How much laptop memory should you have? The answer to this question is likely to be different for every user.
The amount of memory your system needs to run effectively will depend on the operating system you are using, your user profile and the type of applications you are running.
In the sections below, we outline the minimum and optimal laptop memory requirements based on the operating system you are using and your user profile. It important to bear in mind the ranges provided are simply generalizations
A rule of thumb to abide by is that you’ll want more RAM (random access memory) than the minimum and ideally at least as much as the recommended amount. To illustrate this point, let us look at the memory that typically comes with netbooks.
A netbook may typically come with 1GB of RAM and a Windows 7 operating system. Given that Windows 7 is more resource intensive than say Windows XP, 1 GB of RAM is the bare minimum required to Windows 7.
In this case, you’ll want upgrade your laptop memory to 2GB which will result in an improvement in performance. Upgrading may be even more necessary when you consider that some notebooks come with integrated graphics which can use up to 64-512MB of RAM.
Operating System RAM Requirements
There is a recurring theme throughout the laptop buying advice given on this website; “don’t scrimp on memory.” The more RAM a notebook has, the less often the system needs to load data from the hard drive and the faster loading becomes.
So, use the following information as a guideline as to how much laptop memory you need:
* Ubuntu 8.10 (Linux) – Minimum of 512 MB of RAM but optimally 1GB – 2GB
* Mac OS X Lion – Minimum 2GB of RAM but for optimal performance go for 4GB
* Windows 98 – At least 24 MB of RAM but ideally you’ll want 256MB
* Windows 2000 – 64 MB of RAM recommended minimum but ideally you’ll want 512MB – 1GB
* Windows XP – Between 128 – 512 MB of RAM minimum but ideally you’ll 1GB or higher
* Windows 7 – 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit). Ideally you want 4GB or higher
* Windows Vista – A minimum of 1 – 2 GB of system memory (512 MB for Home Basic). Ideally you want 4 GB or higher
User Profile RAM Requirements
1. If you are a basic user, that is someone who uses his laptop just for checking email, web surfing and slight word processing, we suggest you get a system with at least 256MB of RAM.
Ideally, having 1GB of RAM would give you room to tackle additional tasks.
2. If you are a slightly more intense basic user who runs one application at a time such as web surfing, checking email, viewing online videos or streaming music, 256MB-512MB should suffice. Again, having at least 1GB is ideal.
3. If you are an executive/professional, you are probably engaged in multimedia presentation software, word processing, internet surfing, word processing and using spreadsheets.
You are no stranger to multitasking as often times you’ll have more than one application running simultaneously. For these activities, a minimum of 512MB – 1GB is recommended. Ideally, go for at least 2GB of RAM.
4. If you are an intermediate user that is into photo-editing, multimedia and video software and running multiple applications, you need a minimum of 2GB. Ideally, you’d want more.
Speaking of photo editing, if you want to get the latest tips and tricks in this area, you’ll want to check out this amazing site on all things Digital Photography.
5. If you are an advanced user, someone heavily into multimedia & graphics design software, photo editing, CAD etc, you’ll want to have a bare minimum of 2GB but preferably 4 GB or more.
6. If you are a gamer, you may be able to get away with having a laptop with 2GB minimum RAM. But for playing the latest graphics intensive games, ideally you’ll want a minimum of 4GB