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How much RAM you need for a Chromebook in 2021

If you are looking at buying a Chromebook in 2021 you’ll most likely have a lot to think about. One thing you should not overlook is how much RAM you will need for your Chromebook. The amount of RAM you need in 2021 is different from what you would have needed a few years ago. This is the same with most computers. The operating system and software you can use become more powerful, so it needs more memory (RAM) to perform.

It’s one of the most important factors when choosing any type of computer. This is because the RAM has a direct impact on the performance of your Chromebook. The processor is very important as well, but if you have too little RAM you’ll notice performance isn’t great. The good news is Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system. The amount of RAM you need for a Chromebook to perform well. Is not going to be the same as the amount of memory you would need for a computer running Microsoft Windows.

So let’s take a look at how much RAM you need for a Chromebook in 2021. It does depend on what you’ll be using your Chromebook for, so read on to find out how much RAM is suitable for your needs. It will differ from person to person because we all use computers for different tasks.

WHAT IS MEMORY (RAM)

Memory in a computer or Random Access Memory (RAM) is a chip inside your Chromebook. It’s called RAM because the memory will be randomly accessed at any time. Random Access Memory (RAM) can be accessed at extremely fast speeds for reading and writing, which is why it’s so important for performance.

It’s important because applications need to access the information it previously stored in your RAM instantly. This is why RAM is stored on your computer as a chip. RAM is used to store and retrieve information without having any negative impact on your Chromebooks performance.

Athletes running to show they need energy to perform and a Chromebook needs RAM to perform
Just like an athlete who needs enough energy to perform well – A Chromebook needs enough RAM

The RAM in your Chromebook is used temporarily. When you start using applications the application will store information in your computers RAM. If you finish using an application, providing the application has been written correctly the information stored in your Chromebooks RAM will be removed. This is necessary because you may then go on to using other applications, which will also need to store and retrieve information from the RAM in your computer.

The operating system and any software you use will write and read data from the computers RAM when performing any task. Any task where the processor needs instant access to data will be stored in the computers RAM. This is temporarily stored and when your computer is switched off any data in the RAM will be removed.

HOW IS RAM USED ON YOUR CHROMEBOOK

The memory in your Chromebook is used by all the software that will run on your computer. The operating system ‘Chrome OS’ will use RAM when booting up your Chromebook. The operating system will continue to use RAM while your Chromebook is in use. The amount of memory it will use depends on the tasks it’s performing.

All other software you use when using your Chromebook will also use RAM to run correctly. Ensuring you have enough RAM to run all the software you will be using is important. If your computer begins to run out of RAM you will notice a dramatic impact on performance.

Your computers processor, which is the heart of any computer needs RAM to perform. If your processor needed to retrieve data from storage it would cause your computer to perform extremely slowly. This happens when too little RAM is available. If enough RAM is available the processor can store and retrieve data from the RAM at a much faster speed than from storage on your computer.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR CHROMEBOOK RUNS LOW ON RAM

If your Chromebook runs low on RAM it will start to perform much slower than you would normally expect. When a computer runs low on RAM it can become almost unusable. Luckily, this is not so obvious on a Chromebook as it may be on other types of computers you’ve used in the past.

For example, say you bought a Chromebook with 2GB of RAM and ‘Chrome OS’ needed at least 1GB of RAM to run comfortably. This would mean your Chromebook would have 1GB of RAM available for any applications or websites that you choose to visit.

Two people using a Chromebook to get there essays completed and running out of RAM
Running low on RAM can be frustrating when you need to get things done

If you open your browser and start surfing the internet this may take 300MB of RAM. There is 1,000MB in a GB, so this would leave you with 700MB. If you then started to use Google Docs to write an essay, this may take a further 300MB to run. This would then leave you with 400MB.

If you then decided to open a spreadsheet using Google Sheets, but that spreadsheet contained huge amounts of data and needed 600MB to run. You would then run into problems because you only have 400MB of RAM available. This is a very simplistic look at how RAM is used because it’s never as black and white as that. Sometimes your computer will need more RAM for a number of reasons. In the example I’ve just used, you would notice too little RAM is available because performance would suffer dramatically.

HOW MUCH RAM DOES A CHROMEBOOK NEED

At the moment memory for RAM is measured in GB (Gigabytes). The higher number of GB your Chromebook has the better it will perform. How much RAM your Chromebook needs will depend on what you intend on doing with your Chromebook. However, five years ago I would have said a Chromebook with 2GB is fine. This is no longer the case. Although you may be able to use a Chromebook with 2GB. I would not recommend this in 2021.

The amount of RAM you should be looking for as a minimum in 2021 for your Chromebook is 4GB. 4GB of RAM is more than enough for most tasks you will carry out on your computer. If you spend most of your time surfing the internet, using social media and streaming HD movies. Then you’ll have no problems choosing a Chromebook with 4GB of RAM.

A picture of RAM chips needed for a Chromebook to perform
The amount of RAM you need depends on what you do on your Chromebook

Almost all Chromebooks in 2021 have the ability to run Android Apps. Again, 4GB of RAM for most apps is more than enough. Sure, if you like your Android Games, which use intense graphics. Then perhaps you’ll notice it performs a little slower. However, for most Android Apps 4GB of RAM is more than enough.

If you like to play around with your Chromebook to get more out of it. Then I’d recommend choosing 8GB of RAM. If you’re intending on using Linux Apps. Although Linux apps can run using 4GB of RAM. It would be much better to have 8GB of RAM available when using Linux Apps on your Chromebook.

GET AS MUCH RAM AS YOU CAN AFFORD

When choosing how much memory you need it’s important to consider the future. It’s best not to think about how much RAM you need now and think about how much RAM you may need going forward.

If you use your Chromebook mainly for internet surfing and catching up on social media. Then you’ll be fine choosing a Chromebook with 4GB and not have to worry about needing more a few years down the line. However, if you do like to use the latest Android apps and enjoy experimenting with different software. Then I’d recommend getting more RAM where possible.

At the moment, if you want to buy a Chromebook that is future proof. Then you should consider buying a model that has at least 8GB of RAM. This only applies if you use your Chromebook for more than just internet surfing. Choosing a Chromebook with 8GB of RAM now will save you money in the long run. By choosing 8GB of RAM means your Chromebooks should still be able to cope with new software that is released a few years from now.

IN SUMMARY

At the moment 4GB of RAM is considered the standard for a Chromebook. This is perfectly fine for people who want to surf the web, word process, number crunch on a spreadsheet. It’s also fine for anyone who would like to use the huge array of Android Apps currently available.

If you buy a Chromebook with 4GB of RAM you should be able to use your Chromebook for most tasks. However, as mentioned earlier you should always try to buy as much RAM as possible. So if the Chromebook you have your eye on comes with more than 4GB, and you can afford it, opt for the Chromebook that has the highest amount of RAM.

If you want to ensure your Chromebook can cope with new applications and advanced Android apps in the future. This includes using Linux Apps. Then you should be looking for a Chromebook with 8GB of RAM. This is more than enough memory to cope with what’s on offer now and what will be available in a few years from now. The processor your Chromebook uses is also important for performance, find out more by reading What processor should I be looking for when buying a Chromebook.

I hope this has given you all the information you need to know how much RAM you need for a Chromebook in 2021. Knowing how much RAM does a Chromebook need is always something people are interested in. Well, now you know what you should be looking for in terms of RAM when buying a Chromebook in 2021.

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