Laptop buying guide: How much RAM do you need?

Aug 16, 2020

This is an article in the series laptop buying guide.

One of the advices you might have heard whenever your laptop becomes slow must be, get more RAM. But is more RAM the solution to your problems?

The answer to the question how much RAM you need is honestly, depending on your need. Get a minimum of 4GB RAM, whatever your use might be. Anything lesser than that would be painful.

Get 8GB or 16GB if you do gaming, and open too many browser tabs, or is into coding. Get 32GB or more if you are planning on doing heavy video editing.

Now that we know the answer to the question, you can either close this guide, and whichever most describes you from above. Or you can read on for more details.

What is the function of RAM?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is used to give data to the processor at high speeds.

The data stored inside RAM is temporary and will be erased as soon as power is disconnected.

SSDs and HDDs(especially) are extremely slow compared to a processor. Both of them cannot give data to the processor as fast as it is needed.

RAM is used for temporary storage of data
RAM is used for temporary storage of data

So what RAM does is, it gets all the data that the processor might need next and keep it handy. And as soon as the processor asks for it, it gives it.

For example, let's say you have your browser open and you are using a few tabs. And you also have your Word document open, and are doing some office work.

So you are copying some data from the internet and pasting on the Word document for your college project. If every time you switch to the browser, the Word document closes, it will take a lot of time for you. (We all know how much time it takes to open word).

But, when you're doing this switching between the browser and Word, things happen pretty fast.

This is because the data is stored in the RAM. As soon as you switch the program, RAM gives the processor the new data.

Now you get what RAM is there for. RAM is like a personal assistant to CPU.

It helps processor get data faster.

How much RAM is needed?

This is the detailed explanation of how much RAM is needed.

It depends on what all you do on your laptop. If all you do is edit some documents and watch a couple of movies, 4GB should do fine.

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If you do a lot of browsing, likes keeping more than 25 tabs open at a time, and edit documents that are huge, you should get at least 8GB of RAM.

desktop computer
If you game a lot, get at least 16GB RAM

Also 8GB will get you through a lot of stuff, decent gaming on a decently powered GPU. Photo editing will also require just 8GB, and even video editing of small videos and low quality videos can be done on 8GB. Coding also, 8GB is fine for a decent machine.

If you are into machine learning or coding heavy stuff, or heavy video editing, and loads of gaming, we would recommend at least 16GB of RAM. But if you can get your hands on 32GB that would be great.

Well that explains how much RAM you need. Hope you have a great time with your laptop.

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