Demystifying PC Technology: RAM vs. Processor

Which is more important for employee productivity?

RAM vs. Processor:

  • RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and is used as a short-term memory storage space.

  • The processor, also known as the CPU, provides the instructions and processing power the computer needs to do its work.

  • Both RAM and CPU work synchronously and complimentarily to ensure that its power and performance fits your small business needs.

  • The key to choosing a PC for your small business is to look for a business-class device with Intel vPro® Essentials equipped with the latest Intel® Core™ processor.



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.1 2

An older computer (one that’s more than five years old) takes extra time to boot up, load web pages, and run programs, which can have a surprising impact on your bottom line in lost employee productivity. In one Intel study researchers found that slower computers decrease employee productivity by as much as 29%, potentially costing an employer up to $17,000 in lost productivity for each older computer in the workplace.3 This same study also estimated that waiting for an older PC to start up each morning can waste up to 11 hours a year.4

Beyond lost productivity, a slower computer leads to frustrated employees, making your hardware investment as much of an employee retention issue as a technology issue. Therefore, it’s often a smart investment to ensure powerful components so your small business computers can process more data, run more data-intensive programs, and keep more browser tabs open.

What RAM Does…and Doesn’t…Do

RAM, stands for Random Access Memory, and is used as a short-term memory for computers to place its data for easy access. 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 such limit is a physical aspect: 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 such 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.

Learn more about other computer components ›

A New PC May Be the Answer

While it may be possible to add more RAM or a new processor, you may need to consider if it’s time to buy a new computer.

Business-class devices with the latest Intel® Core™ processors on the Intel vPro® platform contain out-of-the box security features below the operating system that enables your small business to achieve greater protection from security threats than software alone.

Anticipate Future Needs

RAM and the CPU—each works complementary to the other, as well as to the performance capabilities of your motherboard, hard drive, and other computer components.

You may want to choose the latest Intel® Core™ processor you know and trust today, and add more RAM as employee workload needs grow over time.5

See if you’re ready for a computer upgrade ›