extremely affordable. Hard drives are more like the drawers underneath the desk, capable of storing papers you’re currently not using. With 13,625 MB of memory in use and 2,562 MB in standby, we had reached the limits of our 16GB of RAM. Most of the best laptops come with 8GB for good reason. Most current generation graphics cards use GDDR5, GDDR6, and HBM, or similar. While you won’t see any performance improvement by adding more RAM to your system if you already have what you need, the same cannot be said when it comes to RAM speed. 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. As you approach the limits of your memory, the impact on your productivity and user experience will be felt more and more, right up until you can’t do much of anything. Meanwhile, system RAM is identified with DDR3 or DDR4, with the number identifying the generation. This level of RAM will be a great starting point for most users, and leave them with enough RAM to multitask on any platform. These are games built to make the most of current hardware, and a tricked out system will need a decent amount of RAM to accompany the high-end graphics and processing hardware. Apple expanded the storage of the entry-level iPad from 16 GB to 32 GB. 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. “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. So, how much RAM do I need? As we were able, we also ran Photoshop, with 10 photos open. It’s more difficult to upgrade RAM in a laptop (or, in some recent models, impossible) compared to a desktop, so buying what you need at the start is paramount. When we ran the game on our Alienware 15, we saw that firing up Steam and opening GTAV from our games library resulted in 5,324 MB of in-use memory, with 9,319 in standby. How much RAM you need in a system depends on what you intend to do with it, how long you intend to keep it, and whether or not you can upgrade your memory post-purchase. This method will simply and quickly tell you how much RAM your PC currently has installed: Right-click the Start button. With something like the iPad, which touts 2GB of RAM, its design is more focused on its vibrant display and long battery life. 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. If you want to make the most of your multitasking, these are the tests to look at. Buy what you actually need, and spend the remaining budget on more important components like the CPU or graphics card. For obvious reasons, editing 4K video isn’t something you can do on an entry-level machine with next to no RAM or video RAM. You'll probably want more RAM if you often edit 4K video, stream high-end games to Twitch, or keep … 2GB: Mostly used in budget tablet designs. We will never want to fall short or spend and spend extra money, so we will give you a series of tips so you can choose the right amount for your PC. However, if you bought faster RAM sticks or plan to buy them, you’ll want to enable the XMP profile in your BIOS to get the most out of your purchase. If you’re using applications like Premiere or Pro Tools, though, it’s a good idea to upgrade to 32GB (similar applications can actually take advantage of all of that RAM). How Much RAM Do I Need for Photoshop? A desk is a useful analogy to consider the difference between memory and storage. RAM is faster than a hard disk, so the goal of video editing is to save as much information as possible in RAM. What is a Chromebook, and should you buy one? Unlike your hard drive, however, the memory used for RAM is also volatile, meaning that it only holds onto that data while the chip is powered, so it’s not designed to hold information long term. However, we’d recommend you get a computer with 4GB RAM so your computer can handle anything you throw at it, and is somewhat future-proofed if more intensive updates of the applications you use are released. Verify the Installed memory (RAM) line. It’s not as simple as buying RAM sticks with a higher number, though. [Don’t worry… few, if any, games require 32 GB of RAM … By testing a variety of use cases on different amounts of RAM, we can get a very good idea what sort of uses can be comfortably done with how much RAM, and even give you an idea of how you can stretch the RAM you’ve got. We did this on both the Dell Inspiron 17 and the Alienware 15, without trouble. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, Of these, Chrome OS is the least demanding, but even it will benefit from having enough RAM. Subsequent sets of 10 increased the in-use memory to 7,699 MB for 20 photos and 8,828 MB for 30 images. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it consists of dynamic memory chips that can be written and rewritten with data very quickly. First, we started at a basic level. It is difficult to judge just how much storage you'll need until you actually need that storage. The 4GB laptop hit that limit after simple opening some documents and a handful of browser tabs. 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. A chat program or a game like Minesweeper will use almost no RAM, while a gigantic Excel spreadsheet, a huge Photoshop project, or a graphic-intensive game like Wolfenstein: Youngblood may use gigabytes by themselves. We tested with a number of documents with upward of 1,000 pages. For power users, or office workers looking for a used Apple computer, we recommend 4GB to 8GB of RAM. While 16 GB was fine in the early days, apps now take up much more space, and with so many people now using their iPad to store photos and video, 16 GB just doesn't cut it anymore. These games can generally run on 4GB of memory (sometimes less), and don’t require discrete graphics card. Modern PCs, tablets, and phones typically range from 2GB up to 32GB, though some have even more. Mid-range gaming may require a GPU to handle the visuals, but titles like Tacoma or Dragon Ball FighterZ don’t demand an upgrade to the latest Nvidia or AMD offerings. GTA V continued to run, and we enjoyed a shootout and a car chase before moving on to the next level of multitasking torture. Or 16? Find out the answer to this important question as we reveal how much memory is enough for Windows, gaming, video editing and common tasks. There was a problem. Laptops with 16 GB of RAM are expensive than lower end machines, so, do your research if you really need this amount of RAM. On our 4GB system, this was enough to overwhelm the laptop, causing the system to slow to a crawl, and basic functionality to become inconsistent. 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. Gamers could opt for 32GB if they so choose, but the benefit will be limited, even on high-end systems. People tend to keep their desktop computers around longer than tablets or laptops, so planning for the future is worthwhile. That depends on what you want to do with your computer, but we usually recommend 8GB as a starting point. 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. The short answer is that you should look for a baseline of at least 4GB for a phone. You can stay up to date on what to expect with our guide to DDR5. The bigger it is, the more papers you can neatly spread out and read at once. Different applications react differently to faster memory, and there even differences between Intel and AMD. If you want a quick way to upgrade your laptop, adding a stick of RAM is a great place to start, and is something even a novice can do in very little time. This flow of data between the disk and the RAM is controlled by the computer, which manages the writing of data to physical locations on the memory chip, and that it needs a certain amount of free space to function. If you're wondering 'How much RAM do I need?' 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. Click System. (In this case, you can see I have 8GB of RAM installed.) Random Access Memory, usually shortened to RAM or simply “memory,” is one of the most important parts of any computing device. 16GB: This is when things start getting good. Once these baseline tests were running, we proceed to ratchet up the memory demands incrementally, first by adding another 10 browser tabs, then another 2 audio streams, followed by an additional 10 photos in Photoshop. If you’re leaning more toward a laptop replacement, buy a tablet configuration with the RAM you’d need for any other desktop or laptop. Or even 32? You must have seen that almost every AAA game list two types of requirements. In these titles, the amount of RAM used in total ranges from 6.6GB to 11.3GB (F1 2018 and The Division 2, respectively). 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If you're running a 32-bit operating system then with 4GB of RAM installed you'll … At that point, you’re streaming an unenjoyable cacophony of sight and sound, but you can add more if you want.