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How much memory should I buy?
For a system running Windows XP, you shouldn't go with less than 512MB of RAM. Most people won't need any more than that if they only perform standard computing tasks, like word processing, web browsing and checking e-mail. However, for Windows Vista, your system will run best with at least 1GB of RAM.

Gamers should consider 1-2GB of RAM for best performance with Windows XP. For Vista users, consider 2-3GB. Unless you do a lot of hard core 3D networked gaming, you won't see much of a performance boost with more.

If you do a lot of 3D rendering, such as with programs like Lightwave, more than 3GB of memory may help performance.

For video editing, 1-2GB of memory is fine for standard definition video. For many low end home video editing tasks, you can probably function with less on Windows XP, if needed. However, if you edit in HD, 3GB or more will cure most sluggish operation. For a dedicated editing system like and Avid, consider moving toward 4GB for HD video editing.

For photo editing with a professional program like Photoshop, anything more than 1GB will offer good performance. Consider more than 1GB for quick screen redraws and faster effects rendering.

Keep in mind that memory isn't the only factor. A powerful 3D graphics card will help a gamer more than the difference between 3 and 4 GB of memory. A fast hard drive with a large built-in memory cache will provide a huge benefit for video editing. A fast processor will boost both tasks measurably.

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