Memory and storage are two critical parts of a PC. It’s important to know their differences and how to properly use them to get the most out of your computer.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is what holds applications open on your computer. While storage may be where the install location is, memory is what all your programs use to run in. Having more memory allows you to have more programs open at once, have bigger programs open, or use a memory-heavy program/workload.
Typically, a computer from us has at least 16GB of memory. While we can do a build with 8GB, Windows 10/11 will use most of this, leaving very little for your various programs. When Windows runs out of memory, it uses storage as memory. This is NOT ideal, as the two technologies are NOT the same, and performance is VERY different.
In a cost-based way of showing performance, 500GB of Gen4 NVME is about $50. 500GB of DDR5 ECC memory is about $2000. The Gen4 NVME will do about 7GB/s, where the DDR5 spec supports 50GB/s per module. The DDR5 memory stick is more than 7x faster than the NVME drive. Using the NVME drive AS memory (if you run out of memory), you can see the DRAMATIC loss in performance. If you’ve ran out of memory, only to see your mouse start to lag on your screen, you know what I’m talking about.
Most gaming computers we sell have 32GB of DDR5-4800 memory, though these builds can handle 192GB of DDR5.
Most workstations we sell have 64-128GB of DDR5-4800 memory, though some of our high-end Xeon builds can handle up to 4TB (2TB currently in a 16x128GB DDR5 ECC fashion).
Storage is where applications are installed on your computer, as well as any content you may generate while using a program. Storage typically comes in 3 varieties from us; NVME, SSD, and HDD. Non-Volatile Memory Express is what we use most frequently, and is the fastest (and most expensive). Solid State Drives are chosen when the user needs more capacity than they can afford via NVME, but they don’t want HDDs. Hard Disk Drives are the last option, and are the cheapest and slowest. We only use these for long-term storage tiers that are rarely accessed.
We typically start a computer order with a default combo of 512GB NVME as “C” for OS+small programs, and 1TB NVME as “D” for main storage. This is very helpful in the event that you have to reinstall your OS (happens notably often with Windows 11), as you don’t have to back up ALL your data. While you’ll have to reinstall your programs, your generated-data will be safe on the main storage drive.
In this combo, the two drives act independently of each other. Programs will use the C drive by default for everything, so you’ll have to manually set rules for where programs are installed, where they write data, and what drives are used for cache. To get the best speed from any kind of drive, we recommend not letting it get more than 80% full.
About Top Flight Computers
Top Flight Computers is based in North Carolina and designs custom-built computers, specializing in bespoke workstations, gaming computers, and water cooling.
We believe that fostering and strengthening authentic personal relationships with our customers is the most important part of our business. Above all, we want to help you get exactly what you need to be successful.
If you need more than a mass-market pre-built system, trust our technical excellence and dedication to personal service to design and build your bespoke PC.
Check out some of our older customer builds on our YouTube channel!