How to check how much RAM you have

HyperX Impact DDR4 RAM on light blue background
(Image credit: Future)

If you feel like your computer is slowing down or doesn’t quite have the pep it’s supposed to, check how much RAM you have. RAM is a significant part of your computer's everyday performance and having too little for what you want to do can cause bottlenecks. As a general rule, 4GB is too little, 8GB is fine for general internet browsing and streaming, and 16GB is the standard for gaming and video editing.

Once you have an idea of how much RAM you have and how much you need, you can decide whether to upgrade your computer or get a new one. Just be aware that some Apple laptops have the RAM soldered to the motherboard so upgrading might not be possible (for warranty purposes if nothing else).

Here's where to look on the best Windows computers or one of the best MacBooks or Macs

Steps for how to check how much RAM you have

  1. Open your PC settings (PC)
  2. Go to the About section (PC)
  3. Read the about information (PC)
  4. Open About section (Mac)
  5. Read about information (Mac)

Tools and Requirements

  • Windows or Apple computer

Step by step guide for Windows

1. Open your PC settings (PC)

(Image: © Future/James Holland)

Open Settings on your PC.


2. Go to the 'About' section (PC)

(Image: © Future/James Holland)

Go to System and scroll to the bottom and click on About

3. Read the about information (PC)

(Image: © Future/James Holland)

You’ll see plenty of hardware information listed under Device Specifications including installed RAM.

Step by step guide for Mac

1. Open About section (MacOS)

(Image: © Future/James Holland)

Click on the Apple Menu Bar icon and scroll down to About This Mac

2. Read the about information (MacOS)

(Image: © Future/James Holland)

You’ll get a pop-up window listing your processor, RAM, serial number, and current operating system. If your Mac has upgradable RAM this window will include a bar with Memory as one of the options.

Final thoughts

Finding out how much RAM you have is as simple as it is important as it’s a potential bottleneck for all sorts of apps, not just games. Google Chrome, for instance, takes up plenty of resources for every tab you have open.

If you want to dive even deeper to see how your Windows computer is using your currently installed RAM, then open the Task Manager, go to the Performance tab, and press on Memory. You’ll see plenty of metrics that will either give you peace of mind or show you how much your currently installed RAM is throttling your performance. Plus, you can see the speed of the RAM here.

For an Apple computer, you’ll open the Activity Monitor app to see the same information. It should by default show memory usage, but if it doesn’t, just press on Memory at the top.

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James Holland
Freelancer

James Holland loves audio gear! So much so that he covers all the ins and outs, good and bad for Tech Radar and T3. Where does that so-called expertise come from? Not only is he a lifelong music-lover but he also works in the music industry and is a musician. When not testing headphones or listening to music, he loves to travel, rage at the latest PC games, and eat off-the-beaten-path but not too off-the-beaten-path food.