I am running Windows 10 64 bit on an HP Compaq 8200 Elite Small Form Factor with 8 GB RAM. I just learned the max RAM for this computer is 32GB.

Though the computer runs fine as is, I've given some thought to upgrading the RAM. As I do not do any gaming and use the computer in just an 'ordinary' fashion, I'm wondering how much RAM would be overkill. For example, would I see more speed and general overall operating improvement at 16 GB? And even more at 32GB or no?


Memory is cheap. I'd fill it up to the max.

commented: Thanks, but that didn't really answer my question. And too, 32 GB of RAM from Crucial would cost me more than this very dependable refurb from Amazon. +0

I have a story. Mom needed a laptop to pay the bills and such. Nothing fancy. We had this 2006 Dell Inspron e1505 that survived our son's college so I pulled it out to see what we had. In the end we set it up with W10 on 1GB RAM, 120GB SSD and the e1505 has some 32 bit dual core Centrino.

It sounds horrible but this little beast would, from cold get to a web page on screen in just under 35 seconds. It was fine for web work so my mom used that for a year. Why only a year? Someone stole it. She says here new laptop with better CPU, RAM is a little slower!

commented: OK, but I don't know how that applies to my question. +0

Perhaps I could have phrased my question a little differently. I don't want to buy more RAM that my computer can benefit from. How will I know when I've reached that point? Though this computer handles Windows 10 really well, it is quite old hardware wise.

Depending on what you want to use the computer for, there will always be limitations based on ram amount. Your processor capabilities determine how fast your computer can work, and ram basically limits how many things your computer can keep track of at one time.

In my experience, no reasonable amount is going to provide diminishing returns if you’re doing something like running virtual environments, graphic design, etc.

commented: OK, this helps a lot. As I said, I don't do gaming but I do keep a lot of windows open at one time drawing from all of them and several things are goi +0

OK, this helps a lot. As I said, I don't do gaming but I do keep a lot of windows open at one time drawing from all of them and several things are going on in the background. And too, I sometimes make videos with many effects lasting as little as one one hundredth of a second. One video may have a thousand of these effects and transitions.

Quite often my video editor stalls. Should I expect to see an improvement by upping my RAM to 16GB? Would I see even more improvement by upping it to 32?


Also consider how long you plan to hang on to this computer. I have an old laptop that is severely under-rammed but I can no longer get RAM for it (at least not at a reasonabloe price). I wish I had upgraded the RAM when it was newer.

I have several computers. This is one of the older ones. As there are to be no more new Windows, just new versions of 10, I plan to keep it until such a time the hardware can't handle the latest version of Windows 10. When that will be, for now, is anybodies guess.

@MickeyD. My story is about how you use it makes a difference and hopefully you picked up that SSD can really help a slug of a PC.

If you have 16GB RAM, but HDDs in the system I would change out the HDD to SSD before more RAM regardless of use.

Certainly go for the 16GB - If you are using the Chrome browser this eats up lots of memory and video editing works better with lots of RAM.
It starts to get a bit questionable after the 16GB as to the value of expanding to 32GB. Some things to consider are

  • The additional cost
  • If you use the Hibernate feature this will be slower to shut down and start up as will have to copy 32GB to Harddrive/SSD to and from the RAM also using more of the SSD/HD storage
  • More heat generated
  • More Power consumption

@MickeyD. I'm going to write you should be sure it's on SSD first.

I just checked out http://www.marmaxcomputers.com/img/141117124430hp8200.pdf and it shipped with sluggish HDDs so to bring this up to speed and be on par with most PCs you see today, eject the HDD and move to SSD.

Your HP appears to be from 2012 and while it's OK I will predict that more RAM won't give it the kick you expected. SSD will. I have an even older (edited) HP D5000 desktop and even from 2009 I decided to see what this old iron had left in it by taking the RAM to the max (8GB) and changing to SSD and from a Nvidia 240 GPU to a 1060. You can read the results at https://www.cnet.com/forums/discussions/im-upgrading-some-old-iron-what-would-you-like/

To keep it useful to those that want to see the change I kept the changes to one at a time sharing the benchmarks and power consumption at each change.

If you are doing video and the computer sometimes lags, I would upgrade to 16 GB. 32 GB would probably be a waste of money unless you are editing programs that are 30 minutes or longer.

If I understand the replies correctly, I should get more speed with an SSD, while more RAM would help my computer handle more items more efficiently at any given time. Whils this computer is running OK, I could benefit from both.

From Crucial, 16 GB Ram (2x8GB sticks) will cost $100.00, while Crucial MX500 500GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal SSD is only $67.00. (Am I wrong in finding a 500GB SSD is cheaper than 2 sticks of 8GB RAM, a bit strange?)

Anyway, at these prices, I think I would go with the SSD for speed first. I have considered SSD ever since it came on the market, but never got one because of what's involved.

If I do get one, I would need step by step instructions for installing it and a lot of questions answered. I have swapped out RAM and motherboards but that's about the extent of my workings inside a computer.

  1. Does my computer have space to accomodate both an SSD and an HDD?

  2. I ask the first question because I've read that many people found it best to put Windows on the SSD and all their personal files and documents on the HDD. Is this true? If it is, I could get an even cheaper SSD with 250GB.

  3. I'm sure I could put a copy of Windows 10 on an SSD but I don't know how to handle the HHD with just my files only. Would I have to wipe the drive so as to remove Windows and then replace just my personal files or is there a better way to handle this?

Not having (and not really seeking) answers to these questions and others is why I haven't looked further into an SSD till now.

Run Resource Monitor or Task Manager and visually monitor your RAM usage. Pay attention to the amount of RAM that's paged...If you have a high RAM use and the amount paged is high (this will be relative to RAM use), then adding more RAM will help. If your RAM use is low (say, below 40% when working), then more RAM likely won't do you any good.

So short answer to "how much RAM can I install before it loses effectiveness and provides no benefit?" would be: it depends on your use. Monitor your RAM usage for a few days to determine what your use is, and then decide.

A solid-state disk or NVMe will likely do you good across the board regardless of your workload, though. When updating older computers, I typically threw in a decent sized SSD as a first step, before RAM.

Myself, I tend towards maxing out the RAM and running SSDs, but I'm a heav y user and typically keep lots of things open/running on my computers.


Thanks. Your information is very helpful. I think I've been sold on an SSD regardless of what the Task Manager says about RAM usage.

That does leave a question, though, as to size of the SSD. I store little on my hard drive. I have 3 external drives for all the heavy data. I'm sure I would do the same if I had an SSD.

So my question, which I mentioned earlier was that I've read of lots of people using the SSD just for Windows and keeping their data on an internal HDD.

If it is agreed here that this is good practice, then I would go with a smaller SSD. If it is not a good idea, I would buy a larger SSD with room for my most used data and for some room to spare. What do you think?


For my own use I stick with the 512GB and 1TB SSDs. These are not a big investment here as we snag them for under 99 bucks and the payoff is one smooth PC and less time waiting for things to complete.

A smaller SSD to run Windows and install all your programs to, with a larger (slower) less expensive drive for your data is a great route to go, especially if you're already used to multiple drives.

I go a touch further, and install Windows and frequently-used programs on the SSD, and infrequently and less demanding programs on the other drives. Lets me reduce the size of SSD needed.

That said, like with a barn or shop, if you can afford it, you'll never regret going bigger.

The trouble with that approach is that imaging the complete OS partition no longer gives you the ability to restore a system from an image. You now have parts of your system on two drives. If you go that route then you should only put apps on the "other" partition that do not requuire an install. Then if you restore an image youy may only need to recreate Start Menu links to the other apps.

As a rule, we suggest at any rate 4GB of RAM and believe that most clients will do well with 8GB. Pick 16GB or more in case you're a power client, on the off chance that you run the present most requesting games and applications, or in the event that you essentially need to ensure you're secured for any future needs.