Wanting a new laptop - 12 or 16GB?

Maybe not right now, but in the next 3 months, I hope to order a new Windows 10 laptop.

I have been specking it out on the HP website - And I will have a 1TB SSD.

However, I am going back and forth whether or not I will get 12GB or RAM, or 16GB. The difference is only $40. But, I’ve already upped this and that…

Honestly, I do mostly browsing, occasional Photoshop usage, playing videos, word processing… Yes, I know I could get by with 8GB. But, my current laptop had 6GB, and it is rather slow…

12GB paired with an SSD should be good enough, don’t ya think? Or, should I suck it up and get the 16GB?


You’ll never be sorry for having too much RAM. With a difference of just $40, I’d go ahead and get the 16GB. Your usage may not change in the next several years, but you’ll probably keep updating your software, which will have more and more complex needs, and even web browsing will get more complex over time.


RAM should usually be dual channel, but 12GB is an odd number (6GB as well), as RAM is usually available in multiples of 4GB. For 12GB, it sounds like there would be 4GB soldered onto the motherboard, plus 8GB in a SO-DIMM? How is the 16GB configured? That sounds odd as well, if it is the same base laptop, that would be 4GB soldered, 4GB SO-DIMM and 8GB SO-DIMM. Neither is a good combination and will throttle the performance, as you will have 3 unequal banks of memory, not 2.

There is a remote possibility, that it has 4GB + 8GB SO-DIMM in the 12GB model and 8GB + 8GB SO-DIMM in the 16GB model, but that 12GB would be a configuration that makes no sense.

Without knowing more about the actual layout and how that RAM is composed, I’d look for a different laptop that doesn’t have mis-matched RAM. That said, if they had only offered the 16GB version, you would probably be none the wiser to the fact that they have botched the RAM on the device.


Fascinating! I had no idea that some laptops wouldn’t have optimum configurations. Just that by itself makes no sense.

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Coming at it from an entirely different and maybe somewhat quirky angle: recently I’ve grown to think that the most underrated characteristic is neither RAM nor CPU, but cooling (only slightly exaggerating here).

I learned that using my new Surface GO 2. It has 8 GB and an m3 CPU - mediocre specs in comparison to other systems, we all agree. It turns out, it is plenty fast to handle everything I throw at it, work related IF the little dude does not have to do it for to long and, thus, has to throttle massively.

Throttling really seems to be the mobile bottleneck of our times. It’s a passively cooled CPU that goes up to 3,4 GHz and if it does that (aka “has load”) for more than 20 seconds, it throttles down to 2,2 or 1,1 or even below 1 GHz. That’s when stuff gets painfully slow and baking hot.

So, to add a perspective into the mix, I’d say: it’s incredible how far you can get with 8 GB and a bottom-rung CPU, IF it can actually get its little muscles to work. If it immediately gets restained because it would melt down otherwise, that’s the problem.

In consequence: consider the effectiveness and noise level of the cooling system when shopping around. A well-cooled and -implemented m3 with 8 GB will be cheaper and may be real-world-as-fast-as any CPU with more horsepower and twice the RAM.

(Plus, on a more philosophical note: well-implemented efficiency is simply elegant. Says the guy with 32 GB RAM in his desktop and no idea why except for “sounded like a good idea and RAM was cheap”.)

Just looked around online a bit on rating of cooling solutions and came up with this: https://laptopmedia.com/highlights/top-10-gaming-notebooks-with-the-best-cooling-designs/ Next to many, many gaming laptops (which are really niche and you will likely not prefer), the DELL in the list seems quite impressive. Ah, sorry - just saw that that’s a gaming laptop, too. Never thought of DELL as a gaming brand. No HP, but maybe still an interesting angle. Certainly, there will be very-well cooled HPs, too.


Dell bought Alienware several years back and has had its gaming XPS models for over a decade.

Cooling is certainly a big issue. There have been reviews of Core i7 laptops that run benchmarks on a par with an i3, because the cooling is lousy. They roar to 2.5 - 3 Sone and throttle the Core i7 after 30 seconds or so. Another laptop with good cooling might be much quieter and still provide superior performance out of the “same” hardware.


No, it is an 8 DIMM and a 4 DIMM for 12. Or, two DIMMs for 16.

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OK, that’s better news, still not really understandable why they offer it at all with mismatched DIMMs at 12GB, that will throttle the processor. Pay the extra $40 for the 16GB, it is like releasing the handbrake.


Well, it comes with 8. You can either increase it to 12 or 16 GB

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  1. 12 is an odd number.

I’m actually very familiar with computers - I’ve just never gone over 8GB in the past. So, I am wondering if it really matters to go to 12 or 16. That was all I am asking. I’m not doing anything to intensive. But, I’ve noticed that things change over time.

I am actually only getting an i5 in it. And as for noise - I have my laptop sit on a little stand with a cooling fan in it. So, I always have some noise. That doesn’t bother me.

Thanks for the reply, though :slight_smile:

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My home laptop is a Skylake i5 and my work laptop a Kaby Lake i5. For most uses, other than heavy CAD, compilation or VM usage, I don’t really see the advantage of an i7.

That said, both are completely silent 95% of the time. I’ve never used a cooling stand, but the ThinkPad T480 at work only makes a sound when the AV software is running a scan or an update is installing. First thing in the morning, when I open my RSS feed in about 40 new tabs in one go, it can spin up the fans.

The Spectre X360 at home is about the same, updates and AV scans are about the only things that regularly get the fans spinning.


There are some decreases in mixing ram sizes. But for your uses I doubt you would see much of a difference.

Generally, most laptops or computers come with two slots for RAM sticks, and sometimes more. And there’s a prevailing misconception that you can’t use different RAM size together, or mix RAM brands. That’s not true. Can you mix RAM size? Yes. But it might not be best for performance.

It is advisable to use RAM sticks by the same manufacturer, of the same size, and of the same frequency. But there’s a simple reason behind why mixing RAM sizes is usually not the best way. RAM has several components that all come together to make it perform well.

For two different size RAM sticks to perform optimally together, they need to use the same voltage and their respective controllers should play well with each other and the motherboard. That’s why it’s best to use the same model in all slots.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use different size RAM sticks together. For example, if your first stick is 4GB, you can still add a new 8GB stick. Once you switch on dual channel mode (also called flex mode), it will perform as two 4GB sticks running side by side in optimal performance.

The remaining 4GB of the new stick will run in single channel mode. Overall, it’s not as fast as using two sticks of the same size, but it’s still faster than what you had before.

It’s the same with frequency or speed. Your RAM sticks will work together at the frequency of the lower stick, by default. So do RAM sticks have to match? No, but it’s better if they do.


Ok. I guess I will go with 16 then.


Never hurts to have more. and it gives more speed and accuracy. Personally my work laptop has 16gb my Personal laptop at home has 64gb of ram so then I never need to worry.

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Well, I prefer my chromebooks. But, I started working form home at the end of March, and I HAD to use my Windows computer.

I have used it daily since then. I suffer from optical migraines, and I noticed that in the 9 weeks I worked from home, my problems got 80-85% better. I believe it was from working in front of a window and no fluorescent lights (we have no windows at my office)

But, I noticed that if I put my chromebook in the exact same spot as where the Windows laptop sat at, I’d have problems. If I went back to the Windows PC - I was fine.

Most laptops have reflective glass, and I think that is a big part of it. My Windows HP laptop has a non glare finish for the screen.

I want another laptop, just faster, with the same kinda screen.

I really had no intention to buy a Windows PC again with my 3 chrome devices. But, it seems I needa stick with my Windows PC for health reasons. Therefore, I’ve decided to buy a better one…


I have some of the same issues and I have noticed by using a blue light filter on my monitor or screen that it seems to reduce it quite a bit then I started customizing all of my apps (Chrome, Office, etc.) to use dark modes and that seems to have eliminated it all together. My guess is the Windows PC with the finish and the filters in Windows 10 are probably helping where the chrome book may not have those, though I don’t have a chrome book to check to be sure.

If its only for office work then you will probably be fine with the 8gb or 12gb but the 16gb will future proof incase you find something that would like to have more RAM to run.


Yea. I do have the blue light filter permanently in the “on” position for my cell phone. That is helping me a lot on the cell phone.

But, I tried the setting it on both the chromebook and the Windows PC, but I found it too yellowish. But, yea, I think it is the anti glare finish on the screen. And, the monitor is also a littler bigger (chrome book is 14" and the Windows PC is 15.6"). I do have the brightness on both turned down, though.

Anyway, I would have ordered it already, as I have the $. But, I am waiting because we were told of possible lay offs and furloughs. So, that has me waiting. But, I am trying to sell something right now - if it sells, I may just go ahead and pull the trigger and get it.


I hope it works out for you man and the advice given benefits you. Sorry to hear about the possible layoffs and furloughs hope it all works out. Goodluck.


Thanks :slight_smile:

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