In 2021, every gaming configuration should have at least 8 GB of RAM. However, 16 GB is the perfect middle ground at the moment, so that’s much preferable.
32 GB might be a good idea if you want to make your build more future-proof or use any RAM-intensive software. However, anything beyond that is simply overkilling as far as gaming is concerned.
Putting together a gaming rig that “has it all” can be difficult, especially for beginners. After all, there is a lot of information to consider when it comes to balancing all the components out.
One question that you might find conflicting answers on is: how much RAM do you need for gaming at the moment?
Well, that’s precisely the question we’ll be focusing on in this article.
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What Role Does RAM Play In Games?
All the relevant data that your PC might need to access to ensure that the game you’re playing runs smoothly and without any jarring hiccups is stored in the RAM.
Picking the right RAM configuration was much trickier in the past because different games had vastly different requirements in this respect. After all, gaming was not exactly mainstream yet, and not everyone knew what a real “gaming PC” was back then.
But today, the situation is much more straightforward. 64-bit operating systems have become the norm, and they support far more RAM than the previously used 32-bit ones. A 32-bit operating system can only read a maximum of 4 GB of RAM, and even though a 64-bit OS also has an upper limit, it is not one that we’ll be hitting any time soon.
The truth is every PC nowadays can easily have much more RAM than it actually needs.
What Are The Most Common RAM Capacities?
For the most part, today’s home computers have either 4, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, while some high-end PCs can have as much as 32, 64 or even 128 GB of RAM.
- 4 GB is found in regular desktops and office computers or those still running a 32-bit OS. It is, frankly, not enough for gaming in 2021.
- 8 GB is currently the minimum for any gaming PC. With 8 GB of RAM, your PC will be running most games without any problem, though some concessions in terms of graphics will probably be required when it comes to newer, more demanding titles.
- 16 GB is the optimal amount of RAM for gaming today. You will most likely never run out of RAM no matter what game you play, provided your computer isn’t running any memory-intensive programs in the background.
- 32 GB is becoming increasingly popular among some gamers, specifically those who are seeking to future-proof their build.
However, as mentioned above, 32 GB is far from being the limit for 64-bit operating systems or for modern CPUs and motherboards.
But are these staggering amounts of RAM necessary for gaming?
In short, no, but there are still some who may want to spend some extra money on more RAM. Why?
The first reason why you might want to get 32 GB of RAM is for future-proofing purposes. However, doing so might not be that good of an idea at the moment, as DDR5 is just around the corner; basically, while it probably won’t be the go-to solution for gaming rigs at first, it should still be kept in mind if we’re talking future-proofing.
Moreover, users who also want their PC to double as a workstation might need more RAM, as certain professional software can be very RAM-intensive.
How Much RAM Should I Get?
Now, the titular question remains: how much RAM should you get in 2021?
Well, as mentioned above, we’d say that 16 GB is quite enough for a gaming PC in 2021, as most games won’t demand more than that.
Meanwhile, if you have a limited budget and are cutting corners, 8 GB of RAM would still get the job done. But keep in mind that the performance won’t be on quite the same level as with 16 GB, but that will largely depend on what game you’re playing.
Finally, 32 GB of RAM might still be appealing for those who want to keep their PC future-proof and/or those who also use their PC as a workstation. However, for gaming in 2021, it’s generally overkill.
Single Module vs Multiple Modules
Nearly every motherboard supports dual-channel memory, while certain high-end ones can even support quad-channel.
So, will dual-channel memory give you a performance boost?
Well, the truth is, the benefits can vary from insignificant to very noticeable, depending on the game in question. With some, you won’t notice the difference, and with others, you could significantly increase your performance.
However, there’s little reason not to go with a dual-channel configuration in 2021, as kits are often a bit cheaper, and having multiple RAM sticks means you’ll have an easier time replacing any that might eventually fail.
The Final Word
If you have decided which RAM setup suits you best, we recommend checking out our guide on the best RAM for gaming currently available.
It will definitely help you find the exact RAM module that matches your requirements.