Our Comprehensive Guide to Purchasing a New Computer, Part II
In part two of our desktop buying guide, we’ll focus on RAM, or random access memory. Some users have difficulty understanding this, so we’ll do our best to make sure it’s easy to grasp and apply to your own purchasing habits. You’ll learn how to make the best decisions regarding how much RAM your device will need.
The amount of RAM in your device, or random access memory, is not the same as the amount of data that a computer can store. RAM is used to temporarily store data so it can be recalled without pulling it from the computer’s storage. Think of it like short-term memory pulled from a human’s brain. You’ll have options for both high-end and low-end RAM, so it’s important that you find the best solution for your needs. Your need for RAM will be based on how much needs to happen at once. The CPU handles instructions and processes the data that the RAM holds, meaning that the more RAM is available, the larger the amount of data that the CPU can store, and the faster the CPU can process it. The two work together to make your computing experience as smooth as possible.
How Much RAM Does Your Computer Need?
Computers these days have limited options for RAM. There are many brands to choose from, but the important thing to remember is that manufacturers will take care of this aspect for you. It’s only truly important if you are building your own computer. Despite this, it can be complicated. This guide might simplify things a bit, but it will at least help you determine the speed and amount of RAM needed by your device.
- Skimping the budget: The smallest acceptable amount of RAM in a Windows 10 machine is 4 GB. You might be able to get Windows to run on less, but we don’t recommend it, as this is the bare minimum for light document editing and Internet browsing.
- Low-end: Most reasonable budget PCs will start at around 8 GB of RAM, which is more than enough to handle the operating system, editing documents, photo browsing, surfing the Internet, and many other tasks.
- Mid-range: 16 GB is quite achievable for many businesses, even on a budget. The price difference isn’t terribly noticeable, but the investment will be well worth it. 16 GB of RAM is a nice entry point for gaming systems, and while 16 GB isn’t necessarily the catch-all goal, it will give you the most power for your money.
- High-end: The ceiling for RAM is quite high, but the cost goes along with it. For example, the new Mac Pro can go up to 1.5 TB of RAM, which is about 1500 GB of RAM, but the price is estimated at about $20,000. A gaming rig, video editing system, or server might need more than 16 GB of RAM, but at that point, we recommend working with a professional to determine the best path forward.
Your device might be able to update at a later date, but for the initial implementation, we recommend aiming for no less than 8 GB. Realistically, you should try to find options at around 16 GB, but we realize that it’s not always possible.
Does your business need help implementing or acquiring new hardware? Give us a call at (248) 538-7374.