From loading your computer’s operating system to opening an Internet browser or running an application. Your PC requires a minimal amount of RAM to run efficiently. However, throwing more RAM into your PC doesn’t necessarily mean better performance.
What is RAM?
Random access memory ( RAM ) is a very fast form of memory that stores data so that applications can be accessed quickly. This is different from storage memory like SSDs or HDDs .
Programs and apps, from word processors to games, all require RAM to run; the amounts add up quickly, so if your PC doesn’t have enough RAM to run open apps, they will suffer from slow speeds and often cause crashes.
If basic tasks are performing poorly, frequently stop responding, or multitasking is nearly impossible, that’s a good indicator that your PC needs more RAM. However, it is also possible to have too much RAM; it won’t affect your machine negatively, but it’s a waste of money if you don’t need it.
How To Check The Amount Of RAM In Your Computer?
Before you upgrade your RAM, it’s worth knowing how much you already have. If you are using a Windows 10 PC, click on the “Start menu”, then type “About your PC”. This will bring up the system information screen detailing the RAM installed in your PC.
For Windows 11 users, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open “Task Manager”. Here you can click on the “Performance” tab which will show the RAM of your computer.
If you’re using a Mac, click the “Apple icon” and select “About This Mac”. This will display your computer’s statistics, including memory.
General RAM Guidelines
Before we dive deeper into specific apps, here’s a quick rundown of how much RAM your PC needs.
If you’re using a Chromebook or tablet, 4GB of RAM should be enough for basic tasks and apps. This is really the minimum amount of RAM you should consider if you are on a tight budget.
8 GB of RAM is often found in entry-level laptops and basic Windows PCs. That’s enough for word processing, web browsing, and even running low-end games.
Windows and macOS users should find 16GB of RAM sufficient for most tasks, letting you run multiple apps, web browser tabs, and mid-to-high-end games.
32 GB of RAM is ideal for demanding games, applications and graphic designers. However, if you are a 3D modeler or a computer engineer, the expansion to 64 GB of RAM will meet your needs with a noticeable increase in performance.
Apps That Use The Most RAM
When deciding how much RAM your PC needs, consider your most used apps and how much RAM they consume.
Operating systems tend to use the most RAM; Windows 10 and 11 require at least 4 GB of RAM and macOS Mojave requires at least 2 GB of RAM. Web browsers also use a lot of your computer’s RAM. Opening 20 tabs in Chrome uses about 3GB of RAM, but this can easily be reduced by removing unused extensions, closing tabs you aren’t using, or recently installing the browser.
The most RAM-intensive applications are professional tools used by 3D modelers and graphic designers, such as Maya and Adobe Premiere. These apps recommend between 16GB and 32GB of RAM, depending on how you use the programs. Adobe Premiere, for example, requires 32GB of dual-channel memory for 4K or higher projects.
Do Gamers Need More RAM?
Gaming PCs often need an absolute minimum of 8GB of RAM, but ideally at least 16GB of RAM to run the latest AAA titles. Games like Elden Ring are memory intensive, so they need 12 GB of RAM. So if you want your PC to run smoothly when playing games and running other processes in the background, 16GB would be ideal.
However, many PC gamers don’t just play games, they also stream. While games don’t get a performance boost from installing more RAM, it does give you more leeway to run apps like OBS Studio, without affecting your gameplay.
Faster RAM vs More RAM
If you are planning to upgrade your PC and install more RAM, you will probably come across names like DDR4-1600 and DDR-3200. However, you should not assume that a higher number provides more RAM or even better performing RAM.
The numbers at the end indicate the memory speed, for example 3200MHz. That doesn’t mean your RAM will run at that speed though; it’s the manufacturer’s way of telling you that the modules can run at this speed.
On-board memory profiles can be enabled through your PC’s motherboard BIOS. So if you buy a DDR-3200 RAM stick, it will run at 2133 MHz unless you specify otherwise. Before doing this, however, you’ll need to make sure your motherboard supports Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) and the speed your RAM modules are rated for. Note that this is different from overclocking your PC’s RAM.
Prepare Your PC for the Future
If your PC has enough RAM to run the programs and applications you need, you probably don’t need to buy and install more RAM unless your computer feels sluggish and slow to respond .
However, if you have the budget to do so, it’s worth installing a little more RAM than necessary. it gives you more room to breathe if you start using more RAM-intensive apps, and it reduces the likelihood that you’ll need to upgrade your PC’s RAM in the near future.
The most decent RAM won’t cost you an arm and a leg, especially if you only add 4GB or 8GB of RAM. And if you’re not concerned about RGB lighting, it’s an inexpensive way to ensure your PC doesn’t freeze while running multiple programs.