Over the years, computers have had to store more and more memory for daily computing, but gaming requires more RAM than other traditional tasks. A few years back, PC users could get away with 8GB for typical use – even with gaming. Today, running a single game with only 8GB could slow down your computer to a halt.
Why you Need More RAM as Opposed to Less
If you’re planning on using your computer for anything other than internet browsing or typing files, you may have too little RAM to complete a task. Unlike the computers’ hard drive, which stores files permanently until deleted, RAM is your computer’s short-term memory and acts as a working space that stores currently run applications.
If your existing RAM runs out, your computer will write out anything else to the page file on your SSD or hard drive. When this happens, slowdowns and hitching can occur, which will damage your gaming experience. If you’ve ever experienced lag while playing a one-player game, this is usually the reason why.
However, buying too much RAM can be a waste of money if you’re not going to use anywhere close to that amount. While building your own PC or purchasing a new phone – every dollar matters. Let’s look at what you may need to play the games you want.
8GB: Bare Minimum for App Gaming and Casual Play
Most PCs on idle use about 2.5 to 2.8 GBs of RAM. However, some PCs will use more if many programs boot up on your start screen. Regardless, you won’t have much more RAM to work with unless you want to use up to 4GBs for email/web or casual gaming.
Most phones have 8GB of RAM, which is more than enough to play live casino games on your iPhone or Android. Gaming on the PC will likely lag unless the game you’re playing is 15 years old or doesn’t have a lot of assets to run.
For those that want to stick to basic productivity and aren’t playing modern games on the PC, you can get away with 8 GB of RAM. Ensure you aren’t using too many applications at once, or you may exceed 6 GB of RAM, which is when webpages will slow down.
16GB: Ideal for Most Gaming and Editing
With 16GB of RAM, you’ll be able to play most modern games without any lagging. This amount also gives you enough space to do more than one thing at a time without having to close tabs, shut off opened applications, or pause videos playing in the background.
My own gaming PC has 32GB total, and even with that amount, I found it difficult to exceed 16GB of data at a time. The RAM cap for some high-end modern games ranges from 10 – 12GB, which means you should close your other applications before gaming for optimal performance.
If you’re a creative professional who edits videos consistently, it will be vital for you to get 16GB or more to render large files. However, if you’re only using your computer for gaming or minimal editing, 16GB is perfect for your needs.
32GB: Only Necessary for Professionals and Streamers
32GB can be overkill for most gamers, but if you’re streaming on Twitch or handle a lot of large files for editing purposes – you’ll definitely need the extra RAM. However, you probably won’t need 32GB until games become literal powerhouses of technology.
A streamer will need more than 16GB because if your game is using around 10GB to function, you’ll use even more to stream to an audience through the internet. You’ll also need extra RAM to run the tools you need to stream.
Gamers who don’t plan on streaming may want the extra RAM so they can play a game while watching movies or YouTube at the same time. It will be nearly impossible to experience slow down with that much extra RAM space.