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2015 Laptop Memory Buying Guide

Laptop memory tips and recommendations to get the most out of your laptop.

  • Windows 7 & Vista - 4GB+
  • Windows XP - 2GB+
  • Mac OS X - 2GB+
Bare Minimum:
  • Windows 7 & Vista - 2 GB
  • Windows XP - 1 GB
  • Mac OS X - 1 GB

A Look At Laptop Memory

laptop memory pictures

In today's demanding mobile computing environment sporting the right amount of memory is crucial if you want to perform at optimum performance.

This is especially true for the majority of you will be running the memory demanding Microsoft Windows operating system. 

And as many of you may already know, the latest Microsoft Windows 7 and Vista operating systems are more demanding on laptop memory capacity then any previous Windows version to date.

Compared to any previous Windows OS without a doubt Vista is a glutton for memory. Windows 7 has improved over Vista but it still runs best with lots of memory.

New eye candy and security features contribute to this huge demand for memory among many other changes.

If you want to get peak performance out of a new or existing mobile computer you will definitely need plenty of memory to meet these demands.

Add to Vista's memory demands the requirements for today's complex applications and you have yourself absolute memory overload.

Many of you Apple folks on the other hand can rejoice for the average user's memory requirements are not at all steep compared to Vista or even Windows 7.

On the plus side to all of this however, knowing how much you need is actually pretty simple these days, and we are going to point you in the right direction.

Memory Capacity

As a general rule of thumb Windows 7 and Windows Vista work fairly well with at least 2GB but more is definitely better for these newer operating systems. 4GB is the real sweet spot for both Windows 7 and Windows Vista. 

We do recommend at an absolute bare minimum 2GB of laptop memory for any Windows Vista computer period, but even then the OS isn't going to run to its full potential so with memory prices being so low it makes sense to go for 2GB or more instead. Anything less than 2GB with Windows Vista and you will literally be sliming along at snails pace.

Windows 7 is another story for Microsoft really streamlined Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista. 2GB will actually drive Windows 7 nicely, though again 4GB or more is ideal, especially since laptop memory prices have fallen so low. In fact, you won't find too many laptops with less than 4GB today.

For Windows XP based laptops you will want at least 1GB but 2GB is still preferred. Windows XP systems with 512 MB should be the absolute bare minimum but 1GB is a better minimum base configuration in our opinion, though as usual 2GB or more is preferred even for XP. Of course you won't be finding any new laptops offered with XP these days but we've decided to add these recommendations just in case you go for a refurbished laptop.

Take these recommendations however with a grain of salt, for you specific demands may be higher and you will need to adjust accordingly. Other resources throughout the site will help you pinpoint your exact needs even further.

All of you gamers, multimedia, and other power users should go for at least 4GB, preferably 6GB if you want to get peak performance out of your laptop. Everyone else our recommended amount of laptop memory should be sufficient.

Most of you Apple fans can actually get by with 1GB, but we recommend at least 2GB for a better computing experience. Most Apple laptops will come with no less than 2GB these days anyways. And for all you Apple power users, we recommend you purchase as much as you can afford, and no less than 4GB. This is especially true for professional audio or video editors who use apps such as Final Cut Pro or Pro Tools.

Memory Speed

Memory speed isn't as crucial as memory capacity but definitely do not overlook it, especially if you have options when configuring a new laptop.

The various laptop manufacturers these days typically bundle their laptops with similar memory speeds depending on current industry standards, trends, etc. As of this writing for example, DDR3 memory at 667MHz and 800MHz is a common laptop memory speed that you'll encounter.

When buying a new laptop computer we recommend you compare the different speeds that the different manufacturers are offering at the time of your research. More than likely you will see similar speeds offered across the board.

Exceptions to this often come when customizing gaming laptops however. Manufacturers of gaming laptops, especially on the high-end, typically offer faster memory than the average mainstream laptop manufacturers because the gamer crowd is paying a price premium for ultimate performance.

Keep in mind that if memory speed comes with too much of a price premium, your cash will be better spent for more laptop memory or other upgrades.


Laptop memory is very crucial to any computers operation so pay close attention to you options, especially when purchasing a new laptop computer system.

Remember that memory capacity is more important than memory speed and it will improve laptop performance more often than faster chips, especially when working with complex applications or many apps simultaneously. Don't overlook speed however if you have options.

If you follow our recommendations we are confident that you will be on the correct path to dominating your day to day digital lifestyle.

Don't forget to check out our other website resources for we have tons more great laptop information for you.

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