Microsoft Sets Memory Baseline At 16GB For AI-Enabled PCs, Need More RAM?

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Microsoft has just set new performance targets for PCs to be considered AI-ready. The trillion-dollar software, services and devices company has specified 40 TOPS (Trillions Of Operations Per Second) in AI computational throughput and 16GB of memory at a minimum, for a system to potentially have all AI features unlocked (in Windows 11) in the future. If you are rocking a more entry-level system with four, eight, or 12GB of system RAM, you’ll want to consider upgrading if you want to stay up-to-date and get in on the AI bandwagon.

Thankfully RAM is the easier components to upgrade in many desktop PCs and some laptops, as long as the memory is not soldered onto the motherboard. If you have a standard desktop or laptop with DDR4/DDR5 DIMMS or SODIMMs, swapping the memory out for higher-capacity modules is almost as easy as replacing the batteries in your TV remote.

Memory pricing is also in an extremely consumer-friendly state, for now. A mainstream dual-channel 16GB kit of DDR4 memory costs as little as $35, while DDR5 kits in the same configuration are priced as low as $50. If you own a laptop, DDR4/DDR5 SODIMMs are a little more expensive than their desktop counterparts, but they are still very reasonable compared to memory prices from a few years ago.

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If you are looking for a great deal on some DDR4/DDR5 desktop memory, we’ve put together a list of deals down below that meet or exceed Microsoft’s new memory standards.


These new system requirements set for AI workload processing are expected to be the new benchmark for mainstream PCs shipping in 2024 and beyond. As a result, we can expect newer pre-built machines and laptops to ship with 16GB out of the box, and feature a good mixture of CPU, GPU, and NPU performance, due to this 40 TOPS requirement. This will inevitably affect software down the road as well, with developers optimizing games and software around these higher system requirements. So even if you don’t care about AI, it may still be a good idea to upgrade anyway, so your system can keep up with the latest software and operating system updates.