How much RAM do you need for gaming? More specifically, how much RAM do you need to ensure your games play smoothly and without any problems? Those are the questions we will explore in detail in the article below.
How Much RAM Do I Need for Basic Gaming?
Along with having a great CPU, GPU and a large HDD or SSD storage solution, it is vital that you have an adequate amount of RAM to play your games smoothly. So how much memory do you ABSOLUTELY need to play most of the games currently on the market? The answer is at least 8GB of RAM. 8GB is an adequate amount of RAM to play most of today’s games. However, if you are into the newest and brightest 4K gaming—or if you think you might want to upgrade your gaming setup as a way to future-proof it—you should definitely go with at least 16GB of RAM, as experts say that is the direction gaming and RAM are collectively currently going.
Now, when it comes to DDR3 vs. DDR4, the choice is really up to you, but we recommend you go with the latter if you are just starting out, even if you only have 8GB of RAM. Although gamers will probably not recognize the difference between DDR3 and DDR4 when playing most of today’s basic games, the latter of these two does have a much higher transfer rate per second and an increase in latency. Just be sure your motherboard supports the DDR4 before rushing out and getting it.
How Much Memory Do I Need for Modern and Advanced Gaming?
To help you understand how much RAM you will need to complete specific tasks with your modern gaming setup, below we will take you through some of the concepts concerning memory—concepts related to playing modern games on very high settings.
First, when it comes to how much RAM you will need to pursue modern gaming, the answer is not as clear cut as it was for basic gaming. That’s because advancements in technology have now translated to games that need a specific combination of CPU, GPU and RAM to be effective. Of course, you could always just buy a standard rig with the proper combination of GPU, CPU and RAM, but as games continue to evolve, you may soon find this system is not sufficient. You may also experience some dreaded lag or low FPS (First Person Shooter) counts.
As a gamer, the ability to pick the right components for your machine is very crucial. Therefore, to ensure you get the right RAM stick or RAM sticks for your gaming setup, you will need to be well versed on the notion of RAM and how it works.
On that note, let’s take a look at what RAM’s function is in modern gaming.
The Function of Ram in Gaming
Also known as Random Access Memory, RAM is an essential part of any gaming system, specifically a PC gaming system. When playing games on your PC, all the essential data that ensures those games runs smoothly and without any lags is stored away in the RAM memory, and without the proper amount of RAM, you can almost be sure to run into some flaws while participating in the game.
So we know RAM is crucial in ensuring your games play without any lag, but picking the right amount of RAM is a process in which you need to consider your current needs and your potential future needs—without looking too far into the future (as we will explain shortly).
Actually, picking RAM for today’s systems is a bit easier than it was for modern gaming systems that were the norm just a few years ago. That’s because gaming, as it was back then, had not reached the popularity it has achieved today. Yesteryear’s PC games had a wide range of requirements that all had to be met in order to play those games smoothly. And in the past, most setups for gaming computers ran on a 32-bit operating system—a system in which the maximum amount of RAM that could be added was 4GB. This is thankfully not the case today.
Today’s modern gaming systems revolve around a much more advanced 64-bit operating system. These types of systems can support more RAM than their 32-bit predecessors, in fact much, much more. A 64-bit operating system can support 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and so on.
So knowing that a 64-Bit system can support this much RAM, wouldn’t it be better just to stack as much RAM into your system as possible? Well, yes and no. First, not all motherboards can accept the higher sticks of RAM. Second, RAM sticks can be exceedingly pricey, so unless money is absolutely no object to you, installing RAM of 8GB, 16GB or 32GB will most definitely be sufficient for running most modern games with no lag time, assuming all the other parts of your setup are of the highest quality.
The third and perhaps most important rationale for not having 64GB of RAM or higher at this time, is that modern gaming is changing rapidly each year. That being said, when the time comes that you do need 64GB or more of RAM, your current components may be totally obsolete. Therefore, buying this amount right now would sort of be like throwing money down the drain.
Despite the cost and the risks, there is a very, very small minority of modern gaming systems that operate on 64GB of RAM, but they are certainly not very commonplace. They are rare because this memory is only supported when you also have a super powerful CPU in combination with the latest graphics cards. However, gaming systems with 64GB of RAM ARE definitely in use today in small numbers—used mostly used by E-sports professionals where there is a higher demand for zero flaws. 64G of RAM also makes gaming rigs ready for 5K gaming.
Choosing the Proper Amount of RAM for You
Now that you know that 32GB is probably the highest you should ever go with your RAM, let’s discuss choosing between the 8GB, 16GB and 32GB varieties for your gaming system. First, if cost is your only issue—which hopefully it isn’t—you should definitely go with 8GB of RAM to start with. Most games can be supported on 8GB of RAM, and if you want to upgrade later on you surely can.
But if you want the most bang for your buck, and the extra cost of these variants were no real issue, the answer to the question of “whether you should run 8GB, 16GB or 32GB” is that it depends on your personal preferences and the games you typically play.
As we mentioned at the outset of this article, most games today can be played fairly smoothly with just 8GB of RAM. So if you are just an occasional gamer, this amount of RAM will do just fine and will also save you some money. However, if you are a more competitive gamer—or you intend to play 4K games—we strongly recommend you go with at least 16GB of RAM, but no more than 32GB.
With most of today’s games and gaming setups, 16GB is plenty of RAM to play those games flawlessly and on the ultra-high settings without ever having to worry about running out of memory and having to dump some of your saved files and graphics. 16GB will also allow you to multi-task as you play your games and even play music media without experiencing any hiccups. Gamers who like to have applications like Discord open and run multiple tabs within their internet browser should feel no real lag in their games when using 16GB of RAM.
Finally, when we start talking about 32GB of RAM we are getting into brand new territory. This is the maximum amount an amateur gamer should ever run on his system (at this time), because buying more would risk that RAM becoming obsolete, not to mention it just isn’t needed. If your game of choice is one of the many First Person Shooter Games currently on the market, you may see less ghosting and faster response times with 32GB of RAM, but this is probably the only reason to seek out this level of memory, at least at this time. Additionally, you would need to ensure that your motherboard could even accept this much RAM in the first place.
When it comes to how much RAM you need for gaming, let’s quickly review the main points. For casual, occasional gamers on a budget, 8GB of RAM is usually a sufficient amount of memory. This will allow you to play most of the modern games of today with just a little lag and perhaps some slower response times. Plus, these gamers can always upgrade to 16GB of RAM later thanks to today’s 64-Bit operating systems.
If cost is no option, if you are an E-Sports professional, or if FPS gaming is quite frankly your entire life, you could jump up to 32GB or 64GB of RAM. Just understand that there are high costs associated with this choice, and because gaming is changing year by year, you may find that your memory is simply out of date in a few years from now.
For everybody else in the gaming world, the answer to the question: “How Much RAM Do I Need for Gaming” is 16 GB. 16 GB will not break your overall gaming budget. Moreover, not only is 16GB sufficient for playing ALL of today’s modern games with no lag times or hiccups, it will also permit you to multi-task and play music media as you game.