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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17:09 May-02-2016

I find that all games run fine on 8 GB of RAM. I know fsome olks have been sportin' even 32 gigs while most high end gamers have 16 gigs. But the truth is 8 GB will be fine even for the next 3 years or so.

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17:26 May-02-2016

if you plan to game at a resolution of 1080p @ 60 fps I doubt 8 GB will be stable enough for the upcoming 3 years. Just realize that some people have already went previous year over the 8GB RAM limit. So enduring 3 more years, hell no.

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17:33 May-02-2016

RAM is so cheap atm (at least in my country) that you can add it whenever you feel like you need it, it's the least of my worries.

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17:09 May-02-2016

added an extra 8 gigs to my desktop because well, why not? i might need it around an year later. right now, though 8 is enough. but i can't tell if a game gets released in a month that actually uses that ram.

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17:07 May-02-2016

For me personally, since I have to edit and render videos while also recording games, 32 GB+ is a necessity, however, if you are planning to just play games then I think 16 GB RAM is good enough

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17:06 May-02-2016

Since 8GB still enough today, i think 12GB will be enough for the next 3 years, when games started to "need" 8GB i first upgraded my 4GB ram to 6GB and used for like 2 years w/o problem, now i have 8GB and will upgrade to 12GB soon

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17:18 May-02-2016

I've seen Batman Arkham knight coming close to using almost 9GB of RAM at its peak, some people even complained about memory leakages in the game and getting over 10GB of RAM. 12GB seems fine for a year, but 3 years I doubt it.

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17:23 May-02-2016

Any game actually can us more than 6,5GB by itself, but when se talk about Windows, we are talking about a system that can consume more than 3GB if not optimized and if background apps are running, in a well optimized Windows 8GB still fine

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17:26 May-02-2016

8GB is enough in a well optimized Win, but for very little margjn, thats why i will add a 4GB stick on my B75.

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16:59 May-02-2016

But... 512kb is overkill, right guys? Guys?

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17:08 May-02-2016

LOL, with 512kb you can run 200 chrome tabs + vídeo editing + stream AC Unity with no problem!!

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17:10 May-02-2016

512MB on my Xbox 360 is overkill mate. ;)

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16:58 May-02-2016

I think nowadays it makes sense to buy 16GB kit (2x8GB),
I have 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4 since I use my PC as workstation primarily, so I get past 20GB unflinchingly ;)

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17:20 May-02-2016

I got two more RAM slots that got nothing going on that I'll likely fill with two 8GB sticks for a total of 24GB... eventually.

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16:57 May-02-2016

Wow, who voted for 128GB? Bill Gates? :D

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17:09 May-02-2016

Nah, he would choose 640k ofc ;)

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16:51 May-02-2016

haven't seen any game using more then 7gb of ram on my pc yet. Not even Quantum break (I'm offcourse not running it on ultra settings)

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16:40 May-02-2016

16GB is probably enough going forward for a few more years, but when I bought my rig 3 years ago I went all out on 32GB. It was so cheap that I couldn't see taking a chance of possibly not having enough later on.

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16:40 May-02-2016

for a gaming PC, I would say 16GB as a PC is NOT a console and you will have more than just the game and OS running.
Otherwise for a "gaming"(Dota, CS, LoL, Smite, etc, etc) PC I would say 8GB of Ram is plenty enough.

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16:36 May-02-2016

budget build 8gb is enough, as most of the games still pretty good to run on 8gb some upcoming too.


if i am building a new pc i would concentrate more on cpu and gpu than motherboard,SSD, hdd, powersupply and after that depending on my budget left i would choose 8gb or 16gb than case and coolers finally.

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16:39 May-02-2016

i see ram as an addon upgrade and dont see any problem in future, if i want to upgrade my 8gb ram to 16gb or 32 gb

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16:22 May-02-2016

I build my PC with the intention of it being as future proof as it gets.
I decided to go for 16GB. Back in 2012 everyone was laughing at me saying stuff like "all you'll ever need is 8GB".
Today I wonder if my motherboard CPU combo will be able to hold all the RAM I'll need if this madness continues, (max is 32GB) or if I'll be forced to upgrade them just so I'll be able to support more RAM...

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16:26 May-02-2016

16 gb ddr4 is enough for the next 2 years i think

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16:19 May-02-2016

If you're trying to save some money,8GB will do it,and you will have enough RAM for every upcoming game in the next 2-3 years.
If you're building 1000$+ PC then you should definitely go with 16GB. It isn't even that expensive now

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16:17 May-02-2016

Its less about predictions and more about practicality. RAM will only get cheaper. It's easy to add more without the need to throw existing ones away as long as you have enough slots. If I were building a new PC from scratch, I might opt for a single 8gb stick. And then I can add more after a year or two.

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16:15 May-02-2016

Actually I`ve never seen a game use up more than 8gb of my RAM even though more is recommended for some games. If this goes on the whole game could be loaded into the RAM(Of course that's unlikely). I would like to see developers use the RAM effectively first before demanding more.

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16:13 May-02-2016

If you have a 8 or 12GB on a gaming PC your still perfectly fine, however if you buying a new system there's no reason to go with less than 16GB really

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16:13 May-02-2016

For now 8GB is sufficient. If you ever feel the need for 16GB you can always buy an extra stick

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16:11 May-02-2016

why buy it when you can download it from downloadmorewam.com

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16:11 May-02-2016

All my games run great on 8 gb like Witcher 3 assassin's creed unity

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16:06 May-02-2016

At least 8 gb minimum would be best

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Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 3070 AFOX 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
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Core i7-11700K 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 32GB
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