Are 4GB laptops outdated? Considering the fact that in 2022, we see laptops come with at least 8-16GB RAM, 4GB sticks are outdated. But that doesn’t mean you cannot do day-to-day computing tasks on a 4GB RAM system.
But for office applications, web surfing, and multimedia consumption, is 4GB RAM enough for a laptop? Technically, yes, but it will depend on the other hardware configuration as well.
But buying a new laptop with 4GB RAM doesn’t sound like a solid investment. Read on to know more about this.
Is 4GB RAM Enough for Laptop?
Contents In Short List
- 1 Is 4GB RAM Enough for Laptop?
- 2 What Does 4GB RAM Mean on a Laptop?
- 3 What Is the Difference between 2GB RAM vs. 4GB RAM?
- 4 What Can a 4GB RAM Laptop Do?
- 5 7 Ways to Increase the Performance of Your 4GB RAM Laptop
- 6 3 Ways to Know If You Can Add More Ram to Your 4GB RAM Laptop
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 Conclusion
The answer to this question is very vague, and it is something that varies widely from person to person. It depends on what kind of tasks you do on your laptop, how often you use your laptop, other hardware in your laptop, etc.
There are many different categories of tasks that require different amounts of RAM and performance.
We’re going to talk about these categories of tasks more elaborately below, so stick till the end.
You mostly use the laptop for office applications, multimedia, web surfing, and 2D gaming – so, is 4GB RAM enough for the laptop? The answer is – 4GB RAM should be alright, and the laptop won’t run slow provided it has an SSD installed for the system software.
But is 4GB RAM enough for a school laptop for online classes, presentations, and office applications? Yes, if the laptop has an SSD in it.
What Does 4GB RAM Mean on a Laptop?
First, you need to know what RAM on a computer is and what it does. RAM or Random Access Memory is temporary data stored on your computer that does not store permanent data. Meaning you can’t store videos or photos in it.
The RAM contains the background data of applications, games, and operating systems that run your entire system. For example, in a game, the data of the characters, maps, environments, etc., are stored in the RAM.
Now you may ask, why is it stored in the RAM instead of the hard drive? Well, RAM is generally a lot faster than hard drives. A modern DDR4 RAM’s speed is generally around 2400-3200 MHz. That means it can transfer around 3200 megabytes of data per second.
Whereas a SATA 3 SSD only gets speeds up to 560 megabytes per second. Thanks to the SSD speed, your games and applications can run smoothly on your device. And it’s also because of this speed that higher capacity RAMs can’t be produced since they will be so expensive.
So, in a nutshell, 4GB RAM on a laptop means that your laptop can smoothly run games and applications that only store less than 4GB of temporary data in the RAM. You can check how much RAM an application or game requires from its ‘system requirements’ page.
What Is the Difference between 2GB RAM vs. 4GB RAM?
The differences in RAM can vary from speed to latency to capacity. But if we were to keep the speed and latency constant, the only difference between 2GB RAM and 4GB RAM is the capacity.
2GB of RAM means your computer can only properly run applications and games that store less than 2GB of temporary data.
In 2022, 2GB of RAM is really insignificant, and most applications will not run properly on it. The latest version of Windows (Windows 11) requires a minimum of 4GB of RAM to operate.
Even in Windows 10, your computer will struggle to execute the most basic tasks because the operating system itself will take up most of the RAM.
2GB RAM is, in all cases, a downgrade from 4GB RAM. The main differences you will notice between 2GB RAM vs. 4GB RAM are –
- Slower startup speed in Windows.
- Most applications are not supported on 2GB RAM.
- Supported applications will take longer to open.
- Lots of lags and stutters in your day-to-day use.
- You have to use Windows 7 on a 2GB RAM device for a decent experience.
- You can’t run multiple applications at once.
All in all, 2GB of RAM is highly discouraged in 2022 because most applications and games now require at least 4GB RAM. You can’t really even find new laptops with 2GB RAM these days. Only older laptops used to come with 2GB RAM.
What Can a 4GB RAM Laptop Do?
Despite only being 4GB of capacity, a laptop with 4GB RAM can do a lot of things.
Of course, there are limitations and bottlenecks, but as we have stated earlier, it solely depends on the type of work that you are doing. 4GB RAM can handle most of the light tasks, and you can expect to have no lag and stutters in your daily use if your system is optimized enough.
We’re now going to talk about some common day-to-day tasks we do use a laptop and tell whether a 4GB RAM laptop can handle those tasks or not.
It is the most widely used task on a laptop. Browsing the web is essential for students. So, is 4GB RAM enough for a student laptop?
Well, if you avoid using heavy browsers like Chrome, and use Firefox instead, which uses less RAM, you can browse the internet at a decent speed. However, you may face some stutters when opening many tabs at once.
Avoid opening more than 10 tabs at once to make sure your browser does not crash. Also, when opening heavy websites such as YouTube or Facebook, avoid using multiple tabs since those sites take up a lot of RAM.
You can also install additional ads and pop-up blockers to make sure nothing else is hogging up your RAM. Avoid clicking on ads as well.
From a netbook’s perspective, is 4GB RAM, with 32GB SSD enough for a laptop with an 11.6″ screen? You shouldn’t face many issues for browsing the web on it.
This is one section where 4GB RAM will not impact your experience at all. Media streaming such as watching movies and videos mainly uses the hard drive, the CPU, and the GPU. So, your content consumption experience should be flawless.
However, you might run into some issues if you try running 4k or HDR videos. But then again, most 4GB RAM laptops don’t support 4K HDR anyway.
Also, if you try playing videos from multiple streams at once, the FPS on the videos may drop. But other than that, your video and audio playbacks should be really smooth.
This is a bit complicated because there are so many photo-editing software out there, each having a different system requirement, including RAM.
The most popular photo editing software is from Adobe (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.), and the 2022 version of this software requires more than 4GB of RAM to run properly.
But the older versions of this software that are from 3-4 years ago may run properly.
However, photo editing is more dependent on CPU, GPU, and storage performance than just RAM. If you have a high-end CPU, GPU, and a fast SSD, these components will compensate for the low amount of RAM, and you’ll be able to do photo editing nicely even on a 4GB RAM laptop.
If you are planning to get an old MacBook and wondering, is 4GB RAM enough for a MacBookPro laptop? For photo editing and usually computing tasks, 4GB should be enough as there will be an SSD onboard inside the mac.
This task is most befitting for a 4GB RAM laptop, and this is where it really shines.
Office Productivity software includes Microsoft Office Word, Excell, Spreadsheet, PowerPoint, etc. This software is comparatively light and requires fewer system resources.
So, a 4GB RAM laptop is enough to get the job done if you know how to use these applications properly. You should not face any lags and sluggishness if you have an SSD.
Office Productivity tasks also include web browsing, data entry, emails, using scanners, and printers, etc. A 4GB RAM laptop should be able to execute these tasks flawlessly.
So, is 4GB RAM enough for an office laptop? Absolutely yes!
Now, this is another complicated section because there is a wide range of games available. There are also varieties of lite games. Moreover, gaming is more dependent on your CPU and GPU rather than RAM. So, depending on your overall configuration, you might be able to run some games.
If you have a decent CPU and GPU, you may be able to run most of the older games. You might also be able to run some newer games that have lower system requirements. However, you would have to tune the settings and lower the graphics quality to be able to play.
Even if you have a high-end CPU and GPU, the main problem you’ll face while gaming on a 4GB RAM laptop is low frame rates. Since your system cannot store much data on the RAM, it proceeds to store the rest of the data on the hard drive, which is much slower than the RAM.
So yeah, if you have a decent CPU and GPU and you are willing to play older games, and you know how to tweak the settings, then lite gaming is definitely possible on a 4GB RAM laptop.
A 4GB RAM laptop is not capable of multitasking of any sort. Here’s why –
Windows and other UI services always use up almost 40% of the system’s RAM. So, you are only left with around 2GB of RAM. Most modern applications, web browsers, and even media players will take up most of the available RAM.
So, you will end up facing lots of crashes if you try to multitask. However, you may get away with running multiple light applications, such as notepads, documents, folders, etc.
7 Ways to Increase the Performance of Your 4GB RAM Laptop
In 2022, you will most likely run into performance issues if you are still using only 4GB of RAM. However, there are certain ways you can increase the performance and get the best out of your system. These methods will optimize your system to use the least amount of RAM.
Caution: Some of the methods stated below will require you to install third-party software. Be careful while downloading them, as they have a lot of counterfeits and can contain malicious programs.
Many other applications alongside system apps will automatically start when you boot into Windows. These applications will sit in the background and consume unnecessary resources, mostly in the RAM.
So, stopping these applications from automatically starting up will free up some RAM. Here’s how you do it –
Go to “Task Manager” by right-clicking on the taskbar or searching in the search bar. In the task manager, go to the “Startup” section. There you’ll find a list of apps that start with windows. You can disable everything except the Windows applications such as Windows Defender, sound drivers, and antivirus software.
Try disabling every third-party software that you have installed. Just right-click on the names of the applications and press “Disable.” Your Windows should startup faster now, and your system’s speed should increase a bit.
Tip: In the task manager, within the “Processes” section, you can find the currently running apps in the background. You can end any unnecessary application that is running in the background.
System Optimization Software
There are many cleaning software available on the internet that remove unwanted files, registries, and applications running in the background. These also clear up temporary files and caches, increasing your system’s speed. Two of the popular cleaning applications are Ccleaner and WiseCleaner.
This is a very basic and easy-to-use application for cleaning your PC. It requires just one tap to clean the disk, memory, and invalid registries of your system.
If you’re looking for a more advanced approach, you should check out this software. WiseCleaner is a family of software that includes memory cleaners, disk cleaners, registry cleaners, and more.
Individual scanning results in more deep cleaning, unlike Ccleaner, which runs all the scanning at once. Definitely do check out their memory cleaner (Wise memory cleaner) if you see more than 70% of your RAM always being used.
Installing an SSD Drive
The hard drive is where your computer stores the operating system and all of the data. This includes your files and application. So, every task you execute and every application you open will be processed from your hard drive.
That’s why the speed of your hard drive directly affects the speed of your system (i.e., Windows boot-up time, application opening time, copying files, browsing through the UI, etc.).
HDDs are the most common hard drive type, as they are quite cheap and you can find them in large capacities. However, they are really slow in terms of speed.
SSDs, on the other hand, are at least 4 times faster than an HDD. Modern SSDs can get up to 8 times faster than a typical HDD. However, they are a bit expensive if you look at the ones with higher capacity (i.e., 500GB-1TB). What we recommend is to add a smaller capacity SSD (i.e., 250GB) and install windows on that SSD.
Windows and other applications in your system (Applications that you install in C-Drive) will perform faster while you can keep using your HDD to store your media and files since they don’t need that speed. Adding an SSD is the biggest upgrade you can do to a laptop to improve its performance.
Aside from the stated ways, there are some small maintenance tips that you can follow to keep your system optimized. You have to do these on a regular basis.
As we have said before, 4GB of RAM is not enough to multitask efficiently. If you still insist on multitasking, your system’s performance will suffer. To avoid slowing down your system, stick to using one or two applications at once. Close an application before opening a new one.
Uninstall Unused Apps
If you want to keep your system clean, you should remove the apps you don’t use anymore.
Go to the Control Panel > Uninstall an application and then check to see which apps you don’t use. Right-click on each of them and press uninstall. Don’t uninstall the essential apps and drivers.
This will clear up some of your storage, and it will stop those apps from using system resources.
Run Regular Malware Scans
Malware is known to slow down your computer without you even knowing. So, it is essential to have a decent antivirus installed in your system (i.e., Bitdefender, Kaspersky, etc.) If you mostly browse the internet, run a full system scan every now and then to ensure peak performance.
3 Ways to Know If You Can Add More Ram to Your 4GB RAM Laptop
Most laptops come with a single stick of memory installed, so more RAM can be installed for most laptops. Here’s how to know if you can add RAM to your laptop –
Check for Extra RAM Slot
This is the most basic and trivial method for checking if your laptop supports more RAM. There should be a small section under your laptop that has a RAM sign on it.
A screw should hold it down; open it up, and you should see your RAM. Check to see if there’s an extra slot. If there is, then you can add more RAM.
You don’t need to open your entire laptop to do this.
Use Third-Party Software to Check for RAM Slots
There are many system-analysis software on the internet that you can use to see all your system’s hardware information and data. Two of the most popular ones are CPU-Z and Crucial System Scanner. Here’s how you use both of them to figure out if you can add more RAM –
Download and install CPU-Z and open up the application. Once inside, go to the SPD section from the top of the screen. From there, under the “Memory Slot Selection” section, click the white box with a downward-facing arrow. There you’ll see the number of slots available.
If your laptop has two slots, there will be two options, Slot #1 and Slot #2.
Once you open the application, it will automatically scan your system and tell you what configuration of RAM your system supports.
Tip: You can also check available RAM slots from the task manager. Under the performance tab, click on memory. Below the graph, you’ll see a line saying “Slots used: x out of n,” x is the current number of installed RAM, and n is the maximum number of supported RAM.
Check Your Laptop’s Service/User Manual
You should find a user guide inside the box that your laptop came in. Find the RAM section. It should state how many RAM slots your laptop has.
If you want to add more RAM, and your laptop has the extra slot, try getting RAM of the same configuration as the once pre-installed. Using different configurations of RAM will cause performance issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 4GB RAM enough for a laptop in 2021?
4GB RAM is definitely not enough for a laptop in 2021. Windows 10 now consumes a lot of system memory to operate properly, so most of your 4GB RAM is always used up by Windows. And so, the rest of the small amount that is left for applications is not enough for them to run smoothly.
Most applications have also been updated to use more RAM to include more features and functionality. So, 4GB RAM is not enough.
Is 4GB slow for a laptop?
It depends on what kind of tasks you do. If you use your laptop mostly for light tasks like web browsing, media consumption, and office work, 4GB should not feel slow for your laptop.
Also, if you keep your system clean, optimize your settings, and avoid multitasking, your experience should be smooth.
However, RAM is not the sole contributor to the speed of your laptop. Your hard drive is also essential. If you have an SSD installed, your laptop should feel fast even with 4GB of RAM.
Is 4GB RAM good or bad?
4GB RAM can be good or really bad, depending on your usage. If you are looking to do heavy tasks and use your laptop for long periods daily, then 4GB RAM is definitely not good. If your system is well optimized, you can get away with only 4GB RAM. But in 2022, 4GB RAM is considered bad.
Which OS (operating system) is good for a 4GB laptop?
The best operating system for not only 4GB RAM laptops but all low systems with specifications is undoubtedly Linux. It is the most popular open-source operating system. Meaning it’s completely free.
The biggest advantage of Linux is that it doesn’t have as many background services as Windows.
So, less of your RAM is used, and that keeps your system running smoothly. Linux is also a very lightweight OS, so it is recommended for all devices that perform poorly on Windows. However, there are certain downsides to Linux, the biggest of them being the lack of variety in applications.
Will more RAM make your laptop faster?
Technically, yes. But the difference is not noticeable immediately. Adding more RAM will allow you to multitask, open more browser tabs at once, and you will suffer less from lags, hangs, and crashes.
But it won’t change things like your Windows boot-up speed, your application opening speed, etc. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t feel your laptop running faster immediately.
If you want your laptop to run fast almost immediately, consider installing an SSD. Almost every process in the system will speed up significantly.
The capacity of your system’s RAM is one of the most important contributors to its performance and capabilities. A higher RAM will allow you to do more and heavier tasks. But, the other components of your system are also to be considered.
After all the discussion, is 4GB RAM enough for a laptop? It really comes down to your personal work.
In 2022 it is recommended to have at least 8GB of RAM for a laptop to perform well. The speed of the RAM is also important. DDR4 is the current standard. We hope we have given you enough knowledge to figure out the answer for yourself, hope it helps!
My name Is Eric Jaxson, and I am the creator of Laptops Wise, your one-stop blog for all your laptop’s guide, reviews, laptop accessories and user experiences, and a place to help you get the right laptop and the better experience possible read more….