How much RAM does a laptop need?

How much RAM does a laptop need?

There are many factors to consider when buying a laptop, including how much RAM you will need.

RAM, or Random Access Memory, isn’t one of the most important specs to consider these days, but it’s still important to get the right amount for your workload.

That’s why we’re here to break down RAM and how much a laptop will need, depending on its use case.

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How much RAM does a laptop need?

In general, most basic laptops come with 8GB of RAM. We recommend most people aim for 8GB, as this will provide smooth performance during basic tasks like web browsing and emailing.

8GB should also be more than enough for the majority of office workers, so you probably won’t have to worry about upgrading RAM at checkout if you plan on sticking to day-to-day tasks and apps.

Do some laptops have less than 8 GB of RAM?

Yes, some laptops will come with less than 8GB of RAM, although that’s not that common. Typically, Chromebooks are the main laptops with 4GB of RAM, with the Acer Chromebook 314 being a prime example.

Again, we always recommend aiming for 8GB of RAM whenever possible, but 4GB of RAM can still provide decent performance for Chromebook laptops. That said, you’ll likely notice a slowdown when multitasking or opening multiple web browser windows at once.

Do I need more than 8 GB of RAM?

Most people should be fine with 8GB of RAM because you don’t really need more when performing simple tasks like opening multiple web browser windows at once.

But if you’re looking to engage in more intensive work on your laptop, like gaming or creating content, you’ll want to look for more than 8GB. As you can imagine, loading huge in-game worlds or creating complex animations will require more memory capacity to ensure smooth performance.

Therefore, we suggest having 16GB of RAM as an ideal starting point for such workloads. But it’s important to note that RAM can be eaten up quickly by renders and video, which means 16GB may not be enough for some games and tasks.

16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Pro top cover

In this case, you can find laptops with more than 32 GB of RAM, with the 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro laptop being configurable up to 32 GB when paired with the M1 Max chipset. The 14-inch MacBook Pro also goes up to 32GB, as both laptops were designed for intensive creative workloads.

In terms of gaming, it’s always worth checking a game’s minimum requirements. Typically, you won’t need to look for a gaming laptop larger than 16GB, with Elden Ring finding that memory is sufficient. Instead, you better focus your money on improving the CPU or GPU.

Generally, CPUs and GPUs are more important considerations for performance, as they can not only avoid bottlenecks, but also significantly improve frame rate performance. Still, it’s still important to take note of how much RAM your laptop has before purchasing, to ensure you get the best experience.

If you want more advice on buying a new laptop, check out our article on how much battery a laptop needs, as well as Intel Evo laptops. You can also check out our best laptops list for this year, for an overall assessment of the high-quality laptops currently available.