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Do You Really Need More Than 4GB of RAM?


With the price of upgrading system RAM extremely low these days, people are always asking me whether it's really worth it to upgrade beyond 4GB.

An average computer user is probably okay with the basic 4GB of RAM. But as fast as technology changes, so will your need for additional memory. Just remember: more is better.

To put it another way, your RAM generally does not make your PC faster, it just allows it to do more things at once. If your single application uses 200 MB of RAM, it won't matter if you've got 2 or 8GB of total system memory, but if you've got 10 windows open using 200 MB each, then you are probably going to benefit from an upgrade.

What Applications Actually Use 4GB+ of RAM?

It's true, very few applications are going to use large chunks of your system memory, but there are some applications that will benefit greatly from an upgrade—image editing applications like Photoshop, video/audio editing applications, or virtual machines like Virtual Box or VMware will use as much RAM as you can spare.

On my desktop with 40GB of RAM, I'm able to run all of the above at the same time, without showing any signs of slowdown when switching from one application to another. I am Currently using 20gb of RAM, which allows me to switch between all 12 + applications that I have open right now.

It is important to note that More RAM Will Not Make Single Tasks Faster. It can however make your web surfing performance much better.

Faster Web surfing

Are you a surf-aholic? If you like to spend countless hours on the Internet, but don't like when your system slows to a crawl, you'll want to add RAM. No matter how fast your Internet connection is, a memory upgrade can help your browser display pages faster. When your computer can store more data in RAM, it has to swap out less memory to the hard drive. Web sites use rotating banners, Flash and Shockwave animation, streaming audio and other plug-ins as dazzling effects to entice visitors. A computer memory upgrade can give your computer the zip it needs for today's browsing.

How Do You Know When to Upgrade?
Not every computer can be upgraded as some manufactures have limited this feature. If you are running with 2GB or less RAM in your system, you could probably benefit from an upgrade unless you barely use your PC or run a single application at a time—it should be easy to open up Task Manager and check whether your memory usage is reaching the limit.

Search for Resource Monitor > Once Opened click the memory tab and this will show you a breakdown of what processes are using RAM wise.

Putting it all together

We’ve touched on a great many topics in this story, so I’ll summarize the findings here. If you’re planning to buy a new laptop, check to see if it allows for RAM upgrades or not. This isn’t a given anymore. Mobile users with light use cases can get by on 4GB of RAM; 8GB is a good target for the majority of people. If you’re a gamer, photo/video editor, or planning to do CAD/CAM work, we recommend at least 16GB of memory. Chances are if you need more than that, you already know it. If you’re a desktop user with an older system, adding faster RAM may help you squeeze a few more years out of your hardware, especially if you only have 4GB of RAM today.

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