Lee Wilbur
IT Solutions
A service of Multiverse Enterprises Inc.

The information here is provided "AS IS" and should you choose to use it, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Summary How much RAM do I need?
Details How much RAM you need depends on your usage and your version of Windows.

First, understand the difference between RAM memory and hard disk memory. Hard disk memory is like book shelves. The more book shelf space (disk space) you have, the more books (programs) you can store so they are handy when you need them. Random Access Memory (RAM) memory is like the desk space you use to work. The more RAM memory you have, the more books (programs) you can have open on your desk at the same time (when writing a report, this can be handy). Windows needs to have several small programs open and running all the time to help it run. And then when you want to use another program, it needs more RAM space to put that program.

So, depending on what version of Windows you have and what you do with it, you may need to have more RAM. Below is a table with my recommendations, based on operating system and what you may do with your computer.

Your computer is used for Windows 95/98/Me Windows 2000 Windows XP
E-mail and basic web browsing, word processing only 64 MB 192 MB 256 MB
Basic gaming, accounting, watching videos, burning CDs/DVDs 96 MB 256 MB 384 MB
Moderate gaming, Office related tasks, audio editing 128 MB 384 MB 512 MB
Heavy gaming, photo editing 128 MB 512 MB 768 MB
Intense gaming, video editing 128 MB 768 MB 1024 MB

More memory will only increase the system performance and ability to do multiple things at once, however, check with your computer manufacturer or motherboard maker to determine the maximum amount of RAM your system can handle. And note, depending on what you use your computer for, you may not notice a significant increase in system performance when adding RAM.

Where to purchase?
Two of the top rated brands of memory are Crucial and Kingston. Both have excellent reputations and lifetime warranties on their products. In addition, if you visit these company's web sites, they have tools that will help ensure you select the correct memory for your computer and you can purchase it online for a very reasonable price or print out the page and bring it to a local Best Buy, Staples, CompUSA or similar retailer to ensure you get the correct memory for your system.

The information provided here is based on personal experience and discussions with other technology professionals. Depending on your exact usage, you may find you need more or less RAM.
Related Links

Crucial Technology - Computer Memory

Kingstong Technology - Computer Memory

Wikipedia - Random Access Memory Entry

Tip ID: 5Date Entered: 8/12/2005 3:36:51 AMLast Update: 8/12/2005 3:39:32 AM