Gaming has come a long way since the early days of Pong, PacMan, and Nintendo Game & Watch. According to Statista, there are nearly 3 billion gamers actively playing across the globe today.
This has led to games companies becoming ever more creative and competitive with their releases. Games have gotten bigger and more involved. The days of one guy sitting in a bedroom alone programming a game are largely gone. Nowadays game studios employ huge teams to produce epics that cost millions of dollars to make.
All this creativity and ambition means that home computers have to be able to keep up. Graphics cards, 4K screens, processors, and of course RAM.
How have games changed?
Back in the ’70s and early ’80s if you wanted to play video games you either went to an arcade or used one of the early home video consoles. Alternatively, you may have had a home computer such as a ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64. These computers held between 16K and 64K of RAM.
Let that sink in a little. 16, 32, 48, or 64K of RAM only. This meant that programmers had to find ingenious ways to exploit this RAM to make playable games, and to a large extent, they did. There are many classics from this period that will be held dear by many players.
Things have changed somewhat though. These days there are online multiplayer games for smartphones and back in the 70’s the mobile phone barely existed.
Games today are far more sophisticated and include almost photo-realistic graphics, huge worlds to explore, and real audio soundtracks by professional actors. All of this means that you will need a bit more than 48K of RAM.
How does RAM affect gaming performance?
How much RAM you have installed will make some differences to how well your game runs. If you have a small amount of RAM, say 3GB or 4GB then you may find the game has difficulty loading data. This can result in slower FPS and you having to lower the settings for textures, lighting, and other graphics details.
There are many tricks you can use to improve your Windows experience such as using storage sense but having low RAM can mean you are not playing the game to its full potential. There are two other factors regarding RAM and gaming performance though.
Some games will only access a certain amount of RAM and in these cases having twice the amount required will make no difference to your game’s performance. The second consideration is that you need RAM to run other applications.
Your system will be using RAM, any other background apps you have on will also require RAM so it isn’t just the game’s RAM requirements you need to consider.
How much RAM is best these days for gaming?
If you ask someone what is the best amount of RAM to have they will often say as much as you can afford. When you consider your gaming needs you will be able to get by with many games on 8GB. For the biggest and more RAM greedy games then 16GB would generally be ample. For now.
However, you need to consider something called future-proofing.
What is future-proofing?
This simply means buying a piece of equipment or a device that isn’t just good for today but will be able to be used tomorrow, next week, and next year too.
Because games are getting bigger all the time you might want to consider a higher amount of memory. The best 32GB RAM gaming laptops will be good not just for today’s games but for whatever the gaming industry throws at you in the future.
It is important to consider how long you play when you are in front of the screen. Games are great fun and can be good for developing many skills. On average children between 8 and 18 sit in front of a screen – including TVs – for up to 7.5 hours every day. So it is essential to allow time for physical exercise too.
Taking a break from the screen is likely to make your gameplay better as it will encourage the blood to flow and give you a chance to clear your head.
While many agree that 8GB is often a suitable amount of RAM for most games you also have to consider the future. With nearly 3 billion gamers active and government reports showing that 93% of children in the UK alone play video games, you can probably imagine the games industry will only grow.
As these studios grow so will the games they produce and this means they will require more RAM. If you buy a gaming laptop with 8GB of RAM now you may find yourself in a year playing new releases with choppy frame rates and wish you had future-proofed yourself. That said, you may find 16GB is ideal and lasts for some time.
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