When a PC begins to show signs of slowdown and old age, we tend to be rather ruthless in how we rectify the problem. Generally we go to the store, part ways with an exorbitant amount of money, and bring home a newer, more sprightly model. Our old PC…? Well, it’s usually sent straight to the scrap heap, or left to gather dust in the attic.
This method of persistently upgrading our technology may work when it comes to mobile phones, but it doesn’t make much financial sense with laptops and PCs - particularly as it’s far cheaper to upgrade a couple of core components instead.
So what’s the most cost-effective upgrade that you can make to your system right now? Well, depending on your user habits, you should start by upgrading your computer’s memory.
RAM (or random access memory) is one of the cheapest ways you can increase your computer’s performance and is an absolute cinch to install. It’s as simple as pulling out the old sticks of memory and plugging in new ones.
But why should you upgrade exactly? And what does RAM actually do? Good question.
First of all, you generally won’t see a tangible difference in your computer’s speed if you upgrade its memory. That’s something a new CPU or Solid State Drive (SSD) will achieve, so bear that in mind.
The best way to look at RAM, in its simplest terms, is to imagine your computer as a weight lifter. With more RAM at its disposal, your computer is able to deal with more “heavy lifting”. For example, if your computer struggles to run multiple programs at the same time, adding more RAM will give your computer more power to deal with this issue.
The same is true if you often have many browser tabs open, run programs like Spotify in the background, or simply enjoy playing the latest video games at the highest settings. The more memory your computer has access to, the less likely it is to suffer from slow down or stutter.
While the majority of computers do ship with a healthy amount of RAM pre-installed (around 4GB-8GB), it’s worth noting that there are also faster memory options available such as DDR4 , which is useful if you run an overclocked, gaming setup. It’s important to check how much memory you can install, too, as some laptops have a limited capacity.
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the correct amount of RAM you should install but if you’re a power user, who loves to switch between numerous applications and frequently use your computer for video/audio/image editing, then having up to 32GB of RAM is a more than viable option.
So the next time you find yourself frustrated with your PC’s performance, take a look at what you primarily use it for. If you’re seeing slowdown when running a lot of intensive programs, or you’re a keen gamer, then a RAM upgrade could make a huge difference to your daily experience and save you a lot of money in the process.
Adam Vjestica is a Guest Writer and is the Editor-in-Chief at Sumonix