How Much RAM Do You Need for Gaming?
Many gamers always ask about a computer or smartphone’s RAM capacity and speed before they consider buying it. RAM is important, and not everyone knows what it is. Modern video games have some stringent RAM demands for smooth gameplay, so it shouldn’t be overlooked.
If you’re wondering how much RAM is required for gaming, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find the basic requirements for mobile devices, laptops, and more. Read on to get into the specifics.
How Much RAM Do You Need for Gaming on a Laptop?
Gaming laptops used to be considered a gimmick, but as technology advances, manufacturers find it easier for laptops to remain smaller and handle demanding titles without breaking a sweat. Even so, gaming laptops can’t reach the limits of gaming PCs, which have much more room and usually boast better hardware.
A gaming laptop is usually upgradeable, and many models allow you to pick how much RAM you want before buying. Today, many gaming laptops have at least eight GB of RAM, which is the bare minimum for gaming in 2021. However, that isn’t the best number to aim for.
Games like Cuphead, Minecraft, or most retro games aren’t very RAM-intensive; they don’t demand a lot from your laptop in general. With some of these games, even four GB of RAM is sufficient if you don’t bump the graphics to the supported maximum.
Minecraft can run on a variety of devices, even older non-gaming laptops. Despite this, if you wish to make the game look good, you’ll need more RAM. Low RAM capacity will only slow the game down as you toggle graphical enhancements.
As for AAA titles or the most popular and graphically impressive games, eight GB might not be enough. Games like Doom Eternal require a lot of RAM, and eight GB is the absolute minimum. However, this will only let you play the game at lower settings.
Therefore, the best number to aim for with gaming laptops is 16 GB. With 16 GB of RAM, you can afford to turn your graphics settings up and even run some apps in the background. 16 GB is also a significant number, as RAM today is getting faster and more efficient.
While you want lots of RAM, gamers may not need 32 GB, especially those who don’t stream or record. One way of justifying this much RAM is to future-proof a gaming laptop for even more demanding titles.
However, games this demanding aren’t available yet, and the only reason anyone would want 32 GB of RAM on a laptop today is to run very technically demanding software. Streamers will find this much RAM useful, but they might prefer not to use a laptop.
In all, a gaming laptop today should have 16 GB of RAM, which is a tremendous median number for all modern titles.
How Much RAM Do You Need for Gaming on a Desktop?
With a gaming desktop setup, gamers can afford to give it better hardware, including more RAM. However, like a gaming laptop, the magic number remains 16 GB. This much RAM is still sufficient to run many of the industry’s most demanding titles smoothly.
16 GB of RAM coupled with a powerful GPU eliminates lag, frame drops, and stuttering in many titles. Even if you’re playing with High or Ultra settings, your rig should handle it without a problem, depending on the game.
With DDR5 RAM getting more affordable, many gamers will find it an attractive alternative to getting more sticks of RAM.
A gaming desktop with eight GB of RAM isn’t the best idea to proceed with unless you’re on a budget or only want to play titles that don’t demand much. It’s capable of running some AAA titles, but usually only at lower settings. This choice will result in decreased visual quality, and some gamers aren’t fans of that.
Getting a 32 GB gaming PC isn’t recommended unless you intend to use it as a workstation as well. Some streamers edit their videos, and 16 GB of RAM might not be enough for the software. A dual-purpose PC would be much more affordable than buying two PCs for different purposes.
For gaming PCs, there’s also the question of using single-channel or dual-channel memory. The latter is slightly more expensive, but with some games, it boosts performance significantly. In 2021 dual-channel memory became much more mainstream.
A dual memory channel not only lets you replace malfunctioning RAM sticks at home, but you can even upgrade your memory all by yourself. If you’re looking forward to getting better RAM, dual-channel memory will serve you well.
You can customize your gaming PC with various RAM upgrade options if you wish, but 16 GB remains the best number to start with. That’s unless you use the same setup for video editing and streaming, in which case more is appropriate.
How Much RAM Do You Need for Gaming on a Phone?
Gaming phones are gaining prominence, as some competitive mobile gamers are asking for the best possible hardware for their careers. Therefore, many flagship gaming smartphones are coming with more and more RAM.
A typical smartphone today has around four GB of RAM, which is starting to reflect the RAM requirements of computers. However, fitting 16 GB of RAM into a gaming smartphone is somewhat overkill.
Mobile games tend to be optimized for performance over graphics, even though it’s possible to design a game that looks amazing on your smartphone. Even games like Genshin Impact can run on powerful smartphones at 120 FPS and still have impressive graphics at the same time.
Even so, Genshin Impact on mobile devices will pale in comparison to the PC version. After all, it has been optimized to fit into a smaller and weaker device.
Hence, mobile games tend to be less graphically demanding than their PC counterparts, even though the same game exists on both platforms. The mobile version will function with three GB of RAM in this example, though the developers recommend four GB.
On the other hand, the PC version requires at least eight GB to run smoothly, and 16 GB is the sweet spot.
If you’re looking to enjoy mobile games with better visual quality, we recommend buying a mobile phone with at least eight GB of RAM. Not only do you eliminate the chance of stuttering and lag with medium and low settings, but you can push your graphics further.
Mobile phones tend to have many apps running in the background, which take up a lot of RAM. Even though you can stop them from running, it’s still more optimal to invest in more RAM on your smartphone. That way, you can do much more than play games to their fullest potential.
For those who think eight GB isn’t enough, some gaming phones come with 12 GB of RAM. It’s an excellent middle ground between eight and 16 GB, and you can turn the settings up even more.
Thus, we recommend at least eight GB of RAM for playing mobile games without lag and stuttering.
How Much RAM Do You Need for Gaming and Streaming?
Many streamers have powerful setups that can run AAA games and deliver high-quality streams to their audiences worldwide. Some games already have high RAM requirements, but streaming can consume a lot of RAM too. That’s why we recommend getting slightly more RAM if you plan to stream regularly.
A problem with calculating how much RAM you need for streaming games is that each game differs radically in memory requirements. For example, Minecraft streamers don’t need 32 GB of RAM because they can easily stream the game at eight GB or lower.
However, titles like CSGO and Warzone can be more demanding, especially if the graphics quality is set to the maximum or on high.
Here are some basic calculations you can keep in mind:
OBS tends to take around 150-300 MB of your RAM when running. Thanks to its simplicity, it’s completely free to download and use, and many streamers enjoy its high-quality streams.
Web browsers are also crucial for streamers, and you should pick one that isn’t too RAM-intensive. Depending on your browser, you might need anything from 50-300 MB. Remember to close any nonessential tabs and save RAM.
You’ll need at least one tab to see your own stream. It’s essential to see the broadcast, as you can read the chat or adjust on the fly based on what you notice.
If you install the Discord client for PC, it takes about 200 MB of RAM. That’s not bad, as you might find communicating with your moderators or friends crucial.
In all, the amount of RAM you need for streaming games depends on your title. 16 GB is still a great starting point, as you can play just about anything available and still deliver HD streams.
More RAM Equals Better Graphics
The more RAM you have, the better your games tend to run, and this goes for both computers and smartphones. Nevertheless, getting too much RAM is a waste of money, and you’re better off working with the average amount needed. That way, you can play all the games you want with excellent graphics without breaking the bank.
How much RAM does your computer have? Do you think future-proofing is a good idea? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.