How Much RAM Do I Need? Finding the Balance Between Performance and Value

How Much RAM Do I Need? Finding the Balance Between Performance and Value

Read Time: 5 minutes Published: December 15, 2023 Updated: February 20, 2024

RAM, or random access memory, is a critical part of your computer, serving as its short-term memory. It plays a pivotal role in how fast and efficiently your computer can handle tasks. The question often arises: “How much RAM do I need?” In this article, we’ll delve into the considerations that help you determine the right amount of RAM for your needs, considering the latest information available.

The Importance of RAM

Your computer relies on RAM for nearly everything it does, from opening applications to running multiple tasks simultaneously. RAM acts as a temporary workspace where your computer stores data that is actively in use. This data includes the operating system, applications, and files that you’re currently working on. Having sufficient RAM is crucial for smooth and responsive computing.

Determining Your RAM Needs

Information on the different RAM sizes and the most common use cases for each.

The amount of RAM you require depends on how you use your computer. Let’s break it down based on common usage scenarios:

8GB RAM

The Beginner:  At Electric, our IT team shared with us that “while 8GB of RAM may suffice for an entry-level device, the new standard is quickly becoming a device equipped with 16GB of RAM. As applications become more sophisticated and resource-intensive, a higher RAM capacity ensures smoother multitasking, faster data processing, and enhanced overall system performance. 16GB of RAM seems to be the sweet spot in performance-to-value ratio, it also future-proofs devices in the entry-level space.” Do yourself a favor and stay away from an 8GB computer, unless you’re getting the computer for someone who’s an absolute beginner and knows they’ll likely need to upgrade in the future.

16GB RAM

The Typical User: Most people nowadays find themselves multitasking with several browser tabs open, running different applications, and even indulging in light gaming or multimedia activities. As our IT team mentioned, 16GB of RAM is “the sweet spot in performance-to-value ratio, it also future-proofs devices in the entry-level space.” Even ChatGPT and 200 IT professionals agree that if you want to prevent having a slow computer, your best solution (although not the easiest or cheapest) is to add more RAM. So consider starting with at least 16GB of RAM to save yourself money on having to upgrade in the future.

32GB RAM

The Working Professional, Gamer, or Graphic Designer: For users engaged in resource-intensive activities like gaming, video editing, 3D modeling, or running virtual machines, 32GB of RAM or more is recommended. These tasks benefit greatly from ample memory and for graphic designers, programs like Adobe take up a lot of space. 32GB ensures smooth performance even under heavy workloads.

Is 64GB of RAM Overkill?

At the upper end of RAM storage options, 64GB is sometimes needed for very intensive use cases. For example, editing extremely high-resolution images and videos, or engaging with certain types of gaming can place exceptional demands on your device. In these scenarios, 64GB of RAM can be of benefit. However, for most business users, 64GB could be overkill.

How Much RAM Do I Need as a Small Business Owner?

As outlined above, the amount of RAM you need as a small business owner will be determined by the demands and activities of individual employees.

If you have a small in-house team, you might choose to outsource tasks like video editing and web development. In this scenario, you won’t need as much RAM on employee devices – 16GB should be sufficient for day-to-day tasks.

In other organizations, where a small number of team members wear multiple hats, 32GB may be a better fit. Consider how much multitasking and resource-intensive work your employees will be performing, and whether limited RAM could slow them down.

Signs You Need More RAM

Wondering whether to upgrade RAM storage on your company devices? Here are some of the signs you might need more memory:

  • Files and programs are slow to open
  • Typing or mouse movements lag
  • Running multiple programs at once slows your device down
  • Your device freezes regularly or reboots unexpectedly
  • Memory warnings or errors appear on your device

If you experience these issues and suspect RAM levels are at fault, you should check the device’s available storage, and clear space where possible.

How to Check RAM Storage

If you use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, checking your RAM is a straightforward process. Simply open your dashboard for a centralized view of RAM availability across all company devices.

If you don’t use MDM, you will need to do the following on an individual device level:

Windows Devices

  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Search for “About Your PC” and click open
  3. Select “Device Specifications”
  4. Find your total RAM and remaining available storage under “Installed RAM”

Apple Devices

  1. Open the Apple menu
  2. Select “About this Mac”
  3. Find your total RAM and remaining available storage under “Memory”

How to Optimize Your RAM

If your RAM storage is running low, try these five tips to boost memory and performance:

Review RAM usage

When checking your RAM storage, review the breakdown of which programs are placing the most demands on your device.

Uninstall unused programs

Identify whether you can remove duplicate or unused software to free up storage.

Disable background apps

Check your application settings and disable any apps or programs that are running in the background unnecessarily.

Scan for malware

In some cases, a malware infection could be the reason your RAM is under-performing. Scan your device regularly and take appropriate security precautions.

Accept updates

Regular device, software, and app updates not only boost productivity, they can also free up storage.

Upgrading Your RAM

If your computer currently falls short of your RAM needs, upgrading is a cost-effective way to boost performance. Most modern computers offer the flexibility to add more RAM. It’s advisable to check your computer’s specifications and ensure compatibility before making an upgrade. If you find yourself in a situation where your computer’s RAM isn’t meeting your needs, you don’t have to face it alone. Electric, your trusted IT support partner, is here to help.

With software and applications continually demanding more resources, it’s wise to consider future needs when upgrading your RAM. Over time, operating systems and software tend to require additional memory to run optimally. By investing in more RAM now, you can extend the useful life of your computer without encountering performance bottlenecks down the road.

How Electric Can Help You Choose the Right RAM

In the ever-evolving world of computing, having the right amount of RAM is crucial for ensuring a smooth and responsive user experience. Whether you’re a casual user or a professional engaged in resource-intensive tasks, understanding your RAM requirements is the key to maximizing your computer’s performance. Remember, Electric’s experienced technicians and IT platform can assess your computer’s specifications, diagnose RAM-related issues, and recommend the most suitable upgrade options.

Whether you’re dealing with sluggish performance or planning to future-proof your system, Electric’s IT support services have you covered. We understand that having the right amount of RAM is crucial for your business operations, and we’re dedicated to ensuring your technology works seamlessly to support your goals. Let us take care of your IT needs so you can focus on what you do best.

Moyna John

Moyna John is the Content and Community Marketing Manager at Electric, overseeing both content creation and distribution marketing functions.

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