Unlike a processor or faster graphics, more memory (also known as RAM) will not always speed up your games. If you have enough RAM, adding more will not make a difference. So, how much RAM do you need for modern PC games, anyway?
This is a crucial question of whether you buy a gaming computer, buying RAM while building your own PC, or just thinking about upgrading your current computer.
It’s All About Capacity, Not Speed
A faster graphics card will improve graphics performance and enable you to choose higher resolutions and graphics settings. A faster processor will help more CPU bound games like Civilization V and other real-time games, the strategy that need to run a large number of calculations in the background rather than simply rendering graphics. An SSD will give you faster loading times of a mechanical hard drive.
But the RAM is different. Yes, DDR4 RAM faster than DDR3 RAM, but the speed difference for PC games is minor. You mainly just need to worry about the amount of RAM you have, not how fast it is. Games, your operating system and programs you use a memory footprint system. You need enough RAM for the programs you run on your computer can store all their data in RAM without changing it out on your hard drive, which will slow things down. Thus, the amount of RAM you need depends entirely on the programs you run on your computer and how eager they are RAM.
On a computer that just needs basic office programs a Web browser, and even 4 GB may be sufficient, depending on the programs you are running. It is at the limit, but very doable. On a computer that stores massive databases, virtual machines, and other huge things in memory, even 32GB of RAM may not be sufficient.
Let’s Look at Some Games
Many games these days are multi-platform and designed for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and PC. Both the PS4 and Xbox One include 8GB of RAM. Thus it is not surprising that many games require 6GB to 8GB of RAM on PC, too.
It’s all about the games you want to play. Having the very minimum amount of RAM can make the game playable, but
It’s all about the games you want to play and how much you want performance. A game may recommend more RAM than it requires, and this can result in smoother performance. In general, having more RAM does not necessarily improve your graphics settings-games with large textures need of video RAM (VRAM) on the graphics hardware than the system RAM.
Let’s look at some of the major demanding games of 2015 and early 2016. These details come from the Steam store page of each game, unless otherwise noted.
- Grand Theft Auto V: 4GB minimum, 8GB recommended
- Dying Light: 4GB minimum, 8GB recommended
- Fallout 4: 8GB minimum and recommended
- The Witcher 3: 6GB minimum, 8GB recommended
- Rise of the Tomb Raider: 6GB minimum, 8GB recommended
- Batman: Arkham Knight: 6GB minimum, 8GB recommended, 12GB required for smooth gameplay on Windows 10 (source)
- The Division: 6GB minimum, 8GB recommended
- Far Cry Primal: 4GB minimum, 8GB recommended
- Quantum Break: 8GB minimum, 16GB recommended (source)
- Hitman: 8GB minimum and recommended
The figures are quite clear. Modern PC games generally want at least 8GB of memory. Yes, some games require less but 8GB is more and more a standard minimum.
Most PC games do not even require 8GB, but there are two exceptions here. Batman: Arkham Knight officially recommends 8GB. Developers now have at least 12GB is needed, but only on Windows 10. Batman: Arkham Knight the PC port was a complete disaster, so that explains the 12GB requirement is it right mystifyingly bad and needs the extra RAM compensate inefficient coding.
Quantum Break next Microsoft sets a new standard in recommending 16GB of RAM for “ultra” settings graphics. It is an outlier, but probably will not be the only one in the future.
You Need at Least 8GB of RAM for Modern Games
8GB of RAM is likely to agree, for now. He will meet the minimum requirements for each game on each game and on the horizon, except Batman: Arkham Knight, but that’s just a bad port.
There is a good argument for more RAM, of course. If you are interested in high-end gaming and push your PC to the absolute limit, it worth switching to 16GB of RAM. Quantum Pause will certainly not be the last game to recommend that the amount of memory. But not everyone needs 16 GB of RAM, as everyone does the fastest graphics card, it’s all about your budget and needs.
It is easy to upgrade your RAM later, too. You do not have to get rid of your existing RAM and replace it. You just have to buy a new stick or two of RAM and plug it into the free RAM slots on your motherboard, so there is no need to “future proof” if 8GB works well for games you want to play now.
Keep in mind that the RAM is not too expensive, well the difference between the purchase of 8 GB of RAM and 16 GB of RAM is only about $ 40. So if you are building a high-end platform, it is relatively easy to include 16GB.
Using Onboard Graphics? You’ll Need More RAM
The advice above applies to computers with discrete NVIDIA or AMD. If your computer has onboard graphics, it is a little different. If you get a PC for gaming, you’ll probably want to avoid the onboard graphics as they are much slower. But if you’re stuck with them, you’ll probably want more RAM.
discrete graphics cards have their own video RAM (VRAM) on the cards themselves. It is used for textures, and is separated from the normal RAM your computer. onboard graphics, on the other hand, reserve a portion of your system RAM instead of providing its own RAM. This means that the speed of the RAM can really make a difference in performance, and you’ll probably need more of it.
This article Intel indicates that the maximum amount of RAM Intel graphics may reserve is about 1.8 GB. So if you plan to play modern PC games with integrated graphics, you may actually need more than 8GB memory system. But these high-end games will probably not officially support integrated graphics, anyway. You’re better off just getting a discrete graphics card.
There is no one size fits all answer, of course. If you want to run a bunch of virtual machines while playing a game with high graphics settings, you will definitely need more than 16 GB of RAM. But if the game is the most challenging thing you do on your computer, 8 GB is the minimum and there is no reason to go beyond 16GB.