Ram upgrade is a very common action among every pc user that if when you and I were given free resources to perform, we would stuck our pc with as much ram as the BIOS can support – All because we believe the more ram a PC has the faster the PC runs.
But how true is this claim or does that mean that when you upgrade to 8GB or 16GB, the apps/programs which run fast before will run even faster? To answer these questions, we must first refresh our knowledge of what RAM is and how it works.
Ram (Random access memory) and Hard Disk are closely related as they are both storage device, RAM is a temporary storage device while Hard disk is a permanent(until you delete) storage device. Ram is called a temporary storage device because as soon as power leaves it, all the data in it is lost.
While Ram is about 100x faster than Hard disk, Ram is also about 100x smaller than hard disk in terms of size.
Whenever you open an application after freshly booting your PC, the processor first check two places for the required files/data to run the application – the “L cache” and the “RAM” before heading to the Hard disk and loading it into RAM.
This means that for every running program, background application, and even every tab that you open in your browser, they all have an amount of Ram allocated to them.
So basically, One can easily say that Ram is a workspace where the processor places the profile of every application it’s currently working with – so the larger the workspace, the higher the number of application the processor can open at a time.
The General believe/assumption
If you ask the average computer user or some tech-savvy people ‘how to boost the performance of a PC’, you will probably get answers like upgrade your ram — Because the more ram you have the faster your PC runs.
We all accepted this answer and we are quit ok with it because of the basic knowledge we have about ram. But on a plain platform, this answer is limited in some ways – Not all ram upgrade actually assures a boost in PC speed.
The Real truth
Not all upgrade actually assures a boost in PC speed, in-fact some ram upgrade makes little or no difference in PC performance. Upgrading your ram to boost your PC performance depends totally on the kind of activities you do on your PC.
To understand this better, picture RAM as a table where the processor places the data of every app it’s running. So the larger the table, the larger the number of applications that can be placed on the table at once. But if ONLY one app is placed on the table, and that application still run slow then increasing the size of the table won’t help the application/program run any faster.
So you see, ram upgrade shouldn’t be the first thing to consider when you want a boost in PC performance. In-fact windows page file can act as ram just when your PC is out of ram space, the only difference between your physical ram and windows page file is that your processor is forced to access data from your slower hard drive.
When then do you need a ram upgrade
Like I said before, upgrading your ram to boost your PC performance depends totally on the kind of activities you do your PC. Below are some criterias your PC has to fall in before you can be assured a performance difference when you upgrade your ram.
1. Multi-tasking : When you experience PC lagging during multi-tasking(Running multiple applications at a time), then a ram upgrade can help smoothen things.
2. Memory usage is at-least 85-90%: If you experience sluggishness on your PC and the memory usage is not close to 90%, then upgrading your ram won’t be of any help- because the sluggishness is not as a result of low ram space
3. Running high end applications: If you do stuffs like video and graphics editing or run any other high end applications, then ram upgrade might be of help.