Don’t Buy a PC With 8GB of RAM (Unless You Plan to Upgrade It)

kyzarvs

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On my 32GB machines, I typically run 7.7GB idle with a browser open.
On a 4GB customer laptop, I have chrome open and run 2.7GB with no appreciable performance difference for basic browsing. SSD vs spinner is by far the biggest differentiator on low-spec machines.

Doesn't windows adapt to the RAM it has avialable? I freely admit that 8GB is preferred for browsing + MS Office generic use (our company has two very different spec levels for pupils & staff in schools for example), but the apocolyptic tone of the article is a little... much?
 

closs.sebastien

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a lot of people are just using internal website as professional tool..
or just some sharepoint/ms-office things...

16 gb would be a lot of overkill. like if you recommend a core i9 for them.

Windows will eat 8 gb if it has it (and make pre-cache). That doesn't mean it really need those 8 gb.

and, by the way, why the hell people are using/opening 40 tabs in browser, they can't read them at the same time...

I have 32 go, and in 3 years, I went over 16 gb a very few times, even with FlightSimulator or big loads. most of the time my computer is at 4-5 gb.
 

magbarn

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I'm surprised he didn't mention Apple who continues to solder in 8gb ram and 256gb SSDs in >$1000 machines. At least the majority of Windows PC still have socketed RAM.
 
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I find it disgusting that current Windows builds use up so much RAM - 2.4 Gb allocated after a format and reinstall after upgrade and reboot ? What for ? What requires so much RAM that it needs more than double what Windows 7 allocated in the same situation ? Adverts ? Microsoft-sanctioned spyware?
So, OK, operating systems get more and more bloated, I know.
I also know that I fail to understand why Skype allocates 500 to 1000 Mo of RAM, Teams takes up the same thing and Edge gobbles down RAM - eventhough all three software run the very same thing : Chromium ! And don't try to talk to be about RAM isolation, using NX would be far enough to prevent it.
Come on, what does Skype currently do that Skype for Windows did a couple years ago while using only 140 Mb of RAM? Apart from crashing, that is...
 

InvalidError

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With memory near all-time low cost per GB, I wouldn't recommend buying anything with less than 16GB either. Running out of RAM is the easiest way to nuke performance and responsiveness. While having an SSD may help, it is so easy to blow through 8GB that the SSD is likely to see accelerated wear from swapping. Just opening my minimum complement of always opened stuff puts me at 10-11GB shortly after booting. My mother doesn't use her laptop for much besides Facebook and even her pretty much bloat-free setup typically sits at 6GB out of 8GB in use.

a lot of people are just using internal website as professional tool..
or just some sharepoint/ms-office things...

16 gb would be a lot of overkill. like if you recommend a core i9 for them.
The cost to you of upgrading from 8GB to 16GB if you ever need to do something more intensive than basic web browsing is ~$50 + the time and other possible costs it takes to do the DIMM swap assuming the laptop has reasonably accessible socketed memory. As pointed out in the article, some PC/laptop manufacturers are pitching 8GB computers at gamers. That will blow straight through 8GB.

The incremental cost to the manufacturer putting in 16GB instead of 8GB is only $20-25 extra.

If you have ever experienced the severe performance degradation that comes from running out of real memory, ~$20 is very cheap insurance against your SSD and performance getting stomped by swapfile traffic if you plan to keep the computer for any decent amount of time.

you article should differenciate: yes, don't buy a new computer with 8 gb... IF YOU ARE A POWER-USER.
8GB is barely enough for my mother visiting Facebook. Anyone doing more than that and especially any sort of gaming should aim for 16GB at a minimum. I'm with BX there, power user territory starts at 32GB.
 
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closs.sebastien

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No self-respecting power user would have less than 32gb on their new machine in 2022. Personally, I've been sitting on 64gb for almost a decade and you'd be surprised how often I needed every single bit of it.
I have 32.. I went over 16 a very few times in 3 years... 32 never used.
 

closs.sebastien

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I find it disgusting that current Windows builds use up so much RAM - 2.4 Gb allocated after a format and reinstall after upgrade and reboot ? What for ? What requires so much RAM that it needs more than double what Windows 7 allocated in the same situation ? Adverts ? Microsoft-sanctioned spyware?
So, OK, operating systems get more and more bloated, I know.
I also know that I fail to understand why Skype allocates 500 to 1000 Mo of RAM, Teams takes up the same thing and Edge gobbles down RAM - eventhough all three software run the very same thing : Chromium ! And don't try to talk to be about RAM isolation, using NX would be far enough to prevent it.
Come on, what does Skype currently do that Skype for Windows did a couple years ago while using only 140 Mb of RAM? Apart from crashing, that is...
skype.. does it still exist?
 

closs.sebastien

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With memory near all-time low cost per GB, I wouldn't recommend buying anything with less than 16GB either. Running out of RAM is the easiest way to nuke performance and responsiveness. While having an SSD may help, it is so easy to blow through 8GB that the SSD is likely to see accelerated wear from swapping. Just opening my minimum complement of always opened stuff puts me at 10-11GB shortly after booting. My mother doesn't use her laptop for much besides Facebook and even her pretty much bloat-free setup typically sits at 6GB out of 8GB in use.


The cost to you of upgrading from 8GB to 16GB if you ever need to do something more intensive than basic web browsing is ~$50 + the time and other possible costs it takes to do the DIMM swap assuming the laptop has reasonably accessible socketed memory. As pointed out in the article, some PC/laptop manufacturers are pitching 8GB computers at gamers. That will blow straight through 8GB.

The incremental cost to the manufacturer putting in 16GB instead of 8GB is only $20-25 extra.

If you have ever experienced the severe performance degradation that comes from running out of real memory, ~$20 is very cheap insurance against your SSD and performance getting stomped by swapfile traffic if you plan to keep the computer for any decent amount of time.


8GB is barely enough for my mother visiting Facebook. Anyone doing more than that and especially any sort of gaming should aim for 16GB at a minimum. I'm with BX there, power user territory starts at 32GB.
yes, we all agree.
If you "use" your computer seriously, you should have 16 or 32. but no need for bothering the grandma because she has only 8.
 

BX4096

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I have 32.. I went over 16 a very few times in 3 years... 32 never used.
Do you do anything on your PC besides playing and browsing? Most editing software will happily eat up every bit of RAM you'll throw at it. Photoshop, for example, uses 70% of available RAM by default and needs it, too. I'm not even talking about video editing apps like Premiere or something like Unreal Engine 4, which will give your 32gb out of memory errors as soon as you try to load something serious there.

Heck, even modded Minecraft will immediately struggle with 16gb. With memory requirements undoubtedly getting higher in the near future, I wouldn't recommend this amount of memory to anyone, including your grandma. As for 8gb, I'm half surprised that they still bother to make sticks that small anymore.

EDIT: what I usually did when I installed 32gb for my friends and relatives was to convert about 8gb of it to a RAM drive and use it as a TEMP and browser cache folder, both to extend the life of the SSD and to enjoy higher cache speeds compared to bandwidth-limited SATA . I also have 128gb RAM work machine that has 64gb set up as a RAM drive and directs all the temporary media editing files there. Not sure how relevant it is with today's PCI-E drive speeds, but I decided to mention it nonetheless. May probably still be useful once they start making high-capacity DDR5 of 64-128gb per stick.
 
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skype.. does it still exist?
Microsoft would like to kill it off to switch people to Teams (and its neverending nags to switch to a paying account), but people stick to it. So, in the meantime, they provide almost no technical support to it and introduce bugs by the truckload.
Too bad for them, I moved to Google Meet. At least that one works in Firefox.
 

InvalidError

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yes, we all agree.
If you "use" your computer seriously, you should have 16 or 32. but no need for bothering the grandma because she has only 8.
Only the most tech-illiterate grandmas (like my mother) will be comfortable with 8GB. The second you throw in some grandchildren photo and video editing, 8GB isn't enough for comfort. It takes so little to blow through 8GB these days that 16GB should be the norm on new PCs and laptops. It only adds ~$20 to manufacturing cost and will go a long way towards extending the time before those PCs end up in landfills..
 
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King_V

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Only the most tech-illiterate grandmas (like my mother) will be comfortable with 8GB. The second you throw in some grandchildren photo and video editing, 8GB isn't enough for comfort. It takes so little to blow through 8GB these days that 16GB should be the norm on new PCs and laptops. It only adds ~$20 to manufacturing cost and will go a long way towards extending the time before those PCs end up in landfills..
My dad is in that category. 8GB, but he literally just uses Firefox, with, at most 3 or 4 tabs open.

I would say that he wasn't even hitting the limit when he had only 4GB (usage with his browser tabs open was around 2.8GB), but that was with Windows as it existed 2 or 3 years ago.
 

BillyBuerger

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I feel like there's two items to consider here. Desktop and Gaming/processing laptop yes should have 16GB of memory minimum and have slots to upgrade to keep up with requirements. But if you're talking a laptop for basic email and web browsing or just office document stuff, 8GB is very doable. I don't expect many people here would be doing this with their equipment but don't conflate that with the general public and their needs. I mean many people do this same stuff on their phones and their phones don't have 16GB of ram... Do they? Can't say I even think about how much RAM my phone has.

The other issue are the manufacturers. Especially when it comes to "ultrabooks" and these slim portable laptops that things are becoming the norm. Most of these now solder the RAM to the motherboard so upgrading is not an option. Because of that, recommending more ram makes sense because you're stuck with that. But memory is one of those items that Dell/Lenovo/whoever likes to get their margins on it seems. Sure, you can buy a stick of 8 or 16GB for cheap. But these guys are going to charge you twice or more than that to get a model that only has that difference. For example, a Dell XPS 13 is $850 for 8GB. Upgrade that to 16GB and it's $1,050. $200 to add 8GB of memory. So you have to take that cost into consideration. For the things our people what to do with their laptops, they're not going to notice any minor impact to performance if their laptop has to cache some memory to the PCIe4 SSD in their shiny new laptop. So no, I'm not going to push spending the extra money for memory that isn't needed.
 
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Sippincider

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I'm surprised he didn't mention Apple who continues to solder in 8gb ram and 256gb SSDs in >$1000 machines. At least the majority of Windows PC still have socketed RAM.
The base iMac has those specs at $1300. With video shared with the system RAM. (And BTW Apple it’s SHARED, not “Unified”!).
 
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PEnns

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And yet, almost every review and recommendation on TH shows laptops (MSI, Lenovo, et al) with 8 GB of RAM and even 256 GB (or less) C drives!!

And people who think they can easily add RAM, good luck!! Most laptops have soldered RAM onboard.
 
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InvalidError

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I mean many people do this same stuff on their phones and their phones don't have 16GB of ram... Do they? Can't say I even think about how much RAM my phone has.
First problem with this is that you are comparing PC with mobile. On PCs, "Hello world" can take over 1GB of RAM depending on what language and environment it was written for. Most mobile apps are on a much more lightweight Java-like native framework that is usually far more resources-frugal.

The second problem is if you attempt to do any sort of multi-tasking on a mobile platform with low RAM, flipping between apps often causes stuff to get evicted from memory and have to reload when you flip back, which can be massively disruptive and potentially cause data/progress loss when the application has not correctly implemented persistent state on eviction. If I am reading a PDF on my Fire HD10+, I cannot switch to anything else or the PDF reader will need to reload because 3GB of RAM isn't enough to do two things - at least not when one of those things is a 300 pages long 10MB PDF. I have effectively dedicated it to reading to avoid reloading.
 
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Inthrutheoutdoor

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Home machine (office work, photo & video editing, database work): Came with 16GB, removed & sold it and installed 64GB right away, while it was real cheap, which will hold me for a few years yet :)

Work machines (168): came with 128GB, removed & sold it, and installed 256GB right away, but these are super-heavy duty 24/7 CAD/CAM/Rendering workstations though....

8GB... ummm whahdatiz.....my smallest flash drive is 32 times bigger than that.....:crazy:
 
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This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. 8GB of RAM, is just fine for 2022, even for multitasking. There are still AAA games out with system requirements at least 8GB RAM. If 8GB RAM couldn't do simple tasks efficiently and effectively, AAA games couldn't run on 8GB. 8GB is just fine, for the vast majority of users. Anyone who is doing basic stuff: browsing the internet, watching YouTube, oh, and apparently, low-settings AAA gaming will do just fine on 8GB of RAM. If you have an M2 SSD, your CPU will page to that if it needs more memory, and it wont in the vast majority of cases under the category of basic tasks. As for "Grandma", My 62 year old mom has a 10 year old laptop with only 4GB of RAM and a 5400RPM HDD, running windows 10. She's been able to do all her basic tasks, and watch YouTube videos, and even does volunteer work stuff on it for a charity organization, just fine for 10 years. Only in recent years has it gone slow. I installed a 2.5 inch SATA SSD in place of the HDD, and upgraded her laptop to 8GB of RAM. Now she says its lightening quick and doesnt hiccup, even when she's got several programs at the same time.........

............This is because windows 10 will manage what's there. If there's not enough memory, windows will schedule, and begin rationing what gets paged and what goes into main memory. Anyone who says they need 16GB of RAM even for multitasking has lost their mind.

I personally know someone who does video editing JUST FINE on an i5 3470, 8GB DDR3, and a 500GB HDD. Yes, its a bit slow sometimes, but he can do his editing just fine, cut, crop, add transitions, sound effects.

8GB is still LOTS under the basic category of multitasking.

Ok, so you can't play God Of War at 8K resolution at 480FPS max settings with ray tracing on that machine, and that's fine. But we are talking basic, normal usage tasks: Microsoft word, excel, a few chrome tabs + emails open + discord + a YouTube video on pause in the background + Spotify open ready to go + a light duty basic image editor. These are normal basic tasks, and with an SSD + 8GB RAM, these things will run just fine. Basic tasks wont truly exhaust 8GB for a long time
 
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I just bought an HP 12th-gen i3 laptop with a single stick of 8GB memory (Korean Nanya brand who works in partnership with USA's Mushkin). It's my first Windows 11 computer, I tested it with just basic surfing and Youtubing with a few things like VPN and antivirus running in the background. HWMonitor showed memory running over 7GB (Win11 with S-mode killed). Currently I am typing this on a 7 year old HP 4th generation i5 with two 4GB sticks of memory on Win10 and memory allocation is about ~6.5GB with Youtube running and the same VPN/antivirus programs. So Win11 uses more memory which is expected as every new Windows version did/does.

I upgraded that new HP with a 2x8GB G.SKILL kit just because memory is so cheap and future proofing. My takeaway is that beyond the above example use, 8GB is not going to cut the mustard in 2023 forward. And I didn't even get into also having Office programs running in the background. From my perspective, throughout PC building history at least since I've been doing it since the late 1990s, the needs for memory demand double every two to four years for gaming and four to six years for office/home use. Case in point: my current old backup Intel 4th-generation PC gaming rig dating from a 2014 core build started life with 8GB, but by 2018, it needed 16GB. My most recent 11th-gen build last year has 32GB. But right now, mom and grandma will be just fine surfing for recipes and downloading grocery store E-coupons with a Windows laptop with 8GB of memory.
 
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