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beginners guide to computer memory

A Beginners Guide to Computer Memory

A Beginners Guide to Computer Memory

We’ve all experienced the frustration that comes with working on a computer so slow that it seems like it takes a lifetime just to get any work done. 

We may even begin to describe the connection speed with words we wouldn’t dare use if our grandmothers were in the room with us. 

However, the blame may solely land on the computer’s memory and its capacity to execute the commands it is given.

Even most novices are aware that upgrading the computer’s memory usually enhances its performance, but have you ever wondered why? 

Before we explain why it makes such a drastic difference, let’s understand the role computer memory plays in the not-so-complicated system.

Memory Simply Explained

Close your eyes and picture yourself sitting at one of those tiny desks in your high school classroom. 

You know, the desks that had the one arm rest and the wire basket attached to the bottom of the uncomfortable plastic chair.

Your teacher approaches you and asks you to sort a stack of colored papers. 

The papers are an assortment of red, green, blue, and yellow. 

You start to sort the papers but soon realize the small desk you are at will only give you enough room to sort one color at a time.

Now if you were sitting at a much larger desk, like the teacher’s desk with the big chair, you would be able to sort all of the colored papers at the same time, decreasing the amount of time it takes to sort them.

Assume a computer’s memory is its desk. With more memory, a computer will have more room, resulting in more things being done at once.

In principle, each time an application is opened the computer has to load the application program as well as the data file to be edited. 

The more memory the computer has, the more work it can do at one time; increasing speed and performance.

Memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) as it is more commonly referred to is the computer’s form of short-term memory. 

A computer’s RAM can be accessed without even touching the hard drive, which is why it has a direct correlation the speed and performance of the machine.

In a nut shell, RAM is what allows the computer to run faster and smoother. 

Especially when you are trying to use several different programs and applications at the same time.

Why Upgrade RAM?

Remember how earlier in the article we talked about cursing the computer because of its lagging performance? 

Well that’s why you might want to consider upgrading the RAM. 

Upgrading the computer’s RAM is all based on your preference of speed and performance. 

If you want your computer to perform at a high level, then upgrade it.

A great way to check a computer’s performance and available RAM is by using the Window’s Task Manager application. 

Open the Window’s Task Manager application and select the performance tab. 

The box labeled Memory (MB) will display the amount of RAM being used at that specific time.

A good but unwritten rule is that if the computer’s available memory is less than 25 percent of its total memory, then you might want to upgrade it.  

Upgrading the RAM will deliver a visible performance boost in your favor.

windows task manager

How Much RAM is Enough RAM?

Now that you’ve decided (or still on the fence) to upgrade your computer’s memory, how much RAM you actually need depends on what you intend to use the machine for. 

Are you going to continue using it for the same purpose as before, or do your future intentions include running multiple applications simultaneously?

Also, other factors to consider are how long you plan on keeping the computer and if your system even allows post-purchase user upgrades. 

If you only plan on keeping it for a short time before replacing the entire system with a newer model then why waste the time and money on the upgrade? 

Keep in mind that the average PC becomes obsolete after only 3 to 5 years after its manufacture date.

Do some research before taking apart the body of your computer too. Some systems don’t allow post-purchase user upgrades. 

The reason some laptop manufacturers have stopped allowing memory upgrades after they’re purchased is to reduce the thickness of the body.

Adding more memory to a laptop usually only increases power consumption by a small amount, which shouldn’t be a problem for most consumers. 

It’s also better to have a bit too much memory than too little.

Apple’s MacBook Air has 4GB of RAM, whereas a majority of the systems from Dell, HP, and others start at 8GB. 

Any user can easily get by on 4GB, but 8GB gives you a bit more “desk space” to get the job done more efficiently.

A moderate computing system today can get by with 4GB of RAM with no problem. 

8GB of RAM should be more than enough for current and future applications. 

16GB of RAM gives users a comfortable amount space for the future. 

Any amount of RAM over 16GB is most likely going to be too much unless a task specifically needs it. 

Tasks that might require a large amount of RAM would be thing like video editing or audio production.

What Do I Do With My Used RAM After I Upgrade My System?

So, you’ve decided to take the leap and upgrade your computer’s RAM. 


I hope the increased performance is all you’d hoped it would be. 

But now you have these used memory sticks just laying around and don’t know what to do with them.

First things first, DO NOT throw them away. 

The chemicals that are used to produce the RAM can be extremely toxic to the environment. 

Do what any good business man would do, sell them. RAM holds its value long after their original systems retirement.

We Buy Used Memory can help you or your organization receive fair market value for your used RAM all while keeping it out of the local landfills.  

Contact one of our IT experts today and they’ll walk you through our simple, no hassle process of getting the most for your used equipment. 

You’ll be happy you did.

sell used memory

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