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SSD vs RAM: Which should you upgrade?

SSD vs RAM: Which should you upgrade?

When you’re looking to extend the life of your computer, most people consider upgrading the RAM or SSD. But which is going to be more effective and give you the best value for your money?

Let’s take a look at the difference between SSD and RAM and what effect upgrading each will have.

What is RAM?

Random-access memory (RAM) is a key component of any computer that helps it to run applications smoothly and quickly. Essentially it’s short term memory, as opposed to the long term memory of your hard disk. Your operating system, applications and data all live on the hard disk, but when you run any application a portion of it is transferred to the short term RAM memory which can be accessed much faster. This allows the application to run without any lagging or performance issues. Different applications will require different amounts of RAM to run, and if you want to run more than one at a time, you will need enough RAM for all of them.

What is SSD?

A solid-state drive (SSD) is a modern replacement for a traditional hard disk drive (HDD). Rather than the mechanical moving parts of HDDs, SSDs use flash-based memory which can be accessed significantly faster by your computer. And as they are based on a single chip rather than the spinning disk and read/write heads of HDDs, they are much less likely to develop a fault. They’re still not as fast as RAM, but you can’t have a computer with only RAM as it’s unable to store anything long term, like your operating system and data.

Should I upgrade RAM or SSD?

You’ll probably know if your computer doesn’t have enough RAM. Applications will be crashing or you may even be getting error messages related to low memory. As long as you’re not using all the RAM available at any one time, it shouldn’t cause you any problems. And adding more RAM in this situation will make very little difference to the speed and performance of your computer. A typical Mac will have 8GB of RAM and, unless you’re getting memory-related errors or you’re planning on using applications that require more, upgrading it won’t show any noticeable effect.

However, if you still have an HDD then you will instantly notice differences after installing an SSD. Typically read times are up to 10 times faster and write times are up to 20 times faster with an SSD. This means the computer will boot up in a matter of seconds rather than minutes. Applications will run almost instantly when you open them. All because every time the computer goes to fetch something from the long term memory it can access it so much faster than previously. Imagine if your users came in next week and all their computers booted up 10 times faster than previously. They’d think they’d been given a brand new machine, but all you’ve done is upgrade one component.

Can I upgrade SSDs or RAM myself?

Carrying out upgrades yourself should always be done with extreme caution. Once you open up your computer you will likely invalidate the warranty and if you are not fully qualified you risk damaging any of the components. You also need to ensure that you purchase SSDs or RAM that is compatible with your device. SSDs also require a lot of configuration as you will need to copy your operating system and data over from your existing HDD. Make a small mistake here and you could lose everything from your hard drive.

In short, it’s better, safer, and more cost-efficient to leave it to the experts. At Counterpoint, we offer an upgrade service where we will take care of everything for you. From the initial consultation to ensure we get the right components for you, through to installing and configuring your computers with the upgrades, we’ll have you back up and running in no time. And your users will be thrilled with the increased performance. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

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