As gamers, we want our games to run smoothly, and the thing that bugs us the most is a stuttery game. You would be surprised how often not having enough RAM is the cause of this mess, and most people just overlook the fact, thinking that the problem is with their graphics card or the processor.
The fact that games are also steadily becoming more complex and, hence, more demanding on the RAM does not help either. Today, the gaming industry has also moved on in terms of display resolution, and more and more people are switching to 1440p from 1080p gaming.
This all has affected RAM consumption, and hence, PCs today require more RAM than ever before, but how much RAM do you need for gaming, and is 8GB still enough today are the main questions asked by amateur PC gamers who are new to the PC gaming scene.
In this article, we will address one popular question, i.e., Is 8GB RAM enough for gaming. Before we crack this mystery, let’s first take a look at why RAM is important for a PC in the first place. People with knowledge of the matter, feel free to skip this next section.
What is the Purpose of RAM?
Random Access Memory, or as we call it RAM, is a fundamental component of gaming PCs and laptops, mobile phones, and even WIFI routers. In the grand scheme of things, the RAM is just another storage drive, albeit a very fast one.
This, however, is an extremely simple and condensed explanation, and there is a lot more to it. Every electronic gadget, especially the computer, is used for a variety of different applications. Let’s take a PC as an example; when gaming, more likely than not, the game will not be the only thing running, and other supporting applications like Discord or Chrome will also be active.
To keep the applications running in the background and seamlessly switch among them at will, a PC needs temporary storage. This storage will give PC access to the open application pool without needing to reopen it from scratch. This makes performing tasks much quicker and more efficient. The storage that serves this purpose for a PC is called its RAM.
The reason that makes the RAM and the mechanical hard drive or the SSD of the PC different is the speed at which data can be fetched and transferred. Ram is significantly faster than the mechanical storage drive of the PC, and if you are wondering how fast it is, you can expect a figure of 100x.
The speed makes a light and day difference and is the key reason why the RAM and the mechanical drive are not interchangeable. Every application that is currently active on the PC is stored in its RAM, and when a PC shuts down, RAM wipes the data that is stored, hence making it a fast and temporary storage solution. With that said and done, let’s now get to answering the all-important question for which you are here.
Is 8GB RAM Enough for Gaming?
I hate to be that guy, but it depends. It would have been so easy for me to give a one-liner and call it a day, but I have to provide you with the best information, so here is how the situation with the 8GB RAM goes in 2024.
What Resolution Are You Gaming At?
This is very important to consider as more and more gamers are moving to 1440p displays and ditching the 1080p panels. If you also want to play on 1440p, then in most games, 8GB RAM will not be enough. Even in the slightest, if you are inclined towards 1440p gaming, then I recommend getting higher capacity RAM.
As far as 1080p is concerned, 8GB is still the borderline for most gamers, and at this resolution, you can get away with having only 8GB RAM granted you are not a heavy multitasker. Since we are already at it, why not discuss it in the next point?
Are You a Multitasker?
By multitasker, we refer to people who have other apps besides the game open in the background and have a constant habit of switching to background apps in between rounds. The background apps can be in the form of Chrome, YouTube, discord, or even Spotify.
If you can relate to the above, then getting 8GB is not a wise idea, as you will struggle to keep all the apps and the game running smoothly. You will either have to quit all the apps or lower the graphic settings and the resolution of the game.
Otherwise, if you only want to play the game without any background apps open, then 8GB RAM is adequate for that purpose.
Do You Want to Game on a High Refresh Rate?
If you are a competitive gamer who likes playing first-person shooters or someone, in general, looking for a high refresh rate experience, then do yourself a favor and higher capacity RAM, as 8GB is not enough for this purpose. High refresh rate gaming on just 8GB RAM is not smooth, and there are a lot of hiccups that you do not need.
Do You Want to Stream Your Games?
Streaming games on platforms like Twitch or YouTube is becoming increasingly popular, and there is a wave of new streamers looking to go big on the platform. If you are in that crowd then 8GB RAM will just not it.
Streaming with only 8GB RAM will not only make the game more stuttery but your stream will also be laggy due to the dropped frames. For the viewers watching the stream, this is something you must avoid at all costs.
What some people do to remedy this situation is that they lower the graphic setting of their game and also limit the framerate. This sacrifice will make your stream smoother but at the cost of personal game enjoyment. Hence, 8GB RAM is not viable for streaming games; therefore, I recommend ditching the idea altogether or having more than 8GB RAM. 16GB is the sweet spot that you should be looking at.
Check out some of the other related RAM guides.
- Can You Mix Ram Brands?
- How Much RAM Should a Gaming PC Have?
- 16GB vs 32GB RAM, and How much RAM Do I Need for Gaming?
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These are some of the factors that you need to consider before forming your opinion on the matter. The gist of it is if you only want to play games at 1080p then 8GB will be adequate but for multitasking, streaming, or for playing games at a higher resolution 8GB RAM is just not enough.