Help Me Choose: Memory

Random access memory (RAM) is the workhorse behind the performance of your system. RAM temporarily stores information from your operating system, applications and data in current use. This gives your processor easy access to the critical information that make your programs run. The amount of RAM you have and the memory architecture of your system helps determine how many programs can be executed at one time, how much data can be readily available to a program and helps determine how quickly your applications perform and how many applications you can easily toggle between at one time.
Before you decide how much memory to add to your new computer, first consider how you plan to use your computer. If you’ll primarily be sending email and browsing the internet, then a basic memory configuration will work. But if you’ll be playing games, working with multimedia or performing other intensive tasks, you should consider adding more memory.

Your computer memory is otherwise known as RAM, which stands for random access memory. RAM serves as the temporary storehouse for the flow of data. It remembers what programs, applications and documents you use most frequently so it can access these as quickly as possible. Without sufficient RAM, a computer’s operation can slow down considerably as the computer starts using hard drive space to handle the data flow.

Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of memory that is typically used for data or program code that a computer processor needs to function. DRAM is a common type of random access memory (RAM) used in personal computers (PCs), workstations and servers. The most common forms of random access memory today, DRAM and SRAM, both require continual power to maintain their data.

All else being equal, a system with more memory can:

  • Deliver faster performance on web sites, applications, etc.
  • Handle more open files simultaneously
  • Open larger files quicker
  • Work with more open applications simultaneously
  • Play games

Some systems allow you to add Intel® Optane™ memory, which is a system acceleration solution for the 7th Gen and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms. This solution comes in a module format and by placing this new memory media between the processor and a slower SATA-based storage devices ( HDD, SSHD or SATA SSD), you are able to store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor, allowing the systems to access this information more quickly and improve overall system performance.

Mixing DRAM with Intel® Optane™ delivers better performance and cost. For example, 4 GB DRAM + 16GB Intel® Optane™ memory delivers better performance and cost than just 8GB DRAM.
Requirements for Optane: 7th or 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms with 7th or 8th Gen Intel Core™ Processors and Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) driver (factory installed by default when Intel® Optane™ is purchased).

With 32-bit operating systems, such as the 32-bit version of Microsoft® Windows® 10, 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 can utilize more than 4GB of system memory and can 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.

Use this chart to help determine how much memory you may need. Keep in mind that certain computer models, as well as different operating system (OS) versions, limit the amount of RAM you can add.

If you primarily use your computer for:Consider this much memory:
Acceptable performance with office productivity applications & basic apps - ( Reading websites, searching the internet, sending email, social networking, streaming music or videos from the internet, playing simple PC games, viewing photos, using CDs or DVDs, word processing, building spreadsheets and other office tasks.)8GB* or
4 GB + 16GB Intel® Optane™
Working with large databases, complex photo editing and high-definition (HD) video editing can be supported.12GB* or
8 GB + 16GB Intel® Optane™
Adequate performance with large files and mainstream apps, Working with large databases, complex photo editing and high‐definition (HD) video editing can be supported. Good for high end PC gaming and graphics design.16GB* or
8 GB + 32GB Intel® Optane™
Good performance for multi-tasking with relatively large files & demanding apps32GB or
16 GB + 32GB Intel® Optane™
Great performance for large files & multitasking with high-end CAD, animation, analysis software and other demanding apps64GB or
16 GB + 32GB Intel® Optane™

FAQs

What is a DIMM?
A DIMM — or dual in-line memory module — is a series of random access memory chips mounted on a small circuit board. DIMMs are installed in sockets on your computer's motherboard.

What does DDR4 SDRAM mean?
DDR4SDRAM stands for “double data rate type four synchronous dynamic random access memory.” Using DDR4SDRAM helps you switch between applications, open documents and complete daily tasks faster.

Why would I need triple-channel memory?
A powerful processor only allows applications to run as fast as the computer’s memory capacity allows. If memory can’t keep up with the processor, then the processor ends up with nothing to process. With multichannel memory, each available memory channel duplicates the overall amount of available memory bandwidth. This allows the memory load to be evenly distributed between available channels, which in turn means higher processing speed. Triple-channel memory is the latest advance in multichannel memory, and as the graphics and processing demands of games and business applications continue to increase, triple-channel memory will be a vital component in a top-notch computing experience.

What does "2133MHz" mean?
The speed of the memory you purchase or add to your computer is measured in megahertz. Most computers have either 1600 MHz to 2133MHz memory capacity, which is very efficient in handling modern computer applications. By upgrading your memory speed, you will also be preparing your computer to handle future memory-intensive games.

What is Intel® Optane™ memory, and why is it called memory?
Intel® Optane™ memory is a system acceleration solution for the 7th Gen and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms. This solution comes in a module format and by placing this new memory media between the processor and a slower SATA-based storage devices ( HDD, SSH or SATA SSD), you are able to store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor, allowing the systems to access this information more quickly and improves overall systems performance.

Does Intel® Optane™ memory replace DRAM?
The Intel® Optane™ memory module does not replace DRAM. It can be, however, added to DRAM to increase systems performance.

Will Intel® Optane™ memory also accelerate an SSD? If so how much?
Yes! Intel® Optane™ memory can be sued to accelerate and type of STA-based storage media, including SATA SSDs. However, the performance benefit of adding Intel® Optane™ memory will be greater on slower storage devises like an HDD.

Why should I choose Intel® Optane™ memory instead of simply using an SSD?
You have choices based upon your requirements. Typically, if you need high capacity storage, you will choose an HDD. SSDs are often lower in capacity and tend to be more expensive. Paired with a HDD, Intel® Optane™ memory delivers increased responsiveness of an SSD with the high capacity of a HDD

Why would I need 32GB capacity instead of 16GB? What is the difference in performance? 
The main difference between 32GB and 16 GB is the number of applications that can be accelerated. The 32GB module is ideal for power users who often use a variety of intensive applications, such as prosumers and gamers. It is also recommended if you play more than one game at a time.

How many times do I need to launch and app or a file to get the full acceleration from Intel® Optane™ memory?
The second time an application or file is used, it is accelerated and you will experience a huge benefit. One the third launch is when the fill effect of Intel® Optane™ memory kicks in. Note: Intel® Optane™ memory prioritizes frequently used applications and files thus, infrequently used files and applications will fall out of cache

For configurations supporting Intel® Optane™ memory.

Intel® Optane™ memory is a system acceleration solution that is paired with slower storage devices such as SATA HDD/SSDs to accelerate performance to near PCIe/NVMe Solid State Drive levels. The most-used files will be stored in Intel® Optane™ memory for faster access using the smart adaptive SW to improve overall system performance. The hard drive and Intel® Optane™ memory will be seen as one drive volume, allowing it to be used just a like a standard drive. Adding 16GB of Intel® Optane™ memory to a system with a 1TB HDD and 4GB DDR delivers better responsiveness than a system with a 1TB HDD and 8GB DDR w/o Intel® Optane™ memory.

Requirements for Optane: 7th or 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms with 7th or 8th Gen Intel Core™ Processors and Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) driver (factory installed by default when Intel® Optane™ is purchased).

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Intel® Optane™ memory, and why is it called memory?
Intel® Optane™ memory is a system acceleration solution for the 7th Gen and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor platforms. This solution comes in a module format and by placing this new memory media between the processor and a slower SATA-based storage devices ( HDD, SSHD or SATA SSD), you are able to store commonly used data and programs closer to the processor, allowing the systems to access this information more quickly and improve overall system performance.

What is the difference between Intel® Optane™ memory and DRAM? Does it replace DRAM?
The Intel® Optane™ memory module does not replace DRAM. It can be, however, added to DRAM to increase systems performance.

Will Intel® Optane™ memory also accelerate an SSD? If so how much?
Yes! Intel® Optane™ memory can be used to accelerate and type of SATA-based storage media, including SATA SSDs. However, the performance benefit of adding Intel® Optane™ memory will be greater on slower storage devices like an HDD.

Why should I choose Intel® Optane™ memory instead of simply using an SSD?
You have choices based upon your requirements. Typically, if you need high capacity storage, you will choose an HDD. SSDs are often lower in capacity and tend to be more expensive. Paired with a HDD, Intel® Optane™ memory delivers increased responsiveness of an SSD with the high capacity of an HDD.

Why would I need 32GB capacity instead of 16GB? What is the difference in performance?
The main difference between 32GB and 16GB is the number of applications that can be accelerated. The 32GB module is ideal for power users who often use a variety of intensive applications, such as prosumers and gamers. It is also recommended if you play more than one game at a time.

How many times do I need to launch and app or a file to get the full acceleration from Intel® Optane™ memory?
The second time an application or file is used, it is accelerated and you will experience a huge benefit. On the third launch is when the full effect of Intel® Optane™ memory kicks in. Note: Intel® Optane™ memory prioritizes frequently used applications and files thus, infrequently used files and applications will fall out of cache.

How many games can I accelerate with Intel® Optane™ memory?
There is no clear cut answer as to the number. This is highly dependent on the size of the game and architecture of the software you are using, as well as other software being used and the configuration of your platform.

If I use Intel® Optane™ memory with an HDD to accelerate my games, game launches and level loads become faster and close to that of an SSD experience, but what about the game play? Is the game play impacted?
Game play will not be that different between an SSD and an HDD based systems since the games in loaded into DRAM during play.