All things considered, a good guide. I do have a few points to make, though:
Derek Semeraro wrote:
If you have a motherboard with two slots, it’s better to go with one larger capacity stick than two smaller ones since you can always upgrade the second slot later.
If money is tight and performance is not important, then that is a viable strategy. If, however, your two-slot motherboard is dual-channel (and most of them are) and you only stick in a single DIMM — make use of a single channel — then you can expect memory performance to drop as much as 45%… and that makes a huge difference in many types of use cases (e.g. gaming). Two smaller-capacity DIMMs far outperform one larger-capacity DIMM on two-slot motherboards with dual-channel memory architectures.
many motherboards allow you to overclock the RAM in the BIOS to get higher speed. Additional RAM speed can improve performance, depending on the how the CPU utilizes it, of course. There is a little bit of improvement in performance when moving along the 2400-3000 MHz range, but beyond that there are very diminished returns.
Folks looking at getting something like an AMD APU (e.g. Ryzen 2200G, 2400G) need to be aware that — on systems where CPU and GPU are integrated and share the same RAM — RAM speed has a huge impact on graphics performance. AMD’s Infinity Fabric scales according to RAM speed… so if you want to use such processors for graphics-intensive tasks (e.g. gaming) then fast and overclocked memory is the easiest/best way to increase your FPS. Consider 3200MHz RAM to be the absolute minimum on such systems.
If using a light OS like Linux, 2-4 GB should be fine. For Windows or Mac, 8 GB is recommended for most users. 8 GB is plenty for the vast majority of productivity, web browsing and office programs.
I’m running Ubuntu 16.04 right now, only have a web browser and mail client open, and I’m using 3.9GB of RAM. The OS is less important than the applications you use. Web browsers, in particular, can consume vast amounts of memory — and you use them regardless of the underlying OS. Unless your needs are clearly known and minimal, I wouldn’t even think of building a general-purpose computer with less than 8GB of RAM in it nowadays.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you install an insufficient amount of RAM, and you use it up by
Right now, RAM is at an all-time high price.
Yep, but unfortunately the new fabs won’t come online until the second half of 2018, which is why RAM prices will likely rise a little bit more through the middle of the year, flatten out in the second half of 2018, then — hopefully — slowly start falling in 2019 as supplies increase. (GN did a good report on RAM prices earlier this year
.) So, the prices we have now in 2018-04 are likely to be very similar to the prices we’ll see in 2019-04 — meaning that you’ll have to wait at least a year to have any realistic chance of saving even a small amount on RAM. If you can afford to wait at least a year, then go for it. If you need your RAM within the next 12 months, however, then you are better off buying it right now.