How much memory do you need to run Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux apps?

What is RAM?

Kingston memory modules

RAM (Random Access Memory) provides fast access and temporary storage for data in computers. RAM sits in-between the processor and permanent data storage, like an HDD/SSD. When a computer is turned on, the processor requests data (such as the operating system) from the HDD/SSD and loads this into RAM. RAM is significantly faster than even the fastest SSDs, so having more RAM capacity to hold applications and data near the processor helps make computing quick and efficient.

How Much RAM Do I Have?

If you are using a Windows-based PC
  1. Locate the Computer icon in the Start menu.
  2. Right-click the Computer icon and select Properties from the menu.
  3. Under System and beneath the processor model, you can see the installed memory amount, measured in MB (megabytes) or GB (gigabytes).
Modules in Motherboard
If you are using an Apple Mac System
  1. Open the Apple menu and click About this Mac.
  2. Select System Report to display the System Information screen.
  3. Click Memory, listed under the Hardware section.

The Memory Slot information shows your current memory configuration. This information helps you determine which slots are occupied, the type of memory and the number of slots that are still available to install new Kingston memory.

How much RAM do I need?

The base memory installed in many computers is 4GB or 8GB. While 4GB or 8GB may be enough for the OS and a few applications, don’t expect to multi-task or have large files open at the same time without affecting performance. A mid-range configuration may require double that and high-end gaming systems and workstations need as much as 32GB or more to run smoothly.

When assessing your memory needs, consider three things: the minimum memory capacity requirements of your operating system, the motherboard channel architecture requirements (do modules need to be installed in groups of 2 or 4?) and the memory demands of the applications you typically use.

Kingston has created a chart to help you assess your optimum memory needs.1
Kingston RecommendsFrequent userGamerProfessional user
Memory Requirements
Desktop 4 - 8GB + (Windows & Mac) 8 - 32GB + (Windows) 16 - 64GB+ (Windows & Mac)
Notebook 4 - 8GB + (Windows & Mac) 8 - 32GB + (Windows) 16 - 64GB - System Max
Email, Web surfing Most games these days require 4–8GB of RAM to run at high settings Graphics design/3D modeling
Download and Manage Photos, Music, Movies and TV 8GB+ Full suite of office products Advanced Features
Full suite of office products(Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, etc.) High-performance gaming (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, etc.)
Corporate Software (CRM, Accounting, Manufacturing) Corporate Software (CRM, Accounting, Manufacturing)
Software programming, Design Engineering, Digital Audio Workstations, Video Editing
Advanced Web and Database Development, Production level editing
These recommendations are valid for the following Operating Systems:
Minimum RAMMaximum RAM
Windows 11 4GB+ 6TB (Enterprise and Workstation), 2TB (Pro and Education)
Windows 10
Windows 8/8.1
1GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) 128GB (Win8)–512GB (Win8 Professional and Enterprise)
Windows 7 1GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) 192GB
Windows Vista® 1GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) 128GB

macOS 12 Monterey
macOS 13 Ventura

macOS 10.15 Catalina
macOS 11 Big Sur

macOS 10.14 Mojave
macOS 10.13 High Sierra
macOS 10.12 Sierra
OS X 10.11 El Capitan
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Linux 1GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)

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