RAM vs Processor: Your All-In-One Guide

If you want to see your computer fast, your computer needs two parts to run well: RAM and a processor. However, their jobs are completely different, but they work together to provide you with the functionality and performance you need every day, like running software or browsing the internet.

Understanding their functions and differences can help you make the best decision, whether you are building or buying a new computer.

Now, you might wonder: Is it better to have more RAM or a faster processor? It’s a common question, but here’s the thing: You can’t really compare them because they both help your computer work smoothly.

How? Read on to learn more about what the processor and RAM do, how they work together, and how they affect your computer’s performance.

Processor vs. RAM: simple differences

ram vs processor roles in a computer

The difference between the processor and RAM is that each has its own function and purpose, which is clear from its name.

The processor, also known as the central processing unit (CPU), is the brain of your computer—a tiny chip that responds to your instructions and communicates with other parts of the computer system. The processor handles all the complex tasks that make your PC operate.

Random access memory (RAM) is a type of storage memory whose purpose is to hold files that your machine needs now, e.g., applications or movies you are viewing.

The more RAM a computer has, the better it can multi-task and handle heavier applications without slowing down.

Therefore, enough RAM allows the user to work effectively and smoothly and improves system response time.

The function of RAM in a computer:

Your laptop’s random access memory (RAM) is the amount of memory that it can use to do a particular job. For your PC, more RAM is considered better since all applications on laptops operate on it.

Without RAM, the laptop will not be able to perform any task, including starting up the PC properly.

Therefore, you should always make an effort to add more RAM since it improves the speed and working efficiency of your laptop.

Moreover, CPU processors and RAM are mainly responsible for the overall performance of your PC. Additionally, it optimizes various programs on your PC.

The most irritating thing about Windows 10 is that it runs applications in the background so that they can be opened quickly.

This kind of mechanism eats up half of your RAM, slowing down gaming and using high-level apps.

More benefits are listed below:

  • Gaming at higher frames per second
  • Completes tasks more quickly
  • Ability to multitask more effectively
  • Capable of running some RAM-consuming software
  • Opening more tabs on search engines
  • Playing with two screens with different games at a time
  • Online gaming without delays
  • Use of high-level video editing applications

How much RAM do you need?

The more RAM you have, the bigger your workspace and the more things you can do at once.

In this technological decade, doing anything with 4GB of RAM is impossible since the Windows 10 OS will just use it all for various unimportant jobs.

If you are a business professional seeking productivity at work, 16GB of RAM will typically suffice. However, for more demanding tasks such as gaming or video editing, it is recommended to have 32GB of RAM.

In business, having enough RAM means your computer can handle tasks efficiently, which can improve productivity.

So, is it better to have a faster processor or more RAM? It depends on what you’re using your computer for. A faster processor is good for demanding programs like video editing, 3D modeling, and so on. For instance, this gaming-work combo machine, MSI Thin GF63 laptop has a decent RAM to complete your tasks instantly.

But having enough RAM is crucial for keeping your computer running smoothly, especially when you are multitasking with many programs open and running memory-hungry applications like games or design software.  

The function of the processor in a computer:

The processor is the CPU’s brain, which uses every PC component it has been given orders to and calculates/works on the results from the user.

Processors improve their RAM size as they become more advanced.

For instance, a 5th Gen Intel Core i5 can’t take more than 16GB of RAM, while a 9th Gen Intel Core i5 can accommodate a minimum of 64GB of RAM or even higher.

Moreover, there is another type of processor called a 32-bit processor, which cannot exceed 4 GB of RAM unless you have a 64-bit processor that can utilize TBs (terabytes) of RAM without fail.

The main reason why the contribution of processors in laptops cannot be overestimated lies in the impossibility of changing one once it is installed in the laptop.

So which processor is best and why?

Currently, Intel and Ryzen are the two most popular processors that are trying to compete head-on with each other to make a better processor.

Both processors are known for being high-end and releasing newer generations every year.

Below are the advantages of having the newest or most powerful processor:

  • Higher RAM using power
  • 64-bit processing that is powerful
  • Faster turnaround time for laptop projects
  • No waiting between a click on a program and when it starts
  • Availability of application programs geared toward the latest processors
  • More stable and faster clock speed
  • It enhances multitasking by making it faster

Processor vs. RAM: What makes the computer run faster?

We can’t judge computer performance by just looking at one or two parts. The performance of a computer depends on how well the whole system works together.

Let me break it down:

The speed of the CPU only matters when you’re comparing CPUs that are pretty much the same. The way each CPU handles tasks can be very different, even if they have similar clock speeds.

Think about how fast the connection is between the CPU and the RAM. If it’s slow, even a fast CPU can seem slow because it’s always waiting for the RAM.

The speed of the connection between the RAM and the hard drive matters too. That’s why people are willing to pay more for a Solid drive (SSD)—it’s faster than a traditional hard drive.

Having more RAM can make a difference, but only if the operating system and the programs you’re using can make use of it effectively. Sometimes, adding more RAM won’t actually make your computer faster.

When comparing different types of RAM, like DDR2 and DDR3, you need to look at the whole picture. Just saying one is better than the other without considering everything else isn’t helpful.

And one more tip: If your motherboard supports it, it’s better to use pairs of RAM sticks rather than just one. It can improve performance.

So, you see, it’s not just about one thing; it’s about how everything works together.

The perfect balance between processor and RAM:

The processor and RAM work together, and that’s a fact. Without one of them, your computer might not work. Many people wonder: Is the CPU or RAM more important for multitasking?

Figuring out which is more important between the CPU and the RAM is hard because it depends on what you want to do with your computer and how you want to do it.

If you are dealing with critical applications such as 3D design or video editing, then you might require a powerful processor that carries out these tasks efficiently with an appropriate balance of processor versus RAM.

To achieve optimal performance, processing power should correspond with available random-access memory capacity.

Having a powerful processor but a very minimal amount of random-access memory may cause system performance issues when running multiple programs or heavy-duty workloads.

On the other side, if you have a huge amount of RAM but your processor is weak, you may experience slow speed in terms of response as well as task execution.

What is more important: RAM or a processor?

This isn’t a choice between one or the other; every PC needs both! Both your RAM and your CPU are really important and 100% must-have parts of your PC. Their specifications have a big impact on how well your PC works.

However, if you are looking for better performance in demanding tasks such as gaming or video editing, then a faster processor is more vital.

If you need a laptop that can multitask perfectly, then you should go for more memory.

At the end of everything, it all comes down to what you intend to use your laptop for.

The CPU and RAM function together to determine the general performance of a computer system or smartphone.

Nevertheless, when it comes to speed and memory, the CPU may have an upper hand over RAM. Once a fast processor connects with extra RAM, activities become quick.

Even a slow processor with more RAM doesn’t do much. A quick CPU cannot work effectively with limited memory.

Is RAM the same as a processor?

No, RAM is not the same as a processor. They are two different components of a computer system:

  • Processor also called (CPU – Central Processing Unit): Is the “brain” of the computer. It executes instructions, performs calculations, and manages data flow within the computer. It controls the overall operation of the system, including running programs and handling input/output operations.
  • RAM (Random Access Memory): Is a type of memory that provides temporary storage for data and instructions that are actively being used or processed by the CPU. For instance, if you have opened three different programs, the data of those programs will be stored in RAM to access quickly and make your multitasking fast.

Can my RAM run faster than my CPU?

When you are running multiple programs, RAM provides temporary access to those programs, but the CPU has to execute the programs. Therefore, you need both RAM and CPU to be equally powerful to run multiple programs smoothly and efficiently.

Can too much RAM damage your computer?

If you have a powerful CPU but insufficient RAM, it can affect your computer’s performance. You might encounter compatibility issues, as well as problems with heat and power consumption, along with inefficient resource allocation.