In this second part of our desktop buying guide (you can read the first part here if you missed it), we’ll be discussing RAM. RAM is vital to a smooth user experience, and is a crucial part of research you need to complete when shopping for your new device. We will cover options for both high-end and low-end machines so you know what to look for in each.
What is RAM?
Random Access Memory, or RAM, is often confused with the total amount of data that a computer can store. This is not the case. RAM is actually what measures temporarily stored data, so your device can recall it easily without going into internal storage. It’s kind of like short-term memory, and allows you to perform more than one task at a time.
If you’re one to multitask, RAM is what allows it to happen. RAM determines how many tasks can be accomplished at once on your computer. If someone sends you a message on Microsoft Teams while you’re working on a Word document, you will need adequate RAM to reply to the message without closing your Word document first. More RAM means that the larger amount of data that a CPU can process, and the faster that a CPU is, the faster that data can be processed. It makes your computing experience much smoother.
How Much RAM Does Your Computer Need?
Most computers these days have pretty limited options for RAM, which is a good thing for you. There are several brands to choose from, all with their own clock speeds, but PC manufacturers often handle the process of choosing RAM so it’s not something the average shopper needs to be heavily involved in. It’s only something you should be concerned with if you plan on building your own PC. Below are a few notes on the standard amounts of RAM that come with different devices, and what those amounts are good for running.
Skimping the Budget
The smallest amount of RAM that should ever be used on a Windows 10 device is 4 GB. While you can technically get Windows 10 to run on less, you really shouldn’t. 4 GB is pretty bare bones, so you’ll only be able to handle some light document editing and web browsing.
Most reasonable, low-end budget PCs come with 8 GB of RAM. These can handle the majority of office tasks, such as editing documents, browsing photos, surfing the Internet, and whatever else you typically do in an office setting.
16 GB is attainable for a lot of organizations, even those on a budget. The price difference isn’t too noticeable, and the investment is certainly worth it. 16 GB is nice as an entry point for gaming rigs. While it’s not necessarily a catch-all, it’s the best way to make the most out of your budget.
The ceiling for RAM is incredible, but the cost rises in association with it. For example, the new Mac Pro can reach 1.5 TB of RAM–about 1500 GB–but experts have placed the value of this at approximately $20,000. If you’re building a gaming rig, video editing system, or server, you might need more than 16 GB of RAM, but at that point, you should be speaking with professionals to determine the best path forward. The average business device will not need this much RAM.
Depending on the device, you might have the ability to upgrade your RAM. It is easier to do this with desktops rather than laptops. We recommend going for nothing less than 8 GB, as it will be very difficult to run important software such as Windows 10 on anything less. You should consider looking at 16 GB if it’s a viable option for your organization, especially if you have employees that run special programs such as design or video editing software. More RAM makes for a better user experience.
For more information on how we can help you get the best computer for your budget, visit our Contact page or reach out to us at 855-941-TECH. Keep an eye out for part 3 of this series!