Only after closing one of our programs did function return to normal. Moving from 4 GB to 8 GB of RAM is likely to make a huge difference. Everything still worked, including the game. Depending on the uses of your laptop, your budget, and the type of computer you are buying, the differences in memory can be vast. We looked at both audio and video streaming, across several services, to see how much memory was impacted by video, be it cat videos, news clips, or high-definition movies. How much RAM you need in your PC depends heavily on what you use your PC for on a day-to-day basis and on how long you intend to keep the computer. On Windows 10, click on Memory to look at your current RAM usage. Streaming music or binging on videos is a slightly different use case than simple web browsing, putting its own stresses on memory. On the Alienware we checked back in on GTA V and found everything running smoothly. © Want to edit photos, but you’re not much of a gamer? Key takeaway: If your primary uses for a system will be streaming media, a basic 4GB should do the trick just fine. To upgrade to 8GB, you can’t just buy 4GB of RAM. Remove Memory if Necessary: If all of your memory slots are already filled, you'll need to pull out the … Thank you for signing up to Laptop Mag. For personal use, not many users need more laptop memory than 150 GB, and most can make do with half that amount. Thank you. The casual music or video fan with a normal amount of school or business work on a computer can survive easily with around 50 GB. My laptop also seems to run slower when it has so much stuff stored on it. RAM modules take up precious space, so laptops are typically engineered with only two RAM slots, and both are usually occupied by existing memory when you buy it. For instance, Apple’s latest MacBook Air can be configured with either 256GB or 512GB of internal storage, and if you get the higher-end model that’s going to cost you an extra $200 — that’s a lot. We decided to test photo editing with Photoshop CC, Adobe’s current offering, and used unedited photos from a smartphone, each with 5312 x 2988 resolution, and measuring  5-6 MB each. There was a problem. If you take a look at prices with the Celeron processor, they are noticeably cheaper, but you get what you pay for in this instance. Key takeaway: Multitaskers should really opt for 8 GB of RAM when possible, and those running multiple applications along with a ton of tabs should opt for 16 GB. How much RAM does a typical Computer need to run? So, what's the difference between them? Scroll down to Installed Physical Memory (RAM) and see how much memory is installed on your computer. Whether listening to multiple audio streams or watching multiple videos, the overall memory use didn’t change much. For our tests we assumed that normal browsing behavior included the use of multiple browser tabs, with no additional measures taken to cut down on data usage; meaning no ad blockers, no special permissions for media, and no other data-saving measures. If you're wondering 'How much RAM do I need?' For anyone looking for the bare computing essentials, 4GB of laptop RAM should be sufficient. When we ran the game on our Alienware 15, we saw that firing up Steam and opening GTAV from our games library resulted in 5,324 MB of in-use memory, with 9,319 in standby. Whether looking at a single text file or a handful of documents (Word Docs, PDF, Text files) and larger Excel files (multiple sheets, each with 100+ columns of data), the memory usage ranged between 3,283 and 3,971 MB. If someone told me a computer had 100 GB of memory, I would have no idea if that was a little or a lot. Whether your memory is for music, videos and other entertainment, or for school work or business work, the amount of gigabytes (GB) of memory needed can vary greatly. GTA V continued to run, and we enjoyed a shootout and a car chase before moving on to the next level of multitasking torture. Will this be your only drive for storage? Before you decide how much memory to add to your new computer, first consider how you plan to use your computer. The Dell Inspiron’s 8GB of memory was effectively maxed out, and once we hit that 8GB choke point, performance became erratic. Wikibuy Review: A Free Tool That Saves You Time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work. Those 4GB of standby memory held throughout testing, but every additional 10 tabs used roughly a full GB of memory. The standby memory, however, jumped to nearly 10GB. If you want to run a program, it pulls the data from long-term storage on your hard drive to short-term storage in RAM, where it can be accessed quickly enough for smooth operation. Time was that 4GB was more than enough for gaming and most daily tasks, but those days are in the past. If your laptop has 4GB or less RAM, upgrading to 8GB is a good idea. The answer to the question of how much RAM you need always will come back to what you want to do with it. At this point, on both the 8GB Dell Inspiron 178 and the 16GB Alienware 15, you’ll notice that the amount of standby memory changes, reprioritizing things to briefly open up additional free space. This test was rather eye-opening in how clearly it showed the impact of web browsing on memory use. Simply running the game uses an additional 2GB of memory, but with little difference in memory load between running and actively playing the game, we simply left it running for the duration of testing. The 4GB laptop hit that limit after simple opening some documents and a handful of browser tabs. Then 10 media streams. Low-end gaming doesn’t require much in the way of hardware, letting you play games like Cuphead, Minecraft or Overwatch without investing in a purpose-built machine. Also, be on the lookout for the type of RAM available. Subsequent sets of 10 increased the in-use memory to 7,699 MB for 20 photos and 8,828 MB for 30 images. Essentially, RAM is the memory that actually lets you work with the data needed to run programs and open files. Everything was holding thus far. We’re here to fix that. To make this easier, I’ll describe an average Photo Editor’s Computer. We did this again, bumping up to 30 tabs, 6 stream and 30 photos. The Celeron is slower. Whenever your computer loads a program or opens a file, it opens up that data in RAM. For this level of gaming, 16GB seems to be the sweet spot, meeting all of the memory needs for unimpeded gameplay without throwing extra money into an already-expensive system. If you're thinking of investing in a … Is it smarter to have the memory installed in my computer, or invest in an external hard drive? Too little RAM creates a bottleneck that slows everything down, and the basic rule of thumb is that more RAM is always better. Which one should I purchase? While every gamer knows that the best gaming laptops need to have impressive graphics and processing hardware, the place of memory in that overall equation is something of a mystery. The Pentium processor is the better choice between the two. The 8GB Dell Inspiron 17 continued with normal functioning. In addition, memory cards and floppy or CD discs are popular ways to hold extra files or programs when your memory runs out. i am doubtful about the difference between the celeron and the pentium processor and which is the best between them, for speed? With 13,625 MB of memory in use and 2,562 MB in standby, we had reached the limits of our 16GB of RAM. I am so used to storing everything from pictures, music, videos and documents that I don't like to think about running out of space. A system that has at least 8 GB of RAM and a 3.5 GHz processor is plenty for most video games. Key takeaway: The bottom line here is that you can use Photoshop CC with the minimum 2.5GB required, but you’ll see smoother performance and better photo handling with larger allotments of RAM. How Much RAM Do You Need? We ratcheted up to 50 tabs. If y… For this we used Grand Theft Auto V. It’s not the newest game on the market, but it’s still relatively demanding, requiring a decent graphics card to handle all the visuals. If a Windows 10 PC equips a 2GB of RAM, you can use it to do much more things like playing games, editing video and images, smoothly opening and browsing more tabs in browser, etc. To test the memory demands of web browsing we used Google’s Chrome browser, which is notable for being both popular and a notorious memory hog. We’d recommend a minimum of 8GB for anyone who expects to regularly edit photos. Different media players, file sharing programs, readers, and other software can occupy up to 1-2 GB per program and can use up laptop memory quickly. This sort of flexibility is where you’ll get the very most out of your memory, as larger allotments of RAM facilitate exactly this sort of behavior. These games can generally run on 4GB of memory (sometimes less), and don’t require discrete graphics card. You can check out our story “How much RAM do I need” for the details. External hard drives are available for a quarter of the price of most computers, and many of these offer at least 100 GB of memory. How much RAM do you really need for gaming? 8GB RAM. You can get away with 8GB RAM on Windows 7 and Windows 8 for games requiring 8GB RAM but on Windows 10 you would require 12GB or more RAM for the games that list 8GB RAM as minimum or recommended. It's for home use, only. For each program you run, it will actively use some of the space for in-use memory and allocate some of the available space as standby memory, essentially reserved space for potential operations. If you're serious about your PC, then I consider this … I have a new HP Pavilion dv6 laptop computer. A swap file still lets you get some things done, but will be dramatically slower. The amount of laptop memory needed by a laptop owner can depend on a lot of factors. RAM is where data is stored before processing. You may see computer specs for DDR1 or DDR2 RAM. When combining school work with multiple recreational programs and large amounts of media, a computer around the size of 150 GB may be needed. We broke down each of our five use cases, finding the memory demands for both basic and heavy use, and matched that to common allotments of RAM. To obtain data on memory usage, we used Windows Resource Monitor, one of several tools built into Windows to view system information and tracking the performance of various components. Pictures on a computer amass space fairly slowly, and a computer of 25 GB can hold many thousands of photographs. Large documents were another matter. To help you find the best answer for you, we tested for five specific use cases, each common but distinct in its memory demands: Each of these uses is common, but has distinctly different hardware requirements and memory demands. But if Activity Monitor is telling you your RAM is full to the brim, you probably need more. We repeated the increasing demands, stepping up to 40 Chrome tabs, 8 media streams and 40 photos in Photoshop. Generally speaking, more RAM is better. But these days solid state drives are the norm, especially in ultrathin laptops. If you want to do things like stream to Twitch, we’d recommend opting for the 32GB options offered on many gaming PCs. At that point, you’re streaming an unenjoyable cacophony of sight and sound, but you can add more if you want. A memory around 125-150 GB may be necessary for users with large amount of entertainment. We look at how gaming impacts memory use, what the requirements are for various current titles, and whether or not it’s worth getting memory that is optimized for gaming. a 2GB RAM computer is enough to get most work smoothly done in a Windows 10 PC including Adobe Photoshop. Learn about a little known plugin that tells you if you're getting the best price on Amazon. This is a lot of music and video for most users, but combining the media can add up quickly and may fill your MP3 player and come close to filling older computers with GB amount around 30-50. These are games built to make the most of current hardware, and a tricked out system will need a decent amount of RAM to accompany the high-end graphics and processing hardware. Right-click on the Windows taskbar and select Task Manager. If you want your PC to be able to flawlessly accomplish more demanding tasks at once, such as gaming, graphic design, and programming, you should have at least 8GB of laptop RAM. Unless you plan on doing a huge amount of multitasking while gaming, there’s little reason for most gaming rigs to go beyond 16GB of memory. You will need at least 2 GB of RAM to use basic programs like Microsoft Word or surf the web. This means that a laptop that comes from the factory with 4GB of memory, likely has two 2GB memory modules installed. A mid-range configuration may require double that and high-end gaming systems and workstations need as much as 16GB or 32GB. Photo editing is far more demanding than basic office or web functionality, and is usually right on the cusp of what an affordable system can do well. With SSD's, information is stored in microchips. When we tried to reopen the still-running game, the system locked up and refused to cooperate. Word files, likewise, generally take around 100 pages to even reach 1 GB, and so a computer with modest memory can hold many word documents, spreadsheets, or graphs. Th 16 GB RAM doesn’t do your computer much good over its other counterparts. Installing the right amount of RAM will enable you to multi-task with ease. I would prefer an easy to install, easy to use, flash drive. We did this on both the Dell Inspiron 17 and the Alienware 15, without trouble. The good news is that, as PC components go, RAM is easy to install and extremely affordable. According to the hardware requirements reported by Rockstar Games, you’ll need at least 4GB of RAM to run the game, but the developer recommends a minimum of 8GB. Finally, there’s gaming. That said, the law of diminishing returns applies. Basic web browsing can be done on almost any connected device, but loading up multiple browser tabs will use up your memory. We started with a list of 10 popular websites and then opened new tabs of these same websites in batches of 10. Conclusion: in short, here is how much RAM you need in your laptop: Casual user with low budget: 4GB Normal user’s : 8 GB Gamers: 8GB to 16 GB Video, Image editors and 3D Graphic developers: 16 … I put off buying a new computer as long as possible because I feel so overwhelmed with all the information. The casual music or video fan with a normal amount of school or business work on a computer can survive easily with around 50 GB. You will confuse the uninitiated. 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