If you’re a gamer who wants to play the latest games, you’ll need to know the minimum amount of memory your computer needs for effective gaming.
This is even more important when playing high-speed games like Apex Legends or Valorant.
So, is 8GB RAM enough for gaming? I’ll tackle that and more in this brief guide, so read on!
Is 8GB RAM Enough for Gaming?
Generally, more memory is better, regardless of which games you want to play.
Random Access Memory Defined
RAM (Random Access Memory) is best described as your computer’s short-term memory and is essential for running games.
Your PC needs quick access to data, and your RAM provides that speed. It’s also volatile, meaning whatever data is on your RAM gets wiped unless it’s electrically powered.
Conversely, the data on your hard drive remains whether your computer’s on, but it can’t be accessed as fast. This makes long-term storage inefficient for quickly opening programs.
Any gaming computer worth its salt needs more RAM to game properly, and it’ll also help open more programs simultaneously.
RAM’s vital whether you’re an infrequent user, a multitasker, or a power user who opens several programs together.
How Much Memory Is Enough For Gaming?
The answer to “How much RAM is enough?” is messy and will require further explanation.
That’s because PC gaming has become more demanding in recent years, thanks to stronger components and more demanding minimum requirements.
For a more definitive answer, I recommend checking the system requirements of any game you want to play to ensure you have enough RAM.
The onboard requirements for games will list both the recommended and minimum amount of RAM you’ll need.
You can make do with less than the recommended amount of RAM, but get ready to turn down the graphic settings and prepare for stutters when the screen gets cluttered.
For each bracket, I’ll include a few games that should run fine with the listed amount of RAM.
Unfortunately, 4GB of RAM isn’t nearly enough memory for anything but the oldest games. Your computer will probably struggle to boot up and play games, much less.
Let’s use the Windows 11 operating system as an example. According to Microsoft, a computer needs at least 4GB of RAM for Windows 11 [R].
If you can’t even run the OS, how do you expect to play any newer games? Many older games like Stardew Valley and Darkest Dungeon will run perfectly well with 4GB RAM.
There are also faster indie titles like Dead Cells and Celeste that are playable with less memory.
Which Games Will Run?
- League of Legends
- Stardew Valley
- Dead Cells
Most people can stop at 8GB of RAM for productivity tasks like MS Word or answering and composing emails.
However, if you want to play games with 8GB of RAM, I wouldn’t recommend having any other applications like Google Chrome opened in the background.
For a long time, 8GB of RAM was enough for gaming. Unfortunately, those days are long gone, and if you still have 8GB RAM, I’d strongly consider upgrading your PC.
The recommended standard for modern videogames has slowly shifted from 8GB to 16GB, especially if you’re running triple-A titles like Call of Duty Warzone 2 at higher settings.
Which Games Will Run?
- Apex Legends
- Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
16GB of RAM is the new standard for most modern games, and most gamers should prioritize hitting the big 16.
This will also let you open additional software alongside your game, like Discord, if you’re using voice chat.
16GB RAM is the standard for your typical gaming laptop, but I’d look into upgrading your rig if possible to ensure your computer remains relevant in the future.
Also, even if you have this much RAM for gaming, having too many apps open simultaneously will slow down even the beefiest enthusiast’s PC.
Which Games Will Run?
- Far Cry 6
- Atomic Heart
- Marvel’s Spider-Man
Welcome to the big leagues! If you want impressive graphics regardless of the game, it’s worth investing in 32GB of RAM.
However, 32GB is a step past gaming needs and into the realm of creative professionals like video editors, and it will cost you more money.
This will also help future-proof your rig and help you game well into the future, even as more demanding titles pop up.
Which Games Will Run?
32GB of RAM is enough for any videogame, and you’re unlikely to max it out unless you’re running Microsoft Flight Simulator with ray tracing on.
Mind Your Settings!
If you’re running into performance issues while playing your favorite games, it may be time to turn down the in-game settings.
Reaching 60fps can be a struggle, especially if you have an older computer, but some gamers prioritize frame rate over beauty.
What About Other Tasks?
Whether you’re using a laptop or a full PC setup, you’ll know that gaming isn’t the only thing that eats up RAM.
Other apps will come into play, especially if you’re into heavy multitasking or are a creative professional.
Even in idle mode, background processes will consume small amounts of memory, which is negligible and unlikely to affect your game’s performance.
Gamers improving their rigs for work or twitchy shooters should consider adding more RAM to keep their computers relevant.
Other Parts That Affect Game Performance
Your system memory isn’t the only component that matters for playing games!
The three main components gaming computers should balance are the RAM, GPU, and CPU.
Higher RAM will help you play practically any game, but you may encounter a bottleneck if your GPU and central processor can’t match your memory.
- GPU (Graphics Card): Regardless of how much RAM you have, you won’t achieve smooth gameplay without a sufficiently powerful GPU. It makes sense to prioritize this component since GPUs have a VRAM cache that gamers need to render in-game scenes. The GPU is also important if you’re a creative pro or want to get into video editing.
- CPU (Processor): This critical piece of PC hardware is the beating heart of your computer. It handles the data that forms the backbone of any system and lets your PC run at all. The CPU handles everything in-game unrelated to graphics, like NPC movement and your character’s input.
Will More RAM Give a Smoother Gaming Experience?
As a general rule, yes! As your computer’s RAM capacity increases, your games will run better, and you’ll experience smoother gameplay.
This benefit also extends outside gaming since adding RAM will help your gaming rig open multiple applications and larger programs without stutters or crashes.
Before asking, “How much RAM do I need for gaming?” I recommend picking a high-spec game as a benchmark and beefing up your system to match it.
For most games, 16GB of RAM for gaming is enough, but it’s quickly becoming the minimum standard.
If your gaming PC feels like it’s getting slower, it might be time for an upgrade. Of course, you can always just stick with classic games instead!