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Jazz

System memory minimums for gaming

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Up until recently 8GB of RAM seemed to be enough for gaming. However, I feel this has changed over the past year and have recently upgraded to 16GB after Final Fantasy 15 kept freezing up, the upgrade seemed to have fixed the issue though that could simply be because Square Enix are shite at optimising their games. Looking around though I am seeing people sporting 16GB more, and wondered what you guys think? I definitely feel 8GB has gone from "enough" to "minimum" with newer games now.

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Curious, when you play FF, how much RAM is it using?  Did your PC crash?  Or just the game froze?

Having the same discussion as I am looking for a laptop for my son.  I was going with 8GB because in my experience, anything more was a waste.  This may cause me to rethink that.

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I built my current gaming rig with 16gb, about 4 years ago. I got a lot of stick for it at the time, but have never regretted it.

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4 hours ago, Pasanda said:

I built my current gaming rig with 16gb, about 4 years ago. I got a lot of stick for it at the time, but have never regretted it.

Not that I'm trying to one-up anyone ... just the facts.  I built my current desktop almost exactly 7 years ago; the components were purchased in December 2011 as a holiday treat.  I also used 16gb, which at the time was waaaay overkill.  No regrets today.  I don't know how much longer this system will last, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.  The only upgrade of note was that I added a second SDD and upgraded the video card from a GTX 470 to a GTX 660 and to the current GTX 980ti.  I still play most games on high or med-high graphics settings with respectable frames.  Note: I don't count them, because I just don't care enough to keep track of such things.  When a game becomes a slideshow, I lower the settings.  I don't have to do that most times ... and I regularly game on a 30" 2560x1600 monitor that requires a beefy system to keep up.

Today, I would suggest that 16gb would be the minimum to build into, and 32gb as a comfortable future-proof.  In graphics-heavy games, or at least large texture graphic sizes, then I suggest a minimum of 6gb dedicated video memory ... more if affordable.  Not much beats raw frequency GHz (i.e., clock speed), so more is almost always better than less ... especially when you consider most games are single threaded ... so for example, a 3.2 GHz i5 will outperform a 2.6 GHz i7.  In graphics terms, more cores and more base clock speed for those cores is better than lower values.  Bandwidth, or the speed at which data is transferred across your system (e.g., from GPU to CPU to RAM to SDD/HDD, etc.), benefits from more is better, too.  And finally ... as I prepare to step off my soapbox ... the most critical component in any system is the power supply; if that is shit, then no one is going anywhere either slow or fast.

To be fair, the total amount of system RAM is only part of the speed/stuttering issue.  The game could be CPU or GPU locked depending on if it is CPU or GPU intensive, respectively.  The bottleneck could be system bus speed, video RAM, or HD read/write speed.  It could also be a 32-bt vs 64-bit issue.  Hard to tell.

Just my two coppers.

Edited by Elovia
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16 hours ago, Dunnar said:

Curious, when you play FF, how much RAM is it using?  Did your PC crash?  Or just the game froze?

Having the same discussion as I am looking for a laptop for my son.  I was going with 8GB because in my experience, anything more was a waste.  This may cause me to rethink that.

The game would freeze up for a couple of seconds quite regularly, regardless of how much or how little was going on screen. I haven't run any actual tests but once I got 16GB the issues went away, I feel that it was probably just at the edge and going up to something like 12GB would have been enough as well but not regretting having the extra headroom now. I think 8GB will be enough for most things at the moment but the newer stuff will be pushing it and it is only going to get worse. 

12 hours ago, Pasanda said:

I built my current gaming rig with 16gb, about 4 years ago. I got a lot of stick for it at the time, but have never regretted it.

 

7 hours ago, Elovia said:

Not that I'm trying to one-up anyone ... just the facts.  I built my current desktop almost exactly 7 years ago; the components were purchased in December 2011 as a holiday treat.  I also used 16gb, which at the time was waaaay overkill.  No regrets today.  I don't know how much longer this system will last, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.  The only upgrade of note was that I added a second SDD and upgraded the video card from a GTX 470 to a GTX 660 and to the current GTX 980ti.  I still play most games on high or med-high graphics settings with respectable frames.  Note: I don't count them, because I just don't care enough to keep track of such things.  When a game becomes a slideshow, I lower the settings.  I don't have to do that most times ... and I regularly game on a 30" 2560x1600 monitor that requires a beefy system to keep up.

Today, I would suggest that 16gb would be the minimum to build into, and 32gb as a comfortable future-proof.  In graphics-heavy games, or at least large texture graphic sizes, then I suggest a minimum of 6gb dedicated video memory ... more if affordable.  Not much beats raw frequency GHz (i.e., clock speed), so more is almost always better than less ... especially when you consider most games are single threaded ... so for example, a 3.2 GHz i5 will outperform a 2.6 GHz i7.  In graphics terms, more cores and more base clock speed for those cores is better than lower values.  Bandwidth, or the speed at which data is transferred across your system (e.g., from GPU to CPU to RAM to SDD/HDD, etc.), benefits from more is better, too.  And finally ... as I prepare to step off my soapbox ... the most critical component in any system is the power supply; if that is shit, then no one is going anywhere either slow or fast.

To be fair, the total amount of system RAM is only part of the speed/stuttering issue.  The game could be CPU or GPU locked depending on if it is CPU or GPU intensive, respectively.  The bottleneck could be system bus speed, video RAM, or HD read/write speed.  It could also be a 32-bt vs 64-bit issue.  Hard to tell.

Just my two coppers.

When I built my system originally I planned on upping to 16GB later but never got round to it and it seemed 'enough' for a while. Then the bit currency miners drove the price up and it was still a lot higher than it used to be (when I built my system originally the RAM kit cost £40, now the exact same kit costs £69) and so was waiting for that to go down but realised I could be waiting forever. 

I found 8GB was quite enough for a long time, my previous system that is about 10 years old (and still runs most games) was on 8GB, it was definitely not like the old days when RAM doubled every year or so. It just suddenly crept up on me though that may be because I spent the past year with my leg up using my old system for most of it. My current system is running a 970 and seem fine with most games on high too, was going to buy a newer graphics card during Black Friday but I realised that not only was the discount for Black Friday rubbish but that I didn't care enough about any small upgrade in performance to put down the amount of money they were asking.

And I agree completely on the PSU and even add that without a decent quality one you risk not only not going anywhere but actually going backwards and having to buy new hardware. I never skimp on PSU these days, not even about the power for me but the quality, the risk of damage to hardware is too great for the savings you make on a shoddy PSU.

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I've had my PSU over 10 years now. It's my oldest component. I bought an Antec TruPower 650. Although there was a point where GPU's were starting to rocket upwards in power consumption, that trend died off, and, if anything, it's been going down ever since. So, yeah. Good PSU is a good idea.

 

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Only have 8g on this system and there are several games that push it past 90% used.  So would say 12g to 16g would be the min. if I was getting a new system.  Only reason I haven't upgraded mine is the cost.

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10 hours ago, Boag said:

Only have 8g on this system and there are several games that push it past 90% used.  So would say 12g to 16g would be the min. if I was getting a new system.  Only reason I haven't upgraded mine is the cost.

Yeah I'm thinking 12MB is the absolute minimum new rigs should be built with and you are looking to cut corners, 16GB standard and comfortable.

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I haven't checked for a while, but a few years ago, you would have seen better performance from your memory by using matching pairs in the same channel. You might not be able to do this,if you go for 12gb, as i don't think RAM sells in 6Gb sticks.

 

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10 hours ago, Pasanda said:

I haven't checked for a while, but a few years ago, you would have seen better performance from your memory by using matching pairs in the same channel. You might not be able to do this,if you go for 12gb, as i don't think RAM sells in 6Gb sticks.

 

Yeah its still the case it seems. And yeah I don't think they don't either. Though you can manage it with 2x2gb pair with a 2x4gb pair I guess though I am not sure if that is also sub-optimal as well as I heard its best to have the same memory across all channels but that may have just been brand rather than size. I wouldn't bother aiming for 12GB, I would just jump (and did jump) to 16GB, I was just thinking what is required more rather than what is optimal build. I find that most games utilise up to or more than 8GB and then OS and other stuff on top brings up to about there, but not yet enough to utilise the full 16GB is my impression. Won't be long before they are using the full 16GB though I reckon, especially as developers like to abuse the full memory of the average machine.

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