RAM, or Random Access Memory, is what helps your computer do its tasks. It’s often described as short term memory. It’s where your CPU will store things so that it can have fast access to those items. For example, if you are working on editing video then you can the entire video is stored in RAM so that the CPU can have fast and easy to access to said video.
Another way to think about it is as a bank. Sure you can store money outside of the bank but it is easier and safer to store money in the bank. And like a bank account, there is no harm in having a bigger account. But having too small of an account is a real issue. It means that the CPU is going to have to redo processes sometimes since it has nowhere to store things.
For most gaming PCs you can easily get by with 8 Gb RAM. Anything beyond that gives you fewer returning dividends. Sure it’s awesome to have 64 Gb’s of RAM. But you don’t really need it. Unless you do a lot of video editing and multi-tasking while also playing games or other CPU heavy tasks. When in doubt get more. It’s that simple, RAM isn’t overly expensive nowadays so it’s easier to get more of it.
RAM is helpful if you do a lot of tasks at once.
RAM is on a list of upgrades for me because I like to play video games while having other documents open or a web browser. If I am playing a game there is often at least 4 other programs open. Sometimes my 8 Gb’s of RAM just doesn’t seem to cut it. Luckily I have DDR4 RAM.
Recently RAM is being upgraded from DDR3 to DDR4 and I got DDR4 so that my computer was a little more future proof. There isn’t a big difference between DDR4 and DDR3, both do the same thing and at relatively the same speeds. But that’s this first generation of DDR4 and you can expect there to be many improvements as time goes on. For example, the DDR3 generation ran to a max of 2133 MHz whereas DDR4 starts at 2133 MHz. On top of this DDR4 RAM has a lower power consumption, by about 15 W. This doesn’t matter much to the average home PC user, but it never hurts.
There are many different companies that manufacture RAM. I personally use HyperX 8Gb DDR4 on my computer at home. I have found this to be more than sufficient for my needs. I also do not do any crazy things. My computer is a mid-high range computer.
So what amount of RAM is best for you?
Well, to be safe you should probably get at least 8 Gb. If you do not play games, you could probably get away with 4 but it’s better to have it then it is to not have it. Especially considering that RAM is relatively cheap and can be an inexpensive way to improve your computer performance. Some gamers would be better off getting 16 Gb’s just because they like to have many different processes running and a game can take up a lot of RAMs. This extra RAM is also helpful if you are running several monitors as it takes a lot shorter term memory.
If you play low-end old games, then you are probably fine with 4 Gb. If you want to play any new game you are going to need a minimum of 8 Gb but you should seriously look at getting 16.
There are several companies that make RAM. Corsair, Kingston, HyperX, Crucial, and several other smaller companies.
When you purchase RAM I would suggest doing it from a company that is known, or that you have already purchased parts from. You have less chance of getting a DOA (Dead on Arrival) part and the larger companies tend to have better replacement services and customer service. And if you get several parts from the same company they are more likely to treat you well as a loyal customer.
RAM is probably the easiest part of installing in your computer actually.
You just have to plug it in into the PCIx16 slot. If you are getting 16 Gb of RAM then you are will be receiving 2 sticks of 8 Gb RAM. And if you get 8 Gb of RAM you are going to be receiving 2 sticks of 4 Gb. On the Motherboard there are 4 slots of PCIx16 slots next to the CPU (most likely), you just plug in the RAM. You do have to make sure that the pin lines up with the lock down mechanism. Fear not, though. Makers of RAM have made it nearly impossible to screw this up. All you have to do is line the gap in the RAM up with the gap in the connector and you are solid. Like I said, tough to get wrong.
RAM should cost you just under $100 for 16 Gb’s of DDR4 ram. It’s such a simple cheap upgrade that actually ends up doing so much. It is so helpful to have enough RAM, because if you don’t you notice immediately.
One time I had one of my sticks of RAM fail, I went from 8 Gb’s of RAM to 8 until I could get the replacement in the mail (under warranty). And while my computer still worked, it was louder, hotter, and slower. I couldn’t play games like GTA V or Battlefield. I was relegated to my pre-2010 selection of games (which is more than enough). But it is frustrating not being able to play the games you want because of such a simple and relatively cheap upgrade.