Compute Optimal RAM Easily

7 Jul, 2015 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager’s Toolbox: Make sure your workstation has enough RAM.

How much RAM is enough? Of course, more is always better, but if you'd like to compute an optimal amount, use these guidelines:

  • Allow 2 GB for the operating system.
  • Allow 1 GB for browser sessions. (I know this seems high, but if you open a bunch of tabs with graphical elements, it adds up quickly.)
  • Allow 1 GB for each CAD/visualization application.
  • Allow 1 GB for e-mail clients and word processing or spreadsheet programs.
  • Allow 20 times the size of your CAD models. (So a 1MB AutoCAD drawing would consume 20 MB of RAM, but a 200MB Revit model would consume 4 GB of RAM.)

Let's work through a couple examples based on these guidelines.

An AutoCAD user with 1MB drawings, no rendering software, and a typical amount of browser, e-mail, and supporting documents would require this much RAM:

2 GB + 1 GB + 1 GB + 1 GB + 0.02 GB = 5.02 GB (so 8 GB would be OK).

A SolidWorks user with 500MB assembly models and a rendering package running would require this much RAM:

2 GB + 1 GB + 2 GB + 1 GB + 10 GB = 16 GB (so 16 GB would be the minimum acceptable amount).

Of course, operating systems, software, and CAD models will only get larger over time, so you may want to purchase more RAM to prepare yourself for future needs. Be sure to use these sample calculations before buying any new computers, and you'll know you have enough RAM for your CAD applications to run efficiently.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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