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What is RAM memory and how to choose it for your computer

RAM memory is one of the pieces that make up the hardware compartment of the computer, smartphone or notebook. Let’s see how it works

The computers, smartphones, tablets, are composed of pieces that make up the hardware compartment of the device. Every single component has its own functionality and importance. RAM memory, together with the hard disk, processor, motherboard and video card is essential for the proper functioning of our devices.

Very often you buy the devices without understanding the importance of the various components and rely on the suggestions of some friends or directly from the shop assistant.

One of the hardware components to which little importance is usually devoted is RAM memory, which is actually essential to be able to fully exploit the potential of a computer or laptop. Having a fairly high amount of RAM memory allows you to use multiple applications at the same time without the device slowing down, freezing or deciding to restart independently.

What is a RAM memory

RAM is random access memory and is usually confused with solid-state memories. The two components are completely different: RAM is random access memory and is used only for storing temporary information. Being able to understand the amount required to install on a computer in order for the device to work at its best is not easy: it is necessary to consider several factors, including the funds available and the use of the laptop.

The cost of the RAM is not very high, but it all depends on the amount you want to buy: To get 16 GB RAM, you need to spend an amount greater than $ 120.

Another factor to consider is your use of the laptop or computer. If you are using the device to claim graphics rendering tasks, you must have at least 8 GB of RAM, and if instead you only use the device to browse the Internet or watch some movies, 4 GB of RAM is sufficient. It all depends on the number of programs that are used simultaneously and the amount of RAM they need to run properly.

How much RAM do the programs use

The programs are not all the same: some need more RAM to work, others less. It may seem strange to say but one of the software that uses more RAM are browsers: opening a dozen pages of Chrome, Firefox and Safari simultaneously, can impeller the computer and slow down all processes. Applications like Netflix also put stress on RAM. The more complex the programs, the more RAM will be used.

How to choose RAM for your smartphone and tablet

The potential of the last generation of smartphones can be compared to the capabilities of the low-end laptop. In 2016, the first device with 6 GB of RAM (OnePlus 3) was launched this year and a smartphone with 8 GB of RAM.

But in reality, how much RAM is required for the devices to work better? It all depends on the number of applications used simultaneously.

Smartphones two or three years ago don’t have the strength to support heavier games, too due to the low RAM available. Moreover, if you update your smartphone to the latest version of the available operating system, the RAM consumption will be higher. Currently, the smartphone needs at least 3 GB RAM to work at its best, even with extensive use.

Talking about tablets is a little different. The panorama is so wide that it is possible to find devices in RAM only 2 GB and devices with RAM 16 GB. In the past year, 2-in-1 tablets have spread a lot, turning devices if needed into laptops and installing a hardware sector that has nothing to envy on real laptops. In these cases, the best option would be to purchase a hybrid laptop that has at least 8 GB of RAM: the programs that can be used are the same computers, so it is imperative that you have more memory.

How to choose RAM for the notebook

At CES 2017 the Acer Predator 21 X was presented, which mounts 64GB of RAM. The cost is exaggerated (almost ten thousand euros) as well as the amount of RAM memory. At the moment it is totally useless to have 64GB of RAM on the laptop. Even if you use it for prolonged gaming sessions, less than half of it is enough for top performance, without any slowdown problem.

If 64GB is too much, 2GB of RAM is too little. The latest models of Chromebooks mount only 2GB of RAM and although they do not require much power to work at their best it is advisable to buy a laptop with at least 4GB.

As for laptops that run Microsoft and Apple operating systems, the situation is slightly different. The programs that can be used are more powerful and need more RAM to function properly.

The best choice would be 8GB of RAM, but if you use software for photo editing or for graphic rendering you need to opt for 16GB of RAM. Also, replacing the RAM on a laptop is much more complicated than on a desktop computer, so you need to make a careful choice that also takes into account the future use of the notebook.

Choose RAM for your desktop computer

Among the various devices that we have analyzed so far, the desktop computer is the one that presents the least problems for the choice of RAM memory. Let’s start with the cost: for 4GB of RAM, the cost is less than 40 euros, while to buy 16GB of RAM you will need to shell out about $ 120. An expense that is accessible to most people. Furthermore, compared to smartphones and laptops, on desktop computers it is possible to replace RAM in less than five minutes, the important thing is that the motherboard supports the new model.

If you need to buy a new computer, it must have at least 8GB of RAM to make sure you can use at least 4-5 programs at the same time (a browser, a music player and a text editor). If, however, you intend to use the computer to play the latest video games launched on the market, it is advisable to upgrade to at least 16GB of RAM. Only in the case in which you will have to work with really heavy software, you will have to opt for the 32GB of RAM, but there are very few programs that need such a large amount of memory.

Even if the cost is not high, you should not exceed with RAM memory, buying 16GB of RAM to watch TV series, movies and listen to the songs of your favorite singer is only a waste of money.

General guidelines to follow when purchasing RAM memory

So when you need to buy a new device and choose the ideal amount of RAM you need to follow simple rules.

  • 2GB RAM: Good only for low-cost smartphones and tablets. Not recommended for notebooks and computers. With 2GB of RAM, it would be truly impossible to launch any type of program.
  • 4GB RAM: The minimum amount for Windows and Mac computers. Ideal for Chromebooks.
  • 8GB of RAM: With 8GB of RAM you can make the most of the computer you have available. Four or five applications can be used simultaneously without being afraid that the computer will give some sign of failure.
  • 16GB of RAM: The solution with 16GB of RAM is recommended especially for those who will use the desktop computer to play games or for photo editing programs. Notebooks with 16GB of RAM have a rather high cost.
  • 32GB of RAM: At the moment it is almost useless to have 32GB of RAM available. The choice is recommended only if a couple of really heavy programs must be used simultaneously.

Generally speaking, you should never exceed the purchase of RAM, the money saved can be used to buy other better hardware components.

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