It's pretty self-serving of a company like Crucial.com—a brand of semiconductor company Micron Technology that sells memory upgrades and solid-state drives (SSDs)—to conduct a poll asking people what they know about random access memory. And it's maybe a little embarrassing to find out that 75 percent of 1,000 people ages 18 to 65 had no idea what in the hell RAM even is.
Why is that a problem? According to the poll, conducted by GMI Research, being clueless about RAM means most people don't upgrade their computer memory, which leads to "slow and poor-performing PCs and Macs that have put 62 percent of Americans in a bad mood and made 93 percent of millennials experience 'computer rage.'"
Naturally, this is also self-serving info, as Crucial.com is in the business of selling DRAM modules, which are, for the record, pretty easy to install in desktops and some laptops, as long as you buy the right kind. Seventy-three percent of those polled said "assumed stressors" were a factor in why they didn't upgrade. Twenty-five percent think it would cost too much (Crucial.com claims the average memory upgrade is $50.)
Other fun, horrifying facts to be gleaned from these 1,000 people (half male, half female) polled:
- 49 percent think that RAM is where computer files live. (It's not. They live on hard drives, SSDs, or in the cloud.)
- For gender breakdown, more women were unsure what RAM is (80 percent) than men (62 percent).
- Just under 25 percent think it takes an hour or more to upgrade RAM. Crucial says it takes five minutes.
- Only 4 percent of people upgrade the memory on a computer even when it's noticeably having performance issues.
- 54 percent of men have tried some sort of computer upgrade, but only 29 percent of women.
- Repairs are a different matter: 46 percent had paid as much as $200 on a fix.
- Millennials are far more likely to skip a repair job than baby boomers.
- 67 percent of millennials keep old PCs and equipment around even when it doesn't work.
Crucial and GMI have teamed up in the past. In January 2015, they released a statement showing 58 percent of Americans surveyed thought the term "tech geek" is now a compliment and that 33 percent of women prefer a tech-savvy significant other. In June, the two issued findings that 87 percent know tech is important to their productivity, and 63 percent admit when tech lets them down, their productivity plummets.
Last year, another survey from GMI that described symptoms of insufficient memory showed that 90 percent of the men and women polled did not think it was the culprit, despite half of the men claiming they knew enough to fix a computer, and only 11 percent of the women believing in their own PC upgrade/repair skills.