How Much Memory (RAM) Do You Need to Buy?

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How Much Memory (RAM) Do You Need to Buy?

Random Access Memory, often shortened to RAM, is the "working memory" for a computer. RAM allows the computer to operate several programs at a time. The more RAM a computer has, the more it can multitask. RAM is also referred to as internal memory, primary storage, or main memory. RAM can be upgraded at any time, but the type and amount needed is determined by how the computer is used.

When choosing what type of RAM is best suited for your computer, there are several factors to consider. First, shoppers must be able to distinguish between the various types of RAM. Each operating system has different RAM requirements. Moreover, desktops and laptops need specific types of RAM. How the computer is used also determines how much and what kind is needed. Buyers can find RAM to upgrade their computers at specialty computer stores or online retailers and marketplaces like eBay.

Amount of RAM

Choosing how much RAM you need often depends on how much you are using your computer. The more you use it and the more complex programmes you are running, the general rule is you need more. While there are options available below 1GB, anything less can be difficult to work with, so they are not mentioned in this guide. The maximum any buyer should ever need is 16GB, and only serious video and photo editors that much. The sections below outline the capabilities and how much RAM is required to keep your computer running.


Typically, 1GB is the absolute minimum amount of RAM basic users want for their computers. 1GB is enough to run a web browser, email, and a word processing programme. However, users cannot have dozens of tabs open with their browser. Gamers are not recommended to use 1GB or less since they are most require more, and video editing is impossible with this little.


2GB of RAM is typically the minimum amount required for moderate computer users. While some could get by with only 1GB, the 2GB option allows for more applications to be open and creates fewer headaches. This option allows for a substantial amount of browser tabs as well as operating office suites. Many PC games can operate on 2GB, and light photo and video editing is possible. Although 2GB is able to handle large suites, such as the Adobe Master Collection, more RAM is often needed to keep the programmes running smoothly.


4GB of RAM is appreciated by a variety of computer users. The functionality of the computer increases drastically with more RAM. There is a noticeable difference when you double your RAM. Buyers should note computers running a 32-bit operating system only access 3.2GB due to memory addressing confines; 64-bit operating systems can use the total 4GB. Even if you are using a 32-bit system, the upgrade is worth it.


People who are building a custom PC, especially one designed for gaming, should consider installing 8GB to optimise their system. Additionally, photo and video editors, especially professionals, require this amount of RAM to smoothly operate their system. In order to access the full 8GB of RAM, users must have a 64-bit operating system. You can find aftermarket RAM for approximately relatively cheap prices.

12GB or 16GB

Although many gamers have the mentality that more is better, games operate the same with 8GB and 16GB of RAM. Professional video and photo editors relying on hard-core programmes and apps, such as Photoshop or Final Cut, can see a difference in upping their RAM. Aftermarket RAM is generally a fraction of the price when compared to buying a new system and upgrading. The chart below summarizes how much RAM is recommended for various types of computer users.

Amount of RAM

Best Use


Basic users only needing computers for web browser, email, and office suites


Better than 1GB, as user can have multiple programmes running at a time


Minimum required for gamers and video or photo editors


Recommended RAM for gamers and digital media editors; needs 64-bit operating system

12GB or 16GB

Professional photo and video editors; required 64-bit operating system to function

Although aftermarket RAM is inexpensive, you should choose the amount of you need based on your typical computer use. Besides knowing how much RAM you need to comfortably operate your computer, you have several other options to consider.

Types of RAM

Choosing RAM involves more than knowing how much is needed. In addition to amount, shoppers should know which is best suited for their computer, operating system, and functions. Differentiating among types of RAM helps users optimise their machines. The sections below outline the various types of RAM available for your computer.


Dynamic random access memory, referred to as DRAM, is the least expensive and smallest RAM available on the market. DRAM sends a charge through the right column, and it activates a transistor at each bit. The row lines dictate how the capacitor functions. The long list chain of commands it emits causes it to be significantly slower than SRAM.


Static random access memory, called SRAM, utilises four to six transistors for each memory cell, but it does not have a capacitor in each. SRAM is much faster than DRAM since it is typically used for cache. The down side to SRAM is that it is more expensive and takes up more physical space than the DRAM option.


Fast page mode dynamic random access memory is also referred to as FPD DRAM . It maxes out at 176MBps because it waits for the bit to be located in the correct column and row before moving onto the next.


Extended-data-out dynamic random access memory is 5 per cent faster than FPM DRAM since it does not have to wait to process completed bits; instead it can start processing one bit before the previous one is finished. EDO DRAM 's maximum transfer rate is 264MBps.


SDRAM is short for synchronous dynamic random access memory, and this type of DRAM is faster than EDO and FPD as it uses "burst mode concept" whereas the other do not. SDRAM is most commonly found in desktops and has a transfer rate of 528 MBps.


Double data rate synchronous dynamic random access memory functions the same way as SDRAM but has a higher bandwidth, which means it can function at higher speeds, double in fact. DDR SDRAM has a transfer rate of 1064MBps.

Credit Card Memory

Credit card memory is a type of proprietary self-contained DRAM used with certain netbooks. There is a memory module designed for a specially fitted slot.


PCMCIA is another style of self-contained DRAM for netbooks. This type of RAM, unlike credit card memory, is not proprietary. As long as the system matches the configuration of the memory card, it should work properly.


CMOS RAM is a small type of computer memory that has an attached battery to save hard disk settings. The battery allows it to always maintain power, and therefore, these settings are never lost.


VRAM is called Video RAM, and also referred to as multiport random access memory, or MPDRAM, is only used with video adapters or 3-D accelerators. Since VRAM is highly specialised, it comes in an array of configurations and formats, many of which are proprietary.

Buying Memory (RAM) on eBay

Buying aftermarket RAM on eBay is a less expensive option than upgrading direct from the computer manufacturer. When shopping on eBay, you should have an idea of the amount and type of RAM you want. eBay suggest adding in a few keywords to optimise your search. For example " 4GB RAM " is a good start, but if you know you want " 4GB SDRAM ", it is best to include it in your search. If you find you are not receiving enough results, remove a key term or two. For more helpful hints, check out eBay's Search Tips Page.

Top-Rated Seller

If you want to ensure you are buying quality RAM, consider purchasing from one of eBay's top-rated sellers. Vendors who sell high quality items and have a consistent record of exceptional customer service are awarded the top-rated seller status. Check the seller's feedback and approval rating before committing to RAM. Look for the top-rated seller icon next to the seller's username.


Upgrading RAM after you purchase a computer is less expensive than buying direct from the dealer. Choosing how much RAM you need to power your computer is easy as long as you have sorted out a few factors. The functionality of computer plays a big role in how much you need. Basic users only need 1GB to get by, but at least 2GB is recommended. 4GB is standard for moderate users, especially those who like to have multiple programmes and applications open. 8GB and up is for serious gamers, digital media editors, and hard-core app users.

In addition to know how much RAM you need, you might want to consider the type that is best suited for your computer. Before purchasing any type of RAM, buyers should check with their motherboard brand to see how it should be installed. If you are unsure of how to go about doing this, a local computer repair specialist should be able to suggest a few options.

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