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How Much Memory (RAM) Does a Trading Computer Need?

How Much RAM Should be Installed on a Windows 11 Desktop Computer

Author: Blue Aura Computers

February 26, 2023

So what exactly is RAM? Random Access Memory (RAM) is an extremely important component inside your computer that determines the overall performance. The data on a hard drive (HDD, SSD) is permanent and stays on the drive after the computer is turned off. The data in RAM is only temporary and is wiped clean every time the system is rebooted or shutdown. RAM, often called “memory” or “system memory”, is a fast, temporary buffer that feeds data back and forth between the processor and hard drive.

What happens when RAM usage goes to 100%?

Once memory usage approaches 100% the computer can slow down a lot. Windows will use your hard drive to store information so a portion of hard drive space acts as RAM. Since RAM is faster and has a more direct line of communication with the processor, using the hard drive as a buffer causes slower operation. The good thing is that modern M.2 NVMe Solid State drives are much faster than older mechanical drives or even SATA SSDs. The computer can still be used when memory is at 100% but it isn’t an ideal situation.

How to check current RAM usage

First, let’s see what our RAM usage is under very light workload. To check your RAM you’ll need to bring up Windows Task Manager. Type in “Task Manager” into the search bar at the bottom left next to the start button.

If you don’t have the search bar visible you can press – Ctrl-Alt-Delete on the keyboard simultaneously, then click on Task Manager. The Task Manager window will show you everything you need to know about system performance at a glance. CPU, memory, disk, ethernet and GPU usage are all conveniently displayed.

On Windows 10 or 11 you’ll probably be looking at anywhere from 5GB to 10GB used under light to moderate workloads. In the example image below the system has 64GB of RAM and almost 9GB of current usage, that’s about 14%. This is with Microsoft Edge and about 10 tabs open, Photoshop and email. Of course, the operating system itself always uses a small chunk of RAM to operate. Opening up Google Chrome with 8 tabs utilized about 1GB of additional system RAM. So if you’re someone who likes using Chrome and you have a lot of tabs open this could easily use several GB of your RAM.

There are 2 tabs of importance here under the Task Manger – “Processes” and “Performance”. The Processes tab will show more detailed information about RAM usage so you can see how much each program has allocated to it. There’s also the “Open Resource Monitor” link at the bottom.

What type of RAM is best?

The current RAM types are DDR4 and DDR5. There is also RAM speed and latency. DDR5 will be the predominant RAM type for many years to come. The majority of RAM we sell at Blue Aura Computers is DDR5 now and prices are closing the gap with DDR4. It’s always best to use RAM at the rated typed and speed the motherboard requires.

We tend to stay away from overclocked memory, that’s one way to add instability into an otherwise very great computer. Currently, the best RAM brand is Crucial (Micron). Kingston makes some great RAM as well, but we still prefer Micron memory overall. We use 4800MHz DDR5 kits that operate seamlessly with the newest Intel and AMD processors.

Do heat spreaders matter on RAM? In our experience – nope. Memory rarely gets hot enough for heat spreaders to do much good. These are mostly just for show and shouldn’t sway you in your purchasing decision. Many of the kits with fancy heat spreaders even have LED lights included. We focus on quality, reliability and performance over looks. We’ve found that the more basic Crucial and Kingston kits seem to work better and last longer than other brands that focus on looks.

Memory kits we install in our trading computers:

  • 16GB Crucial DDR5 4800MHz – Two 8GB Sticks
  • 32GB Crucial DDR5 4800MHz – Two 16GB Sticks
  • 64GB Crucial DDR5 4800MHz – Two 32GB Sticks
  • 128GB Crucial DDR5 4800MHz – Four 32GB Sticks

Does Windows 11 Use More RAM Than Windows 10?

The short answer is – Yes. Lets look at the long answer. Windows 11 doesn’t use a significant amount more RAM over Windows 10 – at idle, or with light, normal usage. If you use more advance features such as Windows 11 Widgets then your RAM usage will go up a bit more. Widgets are small cards that display content dynamically from apps and/or services. You’re probably familiar with similar features from Windows 10 like the live tiles that show real time weather information. These Widgets can eat up a bit of RAM, but not enough to cause a concern in a system with 32GB or higher.

The Bottom Line – How Much RAM Does a Trader Need?

Light to normal use. In our experience the current bare minimum of RAM for a trader is 16GB of DDR5 RAM. 16GB is plenty of RAM for very light trading, maybe a couple of monitors going and with email, skype, a brower up with a dozen tabs open and antivirus running in the background.

Moderate to slightly heavy use. Most computers we’ve sold over the past several years have a 32GB kit of RAM. The price difference between 16GB and 32GB isn’t really all that much. 32GB of DDR5 is the perfect amount for a trader that has a little bit more going on with 4 to 8 screens and a bunch of charts up.

Heavy use. For power traders that are running a ton of charts and are using some custom software then 64GB or 128GB of DDR5 RAM would be necessary. Lately, we’ve been using a lot of 64GB kits of Crucial DDR5 for our customers. 64GB would set you up to future proof your system for many years. Most of the time 128GB is overkill. The most powerful Intel trading computer we offer is the Trader 9000 Extreme.


The more RAM your computer has to use, the better it will function. Having enough RAM will allow programs to access more data and programs at the same time, especially with modern multi-core processors. However, there is a point of diminishing returns where installing more RAM won’t result in any further improvements in system performance.