A computer’s memory is very important, but what does more RAM do for your computer? This guide shows what you need to know about computer memory.
Does your computer tend to slow down when you’re doing even a little multitasking? If so, the solution could be adding more RAM to your computer. But what does more RAM do exactly, and how do you know it’s the answer to your problems?
Follow this guide to RAM and computer memory to learn everything you need to about computer RAM.
What Does RAM Do?
Random Access Memory, or RAM, is essentially your computer’s short-term memory.
RAM stores information that your computer is currently using. This lets the computer access that memory fast, allowing you to use open programs quickly and efficiently. Every program you run at once stacks onto the RAM, forcing the computer to use more and more RAM.
RAM is used to run every application on your computer, from the internet browser to video games to applications and beyond. That’s why it’s important to know how much RAM you have, and how many programs your computer can run without slowing down.
What Does More RAM Do?
The more RAM a computer has, the faster it runs in general.
More RAM means programs open, load, and run much faster. You can multitask without worrying about slow-down. More RAM means you’re able to play more computer-intensive games, listen to music while you work and browse the web, and video-chat with more people and less slow-down to name just a few things.
How Do I Tell How Much RAM I Have?
If you’re curious how much RAM you have, check your computer’s system information.
On PC, you can do this by navigating to your control panel, clicking ‘System and Security’, and ‘System’. Next to the section reading “Installed memory (RAM)” you’ll see how much RAM you have.
How Do I Tell How Much RAM I’m Using?
If you want to know how much RAM you’re using at a given time, just launch your task manager.
In the ‘Processes’ section of your task manager, you’ll see a column labeled ‘Memory’. This will tell you exactly what program is using exactly how much RAM in megabytes. It will also show you what the overall percentage of RAM is being used.
How to Reduce Memory Usage
There are a few simple things you can do to reduce your RAM usage. You may need to perform these tricks when your computer starts to chug.
These tips are written with PC in mind, but most can be used on both PC and Mac. To learn how to save memory on a Mac specifically, check out this article: https://setapp.com/how-to/reduce-memory-usage-on-mac
Reboot the PC
If your computer is chugging along with no end in sight after a heavy multitasking session, restart it.
By restarting your computer you’re clearing up all the RAM. All programs will close and your PC will boot up using the minimal amount of RAM. This is why you should regularly restart your computer and shut if off completely between sessions.
Stop Programs From Auto-Launching
Programs like Skype, your favorite torrent client, and Spotify set themselves to launch when the PC does.
This can eat up a lot of RAM straight from launch. What’s worse, you might not even need to use these programs at the moment — they just start without asking! The best strategy is to determine which programs you don’t want to launch and disable them from launching on startup.
You can disable any program from auto-launching through its settings. If you can’t figure out how to disable a certain program’s auto-launch, a simple Google search has the answers. This can save you a lot of RAM.
Manage RAM-Heavy Apps
When your computer starts to slow down, open up the task manager, and see what’s eating up all the RAM.
Take note of any RAM-heavy apps to determine what you can realistically use at a time. Find less RAM intensive alternatives to these apps if possible, and manage your expectations. Close any unnecessary programs that are eating up RAM to save more for the important applications.
You should also keep an eye out for any unfamiliar RAM-eating apps. Sometimes, these unknown apps are viruses. Running a malware scan is another way you can potentially save RAM, as it will delete any RAM-eating viruses.
Install More RAM
The best option — although not the easiest — is to install more RAM onto your machine.
You can easily install more RAM onto a desktop PC thanks to all the physical space in a computer tower. However, installing RAM inside your laptop can be difficult to impossible. There’s not enough space inside the laptop most of the time, and you also need to find specific, compatible RAM.
If you’re having bad slowdown issues, though, it’s worth taking your machine to a professional and asking about extra RAM. You never know whether or not it can be done until you ask.
What Is Considered a Good Amount of RAM?
Generally speaking, the more RAM your machine has the better off you are. You can’t have too much RAM. However, not everyone needs the most RAM possible.
RAM typically comes in variables of four. On the lowest end, you can get 4 to 8 gigs of RAM, and on the highest end, you can get anywhere from 12 to 32 gigs of RAM, and even 128 gigs of RAM on certain super-powered computers. However, the majority of people don’t need 128 gigs of RAM, or even 32.
If you’re using your computer for simple work or school projects, 8 gigs is often enough. If you want to do some serious gaming, you might want 12 gigs or higher, but 8 will still suffice most of the time. For more intensive projects including video editing, Photoshop, and intensive programs, between 12 and 32 gigs of RAM is best.
Always check the RAM requirements of programs you plan on using before buying a computer. This will help you determine how much RAM you’ll need.
More RAM, More Power
So, what does more RAM do? More RAM means a smoother, faster, and more reliable computing experience overall. It means more multitasking and less time-wasting.
If your computer is suffering from slow-down, it’s time to manage your RAM, or even get some more installed. Don’t let a slow computer damage your workflow ever again.
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