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Random Access Memory (RAM) – commonly known as system memory – is the temporary storehouse for the data flowing to and from your computer’s central processing unit (CPU). The most common forms of random access memory today, DRAM and SRAM, both require continual power in order to maintain their data. All else being equal, a system with more memory can:

  • Deliver faster performance
  • Handle more open files at once
  • Open larger files
  • Work with more open applications at once

Memory utilization is impacted by the operating system installed on your Dell OptiPlexTM  system.

With 32-bit operating systems, such as the 32-bit version of Microsoft®  Windows Vista® , the system may utilize up to 3.5GB of memory for system performance (out of 4GB), while the remaining 0.5GB is allocated to address space for various hardware components.

64-bit operating systems, such as 64-bit Microsoft Windows Vista, can utilize up to 8GB of system memory, the maximum memory available on Dell OptiPlex systems (four 2GB DIMMs). 64-bit operating systems require applications designed for 64-bit. Majority of business applications today are designed for 32-bit; however, the trend will continue toward 64-bit operating systems as system memory plays a greater role in application performance.

Memory modules should be installed in pairs of matched sizes, speed, and technology. Pairs of matched memory size are also referred to as dual-channel configurations, which yield the highest performance. If the memory modules are not installed in matched pairs, the computer will continue to operate, but with a slight reduction in performance.