4 GB of RAM: Efficient or Overkill for Mobile?

Before we get started, there’s something you, dear gadget owner, needs to be aware of regarding memory. If you’d rather not stick around for this educational opportunity, skip down to a paragraph. For the rest of you, this will just take a moment:

Every modern computer, including the one that dwells in your pocket, comes equipped with two types of memory. ROM, or Read-Only Memory, is the system responsible for initiating the start-up sequence on your device when it is powered on. RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a much more active component of computing; as you read this article, RAM is effectively storing bits and pieces of the programs and pages you have running for quicker access to this information, should you leave a program and want to return after a brief time. Since RAM is volatile, the information stored here is deleted upon powering down a device.

So, now we get to the purpose for this article…

RAM has always been an important aspect of effective computing. When it comes to how much is needed to properly run a mobile operating system, however, OEMs have differed in ideology. iOS devices, like the iPhone and iPad, have famously operated on 1 GB of RAM for many generations. In fact, if the rumors are true, the 11th generation iPhone 6S will be the first iPhone to sport 2 GB of memory. For Android, devices can run on as little as 512 MB, and they do. For many flagship devices, 2 GB is more than enough. But as we near the end of the first decade in the mobile revolution, a new trend in RAM is upon us. With the Samsung Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ as the latest to join enlarged memory, 4 GB of RAM is slowly creeping into today’s mobile options. If that number sounds extreme to you, the answer is “yes,” and “no.”

Many modern personal computers (desktops and laptops) begin with 2 GB of RAM and up. Regardless of the various needs we request from these machines, PCs are arguably stressed much more than the average smartphone (graphics, programs, multiple displays, etc.), therefore they need more power. In the case of a mobile smartphone, an excessive amount of RAM isn’t necessarily a bad thing (it does enable a user to juggle more applications at the same time), but in the grand scheme of productivity, it seems a bit overkill. There’s still a heavy chance that owners of smartphones with 4 GB will continue to turn toward their PCs for the tasks that are better conquered by a mouse and keyboard. Not to mention, it probably isn’t humanly efficient to have so many mobile apps and services running that you need 4 GB of RAM; with one handheld screen and only two hands to navigate it all, the experience could easily turn into a sloppy mess.

But this is simply our opinion. What do you think? Tell us your thoughts on mobile devices with 4 GB RAM in the comment box below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages. We look forward to the conversation!

Reference Links Computer Hope, Apple Insider, Phone Arena, Web Cusp

Originally published at elevatestl.com on August 17, 2015.

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