When it comes to putting together a good gaming PC, how much RAM you’re running is extremely important. In 2020, the standards have changed a lot compared to previous years and you might actually need more RAM than you think.
In this post, we’re going to break down RAM requirements based on the newest games (at the time of writing) to determine how much RAM you really need. We’re also going to take a look at some comparative benchmarks and eventually come to a final conclusion.
If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment section!
How Much RAM is Enough?
This isn’t going to be one of those posts where you have to read 50 filler paragraphs before we finally get to the point. Nope, quite the opposite. We’re going to start by telling you exactly how much RAM you need and why.
If you want to learn how we came to these conclusions, feel free to keep reading afterward.
Long story short, 16GB is the magic number. Running 16GB of RAM will ensure that you’re not being limited by a lack of system memory while playing the most demanding and newest games. However, if you’re going to be playing less demanding or older games, 8-12GB would definitely suffice.
Running 16GB of RAM will also allow you greater room for multitasking. For instance, if you wanted to run Google Chrome in the background while gaming, it can easily eat 2-3GB+ of RAM on its own. Or if you’re running a recording software like OBS, it can eat up to 4GB of RAM on its own. Steam can even use about 600MB of RAM by itself.
To put it all into perspective, if you’re running a game that’s using 6GB of RAM and you also have Google Chrome open, you could be using up to 9GB of RAM just between those 2 apps. But, those aren’t the only apps that would be using your RAM, up to 2GB could be used just by your system. As you can see, RAM usage can pile up pretty fast and that’s why you should consider running at least 16GB.
But, there’s a point where buying more RAM is a waste of your money. Adding more RAM doesn’t directly translate into adding more performance. You only need what you’re going to use and anything beyond that is effectively pointless.To put it bluntly, running more than 32GB of RAM in a dedicated gaming PC would be a huge waste for most people.
Typical Game Requirements
There are a lot of games out there and they all have varying requirements. One might require 4GB of RAM whereas another might require 12GB of RAM. It all depends on how demanding that particular game is.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the minimum and recommended RAM requirements from some of the newest and most popular games today (in no particular order).
- Red Dead Redemption 2 – Minimum: 8GB | Recommended: 12GB
- Call of Duty: Warzone – Minimum: 8GB | Recommended: 12GB
- Apex Legends – Minimum: 6GB | Recommended: 8GB
- Death Stranding – Minimum: 8GB | Recommended: 8GB
- Rainbow Six: Siege – Minimum: 6GB | Recommended: 8GB
- Fortnite – Minimum: 4GB | Recommended: 8GB
- Final Fantasy XV – Minimum: 8GB | Recommended: 16GB
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – Minimum: 2GB
As you can see, 8GB shows up a lot as a recommended and even a minimum requirement. That’s telling you that running less than 8GB of RAM probably wouldn’t be ideal if you’re planning on playing newer games.
I put Final Fantasy XV on the list as it’s an outlier by recommending 16GB of RAM, this is something that’ll quickly become more common in the near future. CS:GO is on the list for a similar reason, but showcasing how a currently popular game can require very little RAM – CS:GO only has a minimum requirement and no recommendation as it’ll run on basically anything.
When it all comes back around, 16GB is currently the best amount of RAM to run in a gaming PC. Running less might see you using all of your RAM up, and running more might just waste your money.
Don’t forget that the speed of your RAM also impacts its performance and ultimately your PC’s performance. It often pays to spend a couple dollars more to buy faster RAM if your motherboard can support it. Some CPUs respond better to faster RAM as well, for instance AMD’s Ryzen CPUs like to be paired with at least 2666MHz RAM, but the faster the better. Similarly, some games like faster RAM as well.
As long as you’re running no less than 8GB of RAM, you’re going to be able to play most games out today without a problem. However, if you notice your game stuttering and lagging, you might want to check if you’re not using all of your available RAM. If you are, it might be time to upgrade!