8GB, 16GB or 32GB, How Much RAM You Actually Need In a Laptop

RAM or random access memory is one of the most crucial parts of laptops or PCs. It lets the device hold data temporarily. While SSD (solid-state drive) or HDD (hard disk drive) storage is your laptop’s long-term memory, RAM is its short-term memory. Be it opening applications, working on large files in Photoshop, or juggling dozens of browser tabs, such data is stored in the system memory, not on your HDD or SSD. A PC without enough RAM is slow to respond – especially if you open multiple tabs at once.

How much RAM do you actually need in your laptop? It is typically determined by what you intend to use the device for. A good rule of thumb is to have more than you need – but not too much.

In this post, we’re breaking down what to expect from common RAM configurations. Based on this, you’ll know how much memory you need.

2GB & 4GB RAM Laptops

2G of RAM for modern Windows computers operate slowly. You can’t run many programs simultaneously. These days, most Windows laptops have 4GB Ram as the baseline configuration, and for good reason. It’s only worthwhile if you upgrade your old 2GB RAM to 4 GB RAM or more.

To achieve this, make sure your laptop has user-accessible SODIMM (Small-Outline Dual Inline Memory Module) slots – a small computer expansion card used for RAM. We recommend you choose a laptop model that has this expandable memory (user-accessible SODIMM slots) so you can upgrade down the road.

8 GB RAM Laptops

Is 8GB RAM good for everyday computing tasks?

8GB RAM may be a bare minimum you’ll want for daily tasks like watching streaming content, browsing the web and using word processors.

A laptop with 8GB RAM enables you to have multiple tabs open and switch between them with no significant performance degradation. You can even get away with some video editing or light photo editing. However, you’d likely be in for some lengthy load times.

What else? Playing games on laptops with 8GB RAM can be a dicey proposition. Many modern games run perfectly fine with 8GB of memory. However, if you would like to play something that is in trend such as The Division 2, 8GB RAM will not cut it because this particular game requires 11.3GB of memory.

Better, steam games from services like Xbox Game Pass or GeForce Now on PC if you only have 8GB of RAM.

16 GB RAM Laptops

This is the most common memory power required by people. Why? Because this amount of memory in your gadget allows you to have enough headroom for standard tasks. It is well suitable for modern games. But for those doing office work or gaming, 16GB RAM can be a hedge to meet future requirements. Maybe, you create simple spreadsheets in Excel now, but later you may require to work on complex documents overflowing with data.

Amateur creatives who often use programs like Premiere Pro or Adobe Photoshop can get away with 16GB of memory. However, professionals presumably need more. My rig comes with 32GB of memory, and I use it to play games simultaneously with a couple of tabs open. This is fairly standard for most people because not most folks play games while browsing 30 sites and watching Netflix. In case you tend to have a good amount of headroom for gaming and average productivity, then you can’t go wrong with 16GB of RAM.

32GB Memory and Up

Video editors working on time-sensitive projects, for example, should actively use apps that gobble up system memory. Many experts would rather spend more money if the laptop they want to buy reduces the amount of time in completing their tasks.

But what when it comes to high-end game enthusiasts, you ask? While some top-of-the-line gaming laptops have 32GB RAM, that amount of memory hardly meets the gaming requirements.

In addition, professionals like 3D animators or game developers might even want 64GB RAM though these are specialized fields. Until or unless you edit a movie or create a game using Unreal Engine 5, you don’t need 32GB of memory.

Bottom Line

Determining the spaces for a new laptop is a delicate balancing act. You would like to spend enough so you won’t be upset in the future. And you may also not like to spend so much that you won’t be using all the hardware you get. Among a range of 8 GB RAM laptops, 16GB RAM laptops or 32GB RAM, etc., I consider 16GB memory to be the sweet spot. Why? Because that amount of memory enables you to perform everyday computing tasks as well as play demanding games with no problems.

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