As a gamer, you are expected to invest in high-end laptops and PCs. But do you actually need to shell out a lot of moolah and in the process identify gadgets with massive chunks of RAM? Well, that’s a debatable arena to venture into but at Unslider, I would bring out the truest possible picture concerning the RAM count and its relevance to gaming PCs.
But first, you need to ascertain your skill levels and gaming preferences, as you wouldn’t want to underplay or over-invest in options that aren’t cut out for your kind of gaming. Still unsure? Well, keep reading…
How are System Memory and Gaming Performances Related?
Wasn’t gaming only synonymous with the Graphics card with fewer contributions from the processor? Well, not exactly. While a GPU is outright crucial for professional gaming, it mainly handles the gaming elements and the textures associated with the same. Everything else, including the mods, NPCs or Non-Playing-Characters and all are handled by the processor.
But then, for the processor to perform at its peak efficiency, the relevant insights need to be forwarded to it as rapidly as possible and this is where the RAM count comes into play. Plainly speaking, RAM determines how quick the CPU is and how certain aspects of the game load.
Therefore, if the RAM starts falling short, especially when you keep the device invested in other tasks, the gaming performances start to suffer. Also, storage units, like SSD, do not have the requisite R/W speeds to replace RAM.
So, you can just close every other process and expect the existing RAM count to work swimmingly. Well, that’s not how it works.
Nitty-Gritties of System Memory Explained
Every standard computing process, including the boot-up, requires a chunk of system memory. Therefore, simply closing every task and expecting the games like Dying Light 2, DOOM, and more to run smoothly isn’t probable enough. Therefore, it is advisable to get a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM if you really want to indulge in some mid-range and moderately demanding games.
So, the higher the RAM, the better the gaming, isn’t it! Still not the case. You should even look at the RAM prefix before starting out. For instance, an 8GB SDRAM is slower than an 8GB DDR3 RAM module, which is slower than the 8GB DDR4 module. This shows that the DDR technology has an important role to play here, which then signifies how quickly the RAM module can process gaming data.
DDR or ‘Double Data Rate’, is a standard that is related to better data processing speeds, as compared to SDRAM or RAM with ‘Single Data Rate’. However, the increments in the DDR standards ensure better operational frequency, making DDR4 the most sought-after generation at present. Therefore, if you have the choice, you should opt for a PC with at least 8GB DDR4 RAM and take things from there.
Also read: Best RAM speed for gaming.
What are your Choices when PC RAM Count is Concerned?
For starters, you should opt for at least 8GB DDR4 RAM if you want to play games in any given capacity. However, if you plan on using the gadget for a handful of other tasks, it is necessary to take the RAM expense courtesy of the multiple background processes into account. You should know that even the startup programs eat into the RAM, thereby making the games feel sluggish.
Therefore, if you want to be comfortable enough whilst ensuring that the PC doesn’t have to choose between office work and games, 16GB seems like an acceptable point. Certain laptops also come with 12GB RAM, but it’s a rarity as you mostly get hold of machines where system memory is a multiple of 8.
Still, if my personal insights are sought, I would recommend 16GB or a 32GB RAM variant, provided you are into professional gaming but do not want to stay restricted to the same. Also, with 32GB RAM in play, you can easily work on some complex professional tasks like rendering, 3D modeling, and more.
What if you want a Device only for Gaming?
If you already have a primary device for all your professional work, you can go easy on the RAM count. While a secondary PC or laptop with 8GB DDR4 RAM can suffice, you must prefer something that comes with an upgradable slot, in case you end up needing additional juice.
Also, your nature of usage should play a major role in selecting the desired notebook. For instance, if you are a regular online gamer who intends on using the device for light online games and even AAA titles like FIFA 21, 8GB RAM is sufficient.
However, if your focus is on getting excellent frame rates and assembling a PC that has something like an RTX 20 or RTX 30-series GPU, it is necessary to consider 16GB as the bare minimum. Also, a 16GB laptop manages to hold its own even if you want to use the machine as your secondary device while traveling.
Factors to Consider while Purchasing or Assembling a PC
While there can be several aspects to take note of, at present I will keep this discussion restricted to the RAM count. Therefore, if you are out there, making a RAM intensive purchase, here are some of the aspects to be privy of:
While many gamers would be able to relate to this fact, for the uninitiated, RAM latency signifies the processing delay between subsequent tasks. This is the reason why it is advisable to check the RAM configuration beforehand, in case you are assembling a PC and need to rely on external RAM. For laptops, you must look for a unit where the RAM module exhibits latency below the CAS16 mark. Also, if you plan on upgrading the RAM, even the new module must have lower latencies to complement the in-house availability.
In case you are planning an upgrade or a first-time assembly, you should cross-reference the RAM traits and ensure that it is at par with the maximum performance limit of the concerned device. This means the RAM unit should be able to sync effectively with the processor, GPU, and other internal components.
Now that I have established that DDR4 is a better bet than DDR3, it is important to focus on the processing frequency of the RAM module in general. This would mean looking for something beyond the 2600MHz mark, preferably 2933MHz. However, non-gaming, sleek machines with Low-Power RAM modules can even reach frequencies up to 3200MHz.
However, if you are upgrading, you can first look at the motherboard specifications and select the RAM module that is in line with the maximum specified frequency.
A Word of Caution?
As much as amplifying the RAM count can help improve gaming performances, this functionality caps out after a certain threshold. Therefore, you must refrain from mindlessly adding to the RAM count and should look to hit the sweet spot between functionality and finesse, to make things easier for the PC.
Also read: How to optimize Windows 10 for gaming.
Regardless of the diverse gaming improvements, adding more RAM to the PC certainly future-proofs it and ensures that it can readily match up to the amplifying processing requirements of the new-gen applications.
Lastly, if purchasing a device with 16GB RAM isn’t possible and you do not have funds to upgrade, you can optimize the PC by closing most of the browser windows and active applications to increase the availability of system memory by a small margin. While this isn’t expected to improve the performances miraculously, it can give you that little edge to play specific games better at the lowest, 720p preset.