Does your laptop feel sluggish? Does it make a lot of noise when under heavy use? Do movies and applications stutter?
It’s fairly common to attribute these kinds of problems to the processor, or even the graphic card, when in reality it’s usually a sign of having too little computer memory.
RAM (or Random Access Memory) is the short-term memory of your computer. Programs store data here for quick access and usually reserve parts of it while open. So the more applications you have open at the same time, the more the machine’s memory is being used. If the open programs consume more memory than you have installed on your system, they’re forced to use space from your hard drive (in the form of Virtual Memory, also known as the Page file), and this is significantly slower compared to using the RAM. When this happens, your computer will feel much more sluggish and make more noise from the fans as it’s under a heavier load. RAM is emptied of data when it no longer has power, which is why, for example, the clipboard is empty after a restart. Items you copy are one of the many things stored in the RAM.
With more computer memory, though, your computer will feel much faster – especially if you are multitasking. An oft-overlooked memory hog is tabbed internet browsers, like Chrome or Firefox. Each open tab is, essentially, considered as one extra open browser. If you have five tabs open your computer treats this as five separate browsers and it eats up a significant portion of your memory.
Many older computers have a maximum of 2GB RAM, this is enough for opening a few programs, but runs out fairly quickly. As a comparison most decent home computers today have between 4GB and 8GB of RAM while more high-end computers for gaming or video editing may go up towards 32GB. If you have an older computer it’s definitely a good idea to upgrade your computer memory to a minimum of 4GB. Please note that for your computer to utilise more than approximately 3.3GB of RAM it needs to run a 64-bit (x64) operating system.
So, in short, the main advantage is that your computer may feel faster. Perhaps not for a single task, but when multitasking you will definitely notice an improvement. This can save you a lot of time and frustration and for a fairly cheap price!