In 2020, every gaming configuration should have at least 8 GB of RAM, though 16 GB would be preferable, as it’s the perfect middle ground at the moment.
Meanwhile, 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 just “has it all” can be difficult, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. 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 the question of how much RAM you need for gaming today.
And that is precisely the question we’ll be focusing on in this article.
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What Role Does RAM Play In Games?
When a game is running, all the relevant data that your PC might need to access to ensure that it 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 quite 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 will hit anytime soon.
That said, today, every PC can easily have much more RAM than it actually needs.
What RAM Capacities Are Common?
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 2020.
- 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 the 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 that your computer isn’t running any memory-intensive programs in the background.
- 32 GB is becoming increasingly more popular with 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 and 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 extra on more RAM.
The first reason why you might want to get 32 GB of RAM is future-proofing, but doing so might not be that good of an idea at the moment, as DDR5 is just around the corner, and while it likely 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 2020?
Well, as mentioned above, we’d say that 16 GB is quite enough for a gaming PC in 2020, as it will be quite enough for most games.
Meanwhile, if you’re dealing with a limited budget and are cutting corners, 8 GB of RAM would still get the job done, though the performance often won’t be on quite the same level as with 16 GB of RAM, but that will largely depend on what 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 the PC as a workstation. However, for gaming in 2020, 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 get a significant performance boost.
However, there’s little reason not to go with a dual-channel configuration in 2020, as kits are often a bit cheaper, and having multiple RAM sticks means you’ll have an easier time replacing any that fail.
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.