The amount of random access memory (RAM) that you need depends on the games and software that you want to run. But it’s not as simple as that – depending mainly on your processor, you can only install and utilize a certain amount of RAM. So if you want to optimize your gaming rig, it helps to have a fundamental understanding of this component’s underlying hardware. A generous amount of RAM can speed up your PC and improve its performance dramatically. Below, we’ll answer the fundamental question as to how much RAM does your computer need for a great gaming experience.
What’s inside a RAM card?
In the computer hardware market, RAM is shorthand for a memory chip, an integrated circuit (IC) that’s similar to a microprocessor but with limited features. This tiny circuit is the key component of RAM, and everything around it is designed to help it function properly. Inside this IC, millions of capacitors and transistors pair up to create memory cells, each of which represents a single data bit. In the early days when computers only had megabytes of RAM, memory chips were much smaller. Today, RAM cards are not only bigger but also more complex.
In fact, modern memory chips function through a variety of support components that are connected and laid out on a printed circuit board (PCB). The use of PCBs has exponentially increased memory chip capacity, which is why it’s now possible to have over 100 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Designers and manufacturers use collaborative PCB design software to create, reproduce, and continuously improve RAM and other circuit board-dependent computer tech. Alongside other key developments in IC manufacturing, this is how hardware retailers are able to regularly release faster, better, and more widely compatible RAM cards.
How much RAM do you need for Gaming?
While previously built into computers, modern RAM cards are now separate components that can be removed and attached to the motherboard’s memory bank. The amount of RAM that your motherboard can handle ultimately depends on your processor and your operating system (OS). While Windows 10, for instance, is limited to 128GB of RAM, you can actually go up to 2 terabytes (TB) of RAM if you’re using Windows Pro, Education, and Enterprise versions. As you increase your RAM size, you can also increase the size of your virtual memory allocation so you have space to transfer your files if the RAM fills up.
Meanwhile, most mid-range desktop computers on the market right now typically have 4 or 6 slots for RAM cards, which also need to be compatible with your motherboard. This is why most gaming setups range from 8GB to 16GB of RAM, which is great for most games.
16GB to 64GB RAM
Although more RAM is always better, this is simply overkilling even for next-gen titles. You can only really utilize 64GB of RAM and up if you’re a software engineer, game developer, or data analyst that needs to run multiple highly complex, memory-eating applications. Nowadays, even the newest and most graphically demanding games typically require only 16GB to 32GB of RAM to function optimally. This is similar to the requirements needed to run most professional video editing software as well.
8GB to 12GB RAM
Meanwhile, titles with moderate system requirements like Realm Royale along with other mid-range games and software typically need just around 8GB of RAM to run properly. This is also the ideal amount of RAM for online poker rooms, virtual casinos, and digital bingo rooms. At this range, you can even start running highly demanding next-gen games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Ghostrunner, and Grand Theft Auto V.
At the moment, it’s probably not very wise to go below these numbers, as it’s generally easier to run different computer applications if you have at least 8GB to 12GB of RAM. As we mentioned earlier, don’t forget that your rig’s RAM capacity depends on your OS and motherboard. Remember to check your rig’s compatibility with any RAM cards, and don’t buy more than what your computer has space for.