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 thousands of times 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 a 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 baseline for RAM in a computer is 4GB; typically, it will do the job – just don’t expect to have several applications 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 16GB or 32GB.

When assessing your memory requirements, consider three things: the optimum memory configuration of your operating system, your usage patterns and your hardware. You should also check the requirements of individual programs to make sure you’ll be able to run the required software.

Kingston has created a chart to help you assess your optimum memory needs.1
Kingston RecommendsFrequent userGamerProfessional user
Memory Requirements
Desktop 4GB + (Windows & Mac) 8GB + (Windows) 8GB+ (Windows & Mac)
Notebook 4GB + (Windows & Mac) 8GB + (Windows) 4GB - 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, Sound Engineering
Advanced Web and Database Development, Production level editing
These recommendations are valid for the following Operating Systems:
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
OS X 10.10 Yosemite 2GB+
OS X 10.9 Mavericks 2GB+
Linux 1GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)

Related Videos

  • Memory Amount - How Much RAM Do You Need? DIY in 5 ep 27

    Think of RAM like a corkboard: it holds all your documents you’re currently working on in memory, while the power is on.

  • Video Editing Tips - Hardware and Software Recommendations - DIY in 5 Ep 136

    Are you suddenly finding yourself with a creative itch to make cool video content and share it with the world?

  • PC Build - 4k Video Editing PC Build 2019 - DIY in 5 Ep 108

    Planning on editing 4K video but not sure if a $1,000 pre-built model will work? Don’t worry. We’re going to show you how to build the best 4K editing rig.

  • Build a Video Editing PC – DIY in 5 Ep 54

    Here are the parts you really need to build a video editing PC.

Related Articles