What is RAM and why is it important?
By - ToastyNyfo
It's very very fast temporary storage.
Take a hypothetical situation with made up figures as follows: say you want to open 10 tabs in chrome(2GB), load 2 large spreadsheets (3GB), and use a video editing app (2GB). Using the Linux container will add a few GB to that too.
You can probably see that if you only have 2 GB of RAM then your work flow may be a bit slow. With only 2 GB of RAM you can't realistically hold 7GB of apps plus the operating system needs some RAM to function too. Typically it will put some tabs to sleep and also use swap storage which is either the SSD or eMMC storage, and which is much slower. Basically, the system will spend time putting the contents of RAM temporarily into swap space so that it can use the RAM to deal with more urgent tasks.
If you have 16GB, then it can all be put into RAM. This not only prevents slow downs but there will be less crashes and less freezing of apps or the system. It results in a smoother experience.
Lots of RAM also has no real disadvantages. I mean, if you have a fast processor then this means you will have a fan and both will impact on battery life.
In my opinion, RAM is the 2nd most desirable aspect of the chromebook that I will look for, most important would be the auto update expiry date. I wouldn't have anything less than 8GB for a chromebook to last me for the next 5-8 years.
Here's the best analogy I've ever heard for understanding computer hardware specs:
Imagine you have a job in an office. Your job involves working with information on paper, stored in folders in a file cabinet.
The RAM is your desk, and the file cabinet is your hard drive. When you start your day, there is nothing on your desk. You haven't started any tasks, yet.
You get up from your desk, go to the file cabinet, and take out a folder. You take it back to your desk and begin working on it. Your desk is small- the size of a single folder.
You suddenly need to pivot to another task, but your desk (RAM) is only big enough to hold a single folder, which means you need to put all the papers back into the current folder and return them to the file cabinet (hard drive). Then, you can find the other folder for the task you need to pivot to, bring it back to your desk, open it, and begin working on it.
Great, you finished the pivot task, and need to get back to the original task. Now you must get up from your desk, put the pivot task folder away and grab the original task folder from the file cabinet.
This is fine. It works. But what if you upgraded the size of your desk? What if you could hold both folders on your desk? What if you could most of the folders in the file cabinet on your desk? What if you could hold ALL the folders on your desk? You could easily pivot from task to task as needed without getting up and going to the file cabinet. Having more RAM is like having a bigger desk. Having a larger hard drive is like having a larger file cabinet.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. If you have other questions, I will fit them into this office analogy. 😀
Nice layout of this analogy. This is exactly the way I have always explained it. Especially for those new to technology, it has been a great way to communicate how these things work.
Thanks. This is not mine. I read it somewhere over the course of my life (probably on Reddit), and it's always stuck with me as a great way to explain to the newcomer.
I don't have a technical background or anything, but the way I understand it, RAM is what allows your computer to "multitask." It's a really common bottleneck for a computer's performance. 8gb is probably a good baseline amount to have nowadays, and 16gb is great. You'll hardly ever crash on Chrome OS unless you're dabbling in the dark arts of Linux or the beta/dev channels.
Another thing that will make you crash is navigating to chrome://flags in your browser. Every day the flags there stray further from God's light.
Dam, so a 32gb from the Acer 713 would be great. Thanks for clearing it up
You may check the specs on that again, mainly because 32gb *is* a lot for RAM.
The storage capacity (where your downloaded files are kept) usually ranges from 16gb, 32gb, 64gb, and 128gb for chromebooks.
I've seen RAM memory range from 4gb, 6gb, and 8gb. Not sure how many have 2gb or more than 8gb, but when the specs are listed for RAM it's usually in increments of 2gb for chromebooks.
You might check where the 32gb is listed on the specs so you know what you're getting (and if it does turn out to be the storage capacity, check and see what the RAM actually is).
If you are 'saving up for it' and think 32gb of RAM is a bargain, you may be looking at the wrong specs. 32gb RAM is way overkill for most Chromebooks and would be priced at a premium, but it is definitely within the realm of how large of an SSD an entry-level Chromebook would have.
Well the 713 is $700 at best buy and for a new device from nowadays that seems like a great deal
According to the [ACER product listing page](https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/professional-models/laptops/acerchromebookspin713) they don't make a model with 32GB of RAM. At most they make 16GB versions, which is still a lot of RAM for a Chromebook, but it's not nearly 32.
Watch Best Buy as it goes on sale for $100 off now and then.
Let me make it even more simple.
RAM - power off, lose all your work in info if not saved. More ram means more tabs can be open, more applications, more RAM means multi task with out performance slowing down.
eMMC/SSD/storage - place were Chrome OS is stored when power is off, files, folders are saved, power off everything is save so no lost work.
Well that's that in a nutshell, thanks!
RAM is the bottleneck of performance like others said.
If you really want performance I always recommend the least spec'd to be 8gb min, and Intel is 4 core processor at the minimum. That acer should be good though.
Chrome OS actually never crashes, even if the RAM is low (unless you use Linux) but RAM (Random Access Memory) is like a memory that allows your computer to run fast even with a lot of Chrome Tabs, Linux Apps. This helps the Chromebook to run smoothly in whatever situation it is..,. From 4GB to 16GB are the Various memory available for Chrome OS...
You can think of RAM as your brains for remembering things, and hard drive (SSD) as paper where you can read and write. It takes time to read and write information from paper. If you have vast, exceptional memory, you don't even need paper except when reading new information. But if you have poor memory, you have to rely heavily on paper.
Same is true with computer. RAM is much faster than SSD. The more you have it, the better off you are if money is not a concern.
The super short version -
RAM = Short term memory
Hard drive or "storage" = Long term memory
Get a Chromebook with at least 4 GB of RAM (short term memory) and 32GB or higher of SSD/storage (long term memory) and everything should run perfectly fine for you.
Edit: If you're looking at this Acer 713 you'll be more than happy with it.
If you're "saving up" for a Chromebook, this is the one to save for. It's the newest Spin 713-3w model with the 11th generation Intel i3 CPU. It will run circles around the previous model, even though the older model has an i5.
The previous model is a fine Chromebook, but the price needs to come down some more considering the new one is retailing for $699.