Help Me Choose: Memory


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 to maintain their data. All else being equal, a system with more memory can:

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

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

With 32-bit operating systems, such as the 32-bit version of Microsoft® Windows® 7, 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.

The system you are configuring may or may not include all of the options listed here.

If you want... Choose... 
The maximum amount of memory for 64-bit operating systems32GB memory on 9010 MT/DT/SFF only;

16GB on 7020 and 9010 AIO/USFF; 8GB on 3010
The ability to run simultaneous intensive business applications, with headroom for future operating systems and applications16GB memory; 8GB on 3010
The ability to run multiple simultaneous office applications8GB memory
The ability to run business productivity applications4GB memory

OptiPlex™ 90209020 AIO7020 30203011 AIO
Number of DIMMs4 (2 on USFF)2 4 (2 on USFF) 22
32GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM* Yes
(USFF Excluded)
no nonono 
16GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM*YesYes Yes Yes no 
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM*YesYes Yes YesYes 
6GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM*-- Yes--
4GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM*YesYes Yes Yes Yes
 2GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM* Yes no Yes no  Yes