Your computer uses RAM to quickly pull information and hand it over to the central processing unit (CPU). Unlike your hard drive, which acts as long-term storage, memory chips in a RAM stick lose data when you shut down the computer.
Speed, which is measured in megahertz (MHz), determines how fast the memory can work. Each type of RAM has its own maximum “speed limit”.
Gaming is a demanding task and having enough RAM can help to smooth out the game experience. With higher memory speeds and capacities, games can be played at a faster speed and with better graphical fidelity. Adding more RAM to your system can also improve loading times and prevent slowdowns during gaming sessions.
A minimum of 8GB of RAM is considered to be a good amount for gaming. Anything below this will result in stuttering and other issues during gameplay.
RAM is a volatile memory component that saves data only when power is present, unlike a non-volatile hard disk or SSD (solid-state drive) that retains data after a reboot. Capacity and timings are key features to look for in a RAM stick, but these aren’t important to most users. Timings can impact performance, but only to a certain extent; it’s best to focus on capacity and speed when selecting RAM. Ensure that the RAM is compatible with your motherboard, and check for form factors such as DIMM or SO-DIMM.
A computer must be able to coordinate the very fast operating speed of its CPU with the much slower rate at which it reads data from hard drives. This is the job of RAM, which acts as a buffer between processor and hard drive.
The more RAM you have, the more programs you can keep in memory at once. However, more RAM won’t directly benefit programs in use, unless those programs have been written to take advantage of multiple cores.
Generally speaking, for typical home users 8GB of RAM is more than enough. Industry professionals and those whose work depends on the speed of their computers may need more than that. A lot depends on how you multitask. If you browse with 10+ tabs open, edit a Word document and download Torrents, for example, more RAM might help. But if you just switch between Winamp and Firefox while the inactive windows do nothing, more RAM won’t make much difference.
File storage is a hierarchical method for organizing data on your computer’s hard drive or network-attached storage device. This type of storage allows you or the system to locate files by moving from folder to subfolder until they reach the one they want.
The processor gives commands to retrieve the files from the hard drive and then place them in a workspace called RAM, or digital countertop, temporarily so that they can be used. Without sufficient memory, you may notice that programs take a long time to load or that your computer seems to lag while running multiple applications and games at once.
A computer with 6-8 GB of memory can handle multiple programs, web browsers and basic multimedia simultaneously. A higher capacity is able to handle more intensive applications, such as graphics-intensive games and high-end multimedia.
In addition to memory capacity, speed or latency also plays a role in performance. Higher-speed RAM can offer a performance boost, but this depends on the rest of your system’s components. For example, faster RAM might improve CPU performance, but this doesn’t matter if your graphics card can’t process the data.
As you work, your computer’s RAM works to quickly access the temporary data that your programs need. This differs from the long-term storage of a hard disk or SSD, which can take significantly longer to retrieve data.
For most PCs, 4 GB of RAM is enough to run basic programs, surf the web, and edit documents. If you are a gamer or high-end multimedia user, you may need 8 or more GB. You can maximize performance by regularly clearing wasteful clutter with a specialized software tool. This will help your apps and files open more quickly and keep your computer running smoothly.