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I fondly remember performing my first upgrade to my home PC. It was shortly after I had installed the recently released Windows XP, only to find that my PC didn?t quite meet the system requirements.

Are the product specs sufficient?

After expanding my RAM to the (at the time quite impressive) total of 128MB, I remember being astounded by the increase in performance that such a simple upgrade could achieve.

I was so impressed that, to this day, I firmly believe that no self-respecting software developer should ever place minimum specs on their packaging, as people who own these minimum spec machines will blame the software if it fails to meet their expectations.

When looking at the specifications for this month’s entries in the desktop and laptop charts, one thing kept jumping out at me – most of these machines expect to run the 64-bit version of Windows 7 on two or three gigabytes of RAM, whereas the recommended amount of RAM is 4GB.

Yes, it’s possible to do so, but this is not the optimal level of system memory. 64-bit versions of an OS are designed to make the most of systems that have a higher RAM capacity, so why put that version on a system that has a decidedly average level of system memory?

While there is an argument that a certain amount of future proofing is going on, this doesn’t really hold up for the laptops. It’s not a simple job for most people to upgrade a laptop’s RAM, so maybe there is a silver lining to this story. It means that upgrade and repair shops can offer to boost a laptop’s performance simply by adding enough memory to meet recommended spec.

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