How much RAM (Memory) do you need?

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This question comes up often in the computer world and it's a valid one.

"How much ram does my computer need and will it be enough for the next 3 or 4 years?".

Many people believe when it comes to desktop or notebook computers that the more RAM the better. The thought of running out of Memory on a new system strikes a bit of fear in them. To be honest this is mostly true for people who use their computers for gaming in intense 3D environments.

There are a couple of articles on the internet where tests were done on different RAM configurations and most of them told a similar story. You can easily find some of them using Google. Results showed that Gaming systems were perfectly fine using RAM configured as low as 4GB!

Rarely did the systems require 8GB in their setup during the tests and even when more than 4GB was required, the requirement didn't go very much higher than 6GB. With our own customers we found that 4GB was more than enough for a system which used mostly MS Office, MYOB, Adobe Acrobat etc...

So what's the problem with adding more RAM anyway, why not go to town and configure your system for 32GB? Well, there is nothing stopping you really. Nothing bad will happen but although certain RAM is getting cheaper, it is an added cost (in dollar terms) to your system if you add more RAM than you need.

With gaming systems, memory used for textures etc... are handled by the Graphics Card. This is why we don't need 32GB of system RAM just to play games. So for gamers, I would like to add that having a GPU with at least 2-4GB GPU Memory is a good start to enjoyable gaming using one or two monitors.

In the end, anything less than 4GB system memory is not recommended for a business system or Gaming machine. One thing to keep in mind, requirements will eventually change as time passes so always check with your IT Consultant what the norm is at the time. This article only represents desktops and laptops as Servers will obviously have their own special requirements which do differ greatly.

Quick cheat sheet:

  • Business        4GB RAM
  • Home             4GB RAM
  • Gaming          8GB to 16GB RAM (with GPU 2-4GB Memory)
  • Other Intense 8GB or more

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