How Much RAM Do You Need For Gaming – 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB?

With a lot of misinformation on the internet and even with the game creators exaggerating when it comes to system requirements, I thought it would be a good idea to research and test how much RAM do you need for gaming these days.

If you have been keeping up with the newest games requirements, you’ve probably noticed that some of them state you need to have 16GB of RAM for optimal gameplay. Well, while that may be the case for some of them, I found out some of the newest and most demanding games are perfectly playable with 8GB of RAM at 4k resolution with enabled ray tracing.

Before we clarify whether you actually need 16GB RAM, lets first discuss other options that may or may not be viable to you.

4GB & 32GB of RAM – Too Little vs Too Much?

While 4GB of RAM is considered as too little in the current gaming world, it does, in fact, make much more sense than 32GB. You probably think Ive gone crazy but let me explain it to you. If we are talking only gaming purposes, with 4GB RAM you can still run a lot of games with exception of the newer ones, of course. But should you decide to upgrade to 8GB or 16GB at any time, you can easily do so.

However, if you decide to spend hundreds of dollars on a 32GB RAM kit, not only will you never be able to use that much RAM for gaming, but more importantly you will waste a lot of money.

See, people think that buying extra RAM will help them future proof their system, but the thing they don’t understand is that the DDR4 will be long gone and replaced by newer technology before they will be able to use 32GB of RAM for any kind of game in the near future.

Anything above 32GB is mainly suited for professionals like editors, graphics and such. So unless you are planning on editing videos, working with 3D graphics or doing other memory hungry activities, stay away from anything above 16GB and save your money!

Related article: How To Speed Up Your PC For Free – Faster PC in 30 Minutes

8GB or 16GB – Which is better?

Now that we got other options out of the way lets focus on the ones that make the most sense for nowadays gaming requirements – the 8GB and 16GB. Like I mentioned before, some of the newest games claim you need 16GB RAM for optimal gameplay. But is that really the truth?

To find out how much RAM do you actually need for gaming, we equipped our rig with the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super graphics card and the Intel Core i9-9900K CPU and tested some of the newest, most demanding games such as Metro:Exodus, Far Cry V, Hitman 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, to name a few.

If you are wondering how much can the difference between 8GB and 16GB affect your FPS, the answer is very little. We are talking around 0-3% FPS increase with 16GB, which is neglectable. So if you were wondering whether adding an extra 8GB of RAM has a significant impact on your gaming rig performance, it does not.

If you’re looking for a performance or an FPS boost, rather consider upgrading your graphics card. You can check out our list of the best graphics cards.

Regarding the smoothness of the gameplay, I must say all the games run perfectly fine with 8GB when there was nothing running in the background. However, opening an OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and a handful of chrome tabs caused the 8GB RAM to fill up rather quickly and that was the end of my smooth gameplay.

As for the 16GB of RAM it was a different story. While playing the Metro:Exodus, currently one of the most demanding games out there, with tens of Chrome tabs open and OBS running in the background, I have had no issues in the game or alt tabbing and multi-tasking.

With that being said, I am not saying it is necessary to buy the extra RAM, you will be just fine with 8GB. However, if your budget allows for it, it is a reasonable upgrade that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Check out this youtube video for a good  side by side comparison.

Final Verdict

Like most things, it all comes down to what games do you plan on playing. Like I said before if you play older games you will be fine even with 4GB.

However, to play the newest AAA titles you will need to invest in extra RAM to enjoy a smooth gaming experience. I personally think 8GB is a good spot with current gaming requirements and no game should change that in the near future, especially if you don’t mind dialing the settings a bit back in some cases.

Although, if you plan on for example streaming your games online or you are the type of person to do multiple things simultaneously such as internet browsing, gaming on maxed out settings, watching videos etc., then I strongly suggest you to pick up a 16GB RAM kit for more convenience.

That being said, 16GB is the highest I would ever recommend to anyone to go in the current time, as a demanding gamer and a casual PC user or a streamer.

There you go, I hope this has been helpful to you and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Cheers!

Richard

About Richard Gamin 137 Articles
My name's Richard and over the years, I have personally built many PCs for myself and my friends. I love gaming, programming, graphics designing and basically anything that has to do with computers and technology. If you ever need a hand with anything, feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out.

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