Having enough RAM (random access memory) is essential for PC gamers who want to make their gaming experience as smooth and enjoyable fun as possible. 

If you experience glitches and laggy response times, it may be because you need to add more RAM. But how much do you need to add?

What does RAM do for gaming?

RAM (also known as memory) temporarily stores game data for processing, while your storage device — either a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD) — stores data more “permanently” (or at least until you choose to delete it).

RAM makes it possible to quickly access the data you are using in your game. The more RAM you have, the more gameplay data you can store at hand, which can translate to quicker response time in games, faster loads, sharper graphics and less lag.  

What kind of gamer are you?

The answer to "how much RAM is needed for gaming?" depends on what kind of games you play.

PC games such as Fortnite and League of Legends typically have memory requirements of 4GB. 

Whereas more complicated, graphic-heavy games such as A Plague Tale: Requiem and Star Wars: Jedi Survivor usually require a minimum of 16GB.

PC gaming system requirements

Game developers always share the minimum specs needed for every title they release.  If your PC or laptop doesn’t have the minimum requirements, the game will either not run, or will perform poorly, which can mean anything from stagnate graphics to overheating and battery capacity degradation.  

When shopping for a game, look for the minimum requirements on the game's website or on a PC gaming platform like Steam, then compare it to your computer specs to make sure you have the minimum requirements you need. As part of our most beautiful games review, we explored some of today's most graphic-intensive games, and delved deeper into their CPU, RAM, GPU, and storage.

More RAM means better graphics and/or smoother gameplay, the latter of which is measured in frames per second (FPS). The higher the rate of frames displayed per second, the smoother your game will feel. 

How much RAM is needed for gaming?

Is 8GB enough RAM for gaming?

If you have 8GB of memory in your PC, that’s a good starting point for most casual gamers. With 8GB, you'll be able to play most games without any problems, but you may not get to play them at their highest quality, or you might have to shut down other applications running in the background.

Is 16GB enough RAM for gaming?

Most games recommend 16GB of memory for speedy, high-performance play.  Having this much RAM on your computer will allow you to avoid lag and stuttering issues, and you should also be able to run other applications without affecting gameplay. 

Is 32GB enough for gaming?

If you want ultimate gameplay, 32GB is the option to go for.   With 32GB of RAM, you should be able to run today's games at the highest resolution with few drops. You should also be able to run other applications in the background, including live streaming, editing software, and your favorite internet browser.   While 32GB is the most expensive option, it will help future-proof your system since new games require more memory to run. 

Other gaming performance considerations

RAM generations and compatibility

RAM is multigenerational, with the three most popular versions of RAM being DDR3, DDR4, and DDR5. There are differences among DDR3, DDR4, and DDR5, including speed, performance and compatibility. 

If you're building a computer from scratch, you may have flexibility in which generation you choose, depending on other components you add. Whether you build or upgrade a PC you already own, you need to select RAM that’s compatible with your motherboard.

To find out which RAM is compatible with your system, use the Crucial System Selector or System Scanner.

Once you've chosen the best RAM for your needs, it's easy to install yourself.

Other computer hardware for gaming

Memory is one of many components to consider when looking at computer hardware for gaming. 

Most games also make recommendations about other computer system specs, including your operating system, CPU, SSD capacity, sound cards, and graphics cards.