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If you want to run a program, it pulls the data from long-term storage on your hard drive to short-term storage in RAM, where it can be accessed quickly enough for smooth operation. This flow of data between the disk and the RAM is controlled by the computer, which manages the writing of data to physical locations on the memory chip, and that it needs a certain amount of free space to function.
For each program you run, it will actively use some of the space for in-use memory and allocate some of the available space as standby memory, essentially reserved space for potential operations. Once you hit the limit of what your RAM can hold, then your computer will compensate with a swap file, putting some of the data onto your storage drive. A swap file still lets you get some things done, but will be dramatically slower. The bottom line is that RAM is essential to the smooth operating of your computer, particularly for things like multitasking and accessing multiple files at one time.
While your overall performance will largely be dictated by the capabilities of your processor and graphics hardware , your memory allotment will directly impact how well you can take advantage of that performance.
Too little RAM creates a bottleneck that slows everything down, and the basic rule of thumb is that more RAM is always better. The answer to the question of how much RAM you need always will come back to what you want to do with it. To answer these questions we performed some testing, looking at specific use cases, identifying the basic memory requirements for each and providing some hard numbers to back our advice.
To help you find the best answer for you, we tested for five specific use cases, each common but distinct in its memory demands:. Each of these uses is common, but has distinctly different hardware requirements and memory demands. We broke down each of our five use cases, finding the memory demands for both basic and heavy use, and matched that to common allotments of RAM.
Want to do some document work and web browsing but still want the option to do more? Whatever your mix of uses, we can give you a very good idea of how much memory will be enough to meet the demands of the task. To obtain data on memory usage, we used Windows Resource Monitor, one of several tools built into Windows to view system information and tracking the performance of various components. We chose Resource Monitor because it provides more granular information than Windows Task Manager, but both tools are helpful for getting an idea of how memory is used as you run processes and programs.
While creating and editing documents is generally a low-resource task, office productivity gets much more demanding as you open multiple files in multiple programs. If you want to make the most of your multitasking, these are the tests to look at. We started with smaller files in multiple programs, opening Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files and photos. Whether we had one Word doc open or 10 files open across 5 programs, working with standard small documents barely exceeded 5GB of memory in use, and never exceeded 7GB of memory in use and in standby.
Large documents were another matter. We tested with a number of documents with upward of 1, pages. The standby memory, however, jumped to nearly 10GB. Basic web browsing can be done on almost any connected device, but loading up multiple browser tabs will use up your memory.
For our tests we assumed that normal browsing behavior included the use of multiple browser tabs, with no additional measures taken to cut down on data usage; meaning no ad blockers, no special permissions for media, and no other data-saving measures.
We started with a list of 10 popular websites and then opened new tabs of these same websites in batches of This test was rather eye-opening in how clearly it showed the impact of web browsing on memory use. The initial tab test used 3, MB of memory, with an additional 3, MB in standby. Those 4GB of standby memory held throughout testing, but every additional 10 tabs used roughly a full GB of memory.
Streaming music or binging on videos is a slightly different use case than simple web browsing, putting its own stresses on memory. We looked at both audio and video streaming, across several services, to see how much memory was impacted by video, be it cat videos, news clips, or high-definition movies. Single audio or video streams from Spotify or YouTube used less than 3GB of memory 2, MB and 2, MB, respectively , and you had to bump that up to 4 or more simultaneous streams to get above the 3GB mark.
Key takeaway: If your primary uses for a system will be streaming media, a basic 4GB should do the trick just fine. Photo editing is far more demanding than basic office or web functionality, and is usually right on the cusp of what an affordable system can do well. Our initial testing showed no real impact on memory usage from actual use, with little to no difference between viewing open photos, simply cropping photos or performing complex edits with multiple layers.
That said, as a general rule, Photoshop is a bit of a memory hog, and will put as much memory into stand-by as it can get. Adobe recommends your system have at least 2. Opening a single photo changed our in-use memory from 5, MB to 5, MB, but opening 10 photos bumped that up to 6, MB. Subsequent sets of 10 increased the in-use memory to 7, MB for 20 photos and 8, MB for 30 images.
Key takeaway: The bottom line here is that you can use Photoshop CC with the minimum 2. While every gamer knows that the best gaming laptops need to have impressive graphics and processing hardware, the place of memory in that overall equation is something of a mystery. First, we tested how much memory was used opening and running a game. For this we used Grand Theft Auto V. So this kit is an excellent DRAM overclocking value while also providing some stylish red heatsinks to make sure your memory looks good enough to show off in your windowed case.
Builders who put a premium on aesthetics face a tough choice between the best-looking and best-performance parts. As a result, value seekers within the performance PC market have just found their new champion. Performance isn't a problem because the memory kit excels at everything you throw at it. Patriot practically binned these modules to the max, so overclocking headroom is almost non-existent, even if you're willing to go crazy on the voltage.
But running the Viper Steel at the advertised frequency should be more than sufficient in most scenarios. Viper Steel finds itself right in the middle of the competition. Given it stands tall in terms of performance, that makes this kit easy to recommend for those who need speed and density in a dual-DIMM scenario. It's easy to write G. But the RAM kit proved its performance and value in different workloads during our review. And the real value is hidden below the heat spreader — the memory modules use Samsung B-die ICs.
With patience and time, you can optimize the timings for better performance. As always, your overclocking mileage will vary, but we got our sample down to CL However, with the DRAM voltage set to 1. DDR is now mainstream within the enthusiast PC market and is often treated as such by the memory sellers that cater to enthusiasts and gamers.
Thus, the best way to get a top-performing brand new DDR kit would be to dial the way-back machine to and get the high-performing equipment from that time. Barring that, Corsair has a workaround. The best part is that they did this without a significant price increase. Tom's Hardware Tom's Hardware. Included in this guide:.
Capacity: 32GB 2 x 16GB. Timings: 2T. Voltage: 1. Warranty: Lifetime. Reasons to avoid - Costs an arm and a leg. Data Rate: DDR Reasons to avoid - Green PCB for some. Capacity: 16 GB 2 x 8GB. Reasons to avoid - Limited availability. Reasons to avoid - Pricier than the closest-performing RGB kit.
Reasons to avoid - Still pricier than budget kits. Capacity: 32GB 4 x 8GB. Timings: Reasons to avoid - Some buyers want RGB. Capacity: 64GB 2 x 32GB. Reasons to avoid - Little headroom for performance improvement. Reasons to avoid - A little on the expensive side. Capacity: 16GB 2 x 8GB. Timings: C Zhiye Liu. Topics Memory. Tom's Hardware Top Picks.
For anyone looking for the bare computing essentials. arthagrha.online › us-en › shop › how-much-ram-do-i-need-in-laptop. Most laptops come with 8GB of RAM, with top-tier machines packing 16GB — even up to 32GB for the most powerful gaming notebooks. As previously.