RAM (random access memory) is essential in every gaming PC. Adding more RAM can improve the responsiveness of your system and boost frame rates compared to ones with less memory.
Learn the workings of RAM, how to locate compatible modules, and How Much RAM Is Needed for Gaming.
How Does RAM Function?
RAM’s primary function is to store information that computers require to function correctly. But, unlike a disk drive, or SSD (solid-state drive), which can store data for a long time, RAM is reset every when the system needs to be rebooted.
RAM can be described as “volatile memory,” meaning that it stores data when there is power and is not a “non-volatile” HDD or SSD. The programs are loaded into RAM for a short time while in use but remain in a storage drive for the duration of time (until erased).
Computers require fast access to their temporary data for running programs or performing tasks. Contemporary PC games, for instance, require quick access to art assets. Games can read and write data to RAM since it’s timed quicker than accessing data from the storage device.
What RAM Is Compatible With Your Motherboard?
Before you think about the capacity of your RAM and frequency, ensure that RAM will work with your processor and motherboard. If you choose the wrong kind of RAM, it will not work, and RAM that isn’t designed for your system may perform poorly.
RAM is available in sticks or memory modules, which fit into the motherboard’s memory slots. RAM that isn’t compatible with your system may not fit or perform as expected.
Modern motherboards are compatible with DDR4 RAM. DDR4 is not to be confused with DDR3, the first version of SDRAM. They’re not interchangeable, and it’s impossible to swap (for instance) 8GB of DDR3 with 16GB of DDR4.
SDRAM and DDR4
Computers employ a form of RAM called SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory). “Synchronous” DRAM can be synchronized with the speed of the processor. SDRAM has seen improvements in the past, providing advantages like less power consumption, higher data transfer speeds, and more reliable data transmission.
DDR4 SDRAM is currently the current standard used in modern computers. DDR4 refers to “Double Data Rate 4” and is the fourth generation of DDR technology that replaced SDR (Single Data Rate) SDRAM. DDR4 offers higher data transfer speeds, larger capacities, and lower voltages than the previous generation.
If you’re creating a new PC or upgrading the RAM of an older system likely to be working with the current version in DDR4 SDRAM.
Why why isn’t DDR4 backward-compatible? It’s because it has different times (see below) in terms of voltage, volts, addition to the PIN, in addition to other features. To stop an accidental installation, the main point in DDR4 modules is on an additional pin than DDR3 modules, which means it won’t be able to slide into DDR3 slots.
There are several easy methods to identify compatible memory. Review the documentation of your processor or system or run a profiling system tool, or employ an online tool to determine if your memory is compatible.
DIMM(Dual in-line memory module) sticks are more significant RAM modules designed for desktop motherboards.
SO-DIMM(small outline dual in-line memory module) are small modules designed specifically for laptops. They are compatible with Intel(r) NUC mini-PCs and Mini-ITX small-size form factor (SFF) motherboards.
Important RAM Specs
- Capacity is measured as gigabytes (GB). The larger capacity, the more data is stored by applications. With higher capacities, more programs can run concurrently, and games can be able to store more temporary data.
- Speed measured by mega transfers/second (MT/s) This is frequently referred to as the speed measured in megahertz (MHz), but it’s a different measure than the speed of a clock. Higher speed ratings indicate quicker response time to requests for reading and writing, which means better performance.
How Much RAM Is Needed for Gaming?
RAM requirements differ for every game’s genre and title (first-person combat sports and adventure, simulations, VR, and others). If you’re purchasing a brand new gaming system for playing a particular game or genre, make sure you begin by looking up the specifications of the game’s creator for processor speed, RAM, and graphics card. It’s common to find both “minimum” and “recommended” specifications for your system.
In general, Here’s a rundown of the most popular RAM sizes and their capacity to run today’s growing variety of games on PC:
RAM 8 GB For Gaming:
- A mere 8GB of RAM will limit your choices regarding game genres and titles; however, certain older games can be played with ease. While the majority of games today have 8GB listed as their “minimum” requirement for RAM, however, most experts recommend that you use your device’s “recommended” RAM allowance (nearly always more than 8GB).
RAM 16 GB For Gaming:
- A 16GB RAM chip is suggested to run the largest selection of current computer games and game genres. Some experts consider it “the gaming “sweet place” to use RAM. Unless you’re running a game server or playing the game administrator/referee role, experts say 16 GB of RAM will usually be sufficient for all but the most demanding games.
RAM 32 GB For Gaming:
- If you’re looking to “future secure,” your new gaming device with 32GB of RAM is a great idea. Certain companies are already suggesting 16GB for their latest games, such as Control, Red Dead Redemption, and many more. It can aid if you plan to use your computer to do other tasks (such as listening to music) while you play.
RAM 64 GB For Gaming:
- In mid-2020, almost all gaming experts consider 64GB of RAM too much for gaming. The massive amounts of RAM are typically targeted toward video editors and others with critical working files. In reality, most of the modern graphic features in today’s PC games are dependent on the VRAM of the discrete graphics card instead of available system RAM (this is the reason why you’ll find “dedicated GPU” in the list of recommended specifications for game environments that are high-performance).
Factors Other Than RAM That Can Affect Gaming Performance
Of course, RAM isn’t the only factor in determining the degree to which the PC can play the games you love to play. Two distinct components of your system that you’re likely to guess which ones are they are likely to have the most significant influence on the performance of games:
- In determining whether your PC can play the games, you love, the most crucial factor to consider will be the speed of your processor. You can store lots of game information in memory; however, the speed of your CPU will be the primary determinant of how quickly this data will generate actions and responses on the screen.
- Due to their nature, systems that have integrated graphics (built in the CPU) are required to use available system memory to generate graphics for games. In contrast, the discrete graphic card (GPU) is equipped with its dedicated VRAM, which can handle various graphics-related tasks. Thus, a PC with a discrete GPU will create smoother gaming visuals using less memory than a system with integrated graphics.
Strategies to boost gaming performance with less RAM
However, you don’t necessarily buy the most powerful or expensive PC available. If cost or availability makes you buy a brand new PC that has smaller RAM than you like, there are ways to increase your gaming efficiency:
- Find the system that allows you to increase the RAM later on — either by adding a RAM card or sticking it to the empty slots on your motherboard, or inserting a larger memory card into the main slot. This will provide “future testing” without requiring you to put in the full investment upfront.
- Reduce the number of other programs that consume the memory available to you. Close-open applications and browsers, uninstalling applications not listed in your Start menu, and other easy steps can free up small portions of RAM that you can use for running your game.
What Type Of RAM Is Appropriate For Your Gaming PC?
Ultimately, the amount of RAM you will need to pay depends on your budget and the use case. Before you purchase, be sure that the specifications of your RAM match your specific requirements.
It’s crucial to make sure you balance RAM alongside the rest of the components of your system since they all play a part in determining the overall performance.