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  • How Much RAM Should I Buy
Technology Articles > Hardware > Memory > How Much RAM Should I Buy

A computer’s memory is a vital aspect of any desktop, notebook, or laptop. A lack of RAM is often the cause of a slow computer. On the flip side, too much RAM is a waste of money. Finding a happy RAM medium can be accomplished through some careful considerations.

Typically, purchasing a computer that has more than 4GB of RAM is not necessary unless you are an avid gamer or video editor. Then again, having the option to play professional-grade games and edit videos is always appealing. In the end, the amount of RAM you purchase will be determined by the amount of money that you want to spend. The less RAM a computer has, the less money that you will have to pay.

Software and Operating System Considerations

Each application that you use comes with a recommended amount of memory. Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox all require 146 to 512MB of RAM. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop require up to 1.5GB of RAM. In addition, the operating system that you intend to use will require a certain amount of RAM.

Given the aforementioned information, the best (and most concise) way to determine how much RAM you need is to consider the programs that you will be using (in addition to your operating system). If you intend on using more than one program at a time, add the minimum RAM requirements from each program together.

User Requirements

Another way to determine the right RAM amount is to consider the type of user that you are. Most office workers and casual computer users don’t need more than 2GB of RAM. If you intend on editing videos or photos in addition to gaming and browsing the Internet, you will need up to 4GB of RAM. If you need a computer for professional video editing usage or for professional-level gaming, 8GB of RAM is required.

Most computers on the current market have 4GB of RAM. Budget computers may have less than 4GB of RAM. Professional-grade computers tend to come with 8GB (or more) of RAM. For the casual user, 4GB of RAM is ideal. Keep in mind that you can always upgrade the amount of RAM that your computer has.

Purchasing Extra RAM

Additional RAM can be added to any computer. However, you can only add as much RAM as your motherboard allows. Of course, you can change your motherboard, but this is often unnecessary and expensive. Most people will never have to add extra RAM to a computer, though this may be necessary if your computer is slower than it should be.

When purchasing extra RAM, consider the age and overall worth of your current computer. In many instances, purchasing a new computer is a better idea than purchasing extra ram. If you have a new computer, but still need additional RAM, you can purchase RAM at any online or brick and mortar computer parts retailer.