How much RAM do I need?

Many retail chains sell their computers with the bare minimum in order to compete with competitors and earn your business. Computer pricing is based on the Operating System, Speed, Capacity, and Purpose. However, it is hard to find a part time retail salesman who has your best interest and your future needs in mind.

Computers running Microsoft Windows XP (Home, Professional, and Media Center) have very different hardware requirements but the basic memory should be no less than 512 Megabytes. Computers running Microsoft Vista (Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, and Business Edition) should have a minimum of 1 Gigabyte of memory.

Where the misunderstanding happens is when additional programs are bought and installed. Most software manufactures have ‘minimum requirements’ on their boxes. Microsoft Office for instance suggests a minimum of 256 MB, but recommends 512 MB – 1 GB of total memory. This memory recommendation is meant to be in addition to ALL other programs loaded on the computer. For example, If your computer was running Microsoft XP AND Office, Microsoft recommends you have 1.5 GB of TOTAL memory in your computer.

Additionally, ‘Real Time’ programs (those that run in the background the entire time the computer is running) such as Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, and Chat software have their own memory requirements and should be added to the system total in order to have the most efficient computer.

The PC Whisperer, Inc. recommends Windows XP computers with the most recent updates, security patches, and service packs with traditional productivity software and protection software should have at least 2 GB (3.5 GB Max) of total memory. Windows Vista computers with the same above software should have a minimum of 3 GB of total system memory.

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