PC games have come a long way. While some will still work pretty well with limited RAM, most of them have become too demanding to use the average RAM found on most stock PCs.
RAM plays a significant experience in modern gaming. That is why it’s one of the aspects that gamers will ask about when buying a new gaming rig.
Unfortunately, identifying how much RAM you need for gaming is not straightforward. There are a handful of factors you need to consider, especially if you have a limited budget and can’t afford all the premium components. We'll answer how much RAM you need for gaming.
What Role Does RAM Play in Games?
To help you get a clear picture of why getting the right amount of RAM for gaming is crucial, you have to understand what role it plays.
Running games requires the computer to regularly access data to keep the gaming running smoothly. Grabbing this information from the computer’s hard drive can be a long and tedious process.
The relevant information is stored in the short term memory (RAM) to prevent hiccups during access. Most games have different RAM requirements depending on the amount of data the computer needs to run the game.
Over the years, gaming PCs have become more adapted to these requirements and can comfortably store up high RAM to make it easier to run the games.
64-bit operating systems can run RAMs of up to 32GB while their 32-bit counterparts only handle about 4GB of RAM.
In that short description, it’s clear that there are a few factors to consider when choosing the right RAM size for gaming.
Key among them is the type of operating system as well as the requirements of the game. But, that is not all there is to RAM and gaming.
What are the Common PC RAM Capacities Available?
There are different capacities of RAM available, ranging from less than 1GB to 128GB. Some of the varieties you're likely to find in most computers are:
This is the most prevalent RAM capacity. It’s common in most home computers and especially those running a 32-bit OS. However, it’s shorthanded when it comes to gaming and might result in endless freezing when used for PC gaming.
On the lower end, a gaming PC should have at least 8GB of RAM. Most gaming PC will easily run most games without any hitches, but you will need additional components like graphics if you want to indulge in the more recent games.
This is the recommended RAM capacity for gaming. With 16GB, you can run the most advanced games without fear of running out RAM space. However, you still need to make sure the computer is not running some memory-heavy applications in the background, which can cause the game to freeze occasionally.
The most exciting aspect of using 16GB RAM is that it makes your gaming experience future proof. You have complete freedom to run all types of games include 4K games, which is quite impressive.
Some gamers leave nothing to chance and want the highest memory their computer can support. As a result, the 32GB class is becoming increasingly popular, but for gaming, it's considered an overkill. If you have the budget and want to build a high-end rig that is future proof, you can consider having the extra RAM, but it’s not necessary.
32GB is not the highest RAM capacity in the market. You can also find 64 and 128GB RAM in the market. However, for a computer to run these varieties, it needs a specially designed motherboard. It's also worth mentioning that the cost of such high capacities can be astronomical, yet you will never utilise that much space.
These types of RAM are best utilised by professionals in video editing, 3D modelling and other fields of work that are RAM intensive. Instead of going for overkill on the RAM, you can save the budget and invest in a more powerful CPU and GPU to bring your gaming experience full circle.
How Much RAM is Enough?
The actual question should be whether to get the 8GB or 16GB RAM. The other varieties are out of the gaming scope and will only create confusion, yet they will either be shorthanded or underutilised in case you decided to invest in them.
The safest and most desirable alternative is the 16GB module. It offers everything a gamer would want in RAM. It gives your PC the ability to run games flawless and is also future-ready for any games that might require more space to run.
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The 8GB is not a bad alternative either. It's worth considering if you're not sure how seriously you want to take gaming or you're juggling a tight budget. Even though 16GB is a safer bet, you can also make do with 8GB without any fuss. What's more, if down the road you realise you need some extra space, you can easily upgrade.
Single or Multiple Modules: Which is Better?
Most gaming PC motherboards have dual channel capacity. A few high-end ones can support up to four channels.
However, while the dual-channel is recommended, the benefit of having two 8GB RAM modules is negligible and unnoticeable in gaming. But, that’s not to say that your investment in a dual channel motherboard is useless.
You appreciate the benefit of having a dual channel motherboard when one of your RAM modules fails. If you have multiple RAM modules, you can continue gaming with the remaining module as you wait to replace the failed module. What’s more, it’s cheaper to replace the module.
For a single module, any failures mean no gaming and a hefty price tag for the replacement modules. Assuming you have two 8GB modules in a dual channel, you would only have to replace the one 8GB module as compared to replacing the 16GB on a single module.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about RAM and your gaming PC. As one of the vital components of your gaming experience, RAM is not something to take lightly.
The 16GB module is an excellent choice for gamers that have the budget and are more concerned about being on the safer side and future proof. However, the 8GB is also cut out for gaming and works equally well and is ideal for gamers on a tight budget looking to make the most out of it.