Windows 10 is a relatively 'economical' system and does not actually require that much RAM. But if you are going to demand more from your PC, for example when you want to edit videos or play games, then more RAM is desirable. How much RAM do you actually need?
Microsoft itself recommends a minimum amount of working memory (RAM) of 1 GB for the 32-bit version and 2 Gb for the 64-bit version of Windows 10. That is a very optimistic approach, which will not work out well in practice. To really do anything with a Windows 10 system, at least 4 GB of RAM is needed; in the 32-bit version this is also the maximum achievable. You can then work reasonably with the system, but don't multitask too much (ie run too many programs at the same time). If your system has such a minimal amount of RAM (and this is not expandable), then such a computer can be boosted with an SSD instead of the traditional hard disk. 4 GB means you can browse the internet, run mail software and use Microsoft Office (or any other brand of office suite). Heavy games are reaching their limits, while video editing will become a far from ideal experience. Photo editing is still possible, provided you don't use too many layers and the like.
In fact, 8 GB has been the 'gold standard' for Windows 10 for a few years now. It allows you to do just about everything for daily work, including working with Photoshop and Lightroom, for example. Video editing is also fine, as long as you don't run too many other programs at the same time. Most games are also satisfied with 8 GB of RAM. So it does mean that you can really only use the 64-bit version of Windows 10; only it supports more than 4 GB of RAM. Before you run to the store for extra memory modules, check to see if you can actually expand the existing amount of RAM in your system. Some budget systems do not support more than 4 GB. It also often applies that you have to replace the old memory modules (for example 2 x 2 GB) with new ones (2 x 4 GB) to get the 8 Gb; this is often the case with laptops in particular. With Windows tablets, the working memory is usually not expandable because it is soldered to the motherboard.
More working memory?
More RAM is especially interesting if you want to run extremely heavy software at the same time. Or want to get started with virtual machines. For example, it is nice to also allocate a virtual version of Windows 6 or 8 GB of RAM. This is only possible if the real RAM in your system is considerably more. Think of 16 GB or even 32 GB if necessary. Fortunately, RAM modules aren't extremely expensive these days, so it's doable.
Do you want to expand your working memory, but you don't really understand terms like DDR, MHz, CAS Latency, SO-DIMM and 204 pins? In this article we give some tips if you want to expand your RAM. We'll go over the most well-known terms and give you some points to consider if you want to install your RAM in pairs, which is often recommended.
But for most people, 8 GB is just the right value to go anywhere with Windows 10! If you happen to have an older 32-bit laptop with Windows 7 in use, then after upgrading to 10 (since January this year support for Windows 7 has ended!) you will just get away with 4 GB. Together with the older processor, however, that will most likely not result in a smoothly running computer.