If you’ve already been shopping for a new computer, you’ve probably noticed the great difference in prices among the latest models. Often, this price difference is directly proportional to the amount of memory the computer has. This makes sense too. The more memory you have on a computer, the more you will be able to do with the programs and other processes. But what you may also have noticed is a great range of possibilities in terms of memory storage. This can lead to the great computer question of the day – just how much memory is enough for you?
What are You Using Your Computer For Now?
Memory on a computer can be compared to the space that you have in your home. If you have more space, you can put more things in your home. The same can be said for your computer’s memory. The more memory you have, the more programs you can run and store on your hard drive. But if you don’t have to use a lot of programs on your computer, you probably don’t need to have a lot of memory.
Right now, write down all of the things you use your computer for right now: email, word processing, etc. This will give you a sense of the memory you actually need from the computer you choose. Be realistic about the uses for your current computer so that this assessment can be accurate for your computer shopping comparison.
What Do You Plan to Use it For Later?
Of course, you might also be getting a new computer because you have big plans for that hard drive. In that case, try to figure out just what programs and processes you will wan to run in the future. Think big for this question because you are gathering the information you need to determine exactly how much memory you will need for your computer.
Again, make a list of the programs you will want to use on your new computer, in addition to any programs that you might buy separately, like games and office productivity software. If you can, try to make a list of these programs along with their requirements for memory usage on your hard drive. These numbers will be found on the back of the software packaging.
How Much Memory does Your Current Computer Have?
A good standard of measurement for the amount of memory you need on your computer is your current computer. Think for a minute about how well your computer is running right now. If you don’t have any troubles running the programs you need, you might already have found the right computer memory measurement for your new computer.
However, what you might also want to realize is that this number from your current computer includes old software programs that you might have to upgrade on your new computer. For example, the overall platform of many new computers is a new operating system, which takes up far more space than older versions of the same software. This is simply something to keep in mind as you are calculating your future needs.
How Much Memory Do You Need?
If you have to have a number for the memory you need on your new computer, there are several ways to calculate this. The good news is that many computer retailers will have lists or quizzes that will guide you to the proper number for your needs. But in the absence of that, here are any simple guidelines:
- 1GB is standard for basic operating systems dating before 2007 and for using basic programs like email and word processing.
- 2GB is recommended for newer operating systems as well as for running MP3 programs and photo storage.
- 2GB+ is recommended if you are running graphical programs or multiple operating systems
These are fairly accurate recommendations, though you might want to consider one other possible way to make sure you have what you need.
Keeping Your Options Open
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on memory right now, there are ways that you can add more memory in the future. Simply ask the computer dealer how many open memory slots there are in the computer you want to buy. If you have room to upgrade your computer by 1GB, that’s mostly plenty of extra room for the home user.
You can also check this by looking at the memory storage for the sold model as well as right clicking the My Computer icon to see the system information. If you see a number that is higher than your memory storage, that means you can increase the memory to that number.
Memory is the key to running programs without any problems, but it’s not the only thing to look at when you are shopping around. However, it is certainly going to make things easier for you in the long run.