How much memory or RAM should my computer have?

Updated: 12/30/2021 by Computer Hope
Computer memory aka RAM

The answer depends on what operating system and programs you run on the computer and how many programs run at the same time. We recommend looking at the system requirements for the programs or games you run on your computer, and double that number. However, below is our recommendation for the amount of memory today's (2022) computers should have.

Minimum: 4 GB
Recommended: 8 GB
Excellent: 16 GB or more.

If you're using an older computer, with an older version of an operating system, the minimum memory requirements are lower. For example, users still running Microsoft Windows XP can get away with 128 MB of memory since its requirements are only 64 MB.

Note

It's important to know that the 32-bit versions of any Microsoft Windows operating system can only detect up to 4 GB of total system memory. Upgrading to a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit version of Windows increases your memory requirements, but it also allows your computer to recognize more memory.

What happens if my computer has less than 2 GB?

As long as you are using an older operating system, as mentioned above, you can still get away with 2 GB of memory or less. However, running an older operating system poses a security threat because they are no longer updated. Also, newer software often won't work on older computers and operating systems.

If you are running a newer operating system, like Windows 10 or Windows 11, with 2 GB or less of memory, the computer may be quite slow. You may also receive "low memory" warnings on your computer, and programs may freeze if there's insufficient memory.

Is having 32 GB or more of memory too much?

No, but it's usually not necessary. If the computer supports 32 GB or more of memory and it's in your budget, add as much memory as you want. Although many applications, including modern games, video editing programs, and 3-D modeling software, can run more smoothly with extra RAM, rarely more than 32 GB are utilized simultaneously.