October 27th, 2021

How much memory do I need on my laptop?

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How much memory do you need on your laptop

Memory and storage: The difference between them can be confusing, and sometimes it's hard to know how much of each you really need on your laptop. The good news: We can lend a hand.

Here at Asurion, when tech breaks, we fix it. Our experts help our 300 million customers (and counting) diagnose and resolve their device problems and get the most out of their favorite technology. Here's their breakdown of memory and storage and how they apply to your laptop.

Memory vs. Storage

Many people assume that memory and storage are the same thing, but they're not. Memory refers to random access memory (RAM), your computer's short-term data, and storage refers to the hard drive, where your computer houses the operating system, files, and applications—anything that needs to be saved and stored but not accessed immediately.

PC Mag suggested one way to keep these terms straight: Imagine your hard drive is a filing cabinet holding all of your data (i.e. your storage). To continue the analogy, think of your laptop's memory as your desk, the place where you gather the information you'll need to complete your work immediately. Your desk can only hold so much, which is why the filing cabinet comes in handy.

What is RAM?

RAM is your laptop's short-term memory. Anytime you launch a program, it moves from storage to RAM so your computer can access it quickly—such as your internet browser. RAM is volatile, meaning that the data it holds is not saved forever; the memory clears whenever you turn off your laptop.

What does RAM do in a computer?

RAM is essential to fast speeds because it stores the information that your computer uses for quick tasks. When you open multiple programs at once, access files simultaneously, or run demanding software, you're using large amounts of RAM. If your laptop is running slowly or you notice apps lagging, it's likely because you don't have enough of this short-term memory.

How much RAM does my laptop have?

If you forget how much RAM your laptop has, no problem; finding out is easy. Just look up the model or serial number online. Alternatively, follow these steps:nearest uBreakiFix by Asurion tech repair shop can help.

How much storage do I need on my laptop?

Most laptops start with 256 GB of storage space. For most people, this is plenty, especially if you mostly use your computer for browsing the web and watching TV online. Here's a handy guide to understanding how much storage you need based on what you're doing.

Light: For anyone using their computer for documents and basic photo and music storage, 250 to 500 GB is more than sufficient storage space.

Medium: If you take lots of hi-res photos and rarely delete images, listen to higher quality music, download lots of standard-definition movies and TV series onto your laptop, or play basic games, you'll need 250 to 500 GB. Voracious gamers and movie/TV watchers will want to go for 500 GB.

Heavy: 500 GB is the bare minimum for people who play current games, download high definition movies and series, and do other heavy lifting on their laptops. A better bet is to invest in a 1 TB hard drive when buying a new laptop.

Still have questions?

If you need help with your laptop memory needs, we're right around the corner. Stop by the nearest uBreakiFix by Asurion store for help from a technology expert.

Make sure your laptop is protected

Protect the devices your family loves and relies on with one simple plan that covers all your favorite home tech. With Asurion Home+, we cover your computers, TVs, tablets, premium headphones, smart devices, and so much more—plus, 24/7 assistance for your whole family with any tech care need—for less than $1/day. Learn more about Asurion Home+ coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind device protection.

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