Running 8GB of RAM? Now's the time to upgrade, as Microsoft seems set to make 16GB the minimum for AI PCs and Copilot

The Corsair Vengeance RGB DDR5-7000 in situ.
(Image credit: Corsair)

For those of you still trucking on with 8GB of RAM, I have some potentially bad news. According to a TrendForce report (via TechPowerUp) Microsoft has set a new baseline for RAM requirements in AI PCs at 16GB, which likely means that 8GB users may finally have to upgrade if they want to keep up with the latest Copilot features. 

This looks like good news for DRAM manufacturers at the very least, but for those of you that have been content to run on 8GB up until now and might be thinking to yourselves that you don't really care for Copilot or AI features anyway, may I suggest that now might be the time to upgrade regardless?

While you might be content to let the integration of AI features in your OS pass you by (and to be honest, given the utility as things stand I wouldn't blame you), the truth is that 8GB has been scraping the bare minimum requirement for a functional PC for quite some time now.  

Beyond gaming, where 16GB remains something of a realistic minimum for anyone playing much beyond lightweight indie releases, the truth is that a modern system with a few basic background programs installed and a reasonable number of browser tabs open tends to fill up 8GB and beyond rather quickly. 

Unless you happen to spend a fair amount of time playing whack-a-mole with your apps, or have a zen-like approach to running the absolute bare minimum of background programs, on a modern Windows machine you're likely to be cresting the limit of your capacity on something of a regular basis. 

While Windows is fairly good on the whole at managing your RAM usage to make sure it has enough space left to run properly, there's only so much the OS can realistically do without dipping into the virtual memory and slowing things down to a crawl.

Moar RAM

An image of the best DDR5 RAM for gaming 2022 on a blue background with a PC Gamer recommended badge.

(Image credit: Future)

Best DDR5 RAM: the latest and greatest
Best DDR4 RAM: affordable and fast

Luckily however, DDR4 and even DDR5 RAM is currently pretty cheap. While this might not be the case for too much longer thanks to manufacturers cutting back on production, as things stand an extra 8GB stick of RAM to take you up to a much more reasonable 16GB remains a relatively small expense, and the difference it'll make to your daily PC usage will be massive. 

For what it's worth, if you happen to be using a device with RAM soldered to the board without the possibility of an upgrade, I do sympathise, but the march of progress does come for us all at some point.

Whether you're interested in taking advantage of AI features to come, or quite happy to ignore them entirely, it's finally time to say goodbye to 8GB as a reasonable minimum requirement. 16GB and up is the future my friends, and we're even virtually at a point where 32GB is becoming a realistic recommended spec for high-end gaming. 

I don't make the rules, but while RAM remains cheap, now may well be the time to get yourself ahead of the game. 

Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.