Tech Tuesday: Should 4GB be the Chromebook standard?

2GB is often touted as a baseline standard in Chromebook RAM, which is perceived to be adequate for what Chromebooks are usually used for. However, 4GB may be coming awfully close to being the next baseline standard in the very near future, and we have a few points that may make this prediction more convincing.

First off, the issue of RAM has always been a common topic in any entry-level or compact PC. Should you get this much GB? Would you need this much GB? The question is all the more relevant in the use of a Chromebook, specifically because when it comes to processing, consumers might be conflicted as to how much RAM they would really need for it despite being a minimalist machine. This seems to be where the 2GB standard had originated since browsing may be considered as its most prominent use. 4GB then became the “upgrade” choice, giving consumers the option to go all the way minimal or splurge a bit more for additional memory.

But, as regular Chromebook users already know, “simple browsing” is hardly an RAM-friendly task anymore. In our everyday, media-heavy, internet experience, 2GB of RAM could easily slow down the unit by simply going past the single-digit tab mark. Okay, okay, it doesn’t reduce our Chromebooks’ speed to a crawling snail, but the performance spike is definitely noticeable. How else would anyone explain the necessity of tab scrubbing and SWAP features?

We understand Google’s philosophy of minimalism and affordability by introducing a baseline, entry-level option to their otherwise already baseline, entry-level product. However, as we reach half a decade after tablets have further popularized mobile computing, it’s probably high time that we take up the scale for Chromebooks, as well. This is where the idea to make 4GB as the Chromebook standard comes in. Though many people consider 4GB only for power users of Chromebooks, there are still plenty of reasons to remove the 2GB option or, at least as the consumer, jump straight to 4GB:

Future proofing This is probably the first and foremost reason, before any memory performance issues are addressed. The 4GB of RAM grants your Chromebook immunity (at least for a long while) in updates that your Chrome OS might have or updates that any of the extensions that you use may have. You’re set to use the unit for a very long time without having to worry about tech obsolescence problems with higher RAM.

Extension-based multi-tasking If you’re the type of person who heavily uses Chrome extensions, then we highly recommend using a 4GB version. We’ve already touched on the “media-heavy Internet use” part earlier, so you should already have an idea why. Then again, if this is part of your daily Chromebook use, then it is likely that you already are using a 4GB version.

Super browsing multi-tabs with multiple windows open No, this isn’t what you can really consider nowadays as “heavy” usage. Even if you don’t have lots of Chrome extensions, super browsing for various information purposes (Internet research, reference discussions, class presentations, etc.) would probably still require 4GB to be done optimally. This does not warrant shifting from 2GB as much as multi-extension usage in any way; however, it is still a considerably convenient alternative.

Cloud-based work Google Drive ‘nuff said. If you use even at least one Google service heavily on your Chromebook, then it might instantly warrant you a 4GB upgrade already. This point is even further stressed for web-based document editing software, which yes, extensions like Notable PDF are able to access via cloud. Besides, if you’re using Chromebooks as a productivity unit, then by “extension,” you are almost certain to be using other types of web-based features and services as well.

Then again, this is simply an idea about 4GB Chromebooks. The discussion is, of course, not meant to convince anyone to dump their 2GB Chromebooks. It’s just that in the near future, we’d certainly like more updated models to introduce 4GB ones as the default.

Christian Crisostomo
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