Motherboard Write For Us – It is a fact RAM continues to be one of the components that generate the most doubts and that has the most myths around it. Queries like “how much do I need?” or statements like “more RAM is always better” are constant in the technological world, despite all the information we can currently find.
In my computer, we have published several articles dedicated to RAM. A little over a year ago, we shared with you a special dedicated to explaining what this component is and why it is essential. Just a couple of months ago, we published another article as a guide focused on assessing how much RAM, and how much graphics memory, We were going to need to overcome the transition that Xbox Series X and PS5 will mark.
Today we want to address the issue in a different, clearer, more direct and concise way, and for this reason we are going to share with you ten questions and answers dedicated to RAM memory that will serve as a definitive guide to answer any questions you may have about said component.
Before starting I remind you that the comments are yours, and that you can leave any doubt you have in them, we will help you solve it. Now yes, let’s start!
1.-What work does RAM do?
RAM memory’s main function is to store a series of processes and instructions that have already been resolved or completed by the processor, which means that it no longer has to repeat them and can focus on carrying out other different tasks.
If our computer did not have RAM memory, those processes, instructions and operation cycles would have to be stored directly in the storage unit , but this is much slower than RAM memory and has higher latencies, so the performance we would obtain would not would be the same.
As you may have guessed , this eliminates workloads that would be redundant and prevents the processor from having to constantly work on certain tasks. These are resolved, they have already been completed and stored in RAM so that when the system needs to access them again, it can do so directly, without having to wait for the processor to complete another work cycle.
Its importance is, as we can see, beyond any doubt, and now we can easily understand why it is such an important component for the proper functioning of a PC.
2.-How much RAM do I need?
Well, it depends, and a lot, on what you plan to do with your PC. There are different levels that we can consider optimal depending on the use you plan to give your computer, although it is true that we can establish a minimum that any Windows 10-based computer should meet today: 4 GB of RAM.
With a total of 4 GB of RAM you can enjoy good performance without going into advanced multitasking and playing previous generation games, but you will not be able to use demanding applications or new generation games, with very specific exceptions.
In general, these are the scales that we can set as minimum and optimal depending on your needs :
- PC for basic office, browsing and undemanding games: minimum 4 GB of RAM, recommended 8 GB of RAM.
- PC for games and demanding applications:minimum 8 GB of RAM, recommended 16 GB of RAM.
- PC for demanding professional applications and tasks:16 GB RAM minimum, 32 GB RAM recommended.
Keep in mind that in the last level we are referring to professionals who work with tools that make intensive use of RAM and therefore require large amounts of it to function correctly.
3.-Why is the total amount of RAM so important?
The total amount of RAM memory is important because not only the proper functioning of the computer and the performance of other components depend on it, but also because it defines the applications, programs and games that we can run and those that cannot.
If you have very slow RAM, it is likely that in certain games you will have a lower performance than you expected. On the other pointer, if you have a very fast memory but an insufficient amount , those same games may not work directly for you .
That is why we must always prioritize , up to a certain point, the amount of RAM over its speed and latencies. It is useless to have a very fast RAM if we do not reach the recommended minimum to move the applications or games we want.
Also keep in mind that, in some cases, even if we have the indicated minimum, the experience may not be a good one. Many current games continue to indicate that they work with 8 GB of RAM, but they have real consumption of up to 12 GB , and although it is true that in the end we can move them with that amount of RAM, we may find ourselves with jerks, small stops and interruptions, as a consequence. direct from a clear lack of RAM.
4.-Why do I have a high consumption of RAM if I am only in Windows?
Well, it’s very simple, because Windows, in all its versions, needs to consume a certain amount of RAM for it to function correctly , and the same happens with the applications that we have installed and that are running in the background, or that have been loaded. Of start.
Any computer has a minimum and necessary RAM memory consumption , that is normal , the problem comes when that consumption skyrockets and we cannot find an explanation. In most cases the reason is usually, as we said, in the applications that we have in the background. For example, if we have an antivirus installed and this startup load (when the PC boots) will work in the background and consume resources.
The same applies to any task that we are performing, and also to those that we have completed and that we have not closed. We must not forget, in addition, that web browsers can consume a significant amount of RAM memory when we have several tabs open.
I remind you that about a year ago we published a simple tutorial where we saw several ways to free up RAM memory in Windows 10 , and I recommend you take a look if you have any doubts.
5.-How does RAM memory affect computer performance?
RAM memory affects computer performance in three major ways that depend on two major keys: its amount and speed. If we have a low but sufficient amount to run certain applications and games, we may notice, as indicated above, jerks, interruptions and stops. This occurs because the memory we have has been filled and a process of emptying and filling with new instructions and processes has to take place.
When this situation occurs, the processor also has to assume new work cycles that would not have occurred if we had a larger amount of RAM, and therefore there is a negative impact on the overall performance of the entire computer.
Secondly, it may be the case that we do not even have that minimum to run games and applications. It is, without a doubt, the most serious consequence, since it supposes a total limitation by preventing us from accessing a certain software ecosystem.
Finally we have the work speed and the latencies, two keys that, together with the data bus, determine the raw performance of the RAM memory. In current general consumer motherboards we have to install two modules to access dual channel mode and have a 128-bit bus.
Certain architectures, such as AMD’s Zen, have a significant dependency on RAM speed and latency, while others, such as Intel’s Core architecture, have a lesser dependency. We must prioritize the quantity, as we have said, but once we have reached the optimal point it is important to take care of speed and latencies.
In the case of AMD processors we move at the optimal level from 3,200 MHz with CL14 latencies , that is, it is not worth going beyond that, and in the case of Intel processors from 3,000 MHz with latencies CL14 we will also have reached an optimal level.
6.-Why does the performance of an integrated GPU depend on RAM memory?
Integrated GPUs have a small amount of memory, typically 128MB, and have no choice but to resort to RAM to use as graphics memory. This simple explanation allows us to understand why its performance depends so much on said component, but we are going to delve a little deeper into this topic so that you have a clearer vision.
The bandwidth that an integrated GPU will have available will be determined by the speed of the RAM memory and its bus. If we have a single 16 GB module at 3,200 MHz, the performance will be worse compared to what we would have with two 8 GB modules at 3,200 MHz. The reason is very simple, the first works in a single channel with a 64-bit bus and the second second in dual channel with a 128-bit bus.
Speed and bus matter a lot when it comes to taking advantage of an integrated GPU, especially in the case of powerful solutions that can offer a pretty decent experience even with current games.
It is also central to take into account that by using a part of the RAM memory as graphics memory, the total amount available to the system and applications is reduced . If you have a PC with 8 GB of RAM and an integrated graphics card and you want to run a current game that requires 8 GB of RAM, you may have significant performance issues, since the system will have consumed some of that memory and the integrated GPU will have taken over. for itself a minimum of 1 or 2 GB of RAM.
7.-More RAM memory is not always better, but why?
The difference between reaching the minimum RAM required by an application or game and not reaching it can make a world of difference, so much so that, as we said, it probably won’t even boot. For this reason we must prioritize the quantity , as we have indicated.
With that in mind, it is easy to wonder why we say then that more RAM memory is not always better, and the answer is simple: because there are applications and games that, once a certain threshold is exceeded, no longer need to consume more RAM memory to function.
For example, if you are only going to use your PC for browsing the web and for simple office tasks and you have 8 GB of RAM, upgrading to 16 GB of RAM will not make your computer perform better , the user experience you will have will be the same. . This also applies to gaming PCs that are configured with 16 GB of RAM and upgrade to 32 GB of RAM, the experience will remain the same.
The reason is that the applications we use do not require more RAM memory when we reach a certain level. For example, if you run a game that consumes 10 GB of RAM, the experience will be the same on a PC equipped with 16 GB or 32 GB of RAM. There will be no performance changes.
Yes, a computer with more RAM will have a longer useful life, but it may end up being a resource that we will not really take advantage of for several years.
8.-Can I use different RAM modules?
Yes, it is possible to use different RAM memory modules, but we must take into account that we run the risk of having stability problems and incompatibilities.
By this I mean that in principle there is nothing that prevents you from combining two or more RAM modules that are different in capacity and speed, but not in type, that is, you cannot combine a DDR4 and a DDR2 module , for example, but be clear that you are assuming a significant risk in everything related to its proper functioning.
To this we must add an important detail, and that is that if you combine two modules at different working speeds, both will work at the speed of the slower one. If you have no choice but to mount different RAM memory in speed and capacity to get out of the way quietly, your computer will not be harmed, but it is not a good idea.
9.-Why are there computers that do not allow you to expand the RAM memory?
The evolution of portable computer designs and the rise of compact formats have contributed to the popularization of computers with an “expiration date”. These are those that cannot be extended, either totally or partially, and therefore have a low rate of repairability and, furthermore, cannot be improved to extend their useful life.
Soldering the components is a way to reduce the space they need. Thanks to this, it is possible to create lighter equipment and with a smaller size, but in exchange the user sacrifices its expandability . For example, Microsoft’s Surface devices and Apple’s MacBooks are very light and thin, but they come with the RAM soldered on.
In the event that you are going to buy a computer with the RAM memory soldered to the board, it is advisable to buy a higher configuration than what we are going to currently need, since we will not be able to expand it and it is the only way to guarantee a long useful life. For example, if a computer is sold with a base configuration of 8 GB of soldered RAM, it would be a good idea to buy the 16 GB version.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7, for example, is virtually impossible to repair and even comes with the storage drive soldered to the board.
10.-Should I empty the RAM constantly?
It is a mistake, and one of the most important. Empty RAM memory is useless, since it is not working and is not adding value to the team. This means that it does not make sense to be constantly emptying it , we have to let the system fill it with the applications and programs that we normally use.
Emptying the RAM will cause processes and operations that have already been performed by the processor to be lost. If these were linked to applications that we are going to use again in a few minutes, our action will have been absurd , since the processor will have to reload them, something that would not have been necessary if we had not emptied the RAM.
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We must let the equipment use the RAM memory as it is needed. If we find applications or processes that we do not need, and that we are not going to need in the short or medium term, it might be a good idea to close them to free up RAM memory. The same can be said of the applications that start with the computer and that we really do not need, we can disable them through the “Task Manager”, in the “Startup” tab.
However, there are specific moments when it can make sense to empty the RAM memory and try to free up as much of it as possible, and that is when we need to run a demanding application or a game that requires an amount of memory equal to or slightly greater than what we have. installed.
For example, some games that require 8 GB of RAM can run acceptably on computers with 6 GB of RAM if we boot as cleanly as possible , that is, with minimal background RAM consumption.
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