Determine How Much Memory You Need When Buying a New Computer

Computer memory, or "RAM" (Random Access Memory), is very important when purchasing a new computer. RAM makes sure that the computer is loading processes correctly. It is the temporary storage for anything you load up, from your Internet browser to that game of solitaire; any information within that session will be lost after you shut down. RAM also speeds the computer up because more programs can be temporarily placed into it so access is quicker. How much RAM you'll need ultimately depends on what you plan to do with your computer. For instance when looking on the back of photo-editing software Adobe Photoshop CS3, it states that you need 512MB of RAM, but 1GB is recommended. Having the recommended RAM will give your computer optimal performance for that application.

1.Write a list of programs that you want to have on your new computer, such as graphics software, Microsoft Word, and your operating system. This information will give you a baseline to work with.

2.Check the system requirements for each program on your list to see how much RAM will run the program optimally. For example, Windows XP requires at least 1GB of memory, while Vista needs 2GB; specialized computer graphics and full-motion video will require at least 4GB of memory, including what you'll need for your operating system. These system requirements are available on manufacturer websites or directly on the programs' packaging.

3.Consider all the programs, including your operating system, that you'll run at once and add together how much RAM each of these programs will need.

4.Add 512MB to 1GB extra RAM to your total to give yourself leeway for future programs that you might want to add to your computer.

Tips & Warnings
If how you use your computer changes and you add or remove programs, add or subtract RAM accordingly. Remember that RAM is set up in multiples of 8s. Memory is sold in increments of 256MB, 512MB, 1GB (1,024 MB), and 2GB (2,048 MB).

Laptop computers are not always easy to upgrade because some can only carry so much RAM, often 4GB. Most memory that you purchase aside from what comes with your computer will have a manufacturer's lifetime warranty. This is good only for manufacturer defects, so make sure you keep the receipt for memory in case you have to exchange it.

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