Short Bytes: RAM is one of the most important components which plays a crucial role when we have to run heavy games and software on a computer. Thus, the comparison 4GB Vs 8GB Vs 12GB Vs 16GB RAM for gaming is required to see if it is really that much important to give RAM a center stage while deciding specs for a gaming rig? And to answer the question, How much RAM do you need for gaming?For the ones, who don’t have the latest gaming rigs or those who want a budget PC to satisfy their needs, a common question is the amount of RAM required. Whether it should be 4GB, 8GB, 12GB, 16GB, or 32GB if you’re extra ambitious about a career in e-sports.
How much RAM should be packed inside your computer so that it could deliver at least above average gaming performance rather than embarrass you with laggy frames, low bitrates, and crashes during gameplay?
Before arriving at a conclusion about what would be the right amount of RAM required for games we should have an idea about the RAM and its working. It would sound childish to some readers, but a small recap will refresh your brain cells.
Take an example of an everyday PC with 2 GB of RAM, it would be enough to just keep the computer up and running with basic operations like using the internet, watching movies and some photo editing using paint.
Let’s say, you want to play a high bitrate video, or an x265 encoded video then you’ll have to add some more RAM, at least, bump it up to 4GB. In the current scenario, a machine needs a 4GB memory chip to run Windows 10 efficiently, and not to mention, memory drinking apps like Google Chrome.
The amount of RAM can be considered as proportional to how stuffy application you are using. The case is similar for games, 4GB will be sufficient enough for average chess games and even some old heavy games at low settings, given your computer has a dedicated GPU.
How Much RAM Do You Need For Gaming — 4GB Vs 8GB Vs 12GB Vs 16GB RAM
RAM requirements for high-end games like Quantum Break and Deus Ex – Mankind Divided, specifying 16GB as recommended, will decrease the weight of the paper in your pocket. The price difference is not much visible between 8 GB and 4 GB RAM chips, but for the larger 16 GB RAM, you’ll have to shell out some extra bucks.
For casual gamers, 4GB or 6GB would also work fine giving you a satisfaction that your PC can play the latest games, provided, you have a good CPU and a GPU. You’ll be able to smash the pedestrians off the road in low-quality GTA5 or play with axes, spears, and clubs in Far Cry Primal set in 10,000BC.
Multitasking with Fallout 4, Adobe Premier CC, and some browser tabs open in the background would definitely leave your PC to suffocate for a few seconds or minutes even if it has an 8GB RAM under the hood.
Recommended: 4GB, 8GB Or 16GB; How Much RAM Do You Need?
Now, another question that comes to our mind is the speediness of the RAM? Definitely, the new DDR4 is faster than the old DDR3, and DDR5 may be a common sight in near future. Clearly, speed has its advantages but it doesn’t contribute much difference when it comes to delivering performance, and I am talking about games here. This is because a different type of memory, known as video RAM or GDDR is used for the games. Tests conducted by AnandTech in the past conclude that there is no considerable difference between DDR3 and DDR4. However, using DDR4 with integrated GPU would be a better option.
What about the graphics memory for gaming?
This type of memory – used to process graphic elements in the games – comes in discrete graphics cards like those from Nvidia and AMD. These power hungry graphics cards do deliver a stunning level of detail and high FPS, but they also generate a lot of heat and squeeze your battery (if you’re using a laptop) while doing so.
For integrated graphics cards, some of your system RAM is utilized as video memory, but it isn’t able to deliver the level of performance as by the GDDR installed in discrete graphics cards. In this case, the speed of your RAM will be a definite consideration.
So, that was the case for graphic intensive games. For games involving a lot of calculations, the RAM chips don’t have many parts to play as all the math workout is done by the processor.
The size of the RAM won’t bother you much if it satisfies the space requirements of the apps you’re using simultaneously. The basic use of Random Access Memory is to act as a temporary storage for your programs that are being executed by your computer. This is because RAMs are faster than your traditional rotating hard drives or even the Solid State Drives. If an 8GB RAM chip is able to occupy all of your running programs, then the higher 16GB will only give you a slight performance increase.
If an 8GB RAM chip is able to occupy all of your running programs then the higher 16GB (same type) will only benefit you in terms of adding running more programs side by side.
So, do I need just 8GB RAM to play most games?
In the past, we wrote about the comparative tests conducted by TechSpot to find the difference between the 4GB, 8GB, 16GB RAM chips in similar performance environments and much difference was not observed in the case of 8GB and 16GB chips.
However, the 4GB lagged behind, as expected. The 8GB and the 16GB chips had a neck to neck combat, but one could easily conclude that the 8GB is the best of both worlds in terms of price and performance. It would be able to do justice with the games being rolled out currently and provide you a satisfactory gaming experience. But the real thing lies in the graphics hardware, a capable GPU can easily reduce your machine’s dependency on the RAM.
If we have to answer the question about 8GB RAM vs 16GB RAM for gaming, it would be plenty if not excess to have a 16GB chip. We have started to see more games with 16GB as recommended amount of RAM. You can consider a 16GB RAM if you’re regular at multitasking with games or you want to stay on the safe side for the next few years until it becomes the bare minimum.
Talking about the 32GB RAM, it would be an overstatement to suggest that much amount of memory for gaming in 2017.
Do I need 12GB RAM for gaming?
Now, there is one chip size which falls in the middle and preferred by many people, 12GB. Obviously, there are games like Battlefront which need 12GB memory on your machine. So, you might consider that much amount of RAM if you’re into such titles. And this would help you a slight multitasking edge over the 8GB chip.
How to check if your PC can play a particular game or not?
There answer to how much RAM do you really need for gaming can be a single shot solution. But, make sure that next time when you’re planning for a RAM upgrade or buying a new PC, don’t just add an excess amount of RAM as it won’t do any miracles. For a reference, you can visit System Requirements Lab. Their utility scans your computer’s hardware to check if your machine is capable of running a particular gaming title or not.
This post was first published on March 24, 2016.