I can only relate my experience of ZFS via FreeNAS/TrueNAS which is built on FreeBSD. I built my server in 2013-2014 and the recommendations back then were 8GB minimum. Back then that was a decent amount. To be more comfortable and increase performance I went for 16GB. That was a very decent amount and in ECC, fairly expensive.
ZFS will use as much memory as it can to increase performance, it uses it for ARC (Adjustable Replacement Cache). The more memory it has, the faster it runs. Think how fast something would run if it only read or wrote to/from memory. As your ARC gets bigger, approaching the size of your drive pool, there’s a higher and higher chance that the recently-accessed file you want is in ARC (the ARC hit ratio approaches 100%).
This is my lightly used server with a “warm” ARC that’s “used to” my data access patterns. The only real work it did was an incremental backup at midnight, you can see the drop in the hit ratio as it’s forced to fetch a little data from disk.
This is all fine and good for servers, but keep in mind servers don’t have really intensive programs to run. They devote as much resources as they can to disk I/O and networking. It’s highly unlikely they would run a single program that would consume > 2GB of RAM. But on a desktop/laptop, even a web browser can consume more than 2GB of RAM. Add, say, gaming or a VM to that and suddenly you won’t have enough RAM left for a decent ARC. Performance can suffer.
Sure 32GB is a lot, but ZFS will easily consume all of it to increase performance. Servers often have 128 or 256GB of RAM, ZFS will eat as much of that as it can as well. Also, although compression would work, you probably shouldn’t use deduplication because it’s can be very CPU and memory intensive for very little benefit - a slight saving in drive space. Since drive space is cheap vs. CPU power and RAM capacity, just get a bigger drive and suffer the consequences of a few more GB used on the drive.
In regards to error detection/error correction, yes, ZFS can detect it. But without at least a second disk in a RAIDZ array there’s nothing it can do about it. It will detect it but cannot correct it.
A neat feature of ZFS is that it’s both a drive format and a software RAID controller. With only one disk though, there’s not much advantage. You get snapshots and ARC but no real self-healing error correction since you have no parity data on a single disk. I would not use ZFS on a single-disk desktop or laptop because you won’t have these advantages. Even two disks is not enough, you really need 4+ to use RAIDZ2 - if one of the disks fails, the possibility of another one failing while the pool rebuilds (a very intensive process) is not inconsiderable, and if a second drive fails in a RAIDZ you lose your data! You will have none of this protection on a laptop, not even with 2 disks.
ZFS is still in active development and every once in a while there’s an update. There’s always a warning that when you update, the flags on the drives get altered and there’s no going back - your data would be irretrievably lost if you went back to an older ZFS version that didn’t recognize these new flags. It seems scary but I’ve never had an issue.
I don’t know as much about btrfs. It supports snapshots and automatic backup of those snapshots, which is very neat. It can also detect errors because it checksums every data block as well as the metadata, but without a second drive it’s limited in what it can do. Like ZFS, it’s a copy-on-write filesystem which increases performance at the expense of memory, but it can corrupt data if the cache is not flushed before it loses power, so a sudden unexpected shutdown could be catastrophic to your data - if it hasn’t written the drive metadata properly, the whole drive could be corrupt.
I’m sticking with boring old ext4 and backups for now though. Being so old, it’s quite stable. It does not incorporate modern filesystem ideas like versioning and file checking though.
ZFS on FreeBSD is old and stable, ZFS on Linux and btrfs is much newer and although the developers would call them stable, neither one has the long-term track record yet to make everyone fully comfortable with it.
Still, btrfs seems more suited to a laptop than ZFS is.