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Memory Requirements For A Desktop Computer

If you're using a desktop computer, memory requirements depend on the computer's operating system and the application software you're using. Today's word processing and spreadsheet applications require as little as 32MB of memory to run. However, software and operating system developers continue to extend the capabilities of their products, which usually means greater memory requirements. Today, developers typically assume a minimum memory configuration of 256MB. Systems used for graphic arts, publishing, and multimedia call for at least 512MB of memory and it's common for such systems to require 1GB or more for best performance.

The chart on the next page provides basic guidelines to help you decide how much memory is optimal for your desktop computer. The chart is divided by operating system and by different kinds of work. Find the operating system you're using on your computer, then look for the descriptions of work that most closely match the kind of work you do.

 

WINDOWS® XP PROFESSIONAL and HOME

Windows XP Professional and Home feature built in wireless networking support and excellent power management for laptop / notebook users. With enhanced support of USB and Firewire, and its Media Center applications Windows XP is the best choice for the digital home and office.

Baseline: 128MB - 256MB
Optimal: 512MB - 1GB


Administrative & Service

Light- Word processing, email, data-entry

128MB - 256MB

Medium- Fax/communications, database administration, spreadsheets; >2 applications open at a time

128MB - 256MB

Heavy- Complex documents, accounting, business graphics, presentation software, network connectivity

256MB - 512MB


Executives & Analysts

Light- Proposals, reports, spreadsheets, business graphics, databases, scheduling, presentations

128MB- 256MB

Medium- Complex presentations, sales/market analysis, project management, Internet access

256MB - 512MB

Heavy- Statistical applications, large databases, research/technical analysis, complex presentations, video conferencing

512MB - 1GB


Engineers & Designers

Light- Page layout, 2 - 4 color line drawings, simple image manipulation, simple graphics

256MB - 512MB

Medium- 2D CAD, rendering, multimedia presentations, simple photo-editing, Web development

512MB - 1GB

Heavy- Animation, complex photo-editing, real-time video, 3D CAD, solid modeling, finite element analysis

1GB - 2GB



 

WINDOWS® 2000 PROFESSIONAL
Windows 2000 Professional runs software applications faster. Notebook-ready and designed with the future in mind, Windows 2000 Professional allows users to take advantage of a full range of features today. Windows 2000 Professional is future-ready and promises to run today's and tomorrow's applications better.

Baseline: 128MB - 256MB
Optimal: 512MB - 1GB

Administrative &
Service
Light- Word processing, email, data-entry 128MB - 256MB
Medium- Fax/communications, database administration, spreadsheets; >2 applications open at a time 128MB - 256MB
Heavy- Complex documents, accounting, business graphics, presentation software, network connectivity 256MB - 512MB

Executives & Analysts Light- Proposals, reports, spreadsheets, business graphics, databases, scheduling, presentations 128MB - 256MB
Medium- Complex presentations, sales/market analysis, project management, Internet access 256MB - 512MB
Heavy- Statistical applications, large databases, research/technical analysis, complex presentations, video conferencing 512MB - 1GB

Engineers & Designers Light- Page layout, 2 - 4 color line drawings, simple image manipulation, simple graphics 256MB - 512MB
Medium- 2D CAD, rendering, multimedia presentations, simple photo-editing, Web development 512MB - 1GB
Heavy- Animation, complex photo-editing, real-time video, 3D CAD, solid modeling, finite element analysis 1GB - 2GB



 

WINDOWS® 98
Windows 98 requires 16 - 32MB to run basic applications. Tests show 45 - 65% performance improvements at 64MB and beyond.

Baseline: 64MB - 128MB
Optimal: 128MB - 256MB

Students Light- Word processing, basic financial management, email and other light Internet use. 64MB - 128MB
Medium- Home office applications, games, Internet surfing, downloading images, spreadsheets, presentations 128MB - 256MB
Heavy- Multimedia use such as video, graphics, music, voice recognition, design, complex images 256MB - 384MB

Home User Light- Word processing, basic financial management, email and other light Internet use 64MB - 128MB
Medium- Home office applications, games, Internet surfing, downloading images, spreadsheets, presentations 128MB - 256MB
Heavy- Multimedia use such as video, graphics, music, voice recognition, design, complex images 256MB - 384MB



 

LINUX
The Linux operating system is quickly gaining popularity as an alternative to Microsoft Windows. It includes true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, proper memory management, TCP/IP networking, and other features consistent with Unix-type systems.

Baseline: 128MB - 256MB
Optimal: 512MB - 1GB

Administrative & Service Light- Word processing, email, data-entry 128MB - 256MB
Medium- Fax /communications, database administration, spreadsheets; >2 applications open at a time 128MB - 256MB
Heavy- Complex documents, accounting, business graphics, presentation software, network connectivity 256MB - 512MB

Executives & Analysts Light- Proposals, reports, spreadsheets, business graphics, databases, scheduling, presentations 128MB - 256MB
Medium- Complex presentations, sales/market analysis, project management, Internet access 256MB - 512MB
Heavy- Statistical applications, large databases, research/technical analysis, complex presentations, video conferencing 512MB - 1GB

Engineers & Designers Light- Page layout, 2 - 4 color line drawings, simple image manipulation, simple graphics 256MB - 512MB
Medium- 2D CAD, rendering, multimedia presentations, simple photo-editing, Web development 512MB - 1GB
Heavy- Animation, complex photo-editing, real-time video, 3D CAD, solid modeling, finite element analysis 1GB - 2GB



 

MACINTOSH™ OS X
The Macintosh operating system manages memory in substantially different ways than other systems. Still, System X users will find that 48MB is a bare minimum. When using PowerMac ® applications with Internet connectivity, plan on a range between 64 and 128MB as a minimum.

Baseline: 128MB - 256MB
Optimal: 512MB - 1GB

Administrative & Service Light- Word processing, email, data- entry 128MB - 256MB
Medium- Fax /communications, database administration, spreadsheets; >2 applications open at a time 128MB - 256MB
Heavy- Complex documents, accounting, business graphics, presentation software, network connectivity 128MB - 256MB

Executives & Analysts Light- Proposals, reports, spreadsheets, business graphics, databases, scheduling, presentations 256MB - 512MB
Medium- Complex presentations, sales/ market analysis, project management, Internet access 256MB - 512MB
Heavy- Statistical applications, large databases, research/ technical analysis, complex presentations, video conferencing 256MB - 512MB

Engineers & Designers Light- Page layout, 2 - 4 color line drawings, simple image manipulation, simple graphics 512MB - 1GB
Medium- 2D CAD, rendering, multimedia presentations, simple photo-editing, Web development 512MB - 1GB
Heavy-Animation, complex photo-editing, real- time video, 3D CAD, solid modeling, finite element analysis 1GB - 2GB



* Please Note: These figures reflect work done in a typical desktop environment. Higher-end workstation tasks may require up to 8GB. Naturally, a chart such as this evolves as memory needs and trends change. Over time, developers of software and operating systems will continue to add features and functionality to their products. This will continue to drive the demand for more memory. More complex character sets, like Kanji, may require more memory than the standard Roman based (English) character sets

 

 

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