RAM vs Storage

April 9th, 2018

ram vs storage

The terms RAM, storage, hard drive space, memory, and disc space all get used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings and affect your computer’s performance in different ways. To set the record straight, here’s a quick definition guide on RAM vs storage.


Short for random access memory, RAM is a measure of how much work your computer can handle in a given time. Let’s say your computer has 16GBs of ram, or memory, available. Every time you open an application, like Word, or use an internet browser you’ll be using a certain amount of your 16GBs of RAM. If you run too many applications that take up too much RAM, your computer will run slow and may even crash.

The amount of RAM used will vary from application to application. Your standard Microsoft Office applications don’t require much RAM to function, while applications for photo and video editing can eat up a lot of RAM. It’s important to remember that RAM only affects how much work your computer can do, not how much it can store.


Your hard drive is where files and data are stored long term. Every time you hit save on a Word doc or spreadsheet, it gets saved on your hard drive. Think of it as a filing cabinet in an office. Once the files are in the cabinet, no work will happen and the files won’t be changed. They’re just stored there until you need to work on them again. This means the amount of storage or hard drive space won’t have a huge impact on how fast your computer will run, unless it’s just really pushed to the storage limits.

To sum it up, when you’re typing a Word doc, it uses RAM. When you hit save, it’s stored on the hard drive. If you want to increase your computer’s speed and be able to work on more applications at the same time, upgrading your RAM will be your best bet.

If you have more questions about how to improve the performance of your computer call Geek Rescue today.