Here we can see, “How Much RAM Does a Chromebook Have”
Chrome is known for using a lot of RAM, but most Chromebooks only have 4 GB. Chrome OS uses RAM differently than Windows or Mac computers, allowing it to accomplish more with less.
What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are a new type of computer that is designed to make tasks go more quickly and easily. They run Chrome OS, a system that includes cloud storage, Google’s best features, and multiple layers of security. When your Chromebook isn’t connected to the Internet, you can use offline-ready apps to keep using it.
Chromebooks Don’t Need That Much RAM
First and foremost, just because Chrome uses a lot of RAM on your Windows or Mac doesn’t mean it’s a Chrome problem everywhere. Chrome OS, like Chrome OS, handles RAM differently than a traditional computer.
Let’s take a closer look at how Chrome OS manages RAM without getting too complicated (which is easy to do with a topic like this). It similarly handles RAM to Linux because it is based on Linux and uses the Linux kernel. The process has been tweaked slightly to better suit Chrome OS’ needs, but the general idea remains the same.
zRAM Keeps Things Snappy
Chrome OS makes use of a feature called “zRAM” to keep things running faster than a Windows or Mac with less RAM. By creating a compressed block in RAM and using it in place of virtual memory, which is typically stored on the hard disc, this compressed virtual memory goes a long way toward making the most of lower RAM (and thus, slower).
The swap space (virtual RAM on the hard disc) is used when this compressed space is full. As a result, RAM is used much more quickly and efficiently. Chrome OS can do much more with less because zRAM compresses data on the fly, and RAM is generally faster than swap.
The “Double-Wall” Low Memory State Keeps Things Tidy
Google also makes the most of RAM in Chrome OS by employing a “double-wall” low memory state. The basic idea is that when a “soft wall” is reached in RAM, the OS purges older activities. It starts with tabs that have been opened but not seen, then moves on to background tabs that have not been clicked, typed, or scrolled in, then background tabs, and finally the foreground tab. To put it another way, it tries to close processes that it assumes users aren’t interested in first before becoming increasingly aggressive.
The “hard wall” is the second wall in this “double-wall” system. The kernel’s Out of Memory (OOM) killer kicks in when the system runs out of RAM completely. Chrome will usually crash if this happens. The good news is that this no longer happens—once the soft wall has been breached, purging background items usually suffices to prevent the hard wall from being breached. If it does occur, it’s usually due to another type of error, such as a fast memory leak.
That’s not to say there isn’t such a thing as “too little RAM” on a Chromebook—there most certainly is. It all comes down to how you use your ‘book.’
How Much RAM Do You Need?
Some Chromebooks have as little as 2 GB of RAM, while others have up to 16 GB of RAM. For the longest time, 4 GB has been the standard across most systems, but we’re now seeing an increase in ‘books with 8 GB. When it comes to determining what will work best for you, you must consider how you intend to use your Chromebook.
- You might not need a workhorse of a system if this will be a supplemental machine—something you use in addition to your “main” computers. If you plan on using this as a coffee table machine for light browsing, email, social networking, and the like, the 4 GB model is the way to go. It’s probably less expensive than something with more powerful specs.
- However, if you intend to use your Chromebook as your primary computer for work, school, play, and other activities, you’ll want to invest in more RAM. While 8 GB is more than enough for almost all users, the most demanding users may want to consider 16 GB systems, which are still few and far between.
- It’s also worth considering how long you intend to keep your Chromebook. As Chrome OS gains more features, such as Linux apps and virtual desktops, your usage patterns may change. As Chrome OS develops and matures, you may find yourself in a position to use it for more demanding tasks. You’ll need more RAM if that time comes!
- Last but not least, some anecdotal evidence. I have an 8 GB RAM Google Pixelbook with a Core i5 processor. I used my Pixelbook with two external screens to test the IOGEAR USB-C docking station for a full workweek. I did everything on my Chromebook with a multi-screen setup instead of my Windows desktop, from photo editing to research. That meant I was usually running upwards of 30 tabs across multiple windows, as well as at least six or seven apps for various tasks. It handled everything without a hitch for the most part, but by the end of each workday, I could tell it was getting a little sluggish, and I needed to close some things that hampered it.
- To put it another way, there were only a few occasions when I thought to myself, “Man, I wish this Chromebook had 16 GB of RAM.” Even so, I did consider it—at least once or twice.
It’s ultimately up to you to determine how you’ll use your Chromebook and how much RAM you’ll need. These days, the most affordable Chromebooks come with 4 GB of RAM, so you can save money if you think that will suffice. If you need more, however, you’ll have to pay for it—while 8 GB (and higher) Chromebooks are becoming more common, they’re still a bit of a rarity, and you’ll have to pay for the luxury.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please fill out the form below if you have any questions or comments.
- How do I check my Chromebook’s RAM?
Look for the “memento” entry and click “Expand” next to it to see how much RAM you have. “MemTotal” and “MemAvailable” are at the top of the expanded information panel.
- Can I increase the RAM on my Chromebook?
Because most Chromebooks don’t allow you to upgrade the RAM, the only way to get around this issue is to use Swap memory.
- Is 2GB of RAM sufficient for a Chromebook?
You might be able to get away with a Chromebook with 2GB. In 2021, I would not recommend it. In 2021, the minimum amount of RAM you should look for in a Chromebook is 4GB. For most tasks you will perform on your computer, 4GB of RAM will suffice.
- Does the amount of RAM matter?
5. 4GB Vs 8GB RAM for new Chromebooks