“How much RAM should I put in my gaming PC?”
It is probably the first question that comes into your mind whenever building a new PC.
But it’s not as easy to answer since RAMs come in various sizes ranging from 4 GB to 128 GB.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it is where all of your data that’s being currently processed is stored. It’s different from other storage options, such as Hard Drives, because the information is stored here only temporarily and will delete when you shut down the system.
All of your computer data is allocated in HDDs/SSDs. But since the data retrieval in these devices cannot match your CPU’s processing speed, the RAM is used as a bridge between these two components.
Since RAM stores data randomly instead of sequentially, it allows the PC to perform its desired operations faster.
In gaming, RAM is important because it stores all the data a game requires to run. And if you have less RAM than the minimum requirement for that game, the framerates will lag, and your overall experience will be affected.
But how much RAM size is enough for 2021?
Well, it depends on the games and programs you run on your machine. Below we will discuss each popular RAM size and the stuff that size allows you to do.
Different RAM Sizes For Gaming
- 4 GB: There was a time when 4 GB was enough to run most PC games. But that time is long gone. Nowadays, this small RAM size can help you do nothing except playing older and lighter games, browsing the web, or managing word documents.
- 8 GB: 8 GB is the minimum RAM size a gaming PC should have these days. Yes, it may not work for every game, but will be enough for the likes of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Far Cry 5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and even the Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
- 16 GB: In our opinion, 16 GB is the perfect RAM size for 5800X and other high-end processors. It will not only allow you to play the titles mentioned above, but also the more demanding ones such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077, Control, and Doom Eternal. It will ensure you play every AAA title currently available, smoothly – provided that you don’t run RAM-heavy program such as Google Chrome in the background.
- 32 GB: We don’t recommend 32 GB RAM for only gaming because there’s no game as of now that requires 32 GB RAM to run. But still, there can be few scenarios such as future-proofing, multi-tasking while you’re playing games, or streaming your gaming sessions, where this extra RAM can help the things go smoothly.
- 64 GB: The same goes for 64 GB RAM. Please do not go for it unless you want your gaming PC to be your workstation as well, and your programs require this much memory.
RAM vs VRAM
Although it’s quite clear, your PC’s system RAM is different from the VRAM (video RAM) of your GPU. The VRAM is dedicated for only sending graphics to your monitor, while the system RAM oversees all the other tasks.
Does RAM Size Impact Gaming
If your RAM size passes the recommended criteria for a particular game, having more RAM would barely improve the performance level. GTA V has 8 GB recommended RAM size. But the performance won’t change if you play with a 32 GB RAM, for example.
Single vs Multiple RAM Modules
Since motherboards come with multiple DIMM slots these days, many people opt for multiple modules (2×8 GB) instead of a single one of the same capacity (1×16 GB).
Although multiple RAM modules only provide a minor improvement bump (varies from game to game) against a single RAM stick of that type and size, their main advantage is the reliability. You don’t lose all of your money if one of your modules breaks or fails.
If you intend to use multiple RAM sticks, make sure to use two/four sticks of the same brand, same size, and same speed. Otherwise, you may run into some compatibility issues.