Is my Computer Using too much RAM?

This is a question that is often asked by concerned computer users. Let’s assume that your PC, like mine, has 3GB of Random Access Memory (RAM). What most people want to know in this regard is whether or not, at any given point in time, a computer should make use of all the Memory that is installed on it. So, whats the appropriate amount of RAM usage on a computer?

No, you computer is probably not using too much RAM

I have recently discovered that when I start writing, I do tend to go on, so, before boring you with a lot of useful information, here is the short answer;

“Yes, your computer should always use all the RAM that is installed on it.” And now for the long answer;

A few words about Random Access Memory

You can get more information about Random Access Memory (RAM), otherwise known as “Memory,” by reading the provided link. Needless to say here that Memory is one of the most important components on a computer.

Random Access Memory can be described as a type of computer memory that is volatile (it loses data in the absence of power). It is, however, extremely fast, when compared to the primary storage device, the Hard Drive. RAM is used as temporary storage for the programs that are in use on a computer.

As an example, the word processing application, Microsoft Office Word, with which I am producing this article, will have its components temporarily stored on my computer’s RAM. This ensures that whenever the processor (CPU) needs anything, it does not have to look for it on the Hard Drive which, although spinning at several thousand revolutions per second, is still, as mentioned earlier, comparatively very slow.

If computers only had Hard Drivers and no RAM, you would probably have been able to visit the restroom and come back before yours finished loading even the lightest of programs. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but there you have it!

How Much RAM Should I Have on my Computer?

This question is another one that is often asked. Needless to say, with computer programs becoming more and more resources intensive, RAM requirements have steadily been rising across the board. The answer to the above question can be found in this article. However, I can tell you here that everything depends on the uses to which you are going to put your computer.

For simple Word Processing and Internet Surfing, 3GB would probably be enough. However, if you are into graphics intensive gaming, you would probably need over 16GB of RAM. My own computerhas 3GB of RAM. This has proven to be enough for me, since all that I ever do on it is write articlesand surf the internet. My only instance of gaming is the rather docile Spider Solitaire.

Why People Talk So Much about RAM

So, why do people talk so much about RAM, and not about some of the other computer components? The answer to this question lies in the fact that Memory is one of the components on a computer that can be easily upgraded in order to improve on performance.

Even on a laptop, RAM modules are one of the most accessible components. On mine, I only have to remove two screws, a plastic panel and I can pop RAM modules right off their sockets. This is an upgrade that you can do in a matter of minutes.

Should a computer use 100% of the Installed RAM?

The answer to this fundamental question is very simple. Random Access Memory is there on a computer for a particular reason; to help speed up things by temporarily holding the information that is being used by the programs that are currently in use.

In simple words, the memory that is on your computer is there to be used! Why would you want to have loads of RAM sitting idle of your PC? There is no such thing as a computer using too much RAM, as was alleged by this concerned individual on CNET forums.

Should you detect that your computer is using a lot of Memory, then, there is no need for you to panic. That is what it was designed to do. RAM is there so you don’t have to dance around while waiting for your PC’s processor to finish loading a simple word processing application.

Memory Usage on my own Computer

As mentioned earlier, my own computer has 3GB memory. I have noticed, over the years, that my RAM usage constantly hovers at around 74%.

RAM Usage on my Computer
Memory Usage on my Computer

As an experiment, I opened a couple of additional programs and files on my computer. While RAM usage provisionally increased to about 85%, it was soon back to normal at around 74%.

Steer Clear of Memory Optimization Programs

There are a number of programs out there that claim to be able to boost the performance of your computer by optimizing your RAM usage.

These pieces of software are, quite clearly, cons. They are intended at making newbies part with their money on the promise of a better computing experince. The truth of the matter is that you do not need to, in any way, either clean or optimize your computer’s memory usage.

Windows already does a great job of managing RAM usage on your computer. In fact, it does this in a way that is way better than will ever be achieved by any Memory Optimization software. The assumption with most of these programs is that RAM should constantly be cleaned up. This approach is clearly wrong and at variance with the very idea of having RAM on a PC.

RAM and Gaming?

If you are wondering about RAM’s effects on gaming, then check out the article in the provided link. The answer will surprise you!

Conclusion

So, to revisit the question of whether or not your computer should use up all the RAM that is installed on it, the answer is, once again, and emphatic yes. The memory that is there on your computer serves a particular purpose. Having it constantly in us means that that purpose is being fulfilled.

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