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Is 4GB RAM Enough for Office Work? Things to Consider

Last Updated Sep 24, 2022
computer

Computer work is becoming more and more popular each day, Approximately 80% of the population uses a computer in their daily job function. If you have to provide your computer for work or are responsible for selecting computers for your company the question will arise, how much RAM do I need? Is 4GB enough for basic office work?

4GB of RAM is not recommended for any type of office work. Regardless, ask these questions to find the best fit for your new computer:

  • What kind of workload do you have?
  • Are you looking for speed?
  • What kind of programs do you have to download and run?
  • What is your budget?

Breaking down each of these questions and being able to answer them as thoroughly as possible is a must when it comes to answering any of the questions you may have while selecting a computer. Let’s take a closer look.

What Is RAM?

First, understanding what RAM is and how it affects your computer function is crucial to choosing the right one for your work. 

RAM, also known as random access memory is a way to store memory on your computer. RAM stores short-term data that is being used frequently or currently and is faster to access than the hard drive. 

RAM keeps these files close so that they can be easily accessed for an immediate response, unlike things that may take a few seconds to process if they are stored in your hard drive or SSD. 

The Basics

RAM is essential for a computer to run properly.

RAM is used to run background tasks like your operating system which takes a minimum of 2GB of RAM therefore if you only have 4GB you’ve already used half of your storage capacity. Without proper storage capacity, you will essentially be doing your computer harm. 

What Kind Of Workload Do You Have?

Typical consumers are most likely to use their computers for simple things like; browsing the web. Office workers tend to browse the web and use programs like word, excel, and other business-like sites that rely heavily on RAM usage.

Video and photo editing sites also use higher processing and RAM usage. If you tend to have several tabs open all at once, some web browsers use more RAM to keep up and can even slow your computer down if not enough RAM is available. 

Are You Looking For Speed?

If your computer begins to run low on RAM it will sacrifice speed for memory. Computers have to have RAM to work quickly and effectively and when there isn’t enough RAM the computer’s harddrive attempts to pick up the slack taking away from other resources.

This is typically when you begin to see tasks failing to respond the way they are supposed to, once you reach this point you will also start seeing a “low memory” popup. 

What Kind Of Programs Do You Have To Download And Run?

Each downloaded program takes up space in your RAM and all take up different amounts. If your work requires a large program or multiple small ones then a computer with only 4GB is not going to be the best fit for you. 

What Is Your Budget?

Your budget has to be factored in here because more RAM costs more money. 

A basic Acer laptop with 4GB memory from BestBuy costs $249 while a similar Acer with 8GB memory is $529. The reasoning behind this steep increase in cost is not only for parts but also for the increased memory of the computer. 

It might be cheaper to increase RAM on your computer if you already have purchased a 4GB computer but keep in mind that this won’t fix some of the long-term problems of a lower capacity computer.

How Much RAM Is Recommended For Office Work?

Most computer experts will recommend 8GB for the average computer consumer. This tends to be the perfect balance between the avid gamer and the basic user. 8GB allows someone to run multiple tasks and basic games that may take up some of your downtimes. 

If you are running video editing software or more demanding work applications it is recommended to purchase something a little higher like 16GB you will also be able to run slightly higher gaming software.

Conclusion

RAM is the internal memory of a computer. 4GB of RAM most likely won’t be enough for your basic office work. It is recommended to purchase something a little higher like 8GB or if you are required to have more memory 16GB. 

If you have to purchase a computer for work, ask your company to provide the specifications for the software you will need to install or run to find out exactly how much RAM you need to purchase. 

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