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I put RAM as the second most important item in deciding which computer is right for you because RAM is one of the most important deciders of how fast your computer is.  the reasons for this deal with how a computer works.  You can find my video on this here.

How does RAM work?
Basically, RAM is temporary memory that can be accessed quickly whenever the CPU needs it.  Your CPU has a small cache of memory too, but RAM is the big cache as most CPU's have between 1-8mbs of cache compared to gbs in RAM.  So what happens when you open a program is your CPU reads the information and then stores it in RAM.  It can then quickly access it whenever it wants.  When the RAM fills the computer just overwrites the data with new info.  Of course, this can take more time and can also slow down your computer in a number of ways.

The first way it slows down your computer is in how the computer accesses the information.  Let's say you have an 8gb stick of RAM.  That means that a computer can store a number in 8 billion places throughout its memory.  You can imagine that once this fills it would take the CPU awhile to pull out the right information.  This is the first way your RAM can slow down in what is known as bottlenecking.  Basically what happens is your memory fills and your CPU tries to access as much memory as it can, but it can only pull off a certain amount at once because it has all 8GB going through one stick of memory.

The second way RAM can really slow you down is if there isn't enough of it.  If you only have 4GB of memory, if you're multitasking, your computer has to search through the hard drive again and again to pull out the right data, instead of being able to access it directly through RAM.

The third way is if your RAM is an older and slower version like DDR or DDR2.  Most computers you buy today come with DDR3 or DDR3L.  The L is just a little better at conserving energy, but there isn't really a speed difference between the two.  However, there is DDR4 and DDR5, but these are usually reserved for top grade graphics cards at the moment.

How much should I get?
Once again this is a bit more of a personal choice depending on how much you do on your laptop.  If you are a heavy multi-tasker like you like to open a billion tabs at once and edit photos all at the same time, you want to spend the extra money to get more RAM, and you also want to try to get two slots if you're using a laptop.  If you're using a desktop there usually already are two slots.  You'll know by whether it says DIMM 1 or 2.  If you have two slots it means that your memory will be accessed faster because it is easier for the computer to sort through it.  So 8 gbs of memory will be better and faster if you have two RAM sticks than one because the computer has half as far to reach in each case.  Personally, I think 8 gbs is enough for our current time period in a laptop, but if you are a heavy multi-tasker you should really try to get 12 or 16 and at least have two slots instead of one.

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