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Is 4GB RAM Enough for College? Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated Sep 20, 2022
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A laptop is as essential as textbooks for a college student. You need a laptop to take notes, work on assignments, browse the internet, and even enjoy games and stream movies at the end of the day. In addition, more colleges are offering hybrid modes of learning; therefore, it is vital to have a way to access online classes. Is 4GB of RAM enough space for all of that, though?

A 4GB RAM laptop is adequate for writing schoolwork for most students and supports up to two projects at a time since the tabs do not use many system resources. However, a bigger RAM is necessary for a bigger college workload for engineering or computer science courses.

Choosing a college computer is not an easy decision. You must consider various things, including RAM, processing power, entertainment and gaming capability, and budget. Read on to find out what you should consider before investing in a laptop for school.

How Much RAM Is Enough for College?

Random access memory (RAM) is the memory available in your laptop for programs to use to run. RAM stores information short-term and keeps data used to open files and programs. Therefore, RAM is essential for your computer’s ability to multitask smoothly. More RAM enables you to run more programs concurrently.

Most students’ daily tasks will be supported by a 4GB RAM laptop. You can open multiple files and programs, browse the internet, and stream media efficiently. In addition, you can play most low and mid-range games on 4GB RAM.

However, you should opt for a computer with more RAM if you:

  • Frequently run intensive programs
  • Open large documents with over 1,000 pages
  • Run multiple applications and tabs
  • Play high-range games, or upgrade it in a few years

While RAM is a key consideration when buying a computer, let us consider other characteristics.

What Operating System Is Good for a College Laptop?

Some courses require specific operating systems such as Mac OS or Linux. 

If you need Mac software, you cannot install it on a Windows laptop. On the other hand, you can install Windows software on a MacBook or MacBook Pro or laptops running on a Linux system. However, this is more expensive than buying a laptop with pre-installed Windows software or upgrading Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10.

What Computer Processor Is Good for a College Laptop?

Laptops use Intel or AMD processors to process instructions from programs. 

Here are the best processors depending on what you’re looking for in a school laptop:

  • An Intel Core i5 or AMD A-series A6 is sufficient for schoolwork, basic software, and games
  • An Intel core i7 or AMD A10 is better if you run intensive programs or high-end games

Now, let’s talk about laptop Storage.

How Much Storage Should You Have On a College Laptop?

You should consider the size of the computer’s hard drive and the space you need for your files. As a student, you have documents and presentations that require storage. 

While a 500GB hard drive is enough for college work and required software, you need more space to install games and large media files such as movies. An external hard drive is a great alternative if you are on a tight budget.

Is Battery Life Important for College Laptop?

As a college student, you need a laptop that can keep the charge for a long time. 

A battery should last at least four hours since you might lack a charging outlet in class. You can find out the capacity of the battery from the retailer or the manufacturers’ website.

Should a College Laptop Be Portable?

If you need to carry your laptop around campus, choose one that is not too heavy or big. 

A screen between 11 and 15 inches is enough to read documents, create presentations, play games and watch movies. On the other hand, a large laptop is a good choice if you live in a hostel and do not carry it around.

What Warranties Should You Get On a College Laptop?

Most manufacturers provide a warranty that covers computer repairs for defective parts. The contract does not cover damage resulting from drops or spilt beverages. 

You must buy a warranty that protects you from accidental damage. Additionally, if you carry your laptop around campus, get a plan that covers stealing.

What Laptop Accessories for College Use?

You must buy accessories to protect your laptop and make it easier to use. 

Some accessories for your laptop that you should consider include:

  • Mouse
  • USB keyboard
  • Cooling pad
  • Laptop bag
  • Anti-virus software

Additionally, you can buy third-party security software for more protection. 

What Is the Budget for College Laptops?

There are different laptops to choose from, and you will find something within your budget.

Prices range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Have a figure in mind to help you significantly narrow down your options.


With all the laptops available in the market, choosing a computer for college can be daunting. You can use our simple guide to make the best choice while considering special requirements for your course. Remember that you do not need the biggest or most expensive laptop to complete your writing.

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