How much RAM is needed for my new PC

bernardb used Ask the Experts™
How much memory / RAM would you suggest for a new Window 8.1 with Office 2013 PC and Laptop.
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4GB if you're a light user.
8GB or more if you're the kind that never closes anything.

if all your doing is office, email and some surfing then 2gb will be enough but unless the price difference is a big factor you might as well push that up. Bear in mind that 32bit windows can only use the first 4gb whereas the 64 bit version can handle up to 512gb.

The advantage of more memory is how responsive the machine will be when heavily loaded, the more physical memory available the less often Windows will need to store information on hard disk - which is slower.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

I would consider 4 a minimum in most cases (though my Dell Venue tablet only has 2 and it works pretty well.  Still, on a laptop, I wouldn't get anything with less than 4.
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true - the price difference makes it pointless to do less

The thing is, you're buying your PC/laptop for the next 3 years, at least.

Modern browsers can easily eat 2GB of RAM if you have 30+ tabs opened.
Add to this 1GB for Outlook and 4GB does not look so much.

And memory consumption will only go up...
I wouldn't build or buy anything with less than 8GB on a single stick.


Ok, thanks....but here's the added twist.

aside from the personal above...

We have 400 or more PC's at the job that need to be upgraded. Most can handle the OS and Office upgrade...but, can't handle the 8GB of RAM, 4GB is the max

A consultant is saying get rid of the PC's that can only handle 4GB, and buy more that can handle the 8GB....

Money is an issue...but I don't want to say the PC's will be alright with 4GB of RAM and we do this and they're dogs

Depends on your users.

I have users that rarely go over 2GB used.
Small pst, don't open more than 3-4 tabs, don't keep stuff opened that they don't need.

On the opposite spectrum, I have users that struggle with 8GB. They only restart their machines when threatened, never close browser tabs for fear they will lose something. The same with Word and Excel documents.

Your mileage might vary...
If you'll be installing 32-bit win 8.1, then you don't have much choice about the 4GB limit.
i.e. if you buy new computers with 8GB of RAM, then install 32-bit Windows, they're typically going to use only 4GB max, anyway.
unless you have some memory hogging line of business or graphic intensive applications to run the 4gb machines will be fine - as long as they are relatively recent (say no more than 2 years old) and Windows 8 has drivers available for all the hardware.

Ask the consultant to explain the cost/benefit of increased capital expenditure now vs a trickle down strategy of maintaining the current estate until the PC reach a natural end of life. It may be he/she has done all the sums and compared Total cost of ownership and possible increased support costs over time to the purchase, commission and delivery of new equipment and made allowances for writing off the old kit- in which case they will be happy to demonstrate their numbers and why its of benefit to the business - but its more likely that dump and replace is the easier, high margin option for them.

Why would he install the 32bit version?

The only reason I see is incompatible drivers, but I haven't seen yet components that have official drivers only for win 8 32-bit.
Distinguished Expert 2018

They can only handle 4 GB? How old are those?
If more than 5-6 years, you should consider buying new hardware. Sure, hardware from 2007 will be able to do fine with win8 and a few applications open simultaneously, but it won't be too great. If we set the end-of-life-age for machines to 8-10 years, you would not start over fresh with a machine from 2007, would you?
> Why would he install the 32bit version?
If you have questions, you should probably start a new thread instead of hijacking bernardb's.

OK, let me rephrase: I do not see a reason why would anyone install a 32 bit variant of Windows 8, except for maybe curiosity and testing in memory constrained environments.

Not a question anymore...



Glad I could help!
>  I do not see a reason why would anyone install a 32 bit variant of Windows 8
How did you figure out I was really Steve Ballmer!!!
Anyway, the reason we made a 32-bit version of Win8 is a trade secret and you asking me about it is a violation of the EULA. I'll notify Satya Nadella to keep an eye on you.

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