Processor and RAM: Which one makes a smartphone faster? A Comprehensive Walkthrough
Adam Parnala | On 28, Sep 2012
One of our readers recently asked as the question about the relationship between the processor and RAM. It immediately grabbed my attention because it is one of the familiar questions today. The question was originally posted on the comments section of the blog post about the Cherry Mobile W100 and Candy TV which both have 1GHz but it comes with a mere 256MB of RAM. The question can be seen at the image below.
Most of the time people are getting confused on what the processor and RAM really do. Today’s marketplace has been bombarded by tons of smartphones with different specifications that’s why choosing a smartphone which suits you has become a daunting task. Which one makes the phone run faster? Is it the processor or the RAM?
Will a low RAM influence the performance of your smartphone?
Yes, of course. However, from a technical point of view, the RAM itself doesn’t have anything to influence the performance of the processor. Meaning, the RAM cannot boost the processing speed of the processor but it has something to do on how fast the overall performance will be. Why? Because it’s the place where running programs are stored.
More on RAM
RAM (Random-Access Memory) is the memory used to store open programs (apps) so that it can be easily accessed by the processor. For example, a user launched the Android Browser and then after a while he hit the home button and proceed to Google Play Store. The browser, which was still running was stored in the RAM. That way, when the user decides to go back to what he was doing, he will be able to continue his activity without needing to restart the app. In short, it is needed in running heavy apps and multitasking.
How do these two work?
The processor is the one processing the inputs received by the smartphone. If the device has a 1GHz processor, then it might be fast enough but if it will be accompanied with a low RAM and you’ll use it for heavy multitasking or a resource hog game or app, then the “lag” kicks in. The process is slowed down because when the RAM is full, the rendering starts to suffer. That’s the time when that you’ll notice the slowness of an app.
Basically, the processor is the engine that works its way and it utilizes the resources it has. Thus, the amount of RAM directly affects the performance of a device. On the other hand, a slow processor with a huge 2GB of RAM will also not work out just right. It should be a sweet combination of the two.
How much RAM do we need?
Although the today’s standards are quickly inching towards the 512MB of RAM, a 256MB of RAM is not that bad either. It can still do the smartphone tasks and games and it will still be playable. The multitasking, though not that smooth, will still be on the usable side. However, just don’t expect a buttery smooth navigation and overall experience.
Some Useful Tips
People who just want to take a tour on the smartphone world will definitely be contented with the 256MB of RAM. It’s not that fast but it will still do the job. A 2-4 second (depending on the device) waiting time isn’t that long anyway. For advance users, I think it is better if you’ll get a handset with higher specifications since you already know your way around the smartphone and if heavy games are your fancy.
The ideas discussed here doesn’t only apply to the mobile devices stated above instead it is also applicable on other phones as well. I’ve tried to explain the relationship of the processor and RAM so that people will understand how they affect each other.
Most of the budget android phones today are still on 256MB of RAM and they are still doing well. Lags will be there but it’s not too annoying. If the memory piles up, you can use Advance Task Killer from Google Play Store and it will help you manage and free up your RAM. The most common reason for the “lag” on these low RAM phones is the apps running simultaneously. Therefore, manage your smartphone correctly to get the most out of it.
If you have any thoughts regarding this topic, your ideas are very much welcome. Let them be heard through the comments section below.