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  • How much RAM does your computer have?

    Home Forums AskWoody blog How much RAM does your computer have?

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      • #2356351
        Susan Bradley
        Manager

        The other day someone said that their new “normal” for Windows 10 machines was 16 gigs of RAM. It got me to wondering…what is your normal amount of
        [See the full post at: How much RAM does your computer have?]

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      • #2356360
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        I would say 8GB is the new minimum with Win10.

        I ran the OS fine with that for several years. But I would suggest 16GB for any new PCs.

        I had a laptop with only 4GB and that was painful, because Win10 and my base startup apps required close to that at boot.That was a system built for Win 8.1, and I upgraded it to 10.

        • #2356378
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          This site is not exclusively about Windows, but other OS and the machines that run them are also covered, and in this case is the hardware what is under consideration.

          So actual and potential Mac users among us might be interested to know that, at least based on my not extremely demanding use,  8GB in Macs is also a good size and the minimum they come with, unless one is doing something that needs more than that and does not want to have a lot of virtual memory paging back and forth between RAM and disk. New Laptops can have up to 16 GB of RAM, while Mac Pro desktop computers can have up to 1.5 TB of RAM:

          https://www.theverge.com/2020/11/10/21559200/apple-m1-macbook-pro-mac-mini-16gb-ram-memory-limit

          Mac Pro (2019) has 12 DIMM (memory) slots that support up to 1.5TB of 2933MHz memory when all 12 slots are full using DDR4 ECC DIMMs:

          https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210103

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2356497
          EP
          AskWoody_MVP

          minimum 8 gigs assuming the commonly used 64bit versions of Windows 10 are being used AND are using modern PCs made in the past few years

          most of my PCs are about a decade old (from 2007 to 2011) and they still have between 4Gb to 8Gb RAM and running Win10 x64 Home/Pro

          • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by EP.
      • #2356371
        Susan Bradley
        Manager

        When building test Win10 virtual machines I can’t use 4 gigs anymore.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      • #2356383
        Bob99
        AskWoody Plus

        My computer with 16 gigs flies along at supersonic speed thanks not only to the generous amount of memory, but also thanks in large part to the NvMe SSD installed in it!

        Full specs: Win10 Pro x64 20H2, i5-9500, 512 gig NvMe SSD, 16 gigs of DDR4 and discrete Nvidia graphics card with 4 gigs GDDR5.

        At work, we have Windows 10 machines with 4 gigs and 8 gigs running Windows 10 1909 Enterprise x64. The 4 gig machines are dreadfully slow no matter what, and the 8 gig machines get the same way any time an update requiring a reboot is installed.

      • #2356404
        NaNoNyMouse
        AskWoody Lounger

        32GB on my main pc, because it’s used for 3d graphics and games writing, and needs at least that amount

        A paltry 4GB on my laptop, which plods along by comparison. However, both devices have Windows 10 20H2 installed (Pro on the pc, and Home on the laptop), and the laptop is still quite usable for email and web browsing (which is pretty much its only purpose in life)

      • #2356409
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        I have 16GB of RAM, Lenovo Y530 gaming laptop.

      • #2356455
        Seff
        AskWoody Plus

        My two home desktops used mainly for gaming, browsing, emails etc both have 8GB.  They’re both 10 or 11 years old with more recent graphics cards but otherwise the specs are as original. I may be replacing one of the machines during the next few months and the provisional specs for that include 16GB RAM (2 x 8GB to allow spare slots for future expansion).

        • #2356459
          Seff
          AskWoody Plus

          To clarify, both my machines are Windows, one is W10 and the other W7 (with 0patch).

      • #2356456
        agoldhammer
        AskWoody Plus

        My own work station has 32 GB of RAM (self built) but my wife’s which I build about eight years ago when Win 7 was still around only has 8 GB.  I updated her to Win 10 last year and she has no problems with that level of RAM.  However, she only runs basic office applications and Firefox for Gmail; she is not a demanding user.  For any current build my recommendation is 16 GB.

      • #2356464
        Ascaris
        AskWoody MVP

        My primary machines:

        16GB in my desktop (i5-2500k oc’d to 4500 MHz). 4 DIMM slots (each with 4GB). GPU is nVidia GTX760, 2GB. 3 SSDs (~=128GB each), 1 3TB HDD, all SATA.

        16GB in my Dell G3 gaming laptop (G3-15-3579, i7-8750H). 2 SoDIMM slots, each with 8GB. GPU is GTX1050ti, 4 GB. 1 NVMe SSD (250GB), Samsung 970 Evo. 1 SATA SSD, Samsung 850 Evo (2.5″).

        16 GB in my new Dell XPS 13 (9310), i5-1135G7). Soldered. GPU is integrated Iris Xe, shared. 1 NVMe SSD, SK Hynix Gold M31 1TB.

        Before I bought the XPS, the role of my go-everywhere laptop was filled by my Acer Swift 1, 13″, with only 4GB (soldered) on a Pentium N4200 SoC. It actually did okay with such a small amount of RAM, as it has a 1TB (SATA) SSD, a Samsung 860 Evo, which helped to make virtual memory much quicker than it would have otherwise been.

        All of these machines primarily run Linux, but they are all Windows-class machines (the desktop was built from parts and started out with Windows 7, and the XPS came with Linux preinstalled, but the other two mentioned came with Windows 10, and most XPS 13 9310s like mine do too).

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

      • #2356477
        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        Two Dell XPS-13. Both Win10 Pro. Each has 16GB RAM.

        --Joe

      • #2356520
        anonymous
        Guest

        Most of our machines have 16Gb of ram.

        We periodically run Tasks Manager and rarely find that we are using more than 50% of memory capacity.

      • #2356558
        CADesertRat
        AskWoody Plus

        2 desktops with 32 GB ram and an HP laptop with 16 GB.

        Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
        All Win 10 Pro at 20H2 (2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

      • #2356559
        Steve S.
        AskWoody Plus

        Upgraded my 3-year-old custom-built, dual-boot system to 32GB about 6 months ago.

        Currnet setup:  i7-8700K w/mild OC to 4.6Ghz (4.8Ghz turbo); four NVMe SSD’s : Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB, Samsung 950 Pro 512GB, Samsung 950 Pro 256GB, Intel SSD 512GB ; Geforce GTX 1070 8GB ; and for ‘at-hand’ backups and archives: two internal HGST HMS5C4040ALE640 4TB HDDs. Not counting my multiple external drives for backing it all up. Pretty much maxed out except for a current generation video card. Not complaining, though. 😉

         

        Win10 Pro x64 20H2, Win10 Home 20H2, Linux Mint + a cat with 'tortitude'.

        • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by Steve S..
      • #2356624
        IT Manager Geek
        AskWoody Plus

        Hello, to anyone that asks me, I highly recommend that they purchase a Windows machine with 16 GB, and that’s what I’ve standardized for my organization for the past 2 years.

        That said, I have 2 beautiful, fully functional Lenovo Carbon X1 & X2 (yes both are relatively ancient), yet, I had to buy them with 4 GB of RAM at the time to meet budget requirements and I kick myself everytime I look at them sitting on the shelf unused.  The Ram is soldered on the Carbons and it feels like that most laptops you get now are also soldered / non-expandable RAM.

        Take care,

        P.S.  My next long term laptop standard decision is whether to purchase machines with a separate GPU, and I’m finding in most non-gaming or non-video / graphic editing cases the answer is it’s not worth the extra price as the GPU rarely gets used.  Maybe it’s similar to having the 16 GB of RAM, you don’t use it often, but it does help make things snappier.  The investigation continues.

        IT Manager Geek

        • #2356775
          Ascaris
          AskWoody MVP

          That said, I have 2 beautiful, fully functional Lenovo Carbon X1 & X2 (yes both are relatively ancient), yet, I had to buy them with 4 GB of RAM at the time to meet budget requirements and I kick myself everytime I look at them sitting on the shelf unused. The Ram is soldered on the Carbons and it feels like that most laptops you get now are also soldered / non-expandable RAM.

          4GB is certainly less than ideal, and my preference is also for 16GB, but I did also find that 4GB (non-upgradeable) on my Acer Swift 1 worked better than it reasonably should have when paired with a SSD for virtual memory. I never tried it in Windows, but in Linux, the virtual memory settings allow a good deal of fine-tuning of the VM schema, so I set it up to prefer to swap (or page) out the contents of physical RAM as much and as early as possible, so that the precious 3.7 GB remaining after the integrated GPU takes its chunk is reserved for active programs. It would slightly reduce the responsiveness when RAM is not near full, but would allow for memory-intensive programs to request RAM without the system having to thrash to find enough RAM to allocate.

          It’s the opposite advice you usually “hear” on web forums, where people seem to equate virtual memory as a whole with thrashing, so they suggest turning it off or making it so the PC will only try to use it when it is nearly in a crisis state, which is too late. That would only be a reasonable solution if memory demands were typically well below that point, and the VM was only rarely used as a pressure valve of sorts (a schema that makes more sense if you have plenty of RAM than when you do not have much).

          If a PC has 4 GB of RAM and 8GB of swap, it only thrashes when nearly 12GB is allocated… so if there was no swap, it would have bluescreened or hit the OOM killer long before, as soon as the 4GB was full.

          It has worked really well, and I was often able to use Firefox sessions with way too many tabs for a 4GB laptop, and I could even run virtual machines on it. Not quickly, but the Swift isn’t quick doing anything.

          I would have preferred more RAM if it was offered in the Swift, but I do think that ultimately, it was its slow CPU that pushed me to seek its replacement more than the limited RAM.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2356835
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Why have you decided that 16GB is the correct amount? Do you run out of RAM with 8GB? Do things run faster with 16GB? What testing did you do?

          cheers, Paul

          p.s. my sample size of one shows W10 with 8GB and an SSD in my laptop is at least as fast as my 8GB W8.1 desktop and has better video performance with the built-in AMD chip.

      • #2356754
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        Which computer?
        3Gb using Win7 Pro x86 (NTFS)
        4Gb using Win8.1 Pro x64 (NTFS) maxed out
        8Gb using Win7 HP x64 (NTFS)
        8Gb using Win8.1 Pro x64 (NTFS)
        8Gb using Win7 Pro x64 (NTFS)
        8Gb using Win8.1 Pro x64 (NTFS)
        4GB using Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia x64 (EXT4/LVM/LUKS)
        2Gb Netbook Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia x86 (EXT4/LVM/LUKS) no ‘Meltdown’ patch
        0Gb with W10 x64 (NoFS) :p
        All with SSD’s

        W10, the itch you simply cannot scratch!
        • #2356803
          Ascaris
          AskWoody MVP

          I only listed my “main” ones. I keep adding more, and I just keep the old ones. I have 8 more than the three I listed. They range from 640KB (on my Compaq Portable Plus, XT-Class, 4.77 MHz) on up to 8GB (on my Asus F8Sn, Core 2 Duo, 2008). The Acer Swift 1 laptop (2017), Dell Inspiron 11 laptop (slightly older 2017), my Z77 (Ivy Bridge Celeron) backup server, and my currently inactive (but functional) P8P67 Pro desktop machine, which used to be my test PC that I have mentioned a few times, all have 4GB each (though at the moment the inactive desktop’s RAM is in the backup server). My Compaq M2000z laptop (2005ish) has 768MB, and my Compaq 1216us laptop (2001) has 128MB. The 1216’s backlight doesn’t work and the screen flops around with no hinge friction at all, but it does still work with an external monitor, so I count it as a PC!

          All of them but the Compaq Portable Plus (strictly a MS-DOS machine), the desktops (which came as pieces parts), and the Dell XPS I bought a week ago came with Windows, from Win Me (Compaq 1216us, with an XP CD-ROM in the box) to 10.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

      • #2356839
        Berserker79
        AskWoody Lounger

        Can’t say it’s the “normal” amount for a Windows 10 machine, but when I built my current rig a few years back (looking back at emails it was early 2016) I went directly for 16 gigs of RAM. Then again, the system was originally built with a with a view to double as a gaming rig and games tend to have relatively higher RAM requirements.

      • #2357218
        James Bond 007
        AskWoody Lounger

        Many of us have more than 1 machine, Susan. Which machine are you referring to in my case, for example?

        The machines I actively use all have at least 32 GB RAM or more. Bold is the main OS I use. I have other machines which are less used and are not listed.

        Main Computer : 80 GB (Windows 7 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 1809 LTSC, Windows 10 for testing)
        Second Machine : 48 GB (Windows 7 / Windows 8.1)
        Third Machine : 64 GB (Windows 7 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 1607 LTSB, Windows 10 for testing)

        I run VMware Workstation on my main machine often with several virtual machines running at the same time and that’s why I want that much RAM. I am thinking of using my third machine to run VMware as well.

        Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by James Bond 007. Reason: Correction
      • #2357271
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Well it depends on the purpose of the machine. And also on the operating system. There are definatelly some RAM eaters well known for their great apetite. Like web browsers generally, especially when user has 20+ tabs opened.

        The minimum for me is
        4GB pure office purpose = reading, writing
        8GB for “home entertainment center” = eg. high resolution video + downloading at the same time
        16GB for gaming
        32GB+ for work = VMs, 3D processing, video processing, …

        Bottom line: The SSD is must have for the C: volume. Because there is some swapping between RAM and storage. It must be as fast as possible. No more HDDs for me. Only for backups or simple data storage as volume D:, E:, ..

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2357273
        steeviebops
        AskWoody Lounger

        I personally wouldn’t run Windows 10 on anything less than 8GB. My laptop has 32GB; at the time I bought it I thought that was overkill but I’ve found myself using more than 16GB when running VMs.

        I have two SSDs (512GB NVMe and 1TB M.2 SATA) and a 1TB hard disk but I only use the hard disk as a scratch media and don’t save anything important on it.

      • #2357435
        Still Anonymous
        AskWoody Lounger

        For typical business use, I normally specify 8 GB, unless there’s something that you know requires more, such as graphical or video processing or running VMs.

        I’ve found that for use that I would consider to be “normal” (i.e., a browser, a mail client and a word processor, and maybe a spreadsheet), memory usage often tends to be in the range of 5 GB to 6 GB, and I’ve found this to be consistent with Windows, Linux and Mac.

        My own primary machine is configured with 16 GB, and even though I do a lot of multi-tasking, I rarely need more than about 7 GB, unless I have multiple virtual machines open.

        Something that’s easy to forget is that the old saw about “you can never have too much RAM” isn’t strictly true.  If a machine is memory-constrained, then adding memory will make a significant performance difference.  However, if you have enough memory (but slow performance) then adding more memory doesn’t do anything other than provide excess capacity, because the bottlenecks are elsewhere in the system.

        If I’m troubleshooting a slow computer that does not have memory issues, then I’m generally looking at storage as the next likely bottleneck. A full device (more than 75% full) is a common problem, and I’ve seen machines that are excruciatingly slow because of a hard drive that’s showing SMART errors.  And moving storage to SSD will help a lot on performance issues.

         

        For my own setups, the primary machine runs 16 GB, and the previous primary was one that I upgraded from 8 GB to 16 GB.  I currently use that machine as a file and print server, and a little bit of personal use, and for that, 16 GB is overkill.  For family machines, all of those are at 8 GB, except one desktop machine that’s used for some measure of gaming and video editing, and it’s worth having 16 GB there.

        I also have a Mac Mini that is hard-built to do only 4 GB of RAM, and it’s uncomfortably slow, although I use that one mostly for testing/managing configurations and familiarity of the UI for user support.  I knew that it was going to be tight on RAM when I got a reconditioned unit cheaply, and I can live with that, but at the same time, I may eventually replace it with a machine that can handle at least 8 GB.  My understanding is that newer Mini models don’t have the problem of no ability to upgrade RAM the way that most MacBook Pro models do.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2357676
        AmbularD
        AskWoody Plus

        32GB.  I multitask heavily on a daily basis.  I’ve also had a few instances when all that extra headroom came in mighty handy when trying to diagnose a massive memory leak that would have quickly bogged down a machine with less RAM to the point of unusability.

        i7-4790k - Z97X-Gaming 3 - DDR3 2133 x 32GB - GTX 1070 FTW - Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1 ESU

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by AmbularD.
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