How Much RAM is Enough?

How a computer works can be a confusing topic for the average user and its random access memory, or RAM, is no exception. Essentially, RAM is the space in your computer that stores data related to everything your computer is currently doing, from word processors, web browsers, and games, to the operating system itself. The more applications you use at any one time, or the more space they need to run, the less space there is available for anything else. Of course, that means that more RAM is always better. That being said, how much is enough depends on what you use your computer for. The bare minimum nowadays is 512MB of RAM on computers running Windows Vista Home Basic and 1GB for other versions. For Windows 7, depending on the version, you’ll need up to 2GB of RAM. That amount will cover the basic expected computer functions such as web browsing, Microsoft Office applications, playing music and the like. For those among you who intend to play the latest and greatest games, 2GB of RAM will usually be sufficient. While there are always a few exceptions, developers recommend 2GB for most of today’s games. However, the gaming industry does have a reputation for rapidly driving technology requirements upward, so it’s entirely possible that this number could be made obsolete in a couple of years. For that reason, 4GB is often quoted as good value for money taking your needs in the foreseeable future into consideration. While that’s certainly something to think about, if you don’t expect your computer needs to change any time soon, the average computer user will find 1GB of RAM to be the minimum, with 2GB providing enough room such that you don’t have to worry about anything for a long time. Of course, if you’re using very memory intensive programs, doing heavy multi-tasking, doing 3D design or using your computer as a server, you’ll want to go over that. If you’re doing these things though, you probably already know exactly how much you need. For the rest of us, the main thing to ensure is that you consider the programs you’re likely to be using on your computer, and check the information on system requirements provided by the developer or manufacturer, to find how much RAM is right for you.

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