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Demystifying PC Technology: RAM Vs. Processor—Which Is More Important to Your Business’s Tasks?

Discover how these two components work together to help PCs perform better and learn why memory may be more important to performance than you thought.

Demystifying PC Technology: RAM Vs. Processor—Which Is More Important to Your Business’s Tasks?


In any business, time is often money. But do you know how much a slow PC can really cost your small business?[i]

All the extra time it takes for an older computer (one that’s more than five years old) to boot up, load web pages, and run programs can have an impact on your bottom line. One study commissioned by Intel found that older, slower computers can make an employee more than 27% less productive,[ii] which could cost an employer up to ₹1.95 Lakhs in lost productivity for each older computer in the workplace.[iii] The same study also estimated that waiting for an older PC to start up each morning can waste as much as 11 hours a year.[iv]

Not only that, but a slower computer could lead to frustrated employees, making your hardware investment as much of an employee retention issue as a technology issue. That’s why it’s often a smart investment to spend a bit extra for more powerful components so your work computers can process more data, run more data-intensive programs, and keep more browser tabs open.

Decades of computer shopping have led many people to believe that more RAM is the ultimate solution for improving PC performance. While it’s undoubtedly important, it’s not the only solution for better performance, or even necessarily the right one, depending on your needs.

What RAM Does…and Doesn’t…Do

RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and is used as a short-term memory storage space for the computer to place data it’s currently working on so it’s easily accessible. The more RAM a computer has, the more data it can usually juggle at any given moment. Think of RAM as a workspace: A giant workbench is obviously easier to work at than a tiny tea tray would be.

While more RAM can be good, there are limits to the benefit of adding more RAM. One restriction is physical; your motherboard can only hold a certain amount of RAM, so if you’re upgrading an older machine that already is nearing maximum RAM capacity, you might not have much room to grow. Another critical limit is processing power. All the short-term memory in the world won’t make your employees work lives easier if you don’t have the processing power to take advantage of it.

The Power of the Processor

The processor, also known as the CPU, provides the instructions and processing power the computer needs to do its work. The more powerful and updated your processor, the faster your computer can complete its tasks.

By getting a more powerful processor, you can help your computer think and work faster. This alone may be enough to optimize the power of the RAM you already have and help you maximize your investment in any new RAM you do add. If more RAM is like a bigger workbench, then a faster processor is similar to inviting a friend over to help you with your work.

Balance in Everything

But it’s not a matter of making an either-or choice between more RAM and a faster CPU—each can be as important as the other, and are reliant and complementary to the other as well as to the performance capabilities of your motherboard, hard drive, and other computer components.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to pair the new 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processor with Intel Optane™ memory. This smart memory technology complements standard RAM while helping to enhance your long-term hard drive memory for amazing system responsiveness when compared to adding additional RAM alone. Your employees will be able to do many of their computer tasks more quickly and more efficiently.

According to the benchmark tests,[v] computers with Optane memory drive higher office productivity compared to five-year-old computers, including:

  • Up to 2.5 times more responsive handling of everyday tasks[vi]
  • Up to 66% faster web performance[vii]

  • Up to 3.8 times speedier loading of large media files[viii]



If you need to improve the way your employees work, a computer powered by 8th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Optane memory could be the answer you’ve been looking for to the age-old “RAM vs. Processor” debate.

[i] Cost reduction scenarios described are intended as examples of how a given Intel-based product, in the specified circumstances and configurations, may affect future costs and provide cost savings. Circumstances will vary. Intel does not guarantee any costs or cost reduction.

[ii] “Employees are 27.93% less productive on old computers” is a finding of a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J.Gold Associates, LLC., of 200 small business owners in India to assess the challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. This statistic is based on the number of additional workers that respondents estimated would be necessary to compensate for lost productivity. To review this statistic and the full report, visit https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.

[iii] “…which could cost an employer up to ₹1.95 Lakhs in lost productivity for each older computer in the workplace” is based on a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J.Gold Associates, LLC., of 200 small business owners in India to assess the challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. Survey respondents estimated that for PCs more than five years old, employees would be 27.93% less productive—based on an average assumed employee’s salary of US$10,000, the lost productivity cost will amount to US$2,793. A conversion rate of @69.89 as of March 11, 2019, was applied to calculate the cost to be ₹1.95 Lakhs. To review this statistic and the full report, visit https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.

[iv] “Employees spend 11.62 hours a year waiting for their computer to work” is based on a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J.Gold Associates, LLC., of 200 small business owners in India to assess the challenges and costs associated with deploying older PCs. This statistic is based on the average time respondents spent starting up their PC based on one startup per day. To review this statistic and the full report, visit https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.

[v] As measured by SYSmark* 2014 SE Responsiveness Subscore comparing 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 8400 (16GB Intel® Optane™ memory module) vs. Intel® Core™ i5-3330 (HDD Only). As measured by Media Project Load Workload comparing 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 8400 (16GB Intel® Optane™ memory module) vs. Intel® Core™ i5-3330 (HDD Only).

[vi] Performance results are based on testing as of March 2, 2018, and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product can be absolutely secure. Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations, and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit http://www.intel.com/benchmarks. As measured by SYSmark* 2014 SE Responsiveness Subscore comparing 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 8400 (16GB Intel® Optane™ memory module) vs. Intel® Core™ i5-3330 (HDD Only).

[vii] Performance results are based on testing as of March 2, 2018, and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product can be absolutely secure. Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations, and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit http://www.intel.com/benchmarks. As measured by WebXPRT* 2015 comparing 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 8400 (16GB Intel® Optane™ memory module) vs. Intel® Core™ i5-3330 (HDD Only).

[viii] Performance results are based on testing as of March 2, 2018, and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product can be absolutely secure. Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations, and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit http://www.intel.com/benchmarks. As measured by Media Project Load Workload comparing 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 8400 (16GB Intel® Optane™ memory module) vs. Intel® Core™ i5-3330 (HDD Only).

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