Your next Windows PC may need at least 16GB of RAM

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 20, 2024
Updated • Jan 21, 2024
Windows 12 News

How much RAM do you need to work without any drawbacks on Windows PCs? The answer depends on what the PC is used for. Several tasks, including gaming and video editing, benefit from as much RAM as you can squeeze onto the motherboard.

Each Windows version comes with a set of minimum and recommended system requirements. Right now, Microsoft suggests 4GB of RAM as the minimum system requirement for Windows 11. While you may be able to install the operating system on systems with less memory, you may experience slowdowns and performance issues as data may need to be cached on a hard drive.

Microsoft's next version of Windows, which may be called Windows 12, focuses on AI. A new rumor suggests that the minimum RAM requirement of these AI PCs may be set to 16GB. In other words,  a quadrupling of the requirement from one generation to the next.

The information comes from research firm Trendforce. The company has the following to say about the RAM requirement in a press release on its website: "Microsoft has set the baseline for DRAM in AI PCs at 16 GB. In the long term, TrendForce projects that AI PCs will catalyze an increase in annual demand for PC DRAM bits, with consumer upgrade trends further boosting this demand."

According to Trendforce, AI PCs will require at least 16 gigabytes of RAM.- While the company does not mention Windows specifically, Microsoft is said to launch Windows AI PCs as early as this year. In fact, the upcoming Microsoft Surface Laptop 6 and Surface Pro 10 devices could be the first AI PCs.

Trendforce reveals another interesting hardware requirement. NPUs, Neural Processing Units, need to meet the 40 TOPS requirement. TOPS, which stands for Trillions of Operations Per Second, is a performance metric. The latest and greatest silicon, including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite, AMD’s Strix Point, and Intel’s Lunar Lake platforms, support these according to the article.

Closing Words

With 16 GB of RAM as the requirement and a fast NPU, Windows AI systems will once again limit upgrade capabilities, if supported at all. When Microsoft released Windows 11, it changed system requirements and locked hundreds of million of Windows devices from upgrading to the new version of Windows.

With Windows AI PCs rumored to make additional changes to the system requirements, it is clear that even fewer PCs could be upgraded. System RAM may not be the major issue, as most modern PCs support 16 GB of RAM or more.

It is possible to Windows AI PCs will be special PCs that one can't upgrade to but purchase only. Microsoft will continue support of Windows 11 and may maintain AI PCs, with stricter requirements and additional AI capabilities, next to it.

Microsoft is still tight lipped about its plans. It is expected to announce the next version of Windows later this year.

Now You: how much RAM does your PC have? (via Neowin)

Article Name
Your next Windows PC may need at least 16GB of RAM
Windows AI PCs may require at least 16 gigabytes of RAM and top of the line processors according to research analysts at Trendforce.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. TelV said on January 27, 2024 at 11:24 am

    I just don’t like all this AI stuff. Microsoft has enough power over our systems as it is and forcing users to buy new systems with AI integrated into the OS (most likely) gives them the keys to Utopia where your data will be available to all and sundry without you being able to exercise any control over it at all.

    I’m sticking with Windows 8.1 for as long as I can which works just fine. The latest version of Floorp browser which is 11.8.2 runs as smooth as silk and is on par with the latest version of Firefox so no concerns about browser security vulnerabilities there either.

    For anyone unfamiliar with Floorp which is a Japanese browser, see

  2. Guest said on January 22, 2024 at 11:39 pm

    Good, I hope so. Buying computers in 2023/4 with anything less than 32GB is just stupid, regardless of your budget. I have 128GB and while I almost never use it all, memory is very cheap these days, and it’s nice to never need to worry about coming close to running out or having to keep closing apps just to open an extra browser or run a game, VM, or simulation.

    1. Allwynd said on January 25, 2024 at 5:03 pm

      I have 8GB RAM and that’s all I need. If you have disposable income, I can give you my IBAN so you can send your money to me.

      What you said is really stupid, you really deserve to get scammed out of your money if you throw them away so easily.

    2. Anonymous said on January 23, 2024 at 10:23 am

      Unused ram is wasted ram though? Why would you close applications just to open other applications? Operating systems are smart enough to do it by themselves and by intervening like this you’re only making it worse. Don’t do it.

      1. bruh said on January 24, 2024 at 3:56 pm

        “Operating systems are smart enough to do it by themselves and by intervening like this you’re only making it worse. Don’t do it.”

        Wrong, running out of RAM and having the OS try to free some is usually a noticeable ordeal!

  3. bruh said on January 22, 2024 at 10:21 am

    8 Gb of RAM works fine in my E6410 running Windows 7 (that laptop is like 14 years old), and just a few weeks ago I saw an ancient Optiplex 745 with windows 7 on it, 2 Gb of RAM, somehow boots and seems ok? didn’t push it much but was impressed..

    If your OS has high requirements then it’s badly coded/optimised. Same how I code in Python for trialing and previewing stuff, however I’m not gonna package up a release program in Python because that will be big and cumbersome to run, as it’s not meant for fully-fledged desktop apps really.

    Windows used to be quite robust and run on a lot of things, they’re trying to turn it into something elusive/exclusive.

    1. Anonymous said on January 22, 2024 at 7:32 pm

      You can run fully-fledged desktop apps coded in python. One of my favorite games, Blade: The Edge of Darkness (a.k.a. Severance: Blade of Darkness), was written in python and ran smoothly even on PCs from its time.

      1. bruh said on January 24, 2024 at 4:10 pm

        I need to correct myself, I’m not saying it can’t be done, i’m just saying that it’s not ideal, if that game was also written in a real language alongside python, the difference would probably be pretty big.

        The biggest problem with Python is garbage collection as this is quite lacking, i’m sure there are plenty of workarounds and especially if you’re using libraries coded/optimised in other languages within Python.

        I am a massing Python fan and user writing this btw, not intending to be rude about it.

  4. John G. said on January 21, 2024 at 9:54 pm

    If they (the MS guys) are talking about 16Gb of RAM, then you all will need very soon at least 32Gb just to receive the IA crap everywhere, every hour, every little second of your deprecated life. Truly, if you need some kind of IA the word deprecated will be the lowest of your problems. Just think about it.

  5. 11r20 said on January 21, 2024 at 6:45 pm

    Since artificial-intelligence by design, is a nefarious, intrusive, ‘nuisance’…

    and nothing more than an “intellectual property Thief” I wont be participating in Any type of criminal activity that ‘big-tech’ is trying to force on everyone.

    (Back to the Future ‘Baby’)

  6. Opensuser said on January 21, 2024 at 1:21 pm

    Linux it is then.

    Your insufficient sub16 GB will make that “old” computer fly. No more asking yourself who’s the master your machine is working for.

    1. OpensuserIsDelusional said on February 16, 2024 at 3:22 am

      Why are Linux users very defensive if you point out a flaw in the OS?

    2. Gerard said on January 22, 2024 at 12:58 pm

      (q)Linux it is then. Your insufficient sub16 GB will make that “old” computer fly.(/q)

      Indeed. There are several excellent and user-friendly Linux distros that will run smoothly on older PCs with <16 GB RAM.

  7. Robert said on January 21, 2024 at 7:31 am

    I’m glad that I installed four 16 GB sticks of Kingston memory in the computer I built about two years ago.

  8. VioletMoon said on January 21, 2024 at 3:29 am

    Maybe try Tiny 11 23H2; as long as the Windows Community can keep NTDEV involved and interested, the need for 16GB is pure fantasy.

  9. Micro$oft said on January 20, 2024 at 10:25 pm

    We will never see a good operating system from Microsoft ever again.

    Win 95 = Bad
    98 SE = Good
    ME = Bad
    2000 = Good
    XP SP2 = Good
    Vista = Bad
    7 = Good
    8.1 = Good
    10 = Bad
    11 = Crap
    12 = Diarrhea

    1. macro chippers said on January 29, 2024 at 3:33 am

      I think you are absolutely right – the company I work for is looking at switching to a version of Linux by then end of next year – we are talking over 110,000 machines. Upgrading to Windows 11 is seen as a really bad investment because of indicated system upgrades (RAM, processor, etc) that in no way will result in a significant increase in productivity or return on investment. In addition, Windows 11 has so many unsolved problems it is expected the next version will be even worse. If Micro$hit switches to the subscription model it would be an expense that no company in their right mind would be able to justify. Just like the $20 a month useless AI they are selling right now – of course there are plenty of idiots out there that throw their money just to tell other people that they are using AI. They lack the natural intelligence to see the magnitude of the scam they are being part of.

    2. George said on January 25, 2024 at 6:39 pm

      You forgot Windows 8. It was great, with an amazing Start Menu.

    3. ShintoPlasm said on January 21, 2024 at 9:23 am

      8.1 wasn’t good at all.
      10 (after the initial version) is pretty decent

      1. Jody Thornton said on January 21, 2024 at 11:39 pm

        Putting aside the start screen and replacing it with Classic Shell fixes Windows 8x just fine. No need to keep pooping on the 8x releases.

        In fact, I’m typing this on a Windows 8 machine, and it’s probably the best Microsoft Windows experience I’ve ever had. Just what is it that you find “better” about Windows 10?

  10. Joetato Bidung said on January 20, 2024 at 10:05 pm

    What next Windows PC? ROFL
    AI in a PC? LMAO.

  11. Mike said on January 20, 2024 at 9:18 pm

    “Hey guys I have a great idea. People aren’t installing our new OS because the requirements are too high, so let’s raise the requirements even more!”

    This will probably be the biggest flop since Windows Vista, or 8.

    Linux FTW.

    PS: If 16GB is the new minimum, you can be very sure that only having 16GB will be a miserable experience. Kinda like 512MB (the minimum on Vista) was.

  12. Anonymous said on January 20, 2024 at 8:38 pm

    I built it myself with 32GB RAM (2015 era intel 7) Too old for Windows 11. I’m not sure where to go after Windows 10 security updates end. I’ve used Linux but I’m a GUI user and all my tools don’t work in Linux. Getting to old to keep learning a new GUI. Even Windows changes the GUI more than I like. Many of the “improvements” are just changed window dressing.

  13. JohnIL said on January 20, 2024 at 8:19 pm

    I read a article in Windows Central site contradicting this requirement since some new PC’s with the COPilot keyboard already are offered with only 8Gb ram. Just on the face of it, why would Microsoft limit so many PC’s with less then 16Gb ram access to CoPilot?

  14. Sam said on January 20, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    Big brain time: What if you just not let computers that don’t have 16GB of RAM still use Windows 11, anyone with 8GB just doesn’t get to use Co-pilot without an upgrade. Apple does this so they can support older machines longer + in general it seems no one knows how to optimize anymore.

  15. Nonya said on January 20, 2024 at 7:20 pm

    Debian with XFCE uses around 2gb of ram for the base system.

    There is going to be a backlash against the constant feature creep especially when most of the new “features” aren’t even wanted.

  16. Tachy said on January 20, 2024 at 5:51 pm

    I’ve got 32GB (4×8) of system memory and my GPU has 12GB.

    I’ve only 3 games that ever push total mem usage over 50%, I monitor it in real time on my 2nd screen, but I plan for upgrades when building new PC’s.

    When I finish building our new PC’s they will start with 32GB (2×16). I’ll be able to double that to 64GB (4×16) or upgrade to 128GB (4×32).

    I originally built my current PC 10 years ago and I can run Hogwarts Legacy @ 2560×1440 HDR10 120MHZ with all the GFX maxed out and Cyberpunk 2077 on ultra (not overdrive). Obviously the CPU, GPU, Meme, SSD, and even cooling have been upgraded since then.

  17. ECJ said on January 20, 2024 at 4:48 pm

    “AI PCs” is daft. Extra RAM and extra server power to solve a non-existent problem. And as it’s more expensive to run, you know their endgame is to eventually start charging a subscription to use it.

    On the plus side, new PCs being sold with 16GB RAM sounds like a good baseline.

  18. Sampei Nihira said on January 20, 2024 at 3:40 pm

    So sad!!!
    I am 60 years old and lived through the whole evolution of operating systems.

    I don’t like Windows 11.
    My current pc can be upgraded to Windows 11 but I prefer to stay with W.10.

    So I will not feel the need to have Windows 12.

    1. Michael said on January 21, 2024 at 5:17 am

      I go as far back as windows 95 without USA sup. I am with windows 7 Pro. and always will be.

  19. pHROZEN gHOST said on January 20, 2024 at 3:28 pm

    I have a functional Kaypro II (1982). It has 64KB of RAM.

    Does anyone remember when it was said that nobody will need more than 640KB?

    1. just an Ed said on January 20, 2024 at 5:58 pm

      Yeah, Bill gates back in; what, 1982?

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