Tips to Determine How Much Computer RAM Your PC Needs

computer ram

Computer RAM is one of the key features we pay close attention to when shopping for a new PC or looking to upgrade our current system to a more sophisticated one. Known in full as Random Access Memory, RAM can either be of the static type (SRAM) or the dynamic form (DRAM).

An unassailable fact is that ample RAM is one of the vital factors, necessary to get top performance from your laptop. However, RAM does not necessarily ensure that your laptop is faster. For that to be achieved, you would need the combined effort from a well functional CPU, graphics card, among some other factors.

In your quest to enjoy better and faster laptop performance, you might have mused over this frequently asked question, “How much computer RAM does my PC really need?” A candid answer to this inquiry will take into consideration the activities you require the RAM for. Is it for regular usage, professional graphics work, gaming?

Before making that all-important decision to have your RAM upgraded, we have expounded some salient points you need to keep in mind below:

First Check the Computer RAM Your Laptop Has

To know how much computer RAM your PC is using, the fastest way is to go to the Task Manager. Then, proceed by right-clicking on the Taskbar and choosing Task Manager. Select Performance > Memory; this will show you how much RAM you’ve on your system.

task manager windows

For Mac, use Spotlight Search and type Activity Monitor, this will bring out the ongoing processes on your MacBook.

Activity Monitor Mac OS

Determining How Much RAM Your Computer Needs

For starters, do bear in mind that budget PCs offer modest 2 gigabytes of RAM. For entry-level PCs, the capacity doubles to 4GB. 8GB RAM is the recommended memory spec for the majority of regular PC users. Professional graphics designers and gamers will find 16GB as the perfect option for them. However, if they go for more RAM — like 32GB and more — it is all well and good.

Operating System (OS)

A 32-bit Windows OS that runs on the architecture of 32 bits features a maximum capacity of 4GB of RAM that it has the ability to use. If you make any upgrade that is more than that spec, your RAM will stay dormant and unused as a result of limitations of the OS. Hence, 2 – 4GB is recommended for a 32-bit PC.

If your RAM is over 4GB and your laptop offers a 64-bit architecture, you can install a 64-bit Windows OS, conveniently — Windows 10 preferably.

Interestingly, the Random Access Memory requirements for Windows PCs running Windows 7 – 10 operating systems are 1GB of RAM for 32-bit architecture as well as 2GB RAM for 64-bit architecture. In spite of this, it is better to opt for more RAM to enjoy better performance.

Photo and Video Editing

To get smooth performance on Adobe Creativity Cloud, it advised that your PC RAM lies in the region, ~8GB –16GB, though 4GB of RAM may be manageable. The majority of other graphic design software offer the same recommendation.

However, if what you primarily use the PC for involves simple tasks, like photo or video editing, 4GB of RAM or less is okay for you.

Playing Games

Apart from RAM, gamers must have a great graphics card. This is necessary to render the resolution as well as graphics atop a good CPU. In spite of this, RAM is a crucial factor that can’t be regarded with levity.

When we talk about gaming here, we are not making reference to simple games such as Microsoft Solitaire Collection, which is one of the default apps on your OS. Playing games on a laptop equipped with 4GB of RAM is not uncommon, and a number of games do not have any issue with that. Having said that, the ideal computer RAM for gamers lies in the neighborhood of 8GB and 16GB.

The ideal RAM requirement in the majority of heavy games — Hitman, Grand Theft Auto V, Fallout 4, The Division, The Witcher, and others —  is 8GB. Going for 16GB or more may not be overkill, particularly when you’re streaming games live.

Microsoft Office Suites

Office Suite remains a benchmark for ranking the productivity/performance of every other office suites. But as we develop familiarity with Office 2019, a number of users could be reminiscing at the simplicity offered by Office 2013, with its relatively small size, 700MB, highlighting this simplicity. Though Microsoft Office 2013 required less RAM (2GB is more than enough) and launched faster, Office 2016, as well as the 2019 version, need heavy RAM (a minimum of 4GB).


As you might be well aware, the most popular browser, Google Chrome, holds a not-so-enviable status as a RAM hogger. To make matters worse, the more tabs you open, the higher the required RAM since each tab is with its own instance in your Task Manager app. The same thing can be said about Opera.

According to the complaints of PC users, 2GB of RAM might be adequate, but it is a bit little to browse on your laptop and still carry out some other operations. Your system will slow to a crawl as expected. To browse and still do some other tasks on your PC comfortably, at least 4GB RAM is required.


Without a shred of doubt, ample RAM is needed to enjoy a top performance on your laptop. While 1GB of RAM is the minimum requirement to install 32-bit Windows operating system, using only this capacity isn’t recommended for you. It is better to go a bit higher. 2GB is ideal for installing Windows OS of 64 bits. But you will need to make sure your computer doesn’t run too many apps at once to enjoy a smooth performance.

The majority of entry-level laptops have 4GB of RAM. And with this spec, most apps launch much faster than with 2GB of RAM. 4GB represents the limit for 32-bit OS that will have the ability to utilize any extra RAM.

8GB is perfect for the majority of PCs for productivity software, such as photo and video editing software, browsers, PC games office suites, etc. 16GB is recommended for you if you are doing professional work with RAM-heavy software, including Adobo Creativity Cloud, PC games (that require live streaming), and 2D or 3D CAD software. The RAM to choose will depend on what you will mostly use the PC for.


Posted by Deji

Deji is a freelance writer and Physics graduate from the University of Ibadan. Passionate and meticulous, he is a keen follower of developments around the world on a number of issues ranging from science, tech, history, politics, among others. Deji loves playing football and meeting people. Please, follow on Twitter and Facebook

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