Is 4GB enough RAM?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by rockitdog, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. rockitdog macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    #1
    I'm looking to buy a cheap windows laptop. Mainly for email and running MS office. Is 4GB of RAM enough or should I be looking at 8 or 12GB? Have not had a windows machine in forever and don't want to spend more than $300-$400.
     
  2. derekamoss macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #2
    If thats all you are using it for, than you will have no problem. Just until recently I was using a Surface Pro with an i5 and 4gbs of ram without any problem and was a little more intinsive with its use than yours. The only reason I'm now running a PC with 8GB is because my extended warrenty ended and i had dropped it and destroyed the screen, otherwise I would still be running the Surface with 4gb. Honestly Windows can run pretty good on even 2gb of ram now if you arent having ten tabs in the web browser and multiple apps running. They have gone to great extreme to make sure it works efficiently on low end hardware.
     
  3. rockitdog thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    #3
    Thanks man, I'm sure my kids will do some light gaming (from a browser) and some youtube video watching but we aren't editing videos or playing intensive games on it. I found one for less than $400 that has a 1080 display on it and many of the other ones I'm looking at that have 8GB of RAM are just above 720 resolution.
     
  4. derekamoss macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #4
    NP. As I said up until about 4 months ago I was running 4gb with no problem. I always checked the page file too just to make sure it wasnt getting large. With my 8GB surface book for my usage which I said is a little more intensive is almost overkill for me. Im sitting with 5gb unused Ram right now which is just a little more ram usage than I was using before. I always had on avg 1.2 gb free out 4gb on the Pro and on the Surface book with 8 gigs I am using 3gbs out of 8 which I would assume anyways because if you have more ram windows will use it instead of letting it sit idle. The biggest consideration looking at is storage space. My Surface Pro had 256gb SSD drive and I had a SD Micro 256gb card in it that windows used as normal storage so I really had a 512gb HD and could still expand it by buying a bigger sd card. With my Surface Book it is only a 128gb SSD drive and you cant really insert the Micro SD card in because it has an SD card reader which I have to use an adapter for and it portrudes out of my book, so in a since I feel like it was a downgrade getting the 8gb surface.
     
  5. jmilan0302 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2019
    #5
    You definitely want at least 8GB these days. Is the RAM in it upgradeable?
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    Depending on the tasks, 4GB may be enough. Don't get me wrong, I always go for more, and recommend more but surprsingly I came across this youtube, and was completely surprised at how little ram windows actually needed to boot up.

    Of course this video only shows the threshold of when windows couldn't boot up with ram, and not how usable it may or may not be, but I think for me, you can glean that low ram machines can be usable depending on the tasks.

     
  7. derekamoss macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #7
    For what the OP states the usage of 4gbs will be plenty. Yeah its always nice and preferable to have more memory but with his use case he wont hit any limitations.
     
  8. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    #8
    My primary notebook has 32GB and the secondary just 4GB, although very different usage, neither has any issue with RAM with the secondary having a higher use the an OP suggests.

    Q-6
     
  9. jmilan0302 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2019
    #9
    It'll be enough but it definitely won't be "plenty." Just make sure it has upgradeable RAM so you can put in more down the road.
     
  10. ActionableMango, May 9, 2019
    Last edited: May 9, 2019

    ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #10
    You might consider Chuwi Windows 10 laptops. I have one and it works quite well for humble uses like yours.

    They have a 6GB model at $350 and an 8GB model at $400, so you don't even have to compromise on the RAM to stay in your budget.
     

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9 April 21, 2019