How Much Memory Should My Computer Be Using When Idle ?

Computer idle is a term used for a state when processor or computer is not being used by any application or program. Any program or app is running on laptop occupies certain percentage of memory whether it is higher or lower. Once the CPU has completed all the processing work, it turns into idle status. Modern processors have developed this technique “idle time” which helps in saving battery power.

You may not know this but laptop or pc still uses the memory during the idle state. We will discuss this as how much memory should my computer or laptop is using during the idle state and why still it uses the memory all in the following.

How Much Memory Should My Computer Be Using When Idle ?

Your laptop is consuming memory all the time when it is turned-on; even no one is using any application on it. How much memory your computer should be using depends upon the system specifications.

The question which we can easily answer is whether computer is running slow because it has not enough memory or because big amount of memory is being wasted on unproductive applications.

You can also learn to answer this question by checking the usage of computer memory on running multiple applications.

You should also know that running the Windows as operating system also uses little amount of memory even not running a single program.

How To Check and Monitor the Usage of Memory

When we use the word memory, it means the RAM which holds the data temporarily. RAM shares the role of processor and holds the repetitive data in own memory instead CPU processes the same data again and again. When a computer is turned-on and no program is running, here RAM has to keep running to keep the Windows alive and functioning.

Now, let’s discuss how to check and monitor the usage of memory and analyze the things accordingly.

For Example, you have 4GB of RAM and currently using 2GB RAM, then it should not be an issue using half of total memory. If you have 4GB RAM and also using 4GB, then it should be big concern and problem. 

But experts also see the things from other side, they believe the unused RAM is wasted and not helping the user to be more productive, then it should not be an issue if the full amount of RAM is being used.

Then, the right question would be how should we be using our RAM more efficiently and productively?

How To Be More Productive In Using RAM Efficiently ?

If you buy a computer or laptop having 32GB RAM and then you only using it for daily routine tasks like web-browsing, then the usage of RAM will always be unproductive. You made a wrong choice and rather should have gone for a Chromebook or computer having only 4GB RAM.

If your friend buy a computer having 32GB RAM and performing heavy duty tasks like video-editing which really consumes major portion of RAM, then it is a productive usage.

Therefore, it actually depends upon the user’s usage and accordingly decides what RAM of computer should be buying.

How Much Memory Usage At Idle Is Normal ?

Though, it again depends upon how much RAM and other specifications installed on your computer. But, it should not be more than 30% at idle state because otherwise it is bad for RAM to be working too hard for only running an operating system which can reduce its life and overall performance efficiency.

Why Computer Still Uses Memory At Idle State ?

When the user is running no program, operating system is still running and its some portion also use memory to keep running. Remember, Windows and Mac are not light-weight operating systems and it uses lots of memory even without running a program on it. When an old and slow laptop runs on light-weight OS like Linux, it starts running like a new laptop.

There is a thing Kernal which is the portion of operating system which always keeps using the memory to stay functional on user’s request. Kernal is used for fulfilling the user’s input anytime even it was at idle for long time.

How Many Factors Affects the Usage of Memory ?

There are many factors which affects the usage of memory ( RAM ) and user cannot easily calculate how much memory should be using for running a system because multiple factors are involved.

It main depends upon overall quality of hardware and system specifications, if any program is running in the background will change also the percentage of usage of computer memory at idle.

What Memory Usage On Windows At Idle ?

Windows is such an operating system which uses lots of memory at Idle state. It holds the memory in advance to quickly provide the response to user’s input instead of taking too much re-loading time. They use the amount of RAM in between 1.8GBs to 2.4GBs.

Once you start using the computer and actually running the applications on system, it will release this memory was reserved earlier, so it can support smooth user experience and no lapses.

The usage of idle memory also depends upon how much total ram in system. It will only use 2GB if system having total 4GB ram, similarly Windows 10 may use as high as 4GB on a system having 8GB RAM.

How Much RAM Mac Using At Idle ?

Mac is different in Ram using approach at idle status, it uses full amount of ram to keep the system most efficient to hand out the memory when user opens a program or browser to start working.

If Mac having 8GB of RAM, it will try to use all while remaining at idle state, unlike Windows which only hold half of it. It does not mean Mac OS using all this memory to keep loading the system files. It reserves it to hand out RAM in the most efficient way which allows no wastage of it.

 For Instance, user launches the browser and Mac will release required amount of RAM to smoothly open up the browser app and will keep remaining amount in reserve, so not a single MB of RAM go wasted. They allow smooth transition of RAM to offer the user best experience.

RAM Quality and Compatibility Factor    

Computer users should know that there are low quality and high quality RAM which also affects its performance. High quality RAMs can be quickly accessed by the system to process the temporary memory. This term is also called latency and lower latency means system can access the RAM more immediately.

It is always better to go for high quality RAM to enjoy better user experience and stay productive at work; else you will suffer from frustrated user’s experience. Since lower latency system enjoys fast access to RAM, user is less likely to experience the system slow down.

Low RAM latency is also very much depended upon high quality of processor. If you have fastest RAM but having a slow processor, it will not make the RAM work at max due to bottleneck effect. The large portion of RAM will go wasted because Processor and RAM were not highly compatible with each other.

Applications Running in Background

Even you are using any app or program on computer and running at idle, there is still possibility of applications running in background. Usually, users go to task manager and select those running apps to end the task. Otherwise, these apps running in background consumes big portion of RAM for something unproductive.

The worst type of apps consumes lots of RAM while running in background are malware and viruses which sucks the amount of RAM as much as possible to destroy the system.

It is better to keep check on what apps consume what amount of RAM in percentage, so you can control the app usage to have smooth working experience without system go slow.       

Apps consuming high RAM should be allowed only when there is something productive on it, otherwise close it to remain productive.

How To Make the Least Usage of RAM ? 

You can do things to make sure the least amount of RAM is being used and also making a most efficient usage to stay productive.

User needs to perform the following things to make sure least usage of RAM for maximum productivity.

Restart the Computer / Laptop

When your computer or laptop has been running for so long time, it starts reducing its operational efficiency and RAM also becomes less efficient means uses more memory to work less.

In this situation, it is better to restart the computer which gives the fresh start to RAM and Processor both, they work more efficiently.

If your system is suffering from serious memory issues or infected with malicious virus then the technique of restarting will not work as efficiently, but still restart will make things better to some extent.

Hardware Upgrading

Install the RAM and Processor which are highly compatible with each other. RAM must be having enough latency which matches with the power of processor and both hardware shows high performances.  

There is also possibility something wrong with your RAM; Windows Memory Diagnostic can be used for testing the RAM on Windows operating system, whereas Apple Hardware Test is used by Mac users. Both types of users should use it for testing the RAM if experience any speed issues.

If still the issue persists with the RAM after testing, it is better to upgrade the RAM because such hardware will also damage the other hardware.

Update Software

Updated software is more efficient and consumes less amount of RAM, comparing to outdated software which uses more RAM and still offers bad user experience with memory lapses. Therefore, the efficiency of RAM is very much depended upon the software whether it is outdated or updated.

Therefore, users need to keep its all software updated including driver software and updates for operating system. Otherwise, 16GB of RAM will not be enough for you and suffer from system slow down.

Close All Unused Background Applications

As we discussed earlier, unused apps running in background using lots of RAM for no good. Now, it is better go to Task Manager, where user can select all unused running apps and close them down for efficient RAM usage. Sometimes, we do not know why running out of memory even without any multi-tasking, the reason is these unused background applications.

Useless apps makes your RAM  to work more which also affects its performance and life. On average, more than 30% usage of RAM is made by these unused running apps in background and we can enhance the hardware life by keep closing them.

How To Remove Usage of RAM In Windows

User needs to press and hold Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open up the task manager where can see all apps in use and those apps not in-use but running in background. User can select all unused apps one by one and then click End Task to close them from background.

How To Remove Usage of RAM In Mac

If you are a Mac user, then go to the Utility Section and then go to Activity Monitor. Here, user can see all running apps which are in-use and not in-use. User can end unrequited programs by performing right-click on them.

User can perform cleaning up the startup which allows enjoying more RAM at startup to run the more essential programs with good user experience.

According to the personal experience, Mac users are more vulnerable to the virus-attacks and malware which sucks up the large portion of RAM and use it for spreading the virus over system. Therefore, always keep ensure that system is not infected with virus which causing lots of RAM usage.

How Make Sure Having Enough RAM To Work ?

Is my computer having enough RAM to run the all programs, this question is often asked and but hard to answer. We can share with you the symptoms of having insufficient RAM on computer. These symptoms are discussed in the following.

  • System lagging all the time
  • Late response on user’s command
  • Programs take long time in reloading
  • Computer Freezes

Though, a computer can also experience one of these symptoms even having enough RAM in system. Running multiple apps at a time can also make the computer freeze or cause lagging issues. But, if you experience one of these symptoms on frequently basis even not using heavy-duty apps then it means you are not having not enough RAM on system.

When Should I Upgrade RAM In Windows ?

First of all, you need to take all corrective measures discussed above from removing the background apps to updating the software. This question must be asked after that, if your computer is still using more than 50% of RAM in idle state, then it is a clear indication to add up the RAM.

When Should I Upgrade RAM In Mac ?

Mac provides better solution which is also convenient for the user to understand and accordingly decide should I upgrade RAM or not? There is a program in Mac OS which known as memory pressure graph and it shows how much efficient usage of RAM is currently or is it inefficient usage.

The graph can be seen in three colors, green means having enough RAM for the system. The graph in Yellow is giving an indication of upgrading the RAM but its not very serious. The graph in Red color means must be adding more RAM to avoid any damage in future.

When Should I Upgrade RAM For Gaming PC ?

Games are using lots of RAM and if they are sharing the memory with other programs, then more likely to get crashed during game play. This shows that something wrong with memory and may be not enough for gaming.

Furthermore, when game starts taking long time to load, get crashed at random times, get slow at point where frame rate going high or freezing a lot. All of these are the indication of low memory.

Latency plays more important role in better gaming experience. Therefore, it is better to put more focus on high quality of RAM instead of adding up the RAM of low quality. High quality RAM is also the best option if you are running out of memory slots.

Does Our Smartphone Use Memory At Idle State ?

Smartphone is like a small computer also having a processor, ram and internal storage. They also use memory to run apps and ram engages with temporary memory and processor processing the all remaining data just like computer. Similarly, Android and iOS also uses portion of memory while in idle state.

iOS devices are more memory efficient comparing to the Android and using less memory in idle state. Android devices use .5GB to run operating system, whereas iOS consumes little lower.

Apps running in background is also the issue in Smartphone, user has to remove them after some time.