How much RAM is too much?

Working memory or RAM memory is a very important element of every electronic device. Yes, its amount affects not only the performance of your computer, but also the performance of your smartphone, tablet or TV with Smart TV system. We distinguish at least several types of memory, which differ mainly in speed, but actually in bandwidth. It is this setting, along with the amount of memory, that has the biggest impact on performance. So the natural question is, how much memory do we need to have for everything to work as it should?

Memory memory is not equal

It used to be said that you can’t have too much RAM. There is probably something in it, although it is worth paying attention to the fact that we do not always have an influence on it. In the case of smartphones or tablets, we are at the mercy of the device manufacturer. Usually, the more expensive the model, the more memory it has and the faster it is. How much is it needed for an Android smartphone today? 6 GB is quite a lot, but there are also models on the market that offer up to twice as much. Today I’d say it’s unnecessary, but who knows what Android and app developers will offer us in 3 years?

However, let’s leave ready-made devices in which we cannot add additional memory and focus on computers. Unfortunately, only PC computers, because Macbooks today only have soldered memory, and we choose its size once when we buy a computer. Unfortunately, you also have to pay a lot for additional memory, which in my opinion is a big drawback of Apple computers. On the other hand, in the pursuit of miniaturization, many new laptop models, especially in the ultrabook category, also have soldered RAM and are not expandable. Fortunately, there are still computers on the market, both desktop and laptop, that offer the ability to add additional memory yourself. And there is a lot to choose from, since the DDR4 memory standard still rules, you can still successfully buy DDR3 memory, and there are already DDR5 bones in stores. The latter offer the highest throughput, but also require a suitable processor, particularly a controller, which is usually built into the processor.

Therefore, the choice is not easy, and yet we still have to decide how much of this memory we want and need. Before we get to that, though, let’s stay up to speed for a moment. DDR3 / 4/5 are the names of the next versions of RAM, but it is really only one of the parameters. Each of these modules is also described by a different value, the so-called time, which directly affects the throughput. The higher the RAM clock speed, the more data can be transferred to it in a given period of time. I leave out the question of the number of channels used, because computers usually have two of them.

Subsequent RAM standards development focused primarily on increasing clock speed, i.e. bandwidth. This is why DDR3 memory was marketed as, for example, 1600 MHz, while DDR4 modules can easily go up to 3200 MHz. For DDR5 memory, the clock currently hits 5,200 MHz, but that’s certainly not their final word. The progress is therefore very significant, as can be seen in many other ways as well. For example, integrated graphics systems always use RAM in a computer, and its significant acceleration in recent years means that we can successfully run completely new games with such a GPU. Until a few good years ago, it was quite unattainable. However, the speed of RAM does affect the performance of the entire operating system, although in recent years the difference has been somewhat obscured by the popularization of SSDs. However, that’s a topic for another article, and now let’s get back to that optimal amount of RAM.

Never too much RAM.

Used to say that you can never have too much RAM. However, this is a bit of an oversimplification, because yes, as long as the operating system is able to handle it, a large amount of RAM certainly doesn’t hurt anything. The fact is, however, that it makes no sense to exaggerate with this amount, because they are simply unnecessary expenses. Today’s standard for PCs is 8 GB of RAM, although more and more computers have 16 GB of RAM. And that, it seems to me, is the most optimal solution today. Two 8 GB RAM modules will allow you to use the capabilities of the dual-channel controller and provide adequate power. If you do not work with video editing or process huge amounts of data, more than 16 GB of memory is unlikely to be useful. Yes, 50 tabs open in Chrome can eat up to 16GB, but let’s not go crazy.

Often a much better choice than buying, for example, 32 GB of memory, ie two 16 GB RAM modules, is to buy faster memory. This can make a real difference to your computer’s performance. Also, with desktop computers, we almost always have 4 memory slots, so if necessary, you can buy an additional 2 modules later, if we actually run out of that memory in our daily work. The truth is, however, that buying significantly faster and more expensive memory often misses the point. The difference in practical performance between, for example, DDR4-3200 MHz modules and 3733 MHz modules will be in the range of 1-2%, so it may turn out that the extra 20-30% of the price simply does not add up. meaning

In summary, you need to be reasonable when buying RAM. There’s no need to buy a lot of them, and there’s no point in overpaying for extremely fast memory. If you don’t do much on your computer, 16GB can be considered standard these days. 32 GB is the cost that will be enough for the next 10 years, just think if you will use this computer in these 10 years.

This post was created in collaboration with RTV Euro AGD

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