how much ram do i need

You will receive a verification email shortly. This method will simply and quickly tell you how much RAM your PC currently has installed: Right-click the Start button. The good news is that, as PC components go, RAM is easy to install and extremely affordable. There was a problem. We’d recommend a minimum of 8GB for anyone who expects to regularly edit photos. So, how much RAM do I need? It’s one of the first questions buyers ask when shopping for a new gaming PC: “How much RAM do I need?” Is the 4 GB of system memory on many budget-priced laptops enough to play the games I like? 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. Large and fast DDR4 kits that used to cost hundreds can now be had for as little as $50 for a 16GB kit. If you're wondering 'How much RAM do I need?' Ultimately, this gives us a guideline for choosing tablet RAM: Remember, tablets are generally complementary devices that reside between your smartphone and your PC. The moral of this story is pretty straight forward; you want to have more memory than you’ll actually use. Where things really get interesting, however, is when you’re working on multiple photos. Mouse clicks failed to register, simple documents struggled to scroll smoothly, and even gathering the screenshots we used to document our testing became difficult. Having a big desk doesn’t help you if you’re just working with a few pieces of paper. You probably don’t need a laptop with 32 GB of RAM. Buying a generous amount is wise, but don’t go crazy. Key takeaway: You can do a lot of work with only 4GB of memory, but if you need to work with extremely large files, you’ll want to bump up to 8GB or more. In addition, more complex websites use more RAM than others. For this we used Grand Theft Auto V. It’s not the newest game on the market, but it’s still relatively demanding, requiring a decent graphics card to handle all the visuals. 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. 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. The 16GB Alienware 15 held strong, but the in-use memory approached the 14GB mark, while the amount of free memory dwindled to nearly zero. High-end 3D games rely on video RAM, or VRAM, to temporarily store image data, like textures. 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. Whenever your computer loads a program or opens a file, it opens up that data in RAM. 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. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it consists of dynamic memory chips that can be written and rewritten with data very quickly. You’ll want more in a laptop or desktop. 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. Most people don’t use a laptop for such tasks, but if you do, buying enough RAM is crucial. RAM is faster than a hard disk, so the goal of video editing is to save as much information as possible in 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. How much RAM do you actually need? 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. In 2020, RAM is far more affordable than it’s ever been, making bountiful RAM a no brainer for current builds. 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. 16GB is a good place to start. Right now, DDR4 is the standard across desktops, laptops, and tablets. In particular, video editing applications like Adobe Premiere and digital audio workstations (DAWs) like Pro Tools are memory hungry. However, as multi-tab browsers and more complex software continue to make the transition, tablet needs are becoming more and more similar to laptop needs. Find out the answer to this important question as we reveal how much memory is enough for Windows, gaming, video editing and common tasks. Best Buy Cyber Monday 2020: Big discounts on Apple, Samsung and more, Hurry! New York, The 4GB laptop hit that limit after simple opening some documents and a handful of browser tabs. How to Check How Much RAM You Have on Windows. The standby memory, however, jumped to nearly 10GB. But not everything is quite so demanding, and you can find games that will run on nearly any laptop out there. 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. Most current generation graphics cards use GDDR5, GDDR6, and HBM, or similar. Key takeaway: Opt for 8GB of RAM if you want decent performance on less demanding titles, but go for 16GB if you want to play the latest and most resource intensive hits. How much RAM do I need for a computer? 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. These games can generally run on 4GB of memory (sometimes less), and don’t require discrete graphics card. That means that you need some minimum amount of memory just to get your PC up and running. Then 10 media streams. How Much RAM Do I Need? 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. You will need at least 2 GB of RAM to use basic programs like Microsoft Word or surf the web. Surprisingly, the overall memory demands weren’t that different from regular browsing. 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. A desk is a useful analogy to consider the difference between memory and storage. Thank you for signing up to Laptop Mag. If your desk is too small, it becomes cluttered, and your work will slow as you try to find whatever paper you need at any particular moment. NY 10036. For example, a simple text news story is relatively light on memory, while something like Gmail or Netflix uses a lot more. Meanwhile, Apple’s latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro has 6GB of RAM to accommodate the 2-in-1 crowd. When you turn on your PC, your OS loads into RAM. Even your operating system uses RAM when it’s running. A swap file still lets you get some things done, but will be dramatically slower. You might need 8-16 GB of RAM or more if you do lots of multitasking or use intensive programs. In a nutshell, here are some simple guidelines that apply to most PC devices. 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. 16GB: This is when things start getting good. Anything beyond that is the realm of extreme specialty rigs equipped to handle huge datasets, staggeringly large video files, or niche programs designed for researchers, corporations, or government. The same goes for offline programs too. The bottom line is that RAM is essential to the smooth operating of your computer, particularly for things like multitasking and accessing multiple files at one time. How Much RAM Do I Need for Photoshop? On the Alienware we checked back in on GTA V and found everything running smoothly. 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. 32GB and up. The answer to the question of how much RAM you need always will come back to what you want to do with it. we've got answers. 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. Random Access Memory, usually shortened to RAM or simply “memory,” is one of the most important parts of any computing device. On a 16GB system, that’s a sizable chunk of memory to dedicate to a single program. Please refresh the page and try again. Memory capacity is often confused with the long-term storage offered by a solid-state or mechanical hard drive. 4GB is a better fit in most tablet cases. Click System. Whether listening to multiple audio streams or watching multiple videos, the overall memory use didn’t change much. One is the minimum system requirements … 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. We did this again, bumping up to 30 tabs, 6 stream and 30 photos. 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. 8GB: Excellent for Windows and MacOS systems. Simply running the game uses an additional 2GB of memory, but with little difference in memory load between running and actively playing the game, we simply left it running for the duration of testing. While most people won’t be doing much photo editing in the middle of their next battle royale, it’s not uncommon to chat with friends or pull up a YouTube tutorial. Key takeaway: If your primary uses for a system will be streaming media, a basic 4GB should do the trick just fine. Subsequent sets of 10 increased the in-use memory to 7,699 MB for 20 photos and 8,828 MB for 30 images. What is a Chromebook, and should you buy one? (In this case, you can see I have 8GB of RAM installed.) 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. To be clear, we’re not talking about overclocking your memory past the recommend speed (it’s possible, though the performance benefits aren’t always worth the effort). Outside of games and general browsing, professional applications tend to hog the most RAM. The benefit of faster memory is simple: More cycles per second means the module can read and write data faster. All rights reserved. As previously mentioned, tablet and laptop needs are converging, but most users feel comfortable running more complex programs on laptops, which means RAM has a more important role here. If you’re wondering how much RAM you need in your phone, we have a guide for that, too. If your system does eventually become restricted by RAM, you can just add 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. 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). Want to do some document work and web browsing but still want the option to do more? 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. An upgrade to 32GB is a good idea for enthusiasts and the average workstation user. The more RAM your system has, the more programs it can handle simultaneously. If you want to run a program, it pulls the data from long-term storage on your hard drive to short-term storage in RAM, where it can be accessed quickly enough for smooth operation. 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. Photoshop is a notorious resource hog, and while you can use it for a quick photo crop or similar simple edit with 4GB, you’ll definitely want a system with 8GB or more if you expect to do routine edits or work on multiple photos. Those numbers held fairly steady throughout actual gameplay, so there’s no appreciable difference between running the game and playing the game that we could see. With something like the iPad, which touts 2GB of RAM, its design is more focused on its vibrant display and long battery life. Opening a single photo changed our in-use memory from 5,049 MB to 5,310 MB, but opening 10 photos bumped that up to 6,511 MB. Only after closing one of our programs did function return to normal. The long answer is a bit more complicated. 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. At that point, you’re streaming an unenjoyable cacophony of sight and sound, but you can add more if you want. Too little RAM creates a bottleneck that slows everything down, and the basic rule of thumb is that more RAM is always better. Cyber Monday deals: see all the best offers right now! Just click on the Start menu, type "about," and press Enter when "About Your PC" appears. Even the low-end 6.6GB is … At this point, programs started to lock up. 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. If you still feel quite lost, don’t worry. It’s not as simple as buying RAM sticks with a higher number, though. You’d only need to go past that if you perform certain tasks, like editing huge video or photo files — the kind of thing you’d normally do on a desktop. The 8GB Dell Inspiron 17 continued with normal functioning. Or 16? If you spot some that are for apps you're not using or don't need to be running, you can … 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. This is a good idea even if you don’t feel comfortable upgrading yourself, as the charge for installing RAM at your local PC store should hover around $40 to $60. If you want to make the most of your multitasking, these are the tests to look at. That means the manufacturer has verified that the modules work at that speed, but it doesn’t mean they run at that speed out of the box. 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.

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