Is 4gb of ram enough for a laptop these days?

EndlessMidnight

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Jan 13, 2015
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When purchasing a new laptop is it better to go for 8gb these days? I'd use it for web browsing (I need to keep a lot of tabs open sometimes) playing music, using light programs and playing a few games like the Sims. My current laptop has 4gb of ram and it works fine it doesn't go over 60% while keeping a lot of tabs open on chrome (which I know takes a lot of ram) and having a couple of more programs open it has never given me problems while multitasking but since I'll be getting a new laptop I don't know if 4gb will be enough for the future?
 

jaguarskx

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Moderator
Generally speaking, yes for "everyday use" that do not involve intensive tasks.

Having more RAM is always better since Windows starts swapping data between RAM and the hard drive or SSD when most of the available RAM is being used. That slows down performance a bit since it takes time to swap data back and forth. I go with 8GB of RAM or 16GB of RAM. Also, if you are relying on integrated graphics to play games, having two sticks of RAM can generally improve performance by around 10% - 15% depending on the game. Two sticks of RAM means the RAM is running at full speed compared to one stick of RAM which would only run at half speed.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
Generally speaking, yes for "everyday use" that do not involve intensive tasks.

Having more RAM is always better since Windows starts swapping data between RAM and the hard drive or SSD when most of the available RAM is being used. That slows down performance a bit since it takes time to swap data back and forth. I go with 8GB of RAM or 16GB of RAM. Also, if you are relying on integrated graphics to play games, having two sticks of RAM can generally improve performance by around 10% - 15% depending on the game. Two sticks of RAM means the RAM is running at full speed compared to one stick of RAM which would only run at half speed.
 


Starting to see them in regualr sized laptops, espically the cheaper end ones and since OP is asking about 4gb I assume he/.she is looking at A8 or A10 laptops and not $800 ones with onboard GPUs. Thus it may actually be relevant.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
Just keep in mind that most laptops that comes with 8GB of RAM will be using a single stick. That means it will be running at half speed. Most laptops will allow you to install and additional stick of RAM so that it will run at full speed. If you are not sure, just ask with a link to the laptop you are looking at.
 

EndlessMidnight

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Jan 13, 2015
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I'm still not close to making a choice but I've been looking and I saw this one http://laptoping.com/specs/product/dell-inspiron-i3558-5501blk-15-6-touchscreen-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-black/ it's single channel, would it be better to get a laptop that comes with 4gb and make it 8 by adding another 4gb?
Is it recommended to go for dual channel even if I don't plan to use my laptop for heavy gaming or programs?
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
If playing games is not important, then you do not need to have two sticks of RAM in the laptop. The specs for that specific laptop in the review has 8GB of RAM (very likely to be a single stick) in the laptop and it should be fine for your needs.
 

EndlessMidnight

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Jan 13, 2015
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Alright thanks a lot for all the advice, you've been very helpful!
 

daleos

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Each tab you have open in a web browser takes up a fair chunk of RAM. If you're the kind of person that likes 10+ tabs open at any one time then the 8GB will come in handy. 4GB will likely give you about 5 tabs of typical websites before the computer starts paging data to the swapfile and about 15 tabs before it starts getting really sluggish.8GB will give you about 25 tabs before paging and about 40 to slow the machine to a chug.

These figures are just for running Chrome on it's own so if you're running other applications, they're going to eat into that RAM too, increasing the need to page data.

So if you are a heavy web user, 8GB will really improve on performance.
 
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