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If you’re frustrated by unresponsive programs, lagging load times, and a generally slow computer, lack of RAM is probably to blame. Random access memory, more commonly called RAM, is the key to your computer working properly. This is especially true with today's memory-hungry applications - such as office programs, multimedia editing packages, and graphics-intensive games. 

Add in how much multi-tasking we now do – listening to music while working, streaming a movie while downloading files, editing a spreadsheet with dozens of tabs open in the background – and your RAM needs expand.

Learn more about how to find computer memory (RAM) that is compatible with your computer.

 
So how much RAM does your computer need? Can you function with only 4GB of memory, or do you need to upgrade to 64GB of memory? Let’s find out!
 

Why is RAM important for your computer?

Almost everything you do on a computer relies on having sufficient memory. This includes moving your mouse cursor, which uses a minimal amount of RAM, and multitasking across multiple apps, which uses more RAM. There are many processes constantly running in the background, such as system updates and security software, that also consume RAM.

That is not to say that RAM is the only source of memory storage; solid state drives (SSD) or hard drives (HD) are also used for memory storage. While RAM is used for short-term storage, such as undoing a previous action, SSDs or HDs are used for long-term storage, such as saving a document.

To put it simply, the more things you do on your computer, the more GB of RAM you need. As time goes on you will likely need to increase your computer memory as newer programs demand more memory bandwidth.

How do you know if your computer needs more memory?

It can be hard to diagnose issues with your computer. To find out if lack of memory is the culprit, here are a few signs your computer could benefit from a memory upgrade

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, you may need to add computer memory:

  • Programs frequently stop responding
  • Typing constantly involves waiting for your computer to catch up
  • Clicking or selecting an icon has a delayed response
  • Multitasking with more than one app or program is nearly impossible
  • Working on spreadsheets slows your system to a crawl
  • You get system notifications about low memory
  • System updates stall productivity because your computer is so slow
  • You have display problems, like pulling up a page that either partially loads, doesn’t load at all, or shows a blank space where data should be
  • You try to open apps or documents and the system stops responding

Will more RAM speed up your computer?

Computer manufacturers often don’t reach the installed memory capacity in their systems to keep pricing low on their products. For example, if a desktop computer can hold 32GB of RAM, it often comes with 4GB or 8GB or RAM. This is one of the many reasons why a memory upgrade delivers such great results: there is almost always room for improvement.

Not sure how much RAM is in your computer? We can help you find out!

How to check memory on Windows® 10:

  • Click the Windows logo or Start button on the taskbar
  • Right-click Computer
  • Click Properties

How to check memory on a macOS Monterey:

  • Click the Apple menu
  • Select About This Mac
  • Click on the Memory tab

You can also use our System Scanner tool to analyse how much memory your computer has and can support.

How much RAM do you need?

Generally, we recommend 8GB of RAM for casual computer usage and internet browsing, 16GB for spreadsheets and other office programs, and at least 32GB for gamers and multimedia creators. How you use your computer influences how much RAM you need, so use this as a guideline.

If this is how you use your computer

Here's how much memory we recommend

Casual User
Internet browsing, email, listening to music, or watching videos

At least 8GB

Intermediate User
Internet browsing, email, Word Processing, spreadsheets, running simple graphics programs, flash games, music, videos or multitasking

At least 16GB

Professional User / Gamer / Graphic Designer
High performance gaming, multimedia editing, high-definition video, graphic design / 3D modelling, intensive multitasking

At least 32GB

Is 4GB of RAM enough?

4GB of RAM is the bare minimum memory needed to run a base computer model. That said, the bare minimum may not provide a productive use of your time as your system will likely slow down every time you run two or more programs like internet browsing, email and some word processing simultaneously. So, unless you are running a legacy system, we generally recommend running your system with 8GB of RAM.

Is 8GB of RAM enough?

8GB of RAM is the amount of memory we recommend for casual computer users. If your usage includes internet browsing, email, lots of office programs, flash games, and multitasking – this level of memory should be sufficient.

Is 16GB of RAM enough?

16GB of RAM is the amount of memory we recommend for intermediate users looking for extra speed and smooth functioning. This may be especially beneficial if you tend to have several programs open and running, simultaneously. This is also a good level of RAM for casual gamers and standard business professionals.

Is 32GB of RAM too much?

32GB of RAM is the amount of memory we recommend for serious gamers, engineers, scientists, and entry-level multimedia users. This level of RAM allows for these memory-hungry programs to run smoothly, even as your computer ages. Therefore, It’s not too much, it’s just right.

Is 64GB of RAM too much?

64GB of RAM is typically recommended for top-end users. If you’re a professional user of RAM-intensive programs, like AAA games running at the highest refresh rate and resolution, 3D modelling applications, 4K or 8K photo or video editing software, you may want to future-proof your computer’s memory by installing at least 64GB of RAM.

How much memory (RAM) does your computer need for design or photo software?

Software Minimum Requirements We recommend
Adobe© InDesign© 2GB 16GB
Adobe© Illustrator© 1GB 16GB
Adobe© Photoshop© 2GB 32GB
Adobe© Premiere© Pro 8GB 32GB
Adobe© After Effects© 4GB 64GB

Does your computer need more RAM than the system requirements?

Although a computer will run an operating system (OS) with the minimum requirements, the response time and multitasking capabilities will be poor. Any future upgrades might require higher minimum requirements, as well. You will want more than the minimum requirements

Operating System

Minimum Requirements

We recommend

Microsoft© Windows©10 64-bit

2GB

8GB

Adobe© Windows©10 32-bit

1GB

4GB

Adobe© Windows©8 64-bit

2GB

8GB

Adobe© Windows©8 32-bit

1GB

4GB

Adobe© Windows©7 64-bit

2GB

8GB

Adobe© Windows©7 32-bit

1GB

4GB

Mac© OS X Sierra

4GB

8GB

Mac© OS X El Capitan

2GB

8GB

Mac© OS X Yosemite

2GB

8GB

Mac© OS X El Mavericks

2GB

8GB

Mac© OS X High Sierra

2GB

8GB

Mac© OS X Mojave

2GB

8GB

Will I need more RAM in the future?

The minimum system requirements for almost every app continue to increase, but it’s possible to set your computer up with enough memory to avoid having to continuously upgrade. Maxing out your installed RAM will likely suffice until the end of your computer’s life, so it’s in your best interest to be proactive and add more RAM as needed.

Updating your OS is often a time to upgrade your memory. Because your computer’s OS uses hardware resources like RAM to run properly, the OS has a significant impact on overall performance. Typically, a newer version of an OS demands more memory than its predecessor. Adding more memory when you upgrade your OS ensures a smoother transition, prevents potential problems, and optimizes the performance of your system.

Also, new software often requires more memory than its predecessors, particularly productivity applications, such as photo editing software, video editing programs, and games. Similarly, new hardware components like video cards, storage, and even the processor require sufficient memory to deliver their promised level of performance.

If you’re purchasing an inexpensive computer with minimal memory, you may want a memory boost. Before paying a higher price for more preinstalled RAM, check out the available upgrades. You might save money while significantly boosting performance.

How to upgrade RAM

RAM is one of the most affordable and easiest components to upgrade. Use our Crucial® Advisor™ tool or System Scanner tool to find out how much RAM your system currently has and how much it can hold. We can help you find a 100% guaranteed compatible upgrade for your system. 

When it comes to adding system memory requirements, the general rule of thumb is the more, the better. On average, doubling the amount of memory in your system will give you sample "space" to work and will make an obvious difference in overall speed. This is especially true with today's memory-hungry applications such as office programs, multimedia editing packages, and graphics-intensive games for which more RAM is needed. More memory allows you to run more programs at once, and our favorite programs will be easier to use. But how much memory (RAM) does your computer actually need?

Fanned Crucial Memory

When deciding how much memory you need, consider what you use your computer for, the operating system needs, and any software you use that is particularly memory-hungry. Installing the right amount of RAM will enable you to multi-task with ease.

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