Demystifying PC Technology: RAM Vs. Processor

Which is more important to your business’s tasks?

In any business, time is money. But do you know how much a slow PC can really cost your small business?1

All the extra time it takes for an older computer (one that’s more than five years old) to boot up, load web pages, and run programs can have an impact on your bottom line. One study commissioned by Intel found that older, slower computers can make an employee as much as 29% less productive2, which could cost an employer up to $17,000 in lost productivity for each older computer in the workplace.3 The same study also estimated that waiting for an older PC to start up each morning can waste up to 11 hours a year.4

Not only that, but a slower computer could lead to frustrated employees, making your hardware investment as much of an employee retention issue as a technology issue. That’s why it’s often a smart investment to spend a bit extra for more powerful components so your work computers can process more data, run more data-intensive programs, and keep more browser tabs open.

Decades of computer shopping have led many people to believe that more RAM is the ultimate solution for improving PC performance. While it’s undoubtedly important, it’s not the only solution for better performance, or even necessarily the right one, depending on your needs.

What RAM Does…and Doesn’t…Do

RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and is used as a short-term memory storage space for the computer to place data it’s currently working on so it’s easily accessible. The more RAM a computer has, the more data it can usually juggle at any given moment. Think of RAM as a workspace: A giant workbench is obviously easier to work at than a tiny tea tray would be.

While more RAM can be good, there are limits to the benefit of adding more RAM. One restriction is physical; your motherboard can only hold a certain amount of RAM, so if you’re upgrading an older machine that already is nearing maximum RAM capacity, you might not have much room to grow. Another critical limit is processing power. All the short-term memory in the world won’t make your employees work lives easier if you don’t have the processing power to take advantage of it.

The Power of the Processor

The processor, also known as the CPU, provides the instructions and processing power the computer needs to do its work. The more powerful and updated your processor, the faster your computer can complete its tasks.

By getting a more powerful processor, you can help your computer think and work faster. This alone may be enough to optimize the power of the RAM you already have and help you maximize your investment in any new RAM you do add. If more RAM is like a bigger workbench, then a faster processor is similar to inviting a friend over to help you with your work.

Balance in Everything

But it’s not a matter of making an either-or choice between more RAM and a faster CPU—each can be as important as the other, and are reliant and complementary to the other, as well as to the performance capabilities of your motherboard, hard drive, and other computer components.

Learn more about other computer components ›

One way to get the best of both worlds is to pair the latest Intel® Core™ processor with Intel® Optane™ memory. This smart memory technology complements standard RAM while helping to enhance your long-term hard drive memory for amazing system responsiveness when compared to adding additional RAM alone. Your employees will be able do many of their computer tasks more quickly and more efficiently.

If you need to improve the way your employees work, a computer powered by the latest Intel® Core™ processors with Intel® Optane™ memory could be the answer you’ve been looking for to the age-old “RAM vs. Processor” debate.

Shop Available Small Business PCs with the Latest Intel® Core™ Processors View all

Browse popular small business PCs featuring Intel® Core™ processors.

HP 15-dw1007na

  • 10th gen Intel® Core™ i5 Processor
  • 512 GB Capacity
  • 8 GB Memory
  • 2 kg Weight
  • Windows 10 Home Operating System
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HP EliteBook Elite c1030

  • 10th gen Intel® Core™ i7 Processor
  • 256 GB Capacity
  • 8 GB Memory
  • 1.33 kg Weight
  • Chrome OS Operating System
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HP ZBook G7

  • 10th gen Intel® Core™ i7 Processor
  • 512 GB Capacity
  • 16 GB Memory
  • 1.92 kg Weight
  • Windows 10 Pro Operating System
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HP 250 G8

  • 10th gen Intel® Core™ i7 Processor
  • 256 GB Capacity
  • 8 GB Memory
  • 1.74 kg Weight
  • Windows 10 Pro Operating System
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HP 250 G8

  • 10th gen Intel® Core™ i3 Processor
  • 256 GB Capacity
  • 8 GB Memory
  • 1.74 kg Weight
  • Windows 10 Pro Operating System
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Product and Performance Information

1

Cost reduction scenarios described are intended as examples of how a given Intel®-based product, in the specified circumstances and configurations, may affect future costs and provide cost savings. Circumstances will vary. Intel does not guarantee any costs or cost reduction.

2

“Employees are up to 29% less productive on PCs that are 5+ years old” is based on a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J. Gold Associates, LLC., of 3,297 respondents from small business in 16 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA) to assess the challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. This statistic is based on the productivity impairment respondents estimated was attributed to using a 5-year-old PC multiplied by the average amount of time respondents estimated was spent on a PC. To review this statistic and the full report, visit https://www.intel.co.uk/content/www/uk/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.

3

”Every 5-year-old computer you have could be costing you up to US$17,000 per year” is based on a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J. Gold Associates, LLC., of 3,297 respondents from small business in 16 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA) to assess the challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. Survey respondents estimated that for PCs more than 5 years old, employees would be up to 29% less productive—based on an average assumed employee’s salary of US$60,000, the lost productivity cost will amount to US$17,000. To review this statistic and the full report, visit https://www.intel.co.uk/content/www/uk/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.

4

“Employees spend up to 11 hours per year just waiting for their computer to boot up” is based on a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J. Gold Associates, LLC., of 3,297 respondents from small business in 16 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA) to assess the challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. Assuming one start-up per day and using an average start-up time that was calculated by taking the midpoint of the time that survey respondents estimated it takes to start up a PC that is more than 5 years old, employees were estimated to spend up to 11 hours a year starting up a 5-year-old PC (4.07 minutes X 5 days per week X 52 weeks per year divided by 60 (to get to hours) X utilization rate of .67 so 4.07 X 5 X 52 / 60 X .67 = 11.8). To review this statistic and the full report, visit https://www.intel.co.uk/content/www/uk/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.