Do you need all that RAM?

These days’ computers tout more memory to woo customers. How much memory especially random access memory (RAM) do you need?

Today computer systems come in as 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Some suggest 1GB of RAM for 32-bit and 2GB for 64-bit systems. Then why some lower end PCs comes with 4GB of RAM. Mid-sized PCs are even loaded with double that of RAM while the higher end goes as high as 16GB. Memory is not expensive as it used to be.

Many believe having more memory makes the computer run faster. In certain cases it may. But it does not make the processor that executes codes run faster. Virtual memory, a file that sits in the hard drive of the PC acts as temporary storage when the “actual” one is full. For this reason it is also called swap file. Data travel between swap files could slowdown a computer. This is especially true for older computers that came in with 256MB in 1990s and 2000s. But today, Windows and others do not rely on virtual memory due to multiple gigabytes of available RAM. Flash memory technology and SSDs can read while writing. The bottom line is adding memory beyond 4GB may give you diminishing return.