Why You Need More RAM For Your PC

pc ram

Most computers need at least 4GB of RAM to work well. Gamers and programmers who use complicated programs may want more.

Having more RAM reduces the number of times that the CPU must read data from slower storage, such as a hard drive or solid-state drive. This data can be processed far faster in RAM than on a disk drive.

How It Works

The speed of RAM directly correlates to the overall performance of a computer. It is a middle ground between the small cache that is stored in your processor (like your kitchen desk) and the large, slow storage that is contained on a hard drive or Solid State Drive. RAM allows the processor to quickly access data without having to thumb through a file cabinet.

In fact, RAM can process information twenty to a hundred times faster than a disk can read it. This makes it a key component for computers that need to perform multiple operations at the same time.

RAM comes in the form of integrated circuits that are either soldered onto a motherboard or installed into memory modules that fit into sockets on a processor’s logic board. The numbers paired with the acronym DDR or PC indicate the generation and transfer speed of the memory (as opposed to the number of megabytes per second that it can read). This is important because different types of RAM can handle different amounts of data.

What It Can Do

RAM is short-term memory that stores information for immediate use by the CPU and other hardware, making it orders of magnitude faster than accessing data stored on long-term storage devices like a hard disk or solid state drive. When you click on a link to visit a website, that information is stored in your RAM so it can be retrieved quickly.

However, when you close the browser or shut down your computer, that same information moves from your RAM to longer-term storage on a hard drive or other non-volatile system storage device. When you restart your computer, the information must be reloaded into the RAM, which takes time and slows down performance.

Fortunately, a fast processor and plenty of RAM can overcome the problem of software lagging. If you’re building a new computer or upgrading your existing one, make sure you purchase the right form factor (DIMM or SO-DIMM) and generation of RAM. This ensures the RAM will work with your motherboard and processor.

How Much It Costs

The good news is that RAM is fairly inexpensive. It’s also one of the easiest upgrades to make in a desktop PC or laptop, and faster memory tends to boost performance.

16GB of RAM is typically recommended for PCs. It’s enough for most people to keep several programs open at once and to play demanding games without suffering from lag or other performance issues. It’s also a solid amount for amateur creatives using programs like Photoshop or Premiere Pro.

Unlike hard drives, which store data for the long term, RAM is short-term storage. That means that the more memory a computer has, the less frequently it needs to access and refresh data from the disk drive. This makes it faster and more energy-efficient. As RAM has become cheaper and more efficient over the years, it has become a standard component in most modern PCs. It’s not uncommon to see a motherboard support up to 1.5TB of RAM!

Where to Buy

If you’re looking for a great way to add speed to your rig or even upgrade an older one, RAM is pretty inexpensive. An extra bit of it can breathe new life into even old systems and make light workloads and games a breeze to run.

However, the type of RAM you need depends on your platform and the workloads you’re planning to use it for. A quick search online should tell you what kind of RAM your specific system needs, or you can use a simple tool to identify it.

When it comes to buying RAM, reputable brands tend to offer better optimization and support. But, in general, any brand should work just fine, so long as it’s specced for the right frequency and CAS latency.