Are you building a new PC and want to know how much RAM you need? Techspot has done some investigating, running a series of tests to find out whether you should invest in 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB. As we’ve previously written, 8GB is still the optimal for a hearty rig, but the big surprise is just how little impact (read: basically none) dropping down to 4GB has on gaming performance.
They used a high-end PC to perform the tests, with a new Intel Core i7-6700K (4.0GHz - 4.2GHz) Skylake processor, a GeForce GTX 980 graphics card and DDR4-2666 RAM, in 4GB, dual channel 8GB, and dual channel 16GB configurations. First of all, Techspot tested out some everyday desktop work, and RAM usage maxed out at around 70 percent using 4GB RAM. They note that “once you have enough memory for all your applications to run, having more memory won’t increase performance any further.” So keep that in mind if you know your computing habits won’t exceed the 4 or 8GB mark.
For years, 8GB has been the go-to recommendation for gaming, and it looks like that won’t be changing anytime soon. Techspot tested a few games with 65 Chrome tabs open, and found that they'd guzzle up 9-10GB in a 16GB RAM configuration. And yet in Grand Theft Auto V, both 16GB and 8GB RAM configurations ran at 56 frames per second. Surprisingly, the 4GB configuration only ran one frame slower at 55.
There were similar test results for Batman: Arkham Knight and F1 2015. For the 16, 8, and 4GB configurations, Arkham Knight ran at 102, 101, and 98 FPS respectively. For F1 2015, the results were 109 FPS across the board.
Techspot did run some other tests that showed off increased speed with 8GB and 16GB of RAM, like compressing files with 7-Zip, but for gaming, larger quantities of RAM are still mostly going to waste. You can even get away with 4GB of RAM without crippling your framerate, although 8GB kits go for around $60 on Amazon at the moment.
Check out Techspot’s testing for more details and graphs showing off their results.