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How Much Memory (RAM) do You Need?

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. More memory allows you to run more programs at once, and our favorite programs will be easier to use.

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

Extend the Life of Your Computer

It's not always easy to diagnose insufficient memory, so here are some simple yet telling signs that your computer could benefit from a memory upgrade.

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

  • Everyday tasks are plagued by poor or subpar performance
  • 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 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

How Much Memory do you Have?

Computer manufacturers often fail to fully populate the installed memory capacity in the systems they sell because they want to keep the price down. For example, if a desktop can hold 32GB of RAM, it often comes with 4GB or 8GB. With plenty of space for more memory, an upgrade is not only easy, it will provide a measureable boost in performance. There is almost always room to improve. Let's see how much RAM is in your system:

If your computer is a PC, here's how to find out on Windows® 10:

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

If your computer is a Mac® system, here's how to find out on OS X® Sierra

  • Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock
  • Click Other
  • Click System Information

Look at the "Installed memory" to see how much RAM is installed.

Fanned Crucial Memory

What do you use Your Computer for?

How you use your computer influences how much RAM you need to run the various programs. If you multi-task or use complicated graphics programs, you will need more memory. If you do only a few things, you won’t need as much RAM.

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 4GB
Intermediate User
Internet browsing, email, Word Processing, spreadsheets, running simple graphics programs, flash games, music, videos or multitasking
At least 8GB
Professional user / Gamer / Graphic designer
High performance gaming, multimedia editing, high-definition videom, graphic design / 3D modeling, intensive multitasking
At least 32GB

Do You Need More Than the System Requirements?

Although a computer will run an operating system with the minimum requirements, the response time will be poor. Switching between programs or running programs with complex graphics will cause noticeable slowdowns. Any future upgrades might require higher minimum requirements, as well. You will want to have more than the minimum required memory.

Operating System Minimum Requirements We recommend
Microsoft© Windows© 10 64-bit 2GB 8GB
Microsoft© Windows© 10 32-bit 1GB 3GB
Microsoft© Windows© 8 64-bit 2GB 8GB
Microsoft© Windows© 8 32-bit 1GB 3GB
Microsoft© Windows© 7 64-bit 2GB 8GB
Microsoft© Windows© 7 32-bit 1GB 3GB
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

How Much Memory for Design or Photo Software?

Design and photo software requires a great deal of RAM to run smoothly and process graphical elements quickly. Having too little memory will leave you watching endless progress bars.

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

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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