How much RAM is needed for a computer?

How much RAM is needed for a computer?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Maria Marketing, Sep 25, 2016.

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  1. Maria Marketing

    Maria Marketing Active Member

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    Does anyone know how much RAM is good for a computer to run well? I am trying to decide between a MAC and a PC that I have that will be my main computer. Both seem to run about the same but they seem a little slow to me.

    They both have 4gb of RAM I think and I don't know if adding more will help them run better. Is there a certain amount that will be best and make them run better and faster?
     
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  2. Muzzamil

    Muzzamil Active Member

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    4 GB of RAM is good if you are going to be doing regular stuff such as browsing the web, streaming/making videos, and running software that require less hard drive. You would only need RAM of 8 GB and above if you are a heavy gamer and/or run multiple virtual machines.
     
  3. TCoder

    TCoder Member

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    I personally wouldn't use a machine with less than 16 GB's of Ram. But Stick with at least 8. More importantly, I think you should focus on the disk speed.
     
  4. Maria Marketing

    Maria Marketing Active Member

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    Thanks, I would only be doing things like web surfing and things for marketing like social media things and other stuff related to that. I do not do gaming or anything like that. Sometime a spreadsheet but just small stuff.

    If I add more then it might not do any good or make it faster?
     
  5. Maria Marketing

    Maria Marketing Active Member

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    Thanks. When you say disk speed are you meaning the hard drive? Sorry if this seems basic stuff but I just do not know enough about these things.
     
  6. XBTZ

    XBTZ New Member

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    With ram, it really depends what you are using it for, and what other types of equipment you ahve in your computer. It is usually safer though to go with more ram because you never know what you will end up using the computer for. What are the specs for your computer?
     
  7. ProfMike

    ProfMike Active Member

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    Hi Maria,

    One of the most cost effective ways to increase computer speed is by adding additional RAM. The cost of RAM is so low at the current time that other than changing the CPU, and that can be cost prohibitive, it is the most effective way to increase the performance of a PC.

    When your system loads it looks at the available RAM and makes a determination as to how much RAM can be dedicated to store the the software being loaded. This includes parts of the OS and the actual applications that are being loaded as well. The more software, or portions thereof, that are loaded into RAM, the quicker the PC will respond to commands. The actual formula used to make this calculation can get complex because it is based on a variety of things. CPU clocking speed, number of available threads, available RAM, whether it is a 32 or 64 bit bus, shadow RAM, etc. But rest assured that the amount of physical RAM available is a key component in that determination.

    With the current processors and the types of software being developed in the 64 bit bus line, 4GB of RAM is a an absolute minimum amount to run many applications, and at that configuration, your systems will run slow. With that configuration the applications are constantly swapping out what is stored in RAM with what is needed in RAM to access the software. This is swap files come into play in the execution of software. You may have read or heard about swap files as you were learning about PC's this is the type of information they are talking about.

    I have to disagree with Muzzamil on one point he made. If you are working with video and making your own videos, 4GB of RAM would make that process extremely slow, in fact the software that I use to produce the training videos will not even run with less than 16GB of RAM. When you are compressing video into an MP4 format, and that is the recommended format for all web video, it is very process intensive and requires a tremendous amount of CPU speed and RAM.

    On the disk speed that was mentioned. Most mechanical drives now are 7200 RPM drives, that is pretty much the standard. I have done a bunch of studies with my college classes and believe it or not, there is negligible difference in the read / write access between 5400 and 7200 speed drives. The drives reads and writes are more synchronized to the BUS speeds then the physical drive speeds.

    If you really want a speed boost, go with an increase in RAM, as much as you can afford, and swap the physical hard drive with an SSD drive. That will show a very noticeable increase in performance. SSD's are becoming very affordable now and extremely fast.

    Now on the hardware. Depending upon the MAC you have upgrading the MAC itself can be a challenge. Apple has never made it easy to upgrade their iMacs. I own two, a 27" iMac Retina 5K, and a 21.5 and have upgraded both but they take some special tools and you really need to be careful when you remove the front class.

    I hope this helps.

    If you have any questions let me know. There are some really good tools out there to clone the drives if you decide to upgrade to an SSD and if you go with upgrading the Windows system, adding RAM and a replacement drive is rather simple.
     
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  8. Ben

    Ben Active Member

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    Nice detailed post my friend. I am not trying to crash the thread or interupt your conversation but you mentioned about swapping in an SSD drive and I have been thinking about that myself. I just don't know how to clone the information from my original hard drive to a new SSD. Is that a hard process and are there special tools, cables or other things I would need?

    I am also going to add more RAM which is why this post caught my eye. One last question for you and I hope you don't mind but you seem to be a knowledgeable person. Do you know if RAM should be the same brand if adding more or is it ok to use different brands as long as the specs are the same? Just so I know if I need to buy two sticks of the same of if I can just add 1 with the same tech specs.

    Sorry for crashing the thread everyone. I just saw some good info that caught my eye.
     
  9. ProfMike

    ProfMike Active Member

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    By the way you didn't crash the post you just added good information to the post, I am sure that many of the members have those same types of questions.

    There are a couple of tools that can clone your hard drive. There is a hardware device called the Black Widow or another device by StarTech.com called the Hard Drive Duplicator Dock. These devices will allow you to connect, through a USB 3 port to your internal drive and make a connection to a new drive.

    There are a couple software packages that allow you to duplicate the drive once you have the connection. The one that I use is a clone utility that is produced by Acronis Drive Image.

    I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  10. Maria Marketing

    Maria Marketing Active Member

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    I really will not be using it for anything to complex. Just internet things and things for my online and marketing tasks.

    The specs say that the PC has an i5 cpu, 320gb hard drive (about 25% full) and 4gb ddr3 RAM.
     
  11. Maria Marketing

    Maria Marketing Active Member

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    Thank you for all the wonderful detailed information Mike. Since it seems like everyone here thinks more RAM will help I asked the local computer store for a price and he said he could upgrade me to 16GB of ddr3 RAM for less than 90-100 Euros installed so it seems like a fair price. He said that it is the most my system can take and that would be for better RAM than what mine has. That would be a good amount for my needs shouldn't it?
     
  12. Shuqallilum

    Shuqallilum New Member

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    To my understanding the more the faster and better.
     
  13. ProfMike

    ProfMike Active Member

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    Oh yes, 16 GB of a good DDR3 RAM should be fine. With the type of stuff you will be doing that will be a good size for you.
     
  14. Storm

    Storm Active Member

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    I upgraded one of my systems recently to 16GB of ram and it really made a big difference so I am sure you'll like the improvement. It works really great if you like to have several tabs open on your browser.
     
  15. mlipure

    mlipure New Member

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    For me, until now, AT LEAST 8GB is acceptable, you will face some lag with 4GB of RAM sometimes. I am using 8GB laptop with very smooth performance ;)
     
  16. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

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    With everything that I do and have open at once I need more than 8GB of RAM. I have had 8GB on my main machine and there was still some issues because of all I have open at once so I upgraded to 16GB and have been fine.

    It all depends on what you are doing and how many memory intensive apps and things you have open and operating at the same time. I have many things open which is why I need the 16GB to make everything operate well. Most people will be fine with 8GB but if you can get the 16GB then that is better of course.

    Cheers, Dean.
     
  17. Maria Marketing

    Maria Marketing Active Member

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    Thank you for the help everyone. I am taking my computer in for the 16gb upgrade in a couple of days. :)
     
  18. ulterios

    ulterios Well-Known Member

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    I think you will be happy with the improvements that moving from 4 to 16GB's makes for you Maria, especially if you have lots of browser tabs open at the same time and/or other programs open in the background.

    I couldn't operate with less than 16Gb's with all I have going on at the same time! ;)
     
  19. Maria Marketing

    Maria Marketing Active Member

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    I usually have 5 or so browser tabs open at the same time but I have done double that and more from time to time and I have noticed that sometimes things don't switch too promptly. I think the memory upgrade will help a lot.

    I went to go have the memory installed and he had to order the one for my computer because he sold the last he had a couple days before I went in. He is going to call me when it comes in so I can get the upgrade done. I can't wait to see what kind of differences it will make. :)
     
  20. hxrp09

    hxrp09 New Member

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    Ram stands for random access memory.
    Ram stores small and quick accessible memory for continuous and smooth operation for your desktop.
    If you use desktop for official purpose like sending email or working on MS word or MS office then 500 mb ram is sufficient on the other hand if you are purchasing it for playing high graphics game then 1 to 2 GB Ram will be okay.
    Also ram memory and type should match with the motherboard otherwise your desktop will not run.