RAM is the short-term memory for your gaming PC, but how much do you need

How Much RAM is Enough for Today’s PC Games?

Choosing a new gaming computer is a lot of fun, filled with possibility as you dream about all the games that you will be able to play. But one thing that can quickly turn that excitement to frustration is not having enough RAM. So what is the right amount of RAM? There isn’t a single answer, but we’ll explore generally what you need and when you might benefit from upgrading.

Understanding RAM

RAM, or random access memory, is like your computer’s short-term memory system. It’s not the same as your hard drive where you store files, but it’s a place where your computer keeps files that it needs to access right now. As long as you have enough RAM, any of the data residing there can be read from anywhere at any time instantaneously and virtually without delay. Your PC stores all the data you need to play a game in the RAM. Without enough RAM, you will experience serious issues with how smoothly a game can run, and in some extreme cases it may make it impossible to run a game.

Minimum RAM Requirements for Gaming

In the old days a 32-bit operating system maxed out at 4 GB of RAM. Today a 64-bit operation system is the norm, and while there is an upper limit to how much RAM today’s systems can support, it’s high enough that you probably won’t reach it anytime soon. In other words, you can load up on RAM but you don’t necessarily need to.

The minimum requirement for today’s games is at least 8 GB, but for most gamers the sweet spot is around 16 GB. You could also go for 32 GB if you want to futureproof your machine and/or you have a 4K display. The most common configurations and when they’re most appropriate are:

  • 4 GB – typically enough for a basic desktop workstation, but not enough to handle today’s computer games
  • 8 GB – the minimum you want for gaming, but you may run into issues with RAM-intensive programs or with games that come out in the future
  • 16 GB – the sweet spot for most gamers that provides enough RAM and is affordable as an upgrade option
  • 32 GB – the preferred configuration for gamers who want to “future-proof” their computers and can afford to buy more RAM; you may also want to upgrade to this if you plan to use your computer for both gaming and work
  • 64 GB and 128 GB – these options are available, but for most people anything over 32 GB is more than you need

Still have questions about RAM? Chat with our experienced team of gaming pros who can help you make a final decision as you’re building your Xidax gaming computer.