Determining your Computer’s RAM needs

Last updated on August 25th, 2015 at 08:30 pm

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Computer RAM needs on the rise as Windows releases Vista operating system:

When Windows 98 debuted, 256MB or 512MB of RAM was an enormous amount, more then anyone could consider using. Nine years later, 256MB is not enough to run the new Windows Vista, and 512MB is the minimum amount Vista will run on. Even to enable modern features like the Aero desktop, Vista recommends 1 Gig of Ram.

Games that used to require very little RAM to run have grown in features and performance levels to the point where they are now beginning to recommend at least a gigabyte of memory, if not two, for the best performance of the game. Applications like Photoshop, CAD, Maya and other graphically intensive creation tools have always required a great deal of RAM, and continue to do so. Many components of the latest version of Adobe’s Creative Suite, CS3, require 1Gig of ram.

The combination of your Operating System and the programs you use both needing more ram to function properly is making having only the minimum required RAM more problematic than it once was. The RAM is quickly fully used by the operating system and by applications, to the point where only a small portion of the RAM is available for use storing data being worked on. This leads to the slowdowns and hang-ups that can plague a computer, annoying the user with pointless waiting while information is shuttled too and from the hard drive and RAM.

So if your computer is running slower than it once was, it may be because of increased system and software requirements. The quickest and most inexpensive remedy for this is a computer RAM upgrade. The amount needed depends on the user and their applications, but here are a few suggestions:

If you’re using your computer for basic office applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, or using the computer for schoolwork which does not need high powered graphics, then you don’t need a great deal of RAM. If your operating system is Windows 95, 98, ME or 2000, you might find that things function smoothly with 512MB of RAM in total, the majority of the time. Having a gigabyte of RAM in total might give better performance when
you are multitasking or using more intensive software.

If you’re using Windows XP, 512MB to a gigabyte is also correct, but because of XP’s greater memory needs you may run into problems more frequently if you are not running a full GB.

If your computer is using Windows Vista, the minimum amount of RAM you’ll want is 1 gigabyte, with 1.5GB of RAM providing more performance, especially if you tend to run several programs at once.

If you use your computer for more advanced applications such as Photoshop, CAD, Maya or other graphically, processor or memory intensive applications, you’ll want as much RAM as you can afford, and that your system can take. At the very least you’ll want a gigabyte of RAM on Windows 2000 or XP systems, while two gigabytes of RAM would should provide superior performance. On Windows Vista, due to Vista’s increased RAM requirements, 2GB to 3GB of memory or more will provide plenty of RAM for Vista and for the application you are using.

Computer RAM requirements for video games are increasingly each quarter – and as they become more memory intensive, upgrading to 2GB should keep your games running smoothly – for example, Battlefield 2142 began recommending 1.5GB of memory as early as late 2006, so you can be sure it won’t be long before the most modern games are recommending at least 2GB of memory.

Some systems provide the capacity to upgrade all the way to 4GB of memory. This is the most memory 32-bit operating systems can address at the moment, as well as being the highest amount of RAM you can purchase at a reasonable price. At current, the vast majority of systems which need this much ram are either used for development or act as servers.

A sure sign that you need more RAM for your computer is that the new software you just brought home, be it a game or an application, simply doesn’t work properly, providing poor performance in general, with jerky graphics and a lot of hard-drive activity.

How do you know what to get for your system? Well, if you have your manual it will usually give you the information to know what type of memory your system uses. However, if your manual isn’t at hand, take a look at our system check utility. If you’re surfing our website from the computer you’d like to upgrade, click on the ‘Check Your System’ button and our utility will let you know how much RAM you have installed, how many sockets you have to install RAM, and how much RAM you can install in your system. In addition, our utility will give some of the best upgrade options for your system.

If you’re checking for upgrades for another system, you can enter its model number in the model field to find out the most common RAM options for that system, as well as the same information about number of sockets, maximum amount of RAM and possible upgrades for that system. Or if you want to match the RAM you have, enter the part number of the RAM in the Manufacturer’s OEM part number field to find if we have an exact match for your computer’s RAM.

And remember, will buy back your old ram, and ship for free!

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