Why You Still Only Need 4GB of RAM for a Great Gaming PC

By Gerald Lynch on at

If you're not working to a strict budget, building a gaming PC can quickly descend into the tech equivalent of willy-waving. From quad-SLI overclocked graphics cards to LED-lit water cooling units, it's easy to splurge on expensive upgrades that will only have a nominal effect on your gameplay experience. For years, 8GB of RAM has been seen as the optimal standard that any self-respecting gaming PC builder should outfit their machines with, but a new report from Techspot suggests that even that modest amount could be overkill.

Testing 4GB, 8GB and 16GB RAM configurations in a machine that also made use of a new Intel Core i7-6700K (4.0GHz - 4.2GHz) Skylake processor, a GeForce GTX 980 graphics card and DDR4-2666 RAM, it found that equipping a PC with just 4GB of RAM made hardly any difference to the frame rates of many top games.

Related: How to Build a Gaming PC for £300

Kicking off with the system-intensive Grand Theft Auto V, Techspot found that 16GB and 8GB configurations saw the game run at an average 56 frames per second, with the 4GB build dropping only a single frame for a 55 fps average. Poorly optimised Batman: Arkham Knight played with similar results (16GB, 8GB and 4GB leading to 102, 101 and 98 fps respectively), while F1 2015 saw all three RAM setups deliver 109 fps.

It was only when carrying out more mundane computing tasks, such as compressing files with 7-Zip or having dozens of Chrome browser tabs opened simultaneously did the added RAM begin to prove its worth. So while a general-purpose PC still needs that added RAM grunt, those looking for a dedicated gaming machine (who do not intend on multitasking with Twitch streams or the like) might want to reinvest money allocated to RAM on a beefier processor or GPU spec instead. [Techspot]