Buy less RAM with your PC and upgrade later

Submitted by a LOZO expert
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When you buy a new desktop or laptop, you'll have the option of buying it with its base level of RAM (aka computer memory) or 'upgrading' to get more. Usually, it's cheaper to buy less RAM at the time of your initial purchase and then pick up more at a later date, for a lower price. Plus this way you'll have a better idea of your needs so you can spend more wisely.

There are a couple of reasons why it's usually not a great idea to buy too much RAM up front. One is a basic supply/demand issue: the newest types of RAM (found in the latest computers) have higher prices initially because of low supply & high demand. As more RAM is produced, the price comes down. And when a newer type of RAM emerges, the demand for the older kind goes down, and so does the price.

Another major reason why it's better to wait is simply that computer manufacturers usually deliberately charge too much up front, trying to take advantage of you when you make your initial purchase. They offer various options to upgrade and figure it you're paying $400-$1,000 already, that you might not mind another $100 to spend on RAM. Or they figure you'll pay a (big) premium for not having to install the RAM yourself later on. While that's a consideration for most people who are not very mechanically inclined, keep in mind that installing RAM is usually very simple and there are tons of free guides & videos available to show you how.

So when does it make sense to pick a PC with more RAM? Sometimes manufacturers run promotions for free memory upgrades. FREE is a great price so don't pass that up! If the upgrade seems like a bargain, you can check by reviewing the latest RAM prices on your own. If it's the same price to buy up front (versus adding on later), and you think you'll need the RAM in the next 3-6 months, then it's probably worth buying now.

Another consideration is how the RAM is configured in slots. It's better to take up fewer slots (and leave at least one open) with your initial purchase, when possible. That allows you to upgrade without first having to remove one of the pieces of RAM (which then effectively goes to waste).

Here's an illustrative example that is similar to what you might see when buying your PC:
  • Your computer-to-be comes with 2GB RAM in the base configuration
  • For $60 extra you can upgrade to 3GB with your purchase
  • The market price for the same type of RAM is $30 for 1GB
  • It is $30 cheaper to buy on your own!
Making the decision to wait can easily save you $30-60 or more. If you keep your PC for 3 years before upgrading, that's $10-15 per year savings!

If you wait to upgrade, keep in mind that manufacturers buy memory in bulk which can cause them to get stuck with large quantities. Keep an eye on them to see when prices drop. When they do, pick up more RAM and you'll have a more powerful computer for a cheaper price.

Buy just the RAM you need up front, usually the most basic configuration offered. When you are ready to add more, remember that RAM prices fluctuate, so watch the market buy it when it's cheap!

A LOZO expert posted this tip.

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