Every gaming configuration should have at least 8 GB of RAM, with 16 GB being a more future-proof variant. Anything beyond 16 GB is simply an overkill unless you plan on using the PC for more demanding tasks such as video editing or 3D modeling.
Putting together a gaming rig that just “has it all” can be difficult, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. After all, there is a lot information to consider when it comes to balancing all the components out. One question, however, tends to be more problematic than the others…
How much RAM do you need for gaming today?
Now, the answer to this question should be fairly straightforward, but it isn’t. Why? Simply because there is a lot of misinformation cruising around when it comes to just how much RAM modern games require.
A decade ago, picking the right RAM brand, capacity, speed, type, and configuration was more problematic than it is today. Luckily, we now have it much easier.
What Role Does RAM Play in Games?
When a game is running, all the relevant data that your PC might need to access in order to ensure that the game runs properly and without hiccup is stored in the RAM memory.
As mentioned above, picking your RAM was much trickier in the past because different games had vastly different requirements in this regard. After all, gaming was not mainstream yet, games had vastly different requirements and not everyone knew what a real “gaming PC” was back then.
But today, the situation is different. 64-bit operating systems that support far more RAM than the previously used 32-bit ones have become the norm. 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 will hit anytime soon.
That said, every computer can easily have more RAM than it needs.
What RAM Capacities Are Common?
For the most part, today’s home computers have either 4, 8 or 16 GB of RAM.
- 4 GB is found in regular desktops and office computers or those still running a 32-bit OS. It is mostly able to run modern games well enough, but it is unlikely to hold up for much longer.
- 8 GB is the minimum for any serious gaming PC. With 8 GB of RAM, your PC will be running all but the most demanding games without any problem. Even when a certain game might prove too much, a performance drop will hardly be noticeable.
- 16 GB is the optimal amount of RAM for gaming today. You will never run out of RAM no matter what game you play, provided that your computer isn’t running any memory-heavy programs in the background. What’s more, going with 16 GB makes your PC ready for 4K gaming as well.
However, 16 GB is far from the limit. Gaming motherboards can easily support 32 GB or even 64 GB of RAM, while some can even go to an extreme 128 GB.
Are these humongous amounts of RAM necessary?
In short, no.
An argument for getting 32 GB of RAM for a gaming PC is that it makes the configuration more future-proof. This argument falls into the water very quickly once you realize that DDR4 memory will be outdated long before games require that kind of RAM, even with 4K gaming in the equation.
So, who are 32+ GB RAM setups for?
They are not for gamers, but for professionals who do a lot of video editing, 3D modeling or any other sort of work that demands high amounts of RAM. If you’re not among those people, then investing in anything more than 16 GB is, put simply, a waste of money.
How Much Should I Get?
The next question you’ll want to ask yourself is: “should I get 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM?”
Undoubtedly, 16 GB is the safer way to go right now. It is more future-proof and it will have your needs covered for the entirety of the PCs life-span.
If you are unsure or are on a tight budget, 8 GB is a more viable choice. Not only is it an excellent way to cut costs, but it will be more than enough to suit the need of any gamer for the foreseeable future.
Single Module vs Multiple Modules
Nearly every motherboard supports dual-channel memory, while certain high-end ones can even support quad-channel.
Will dual-channel give you a performance boost? Yes, but not one that is likely to be noticeable in games.
The main advantage of having multiple RAM modules is that they are easier and cheaper to replace in case of failure. If you have a single 16 GB module and it malfunctions, your PC will be out of commission until you can replace it. If you have two 8 GB modules and one fails, you will still be able to use your PC and the new 8 GB module will naturally be cheaper than a new 16 GB one.
The Final Word
If you have decided on which RAM setup is the best for you, we recommend checking out our guide on the best RAM for gaming currently available! Hopefully, it will help you find the exact product that matches your requirements.