When you purchase a new desktop or laptop, it works out to be much more affordable to go for a cheaper model first and later upgrade the RAM to its maximum performance. The question is, how much RAM can your computer take? Is it already at its maximum, or is there still room for an upgrade? Follow this easy-to-understand guide to find out how much RAM your computer currently has and the maximum RAM capacity it supports.
Find Out How Much RAM Your Computer Has
It is quite easy to find out the amount of RAM in your computer. In Windows 10, you can learn your installed RAM by using the keyboard shortcut Win + PAUSE. This will also provide your processor name and operating system type (32- or 64-bit).
After this, use Ctrl + Shift + ESC to open the taskbar and size up your RAM limits. It gives the number of slots you have, the clock speed per slot, the kind of RAM you have (DDR3 or DDR4), and how much is available.
Mac users can select "About This Mac" from the Apple menu to know their chipset information and RAM memory values.
Linux users can make use of the software hardinfo to get detailed information about the system, including memory information.
Find Out the Maximum RAM Your Computer Can Support
Windows users can determine the maximum RAM capacity in the Command prompt with the command below. It gives the final value in kilobytes which can be converted to gigabytes (divide the value by 1048576 to convert KB to GB).
wmic memphysical get MaxCapacity, MemoryDevices
The above example shows that my maximum RAM capacity is 8 GB. If your motherboard has two memory slots, it means the maximum RAM capacity per slot is 8 / 2 = 4 GB.
The easiest way to find out a Mac's RAM details is to check "About This Mac," which will identify the memory module type and speed, how many RAM slots there are on the Mac, and which slots are in use.
1. Pull down the Apple menu and go to “About this Mac.”
2. Click the “More Info … ” button to summon System Information.
3. Look under the “Memory” tab for information about your Mac RAM, including maximum capacity, used memory slots, and which type of RAM the Mac accepts.
To find the maximum RAM capacity in Linux, you can make use of the command
dmidecode, though it is not installed by default in most distros.
1. Install dmidecode:
#ubuntu/debian sudo apt install dmidecode #arch sudo pacman -S dmidecode #Fedora sudo dnf install dmidecode #openSUSE sudo zypper in dmidecode
2. Run the command:
sudo dmidecode -t 16
It will give you information about your memory capacity.
In my case, my Linux computer has 4 memory slots and 128GB maximum RAM capacity (32GB per slot).
Also read: How to Set up and Use a RAM Drive in Windows
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much RAM is good for gaming?
There's a common misconception that the more RAM you have for gaming, the better your gaming will somehow become. The reality is that at this point you won't realistically need more than 16GB RAM for gaming, though if you record yourself gaming then you may want a little bit more.
2. How much RAM do I actually need?
This depends on your purposes. As outlined above, you don't need a ton for gaming, but if you work with a lot of large files, are relentless at leaving tabs in your browser open, and tend to multitask with demanding stuff like moving files around and working with video editing, then you may want to bump that up to 32GB.
There's little purpose for going above that unless you have some kind of multi-monitor, multi-software-running-simultaneously setup. And "futureproofing" doesn't really hold up as an argument because RAM is likely to move onto the next DDR generation rather than keep growing in size.
3. RAM speed vs size
Size isn't the only thing to consider with RAM. There's also speed (measured in MHz).
While size is a key thing to consider, you hit diminishing returns once you reach 16GB (and definitely 32GB) in most use cases. The next RAM factor to look at is speed, which again matters up to a certain point but shouldn't supersede RAM size when buying new RAM. At this point, 3600MHz is considered plenty enough for most purposes, while 4400MHz is shown in some games to offer a bit more performance, but won't be that tangible in day-to-day use.
4. Should I upgrade RAM or SSD?
While it's a little bit like comparing apples and oranges, it's still a common question so we'll address it here. Will upgrading RAM or SSD be more beneficial?
As is so often the case: it depends. If you don't currently have an SSD, then what are you waiting for?!? The upgrade of an OS (and other) drives from HDD to SSD is one of the biggest upgrades you can make to your PC, and should be an utmost priority.
If, however, your OS is already on SSD and your PC is a little lacking in the RAM department (like, say, having 8GB or even 16GB of DDR3 RAM), then upgrading to 16GB of DDR4 or even the new DDR5 RAM could make a big difference.
In slightly different contexts, RAM and SSD both speed up your PC.
After finding your computer's maximum RAM capacity, if your computer supports more memory than it currently has, you can proceed to upgrade your RAM and give your computer a performance boost. Don't forget to check your RAM health. And remember to benchmark your PC to see if those RAM upgrades really make a difference.
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