Over the last year or so I’ve been looking at the newly released system requirements for AAA PC games with an increasing amount of concern. Where once I was sitting pretty with 8GB DDR3 memory, I’m now finding myself more and more behind the curve. Games like Batman: Arkham Knight, Quantum Break and Call of Duty: Black Ops III are all making increasingly light work of 16GB, prompting me to wonder just how much, and what, RAM is necessary for a new PC gaming build.
Your first port of call is deciding between DDR3 and DDR4. The prices of these two have basically aligned now, so you’re not really going to save much at all by opting for the older DDR3 standard. You will need a DDR4-compliant motherboard, but if you’re building a new PC then that’s pretty much guaranteed.
With that settled it becomes a question of ‘how much is enough?’. Right now the most demanding games eat up 16GB at recommended. However, there still is no game which won’t run fine on an 8GB system. Look forward and we’ll see an increasing number of games using 16GB, so the sensible option seems to be to double your expenditure and up to 16GB.
But why stop there? There’s a school of thought that you may as well get as much as you can. Compared to the majority of PC components, RAM is extremely cheap and by far the easiest internal component to install. 32GB of DDR4 memory can yours for as little as $150. Compared to your graphics card that’s probably chump change, and you’re getting access to hardware which is double the capacity required for the most demanding PC games ever.
This can be taken to its extreme of course, and should you have a compliant motherboard you can even go nuts and get 128GB. That’s to the tune of $800 and up, and shouldn’t be the concern of PC gamers. At least yet, anyway. The problem with RAM, or I guess the benefit, is that it’s not really a case of the more you have the faster your game will run, but rather you have enough or you don’t. If you don’t you’ll find out about it quick enough. There is a very minor benefit in opting for faster RAM clock speeds, but not really enough to notice.
Anyway enough rambling, my question to you is, if you were building a new gaming PC, how much RAM should be in there? Is 16GB enough? Are you happy squeezing by on 8GB initially? Let us know!