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How much RAM do you consider to be enough?

54 posts in this topic

RAM (Random Access Memory) is required for your computer to run operating systems and programs. It’s much faster and more responsive than hard drives and flash storage, delivering low-latency volatile storage to the CPU. Because RAM must have as little latency as possible to not slow down CPU performance, some enthusiasts overclock their RAM to get the fastest frequencies at the lowest timings.


Speed and responsiveness is great, but having an adequate amount of RAM is what is most important. Exactly what is “adequate” depends on the use of the machine. Having to little can result in bottlenecked CPU performance because storage drives end up being used for virtual memory. Programs and the operating system itself can crash if there is no more memory. Also, having too much RAM that will never be used is a waste of money.


How much RAM do you consider to be enough, and how do you use this amount of RAM?

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1500. I've never seen anyone with 2500 use it other than to fly American flags down Rt. 34 while their fart cannon grunts out the closest thing they'll ever hear to "I love you son."


I mean, 8GB. 8GB is perfectly enough for most right now. Has been for an unusual amount of time imo. Maybe cause of SSDs and cache speeds etc etc. I haven't really been in a scenario for a while where I was like, "More ram would make this better." But I guess I'm also not someone who leaves 30 chrome tabs open while playing Crysis.

Edited by Luke



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8GB is pretty much the standard for your average computer these days, and 16 if you're doing anything serious.

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Oddly, this is familiar to you... as if from an old dream.          

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well, for most people 8GB seems to be the new standard, and it's fine for gaming. But personally since I tend to record game footage every once in a while 8 isnt really enough, so i went for 16. 16 being the max that my version of windows 7 will use. 

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8 GB as a power user has been now a good standard for years but I think that is coming to an end.

I am currently idling at around 4GB/ 50% usage (which means Chrome with 2 tabs and no messenger program like Steam, Discord ...).


Although I am using this 'RAPID mode' tool which came with my SSD to boost the systems performance. That hogs about 2 GB by default.


Now under full workload, which usually means:

  • 3 messengers (Steam, Discord, Evolve)
  • Chrome with ~4 Tabs
  • a game (in this example KSP)
I am using 100% of the RAM.


And I wouldn't consider this usage in the high-end/ working range.


For a power user 8 GB have been a good amount so far but it is time to upgrade. If not now then probably pretty soon.

I'd even say that 8 GB should be the new standard for the average user as they unknowingly install some autostarting application with every other program they install.

And they usually don't bother with removing those or optimization in general but just complain about/ suffer from a lack of performance.

(This last paragraph is dedicated to my mom.)

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4 GB: If you’re getting a 32-bit x86 PC (kind of unlikely in 2016), then this one’s easy: Go with 4 GB.


4 GB - 8 GB: The average user will probably be okay with 4 GB. If I look at Task Manager and add up the RAM usage of Skype, Chrome (only five web pages are open, though RAM usage depends on exactly what's open), and Microsoft Word, I only get ~1 GB of memory being used. If I include Malwarebytes in the background, that number only goes up to just under 1.3 GB. This gives the operating system around 2.7 GB to do whatever. Windows 7, 8, and 10 require at least 2 GB, so they should be able to work with 2.7 GB remaining.


Even then, I would recommend 8 GB for most end users, even if they aren't on doing anything more than just the basics (web browsing, word processing, and Skype). The operating system may work better with it when it needs to do background tasks such as handling updates. Also, lots of average users like to casually play games on their personal computers; Minecraft became popular because it could run on a toaster, and it eats memory. Even if you are playing the cruddiest flash games from 2001 on Newgrounds, then having more than 4 GB of RAM may be helpful. If a computer ends up using slightly more than 4 GB of RAM, then it has still benefited from having more than 4 GB of RAM.


With the fairly low cost of 8 GB DDR3/DDR4 RAM kits and how common it is to find 8 GB on incredibly cheap prebuilt systems, I just don't think that 4 GB is very cost effective. The benefits of 8 GB is absolutely worth it, however slight they may be for most users.


8 GB - 16 GB: For gaming PCs, most games should run absolutely fine on 8 GB with no differences in performance whatsoever versus 16 GB. However, if there are plans for things such as recording video, running additional programs in the background, or playing games that end up using most of the available RAM, then additional RAM might be a good investment. Some games also run better with more RAM, such as Rust, Quantum Break, and Space Engineers, which all recommend a whole 16 GB of RAM. However, just because something recommends a certain amount of RAM doesn't necessarily means it'll use that amount. For example, Fallout 4 recommends 8 GB, but it uses 2.5-3.5 GB most of the time. Take system requirements for games with a grain of salt.


While 8 GB will probably be just fine for at least the next few years, spending the extra $15-$25 for 16 GB may still be a good decision. If you’re just going to be gaming, though, you probably shouldn't get more than 16 GB. Instead, you may want to put the extra $50-$60 towards a bigger solid state drive or hard drive, or get a better processor or graphics card.


16 GB+: Many different types of Workstation PCs could benefit from at least 16 GB, though “workstation” can mean a lot of different PCs for different uses. A gaming PC could be considered a workstation computer with how loose of the definition of a “workstation”. Virtualization would certainly benefit from additional RAM, because virtual machines require RAM. Video rendering can also benefit from the additional RAM when using a CPU. Graphical design may also benefit from the RAM, though it’d depend on what’s being designed as well as how big it is.


As there are many different types of workstation computers, you should research how much RAM is required; some things work fine with 8 GB of RAM, while some things may possibly benefit from having even 32 GB of RAM or more.

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