How much RAM does your gaming PC/device need?

Written by Chad

May 18, 2022

Video gaming enthusiasts may have noticed that cutting-edge Asus ROG and TUF Gaming Laptops recently underwent a significant upgrade, replete with super-brawny 12th generation Intel Core i9 processors, the speediest CPUs on the market, and lightning-fast DDR5 4800 MHz RAM capabilities.

Few would dispute that these machines will deliver superlative performance. But anyone with an eye on their budgets may well, after the dizzying excitement at hearing about these machines wears off, ask a more sober question: just how much RAM does a gaming device really need? Or, what specs can I ‘get away with’ for my gaming needs (and what specs can’t I do without)?”

While generic guides, like a recent one provided by Business Insider, can be helpful to a non-specialist readership, gaming enthusiasts perhaps want to know more about what their hobby needs in terms of viable Random Access Memory. If only to stop that “stress vein” pulsing at the side of your forehead because you’ve encountered a freeze or glitch at the high point of an action scenario or the river in a game of online poker, here’s a quick walk-through of what gamers need.

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Let’s get back to gaming and RAM, the working memory of your device that determines how fast it functions. It may surprise some enthusiasts to know that some retro titles (like Cuphead or Minecraft) aren’t particularly RAM-greedy and will perform adequately on minimal RAM (even as little as 4GB will do). But move up the scale to AAA titles, and you’ll need to more than double that capacity (even 8GB will struggle).

For laptops, 16GB is generally more than enough to let you increase your graphics settings and even have a few apps open while you play – provided you don’t stream or record.

If you do, or even if you just want to future-proof your device for forthcoming advances in gaming power, it may be wise to go for 32GB of RAM (remember, as many laptops are upgradable, getting a new 32GB RAM memory stick inside your device would be much less expensive than buying a new laptop).

When it comes to desktop devices, for most gamers, 8GB of RAM just won’t be muscular enough to do the heavy lifting that sophisticated new games require. But, as with laptops, 16GB of RAM remains the (usually more than) “satisfactory” option, especially if your machine comes with a gutsy CPU that makes toast of any lagging. This is true even if you’re playing at “high” or “ultra” settings most of the time. However, if you want to stream or edit your videos, 16GB might start to struggle. That may be when it’s time to upgrade to 32GB so that your machine will handle the software without glitching.

Finally, for smartphones, 8GB usually is more than enough (4GB will do in most cases); fitting 32GB of RAM into such a device is straying far into “overkill” territory!


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