In this second part of our desktop buying guide, we’ll be discussing random access memory (RAM). Many users find this difficult to understand, but we’ll do our best to make sure it’s explained as adequately as possible so you have all the answers you need when you build your new computer. We’ll cover options for both high-end and low-end machines so you know what to look for in each.
RAM is often confused with the amount of data that a computer can store, but it’s much different than that. RAM is used to measure the temporarily stored data so it can be recalled easily without recalling it from the computer’s storage. It’s kind of like short-term memory like that pulled from a human’s brain.
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. The CPU handles the instructions and processes the data your computer’s RAM holds. More RAM means that the larger amount of data a CPU can process, and the faster that a CPU is, the faster that data can be processed. It makes your computing experience much less of a pain.
How Much RAM Does Your Computer Need?
Most computers these days have pretty limited options for RAM. There might be several brands to choose from, all with their own clock speeds, but PC manufacturers will handle this process for you so you don’t need to worry as much. It’s only something you should be concerned with if you plan on building your own PC. This guide will oversimplify it a little bit to help you determine your specific needs. The speed and type of RAM will be determined by the manufacturer’s model, so all you need to do is focus on how much RAM is included with the device.
- 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 shouldn’t. 4 GB is pretty bare bones, so you’ll only be able to handle some light document editing and web browsing.
- Low-end: Most reasonable low-end budget PCs come with 8 GB of RAM, which can handle the majority of office tasks, such as editing documents, browsing photos, surfing the internet and more.
- Mid-range: 16 GB is possible for a lot of organizations, even 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, but while it’s not necessarily a catch-all, it’s the best way to make the most out of your budget.
- High-end: 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.
Depending on the device, you might have the ability to upgrade your RAM, but it’s easier to do with desktops than with laptops. We recommend going for nothing less than 8 GB, and consider looking at 16 GB to determine if it’s a viable option for your organization.
For more information on how we can help you get the best computer for your budget, reach out to us at 844.671.6071.