Is 8GB RAM Enough For Programming ?

The RAM is the most critical hardware component to run the computer. Therefore, the amount of RAM must be optimized. To know more about this, read this article till the end.


A computer system, whether laptop or desktop, must be selected as per the requirement. Not every desktop system fits each requirement. For example, the computer system configuration for a  programmer is different from that of a student’s computer system configuration. A programmer may use computer system to design libraries to be used on a computer network and a student may require a computer system to practice computer applications. Thus, hardware requirement of both the computer system is different.

A game developer may require computer system having high acceleration speed and high graphics card and an optimized RAM. Thus, the memory requirement of the computer system used for game development is different from the computer system of the programmer on one of the computer applications.

If trying to build your career in the domain of computer science, than this article is going to guide you choose the correct compute system.

Basic Computer Hardware Configuration 

A computer system works on data. A data is anything used by computer system to produce information. The data is processed by computer system to produce information. This information may be useful for end user or by the computer system operating system. The operating system use this information to operate computer hardware. The operating system contains a large set of libraries that operate computer hardware. 

The computer hardware builds computer system and this hardware can be categorized into three basic categories – Analogue, Digital, and  Hybrid.

To process analog data. Analog computer is used. The characterstics of analog data is that it is of continuous nature. The analog data can not be discrete, or the analog data can not be separated. Example of analog data includes temperature, voltage, depth and speed weight etc.

The analog data is continuous and have different categories and different types of values.

If the computer system is required to work on digits, process numerals, process letters and other types of symbol systems, than a digital computer is required. A Digital Computer works on input which takes the form of two states. When the computer system is in one of the states, the state may be represented by 0 and 1 digits. These 0 and 1 may also be called as bits. The bit 0 may be called as OFF and the bit 1 may be called ON.

The digital computer work on inputs, which can be ON-OFF and the output of the digital computer is also in one of the states that can be represented by either ON or OFF. The ON state is represented by 1, and the OFF state is represented by 0.

To process numeric data or non-numeric data digital computer is used.

If the input to the computer system varies from digital to analog, then Hybrid Computer system is used. The Hybrid computer combines the features of an analog computer and digital computers. The importance of the Hybrid computer is that it has the velocity of analoig computers and accuracy that of digital computers. The memory requirement of hybrid computer is different from that of a digital computer and an analog computer.

The hardware configuration of the hybrid computer is completely is different to that of an analog computer and digital computer. This is because hybrid computers executes computer applications developed to perform specialized tasks. These tasks may process analog data or digital data. The computer system users that want to process continuous data or discrete data should use the hybrid computer system.

The computer system takes input and processes it. To do this, a computer system takes input, process this input. When the input is processed, the output is produced. The process output is stored in the computer memory. The stored data can be manipulated and can be tracked or can retrieved from the computer memory as output to some computer applications that the stored data needs controlled access. Not only stored data, all the operations in computer system requires controlled techniques.

The computer system access the input, process it and produce output. The computer takes input using input device. Thus the basic requirement of any computer system to take input is an input device. The input device takes input from the user. The user may feed the input either manually, automatically, or in both ways. 

The input to the computer system may take different forms. The input may be in the form of data, programs or the form of commands. The data can be in the format that requires computer processing; thus, the input may take the form of facts. The computer may take the input in the form of programming instructions. These instructions direct the computer to accomplish the desired task. The computer instruction may take the form of procedural or object-oriented. The procedural or object-oriented programming instructions may take the form of commands. The commands are given special status, and this status is reflected as a keyword. The commands in computer systems are used to execute the set of programming instructions. This set of programming instructions are executed by stating the name of the command. The commands may also take user input. To take user input, the computer urges the user by displaying text messages to the user or in other ways such as light or sound. Thus computer must have an output device. 

The input to the computer must be processed. It is this processing that converts the input to the output. The processing is a computer program initiated and directed. The computer program is responsible for interacting with the computer memory and extracting and feeding the computer memory with the programming instructions. The process must be carried out in a controlled manner this is done by Central Processing Unit (CPU). Thus each computer requires a CPU (Computer Processing Unit). 

The CPU has an arithmetic logic unit, control unit, and input-output unit. However, the CPU performance depends on computer memory. This is because each task on the computer requires memory.

The Arithmetic logic unit is responsible for performing all arithmetic operations. These arithmetic operations are done in memory; thus, enough memory must be available to carry out these arithmetic operations. To conduct arithmetic operations, the arithmetic operators must be carried in and out of the computer memory; to do this control unit is used. The control unit has the circuit that is responsible for making the flow of data in and out of the processor and controls the arithmetic logic unit, and control input using an input device and deliver control output to the output devices.

The computer conducts processing and delivers output. The output may take different forms, such as a technical report, audio/video, images/pictures, or printouts. In addition, the computer output can be categorized, such as hard copy in the form of printed paper or soft copy in the form of the digital document. The output can also be displayed on the output device. The output can also be ported from one computer to another computer. To do these types of operations, memory is required. 

A computer may do different types of operations. These operations include textual operations, graphical operations, and operations related to multimedia. These operations require more memory as compared to the operations that are related to input/output.

The memory is required to process the data, retain the data, execute the instruction, and retrain and retrieve the data whenever required. The memory is required to store desired program  in the memeory and retrieve it whenever required.

All the computer applications and related operations require directed, and well-coordinated operations—the coordination between different operations in the computer requires memory. Thus computers should have enough memory to carry out well-coordinated operations.


The Computer Hardware

The memory in the computer has a physical structure, and software is a set of computer instructions that directs computer hardware. Thus, it can be said that computer programs manage computer memory.      

The most critical computer hardware is Central Processing Unit (CPU). Thus CPU has the responsibility of managing the computer. The next most critical component in the computer system is Random Access Memory (RAM). The RAM is the hardware component that is responsible for running the computer. The RAM is the temporary storage device that stores and maintains data used by the CPU. Each operation in a computer requires memory.

There are two types of memory in computers: Random Access Memory (RAM) and Harddisk. The RAM is also called primary memory, and the hard disk is also called secondary memory.

Both the RAM and Hard disk is responsible for providing speed, reliability and storage to the computer memory. A computer performs many operations, and these operations must be executed at high speed. The fast execution is done with the help of RAM and the access speed of the hard disk.

To do computer programming, at least 4 GB to 8 GB of RAM is required. For example, 8 GB RAM is enough o execute the compute application program. To achieve multitasking, 8 GB of RAM is enough. 

Most computer application programs have their user interface. Thus sufficient amount of memory must be available to produce desired output on the computer screen. In most cases, 8 GB of RAM is sufficient. 

Memory is also required to process voluminous data. The computer applications that can process voluminous data can be executed by 8 GB of RAM. 

All the computer programs developed on Java, Python, HTML/CSS and Javascript can be executed successfully on 8 GB of RAM. 

In the case of Game programming, the game development environment requires a large amount of memory. The minimum amount of RAM required to execute a computer game program is 16 GB. The 16 GB of RAM is sufficient if the programming is to be done in multiple environments. To do computer network programming that needs to be executed on a server located at a distant location requires a sufficient amount of memory. The client requires at least 16 Gb of RAM at the client end and the amount of RAM at the server end depends on the number of threads running at the server. Thus the amount of RAM at the server will be 16 GB to 64 GB of RAM.

The RAM requirement for executing machine learning programming depends on where the program is being executed. If the machine learning program is being executed on the client end, then 8 GB of RAM is sufficient. Still, if the program is being executed on the server, then RAM of server is more than enough to execute the program. 

The memory requirement for a different programming languages is different. The program size of programs written in the different programming languages is different.  A computer program may process different amounts of data. Also, the input data may take different formats. Different data format consumes a different amount of memory.

A computer program written in C language may take a different amount of memory as compared to a program written in Java programming language.

All the programming languages that generated intermediate language consume more memory than programs written in C and C++ language.  Thus programs of Java, and C# consumes more memory and are easily executable on 4 GB of RAM.

It is possible that Java and C# programs consume 10 times more than programs written in C and C++. 

In a research study, it is revealed that the Perl program consumes 25 MB of RAM, and a Python program may contain at least 20 MB of RAM. A JAVA program can be executed on 5MB of RAM. A well-developed C# program may require at least 50MB of RAM. 


There is no computer hardware configuration that can claim that this hardware configuration is best for computer programming. Choosing a particular computer for programming depends on the programming language requirements. If the requirement for the programming language is 8 GB than the computer system must have at least 16 GB of RAM. 

From the study it can be concluded that at least 8 GB of RAM is enough. If the programmer wants to achieve multitasking, then 8GB of RAM is not sufficient; a computer system may require more memory.

The minimum amount of RAM required is 16 GB and 32 GB is considered even better. Workstation may require at least 18 to 20 GB of RAM. For running virtual machines 64 GB of RAM is also used. 8 GB of RAM is consumed by each virtual machine.

Along with RAM the disk speed of the hard disk is also required. To execute fast SSD is also used. The computer programs that deals with the embedded system requires 10 MB of RAM. 

If the computer is used to execute multiple browser at the same time, and more than one terminal windows and other application programs, then it requires a sufficient amount of memory. 

It depends on the degree of application programs running on the computer system that decide the amount of memory required to execute the program. It is found that even 16 GB of RAM may not fulfill the expected computer performance. 

For training purpose the computer may requireRAM which may vary from 20 GB to 80 GB of RAM. A computer system having 32 GB of RAM may use around 15 GB of RAM to perform execution of the program.

Thus it largely depends on the computer programming language, frameworks, types of IDE’s and the type of diagnostic tools used and the operating system managing the computer hardware that decides the amount of memory. For example, an Android program executing on the Linux operating system may require 6 GB of RAM but the same Android program may take less or more RAM in the Windows operating system.

A linux system may require at least 32 MB of RAM to execute shell script programs. A LISP, C, C++ and Fortran may consume at least 32 MB of RAM.

For students learning at the school than 4 GB of RAM is enough but if the student is learning at the university level then 8 GB of RAM is enough. A gaming laptop may require at least 8 GB of RAM is required.