Part two of our desktop buying guide will dig into the details of RAM, or random-access memory. We hope to clear up misconceptions about what RAM actually is, as many users don’t understand the difference between storage and memory. Who knows? You might learn a thing or two to take with you when you purchase your next desktop.
RAM is not the same as storage. You can think of it as your brain’s short-term memory, giving your computer the ability to store temporary data that can be called as needed. Like many other computer components, you have options on both the higher end and the lower end of the spectrum, but what you will need will mostly depend on the work being done on the device in question. Due to the fact that the CPU handles instructions and processes the data that the RAM holds, the more RAM you have available, the faster your device will be.
How Much RAM is Needed?
While there are plenty of brands to choose from for your RAM, you likely won’t need to hear about all the miniscule details unless you plan on building your own PC. This guide might oversimplify things a little bit, but it contains all you will need to know for purchasing RAM for your device.
- Skimping the budget: The smallest amount of RAM that is acceptable on a Windows 10 device is 4 GB. You can get Windows to run on less, but it’s certainly not recommended. You will only be able to handle some light document editing and Internet browsing, but anything beyond this is unlikely to prove fruitful.
- Low-end: Most reasonable budget PCs will have at least 8 GB of RAM. This should be enough to handle the operating system, document editing, photo browsing, web surfing, and some other tasks.
- Mid-range: 16 GB is considered the safe bet for many businesses, and it’s actually pretty possible while on a budget. 16 GB is the entry point for gaming systems, as well as more resource-intense builds. It’s not quite a catch-all, but it’s a decent enough entry point for most anything.
- High-end: On the higher end of the spectrum, the cost increases according to the amount of RAM. For example, the Mac Pro can reach 1.5 TB of RAM, but it costs around $20,000. Suffice to say that anything higher than 16 GB might require a second opinion before investment.
Wrapping It Up
Ultimately, if the device can be updated later on, we recommend at least 8 GB of RAM, with 16 GB for devices that can’t be upgraded later on.
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