Up For Debate - How Much RAM Is Needed For A New Gaming PC Build In 2016

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, May 2, 2016 4:00 PM

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!

How many much RAM does a gaming PC need?

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18:52 May-02-2016

i have 8 gb kingston fury 1866 paid it around 70 euros last year....now im buying another one for 35ish euros....just for the fun of it cuz i play on 1200p and dont really need it for any game to be able to play it around 60fps

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18:47 May-02-2016

There are already few games that go above 8Gb, although not many, but I would suggest 16 to be also future-proof, because, imo, very soon 16Gb WILL be needed and considered common for gamers.

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18:47 May-02-2016

8

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18:39 May-02-2016

Well, I have never had over 9GB RAM usage on my PC :D So I voted for 16GB because it should be pretty future proof and you can just have 1000 things running in backround ^^, or have it for some kind of working... But still I haven't yet seen any games that actually use 10GB+ RAM by itself.

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18:35 May-02-2016

Understand the difference between a want and a need... though 16gb of RAM is very much wanted, 8gb is all that is needed. There are very few games, if any, that "need" 16gb of RAM, however, some will benefit from it. In other words, I would suggest 16gb to be future proof, but you don't necessarily "need" it.

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18:38 May-02-2016

Actually quite a handful of games already NEED above 8gb of ram, especially at higher resolutions. Mirrors edge is one thats supposedly already going over 8gb closer to 12 (from the videos ive seen online from the beta anyways). GTA V alone when i play is already closer to 6gb without anything else open on W10.

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19:33 May-02-2016

Yes, I highly recommend 16 GB for a lot of games, such as GTA V. The question is, will the game open up with 8gb of RAM? If so, that means you don't need 16gb, you just want it. So the bare minimum would be 8gb, not 16gb. I do agree, however, the 8gb will soon be obsoleted in the world of gaming.

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21:54 May-02-2016

Interesting when i ran gta 5 on very high settings my ram usage was only 4,5gb. I never ran out of ram so far. Atleast not on any game i ever had before.

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07:35 May-03-2016

Almost maxed out im using closer to 6, if i run music in the background off chrome or vlc goes up a bit more. Also depends whats running in the background and what ram hungry anti virus you have haha.

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18:33 May-02-2016

16GB if you want to save the future, jf you go for 8GB in just a short time you will need more.

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18:32 May-02-2016

12 gb ram is fine for me :)

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18:25 May-02-2016

i built my old rig i had a fx 8320 8gb 1600 ram.. and i upgraded when i got my tax refund to my current build but my 8 gigs of ram was being used in games like lords of the fallen was using 7000gb ram so i wanted alot more.its great

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18:55 May-02-2016

was using 70000gb ram dudeeee wow mind blown

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00:28 May-03-2016

what

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18:15 May-02-2016

Here is the issue i have, depending on your new build, whether going ddr3 or dd4, most people who are building skylake HAVE to go with DDR3. If youre building on a budget and DDR3 id say get 16gb matching ram. It will eventually become like DDR2 where DDR3 will be hard to find. Considering a lot of games already get close to 8gb (gta v and so on), Mirrors Edge is over 8 already.

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17:57 May-02-2016

16 is the new 8 now. Just a few games requires so much but you can bet your ass soon its far more than few.

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17:47 May-02-2016

16GB+ for a 2016 gaming rig.


I personally don't own a machine with less than 32GB because I do heavy work on them.

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17:46 May-02-2016

12-16 gb ram

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17:45 May-02-2016

A few games were hitting my 8GB capacity pretty quickly. 16GB's not gonna last long either at the rate it's climbing, but I'm not worried, because this MoBo has 8 DIMM slots

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17:54 May-02-2016

Assuming that XONE and PS4 dont benefit as more than 8GB, games will problably stagnate at 10.5GB+or- at ultra and 4-6GB at low, since they have to work in the consoles too

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17:41 May-02-2016

I've been going strong with 8GB (2x 4GB kit) for around 4 or so years, maybe longer? I can't even remember any more... but I can see where some games are legitimately going to demand more. So for my next upgrade, I think I'll get a 2x 8GB kit for 16GB. Any more than that, just for gaming, I don't know if I'll really need. Of course if there's a sale, then maybe I'll get some more. Right now I have to be careful where I put it, because my aftermarket CPU heatsink/fan sticks out over the RAM slots :( Of course I knew that going in with this mobo and HSF.

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17:31 May-02-2016

I certainly would recommend using 16GB if you can simply add another dimm in your motherboard, if you don't have enough memory slots to reach 16GB RAM and you have to take out the remaining RAM then leave it the way it is, if it's 8GB.

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17:29 May-02-2016

No game that interests me needs more than 8GB so I'm happy

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17:27 May-02-2016

16gb should be standard for a new gaming build, although 8gb is ok if you really need to keep the cost down.

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17:19 May-02-2016

Well atm iv 16gb, that seems to be enough for me

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17:19 May-02-2016

I'll be sticking with 8gb but when the time arises when they ask for 16gb for recommended hardware for games than I'll buy more ram. And the only time I'll be seeing myself use more than 16gb if I'm plan to run virtual machines (which I will from next year)

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17:13 May-02-2016

For now 6 gb but then 8 gb or 12 gb

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17:16 May-02-2016

Play cod AW or Dying light on ultra with W10 and you will see like 6,7GB RAM usage

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17:23 May-02-2016

Batman Atkham knight averages around 7.2-7.3 GB of RAM. 6GB is certainly not enough and it's not worth saving money on if you have a 300-400 dollar graphics card. Saving out 10 dollars to basically risk a pretty noticeable performance drop.

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17:28 May-02-2016

8GB is like 4GB back in 2012-13, its enough, but is the minimum, 12GB is best option to save Money an get good performance for more few years

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17:35 May-02-2016

Buying a dual channel kit of 16GB ram can cost you almost the same as 8 + 4GB. You might save 15 dollars opting for 12Gb instead of 16GB and you can't run in dual channel mode either. Totally not worth it. 12GB of RAM is like the 5k mac.

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17:56 May-02-2016

For a new rig 8+8 is best, for who already have 8GB, add + 4GB will suffice

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17:58 May-02-2016

Dual Chanel makes no difference in offboard GPU PCs, and 8GB of the 12GB will run in dual Chanel, and the last 4GB will stick in Single

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18:21 May-02-2016

playing dying light on ultra and u are correct.with 4 gb on the card it takes around 7gb of sistem ram with win 10

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Can They Run... |

Core i5-11600K 6-Core 3.9GHz GeForce RTX 3070 Zotac Gaming Twin Edge OC 8GB 32GB
Core i7-4790 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Palit StormX 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1600 Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 720p
Core i5-4590 3.3GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Asus Pheonix 4GB 10GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti MSI OC 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 16GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 4k
Ryzen 9 3900XT 12-Core 3.8GHz GeForce RTX 2080 MSI Gaming Trio 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, 1080p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz Radeon RX 570 MSI Armor 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 7 3750H 4-Core 2.3 GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB
50% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz GeForce GT 635M 6GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen R7 1700 GeForce GTX 1080 MSI Sea Hawk 8GB Edition 20GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2070 Super Asus ROG Strix 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Ryzen 3 3100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB 16GB
0% No [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 3 3100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Super MSI Gaming 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core 3.8GHz GeForce RTX 2070 Asus Dual OC 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Core i7-5930K 6-Core 3.5GHz GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ASUS ROG STRIX 11GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1600 AF GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 4GB 8GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-3770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 960 2GB 8GB
0% No [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Core i7-8700 6-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3070 AFOX 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [6 votes]