Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

How much RAM is enough?

Tags:
  • Memory
  • Call of Duty
  • RAM
  • Games
Last response: in Memory
Share
February 13, 2013 4:12:53 PM

So; when youre playing games do you really need 8 Gb of RAM? Is 6 or 4 Gb enough? On this computer that i have now (10 years old) I only have 384 Mb of ram and it run lots of things smoothly (that ones that it CAN run). Im interested in modern games (battlefield 3, Cod MW3, DiRT 3, nfs most wanted (upcoming GTA 5)...) and some old ones (CoD 1/2/WaW, GTA SA...).Clock rates are 1600MHz and all are ddr3. ;) 

More about : ram

February 13, 2013 4:30:09 PM

Not sure I understand the question.

On a 10 year old rig, 32Gb won't really help you because the CPU will most likely hold you back.

Now, if you are building a new rig, 8Gb seems to be the sweet spot for price and performance.
February 13, 2013 4:33:23 PM

Like Z1NONLY said, 8GB seems to be the sweet spot.
In addition to CPU, you may also need proper GPU (video card).
Check Tom's (latest) "best gaming video card for your money" (and their best gaming CPU for the money too).
February 13, 2013 4:37:56 PM

Not considering the age of the system, I'll just address the RAM question. 4GB is almost always enough for most people. For gamers, in reality, 6GB is better, but given the negligible price difference, it makes no sense to not go for 8GB. 16GB is overkill no matter what anyone says - unless they do something really atypical that can somehow utilize that much RAM... I have 16GB, and no matter what, I've never ever come close to filling it up even a 3rd of a way. I wouldn't even know how even if I tried.

The issue is that people who automatically just blindly go for crazy high RAM because they think that more is better, simply don't understand how RAM works and how it fits in the PC's "ecosystem".

You can skip this part (and apologize if it's too over simplistic, and the numbers here are not mathematically relevant) but a good analogy that I used for a friend who had zero understanding of computers (I was building her a system) is as follows: Imagine a big library (your hard drive), now imagine a desk where you will be sitting (this is your RAM). You go into the library to research human sexual behaviour. You tell the librarian of your intentions and he will gather all the relevant books for you and place it on the desk - but suppose that there are only 25 books on the topic inside this library. Now, imagine the desk you sit at is really small, and can only hold 5 books at a time (say, 2GB of RAM). You read one, and have 4 standing by. Those 4 are easily accessible to you and fast. But say you want another book not on your desk, now it will take a long time to find and get the other books... But, say your desk can hold 30 books (8GB) - so the librarian gathers all 25 books, puts in on your desk for you to easily and quickly use those. Does it really matter if you desk can hold 30 books if there's only 25 in the whole library? 5 book spaces are wasted, right? This is a really simplified analogy and try not to read too much into it but it's really sort of how it is with RAM.
a b } Memory
February 13, 2013 4:46:42 PM

omnimodis78 said:
I have 16GB, and no matter what, I've never ever come close to filling it up even a 3rd of a way. I wouldn't even know how even if I tried.


I have 32Gb, running the 7 VM's that are always on (ESXi system) I am using roughly 23GB of it

@OP generally 8GB is the sweet spot of gaming right now as some games are starting to push past the 2GB mark
February 13, 2013 4:55:36 PM

mindless728 said:
I have 32Gb, running the 7 VM's that are always on (ESXi system) I am using roughly 23GB of it

@OP generally 8GB is the sweet spot of gaming right now as some games are starting to push past the 2GB mark


Haha wow...23GB used RAM. That's noteworthy to say the least! But you do prove a point, it's sort of atypical for the average computer user to even know what VM stands for, let alone the meaning of ESXi. Right now I am on Windows 7, with music playing, a Word document open (on the 12th page of the document), Firefox with 6 tabs, one being YouTube (flash, file paused), with MSE in the background, various "normal" background programs (SkyDrive, Creative Volume Panel, Intel RST, etc etc.), and I'm at a whopping 12% physical RAM used. Let me try something.... and running Batman AC benchmark it's up to 34%.
February 13, 2013 4:55:46 PM

RAM = low cost

32GB yields the capacity to set up a 16GB RAM disk, which is an unbelievably fantastic feature of such a low-cost investment.

16GB RAM may be overkill now. But past experience informs me that what is overkill now, is a deficiency a few years later.
February 13, 2013 4:56:04 PM

Sorry for being unclear :) 
Im buying a new computer with i5/i7 and hd 7770/gtx 650 and i will only have couple of things opened at once (game (OR photoshop OR some video editing software), game folder and MAYBE 1-2 chrome tabs/4-5 chrome tabs (but NOT things like bf3, photoshop, 50 chrome tabs at once)). I wont go with 12 or 16 Gb cuz its just too much but i want to know how much impact will have 8 or 6 Gb on gaming. Everything less than 5% is nothing.

hope it was better now ;) 
February 13, 2013 5:03:23 PM

ZippyPeanut said:
RAM = low cost

32GB yields the capacity to set up a 16GB RAM disk, which is an unbelievably fantastic feature of such a low-cost investment.

16GB RAM may be overkill now. But past experience informs me that what is overkill now, is a deficiency a few years later.

RAM disk is fantastic under specific conditions - but frankly it's not a deal breaker for many people. As for your last point, have you realized that the current trend is actually the opposite of how things used to be? Windows 8, Office 2013, etc now have smaller memory footprints than before. As apps come out, they will be even more memory efficient than before (to accommodate portable devices), so the trend really is actually reversing. I wouldn't be shocked if the average user on an average desktop system will utilize even less RAM with their updated apps, than we do today for those same apps. Maybe I'm wrong... :D 

Remember when people went crazy over the specs needed to run Vista vs XP? And yet systems today going from XP to Windows 7/8 are finding the transitions smoother (technically speaking) than people did when they moved from XP to Vista... That's sort of what I mean.
a b } Memory
February 13, 2013 5:12:44 PM

omnimodis78 said:
RAM disk is fantastic under specific conditions - but frankly it's not a deal breaker for many people. As for your last point, have you realized that the current trend is actually the opposite of how things used to be? Windows 8, Office 2013, etc now have smaller memory footprints than before. As apps come out, they will be even more memory efficient than before (to accommodate portable devices), so the trend really is actually reversing. I wouldn't be shocked if the average user on an average desktop system will utilize even less RAM with their updated apps, than we do today for those same apps. Maybe I'm wrong... :D 

Remember when people went crazy over the specs needed to run Vista vs XP? And yet systems today going from XP to Windows 7/8 are finding the transitions smoother (technically speaking) than people did when they moved from XP to Vista... That's sort of what I mean.


Yes, there has been a trend towards being more memory-efficient, especially in OS (7 uses less memory than Vista and 8 uses less memory than 7) and web browsers (Chrome and Firefox are slowly but steadily improving their reliance on memory) from what I've seen. Office is probably doing it big too, but IDK because I don't use MS Office very much. Unless I can't avoid it, I'll usually use a free version.
!