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How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming?

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How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming - memory chips

Do you wonder how much RAM is needed for gaming? There is a simple answer for that. But always better to know the whole story. Read more to find out.

But before we can start talking about each individual game and how much RAM it is required to play it, there is a need to understand about what is a RAM memory and what role plays in this big thing called computer (well not a big thing anymore!).

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming – Part 1: FAQ

What Is A Random Access Memory (RAM)

What is a Random Access Memory (RAM)? It is a memory which is used to store data for fast access by the CPU.

Note : This post is about DRAM which is the main system RAM. If you want to learn about Static Ram, check this link.

Question 1 : Why RAM exists?

Because the Hard Drive is slow and the CPU needs to communicate in speed with someone in its league.

If it doesn’t, it will wait “forever” for the disk to send the data. With RAM being way faster it just waits way less.

Analogy

You need to sign hundreds of fan letters. You are in your room and you have a chair and a desk(with drawers) to sit and sign. You have a friend downstairs that has all the hundreds of fan letters.

Your friend knows you have a desk with drawers so he brings you as many letters as your drawers can fit. Your friend is busy too so when you call him/her , he/she cannot service you right away.

When it’s time to service you, he/she will bring you enough letters that will fit in the drawers. If you hadn’t got a chair and a desk with drawers, he/she would bring you one at a time because he/she knows you don’t have a chair and a desk.

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming - KPop

In this analogy,

the chair and desk plays the role of RAM,

you play the role of CPU,

and your friend plays the role of the Hard Drive.

Question 2 : The more RAM the faster the PC gets?

Most of the time the answer is No. Below we list the case where is it yes.

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming - Apocalypse

Case 1: Yes

Example of Yes: You have 2GigaBytes RAM installed in your PC. Your new cool game requires 2.5 GigaBytes. What will happen: in order to load that 500 Megabytes, your system will take 500 Megabytes from your RAM and store it the Hard Drive.

Then will load the new 500 Megabytes that wanted to load from the start and store them in RAM so it can access it faster. But those 500 Megabytes tha were first in the RAM and saved to disk will be probably be needed in a short amount of time.

So this process of Swapping from RAM to disk is going to happen very often because all these data is needed frequently (that’s why they were in the RAM in the first place).

And as you know, the Hard Drive is very slow compared to RAM. And your game that is waiting to get the data will wait for these transfers all the time.

And this Swapping will make your PC very slow.

This is a simplified example but that’s what the operating system does generally when it has no RAM to store data.

So a good practice is to not push the RAM to its limits because the operating system might start doing swaps before reaching 100%.

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming - Wine Cellar

Case 2: No

Example of No: You have 8 GigaBytes of RAM and your game requires 4GB. There is plenty of room in the RAM to store your game and maybe more programs so if you buy another 8 GB it won’t do anything to your game speed (neither your graphics will be better or your gameplay be smoother). You will just be able to open more windows and programs.

The recommended RAM is 16GB.

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming - Monkey

Most today’s games require 8GB (Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, Apex Legends, Sekiro, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six).

But there are games that require 12 GB or 16 GB (PubG, Battlefield V, Forza Horizon 4).

So with 16GB of RAM you ensure yourself for all games that exist now and for those in the future (let’s say for 5 years).

Question 4 : What is Dual Channel RAM?

Dual channel RAM is when you put 2 RAM modules of the same brand and same frequency in 2 slots designed for dual channel architecture.

These RAMs then work together to transfer data at a faster pace (than single channel).

Note: the system (the motherboard mainly) must support this technology in order to reap the benefits of it. Otherwise it is like 2 normal RAMs in 2 different slots.

Let’s see a video related to dual memory channel.

Dual Channel VS Single Channel Video

Of course there is a triple and quad memory channel architecture (at least that’s what I’ve seen in desktop computers).

If you put a single RAM module in a dual channel memory slot, there is no problem.

Usually in the motherboard there are color indicators (and maybe textual indicators) that state the dual or more memory channel architecture.

Question 5 : How RAM frequency affects perfomance?

Long story short, the difference in speed isn’t so dramatic so unless you want to show off to somebody or have lots of money to spend, there is no need to buy the RAM with the highest frequency.

And there is the thing with the motherboard and the CPU. You must check what frequencies are compatible for your motherboard and CPU (if you are building a desktop yourself).

RAM Frequency YouTube Video

Well, from the 2133 Hz to the 3000Hz there is a less than 10% increase in FPS. But the price is not only 10% more so choose accordingly.

Question 6: Can I put one DDR3 and one DDR4 RAM Module?

No, the motherboard comes with support with either DDR3 or DDR4.

If you are buying a new laptop or desktop, buy DDR4 (DDR3 is old – I have DDR3 and i bought my desktop in 2010).

Question 7: Is there any need to get more then 16GB of RAM in 2019?

The only reason you might need more than 16GB of RAM in 2019 is if you are using designer programs which can fill your RAM pretty fast.

If you have a desktop with many RAM slots, it will be easy to upgrade to more than 16GB. For laptops which usually have 2 slots, it will be harder, especially if you have enabled the dual-channel architecture (if that feature exists for your laptop).

If you laptop doesn’t have dual-channel architecture, you simple take one module out and put another with higher memory capacity.

If you have dual-channel architecture and you have it enabled, you must take 2 RAMs of the same make and with higher capacity and insert them in your laptop.

Before you do that, check if that laptop supports the extra RAM capacity. Also make sure you check the RAM frequencies that the laptop supports.

The RAM frequencies scenario applies to desktops as well. Desktops usually support at least 32GB of RAM.

Question 8: Is it optimal to use 100% of RAM all the time?

No it’s not. It’s actually the opposite. When you are reaching about 90% or more of your RAM capacity, the operating system will start preparing your RAM to be saved on disk, which will bend your system to its knees.

So keep your RAM usage under 90% and that will keep you safe from bottlenecks that might occur because of the RAM.

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming – Part 2: Give me a break!

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming - Chocolate Drink

In this part, we drink our drinks of choice and take a break to relax and listen to some music. Feel free to join or you can continue to the next part.

At least drink some water if you decide to skip!.

Lyrics Here!

It goes 1st paragraph, 2nd paragraph (first 2 lines), 3rd paragraph (last 2 lines), 4th, 7th, 8th (on the English tab).

Cool Intro, Cool Anime. It started airing earlier than One Piece.

Next let’s drink some KPop haha!

Lyrics Here!

Next is the elf Lindsey Stirling !

It isn’t Christmas but this song is very relaxing!.

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming – Part 3: Popular Game Requirements

Minecraft

Minimum RAM required is 4GB.

Recommended RAM is 8GB.

https://help.mojang.com/customer/en/portal/articles/325948-minecraft-java-edition-system-requirements

Fortnite

Minimum RAM required is 4GB.

Recommended RAM is 8GB.

https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/fortnite/home

Grand Theft Auto V

Minimum RAM required is 4GB.

Recommended RAM is 8GB.

https://www.rockstargames.com/V/info/pc/specs

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Minimum RAM required is 6GB.

Recommended RAM is 8GB.

https://store.ubi.com/us/tom-clancys-rainbow-six-siege/575ffdbaa3be1633568b4ef6.html

Overwatch

Minimum RAM required is 4GB.

Recommended RAM is 6GB.

https://eu.shop.battle.net/en-gb/product/overwatch?blzcmp=ow_buy_header

League of Legends

Minimum RAM required is 2GB.

Recommended RAM is 4GB.

https://support.riotgames.com/hc/en-us/articles/201752654-Minimum-and-Recommended-System-Requirements#section-windows

Rocket League

Minimum RAM required is 2GB.

Recommended RAM is 4GB.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/252950/Rocket_League/

PubG

Minimum RAM required is 8GB.

Recommended RAM is 16GB.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/578080/PLAYERUNKNOWNS_BATTLEGROUNDS/

CS:GO

Minimum RAM required is 2GB.

Steam Store doesn’t say about recommended requirements but it is safe to assume that it is 4GB RAM.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/730/CounterStrike_Global_Offensive/

Call Of Duty: Black Ops II

Minimum RAM required is 2GB.

Recommended RAM isn’t mentioned. With 4GB there won’t be any problems.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/202970/Call_of_Duty_Black_Ops_II/

Part 3 Summary

As you can see, most of the games require 8GB, with the exception of PubG. Most VR games require high amounts of RAM. For example, Doom VFR needs 16GB of RAM for the recommended settings.

Rec Room, Archangel HellFire, Fallout 4 VR, L.A Noire: The VR Case Files all require 16GB of RAM for the recommended gameplay.

EVE: Valkyrie requires 12GB of RAM.

How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming – Conclusion

Having enough RAM for games is a must as insufficient memory will ruin your games, maybe you will not be able to play them at all.

Be careful not to be over 90% of your memory usage when playing a game else you might experience lag spikes as the operating system “is on the watch” for the emergency measures! (swapping).

You can check your memory usage each moment with the Task Manager.

As a rule of thumb, you can rest assured that with 16GB you can game whatever you want. Of course the perfomance of the game doesn’t depend solely on the RAM, but if your game underperforms with 16GB of RAM installed, RAM won’t be the cause of your problem.

Probably will be the GPU (1st) and the CPU (2nd).

Hope you found this article useful. Feel free to comment about anything! (about break part too but include something relevant to RAM so you hit 2 birds with 1 stone!).


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18 thoughts on “How Much RAM Is Needed For Gaming?”

  1. I really dint know how the RAM functions and what is really involved in the process. Quite alot needs to be considered when wanting to get that extra space or a new desktop or laptop and put into consideration what you have alluded to above.
    Thanks for information, have surely gotten something.

  2. Great information there.

    Given how the nature of computing and gaming is always changing and requiring more RAM and other parts with each generation, this info will help a lot of people.

    Some people do find choosing the correct RAM a little tricky and I thank you for highlighting that speed vs. price differences.

    Cheers,
    Michael.

  3. This is quite informative regarding computer space and memory. I’ve always wondered why some games simply refuse to install or even play. 

    I believe most people don’t really consider RAM space when buying their computers, we mainly go for price. Now I know what to look for.

    Thank you for taking your time to give us this information.

    1. I’m glad you found this article informative. RAM is one aspect that affects your gaming perfomance. First is GPU, then CPU, then RAM.

      If you are buying a new desktop or laptop (or if you are building yourself a desktop), with 16GB RAM you will be just fine.

      Also make sure RAM is DDR4 because I have seen some premade desktops with DDR3. DDR3 might be relevant in smartphones and other types of electronics, but not for desktops, laptops.

      Thanks for dropping by and have a nice day.

  4. ACK!!!  I feel so inadequate now!  LOL  Actually, its my RAM that’s inadequate.  Fortunately I do not play any of the games listed that are complete RAM hogs but I can see how even on a non-gaming PC why RAM is important and why my computer is so slow when I have multiple windows up (which I usually do) and multiple browsers as well.

    Thank you for such a will written, comprehensive article.  Since the top games require 16 GB of RAM, I am surprised that you are saying that is enough for those die hard gamers.  With the speed in which new games are being developed, are you sure that  16 GM will be enough for 5 years?  

    1. Hello there. I have a non gaming laptop that has 2GB of RAM. Windows consumes 1GB and if I open too many browser tabs there will be a moment when the responsesiveness will drop noticeably. It’s the memory swapping “emergency measures!”.

      Well if you play these games that require 16GB of RAM, then in 5 years time these kind of games may require more RAM. It’s very easy to buy and install RAM nowadays even for laptops so the only thing you need to check (for laptops) is that it supports more than 16GB of RAM.

      For desktops they support at least 32GB of RAM and if you have free slots in your motherboard, you can easily install more memory modules without too much trouble.

      Well I think it’s more budget friendly to buy now something with 16GB and upgrade it later to more RAM than buy something way more expensive with say 24 or 32GB of RAM.

      The RAM isn’t the main thing that one must worry if he or she decides to play these heavy games. The Graphics Card (1st) and the CPU(2nd) are more important as their inadequacy to run your game cannot be helped by the RAM.

      Your concern about the RAM is very useful and I hope I gave you a satisfying answer. Keep your RAM out of trouble and have a nice day!

  5. I think you need to include more factors into your post here.  RAM, as you know, isn’t the only factor, especially for gaming.  In my opinion, it’s more likely that your graphics card is going to be the limiting factor.  Most games can run pretty well as is on an 8 GB RAM computer, but most computers with 8 GB RAM have varying graphics cards.  The ones with the best graphics cards can run your games with relative ease at 60+ FPS while the older graphics cards run with a lot of volatility between 20-45 FPS, even on games that you wouldn’t think would need great graphics cards, like Minecraft.

    16 GB is quite a bit of RAM and I’d suggest looking into the other factors before buying more RAM.

    1. Hello Andrew. I agree that I need to make it more clear that the RAM isn’t the deciding factor of a computer playing a game or not. But since the focus of this post was about the RAM, I gave more attention to it.

      The RAM is the next deciding factor after (1st) the Graphics Card and (2nd) the CPU. I think I will include some more sections that will highlight this more. Thanks for your comment – it has been very helpful. Have a nice day!

  6. Seriously, this post enlightened me. I was of the school of misconception that performance of games on PC is solely dependent on the RAM. Maybe because I was not too enlightened on the concept of RAM generally. Since it’s always a major requirements when checking specs for games, I thought its the most important criterion. Thankfully, I have not bought PC yet based solely on RAM. 

    1. Hello Darrick. RAM these days is the least of your worries for a gaming desktop or laptop. But since this post was about RAM and gaming, it had to be the focus. With 16GB of RAM you won’t have any problems. You just need to make sure if you are buying a laptop, that the laptop RAM can be expanded beyond 16GB.

      Thanks to your feedback, I’m thinking of adding more content making crystal clear what role in the importance of gaming RAM has.

      Thanks for your useful comment. Have a nice day.

  7. Very well written article. I like your examples and analogies. In fact I plan to use one or 2 in some computer classes for beginners I teach. The one with the fanmail certainly comes to mind to explain the concept to elderly students who have a hard time grasping technology but are very familiar with written letters.

    What I like the most is how you explain why more ram does not always mean a faster computer. I usually stick to a simplistic ‘weakest link in the chain’ theory and given the audience it is not a bad way to go. But you certainly gave me some new ideas my friend. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

    1. Hello Dave, I’m glad you found this article helpful. I’m trying to explain things as simple as possible. I am a firm believer that if you understand something you can explain it in simple terms.

      I have parents and uncles who are new with technology so I always try to keep it simple. It’s really fun being simple. No use being a smartass. Your RAM is like your closet. If it has room to fit your clothes, you don’t need anything to take out to get new clothes in (and consume time swapping clothes in and out).

      The “weakest link in the chain” theory sounds good and really applicable for this case. Of course you must have based this theory based on your audience – which you know best.

      Thanks for stopping by as your comment was very useful. Have a nice day.

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