Choosing the Right Laptop Memory and Storage for Beginners 
8 mins read

Choosing the Right Laptop Memory and Storage for Beginners 

Every single component in a right laptop is essential, versatile, and something more than most of us are familiar with. RAM and storage are no exception to this. Whether you’re a student purchasing a new laptop for your academic journey, a casual user browsing the web, or a creative professional dipping your toes into photo editing, understanding RAM and storage choices is critical to a smooth experience. In this blog, we’ll explain what each component does and how much you need in the best laptop for beginners. 

So, let’s dive in!  

What is RAM?  

RAM (Random Access Memory) is a part of laptop hardware that temporarily stores data to be retrieved later. It handles just about everything you do on your device. For instance, without your laptop being able to store and access data quickly, none of your applications and games would work. In addition, your laptop can access RAM much faster than data on a hard disk, SSD, or another long-term storage unit, which is why RAM is the most essential component for system performance.  

How does RAM work?  

RAM is a form of temporary storage that gets erased when you turn your machine off. As said, it offers lightning-fast data access, making it ideal for all processes on your laptop.  

Think of RAM as the top of your desk. It’s where you immediately put things you need, like books or snacks. This is your working space, easy to reach, so you don’t waste time looking in drawers. Suppose your desk drawers are like the hard disk in your laptop. You keep things there that you don’t need all the time, like toys and past papers you want to save. Similarly, in your laptop, data you don’t use often or want to keep for later is stored on a hard disk inside your device’s storage. 

Your laptop’s operating system loads data from the hard disk to the RAM to process it to complete a specific task. After processing that data, the operating system loads it back for more prolonged use.  

For Beginners: How Much Memory Do You Need? 

8 GB is the sweet spot for beginner laptop hardware under the Windows 10 operating system. It’s easy to find affordable 8 GB laptops with Windows 10. Indeed, that’s the norm, and that works well for everyday computing tasks like web browsing and streaming. Light gaming and minimal multitasking. However, it’s not a good starting point for high-end users like data analysts, pro gamers, and creative artists.  

Even though when you are browsing the Internet, it pushes memory usage over 50% on such systems, leaving small space for other applications. While modern web browsers typically lighten the load, when other tasks take more RAM capacity, that process can make your laptop slow and hinder performance.  

As per our general laptop memory guide, 16GB of mainstream memory is good enough for most of the mid-range users who don’t want to face performance slowdowns, and 32GB or higher is recommended for heavy multi-taskers, dedicated gamers and professional users who already know how much they want to throw on their devices. Ultimately, the amount of RAM you need for your laptop boils down to your individual usage needs and your budget. 

What is Storage on a Laptop?  

RAM refers to the location where your laptop stores short-term data; storage is the component of hardware that allows you to store and access data for the long term. Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer for how much laptop storage you need. Everyone uses their laptop differently, and the storage capacity depends on what you’ll be using it for and what type of files you will store on it.  

Commonly. You’ll see laptops with two storage options: SSD and HDD. Do you need help finding your way around all these complicated abbreviations? 

Fret not; let’s shed light on them! 

HDD  

The HDDs, “Hard Disk Drives, ” were traditionally used for computer storage and are still ideal for storing huge volumes at an affordable price. It uses magnetic disks to operate but is slower than SSD. It has one or more platters housed inside an air-sealed casing. Data is stored on the platters via a magnetic head, which rushes over them as they spin.  

The hard drive will be a good choice for storing casual data such as photos, videos, office documents, movies, and Excel files. You can keep all your precious memories without spending much and even secure them with a NAS to avoid inconvenience.  

SSD 

Solid State Drives (SSD) are the core components that also store information but on the flash memory. These are non-volatile memory (NVM) chips with no moving parts. Unlike HDD, which stores data using a spinning magnetic disc and a mechanical write head, SSDs use electrical charges within semiconductors. 

Their primary benefit is the performance, which is much faster than HDD but is also a bit more expensive. Choose an SSD if you value speed, responsiveness, and quiet operation. It can be booted up quickly and performs better than standard hard drives. 

The good news? The latest are equipped with both an SSD and an HDD. This means you have an SSD that quickly loads your programs and files, while an HDD provides ample room for larger multimedia files. You can enjoy the best of both worlds on a single laptop device.  

How Much Storage Do You Need on Your Laptop? 

For a laptop with 32GB of memory, storage needs depend on your usage. If you’re mainly using it for everyday tasks and light gaming, a solid-state drive (SSD) with 256GB to 512GB should suffice. However, if you work with large files or run memory-intensive applications, consider upgrading to a larger SSD or supplementing with external storage options like an external hard drive or cloud storage.

Only you can answer this question. The storage capacity is all about how you are going to fill it. For most casual users like students, office workers, and those who use their laptops for surfing the web and storing some photos, videos, and the occasional games, 256GB of storage is more than.  

Most work-related applications, including Microsoft Office, Zoom, and Photoshop, need a few GBs to run smoothly. The same goes for internet browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge and most general-purpose software. 

When it comes to storing the images, image size ranges from 200KB-8MB, so roughly 1500 photos will take only 4GBs, which is barely enough even on a 128GB laptop. As for videos, the process becomes challenging. Suppose an hour-long HD (720p) video will occupy around 900 MBs, so your multimedia videos of 50 hours would roughly occupy about 45 GBs. But let’s be honest: not all users rely on local storage for storing videos in this age of cloud-based services like Netflix, YouTube, etc.  

Let’s come to video games. Most AAA titles take plenty of GBs, but those are the most advanced games. The average game only demands 8-10 GBs, especially the older titles. In any case, a 256GB will be fair enough for every casual user around. However, this equation doesn’t work for power users. The ideal amount of storage for your video-editing or gaming laptop typically starts from 1 terabyte and goes beyond.  

A laptop SSD that meets your daily storage needs is recommended for most users. If you need additional storage without sacrificing speed, you can buy external solutions such as the best external storage drives from a reputable retailer like Laptop Outlet.  

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