32 vs 64 GB of memory for gaming

Did the jump in system memory beyond 32 GB deliver an improvement?

  • Big improvement.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Noticeable improvement.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Minor improvement.

    Votes: 9 17.3%
  • No improvement.

    Votes: 43 82.7%

  • Total voters
    52

ochadd

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Curious if gamers and general purpose users who made the jump beyond 32 GB of RAM found it noticeable?

I decided to order an extra 32 GB today for my home machine after seeing some talking heads on Youtube say it's worth it. I'm skeptical but feel I should find out if there's something to be had. I don't stream or chat and I'm the guy who still closes everything when gaming. Single player games of all kinds and often they're AAA titles.

In the days before SSDs, overkill on system memory made sense to me. Since 2017ish I've felt 32 GB was plenty for any game plus a few background tasks. Maybe I've just been ignorant. 64 GB is big enough for two fully patched Windows 11 installs and all my programs to fit with space to spare. Not including the games themselves.
 

BlueLineSwinger

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Almost certainly a waste, IMHO.

Current consoles have 16 GB, and most games are written to operate within that constraint. Jumping to 32 GB might give some extra breathing room and some games can gain a few percentage points, while allowing you to keep some apps like a browser and music player running without impeding things. I just don't see going to 64 GB being any real benefit for a gaming box.
 

TheSlySyl

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I'm gonna say "minor improvement" because I use over 20GB of RAM on RAMDisk, background servers and other programs, which meant that I do, regularly, use more than 32GB of RAM. I'm using 40GB right now!

However, if it wasn't for this, I'd have never touched more than 32GB of ram for purely gaming. I do feel that 16GB isn't good enough these days, however.

For productivity, however, 64GB has been fantastic.
 

Nenu

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I use 16GB with a 3090/10700K and have no performance problems.
What do you think 64GB can improve?

Memory speed matters and you wont get near the high speeds of 16GB if you fit 64GB.
 

ochadd

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I use 16GB with a 3090/10700K and have no performance problems.
What do you think 64GB can improve?

Memory speed matters and you wont get near the

My hope for any improvements might come from allowing Windows to cache more data from disk into system memory. Data that can then be read out of memory instead of going to disk. I don't believe it will affect FPS at all as there have been reviews around forever showing that.
 

Nenu

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My hope for any improvements might come from allowing Windows to cache more data from disk into system memory. Data that can then be read out of memory instead of going to disk. I don't believe it will affect FPS at all as there have been reviews around forever showing that.
Windows doesnt need to cache the game, its the games responsibility if needed.

Memory speed matters though, you need to be aware you cannot get 64GB ram thats as fast as 32GB or 16GB.
 

dasa

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If your 2x16GB sticks are single rank then there may be a small FPS improvement by adding two more.
But if they are dual rank depending on the platform adding two more sticks may require you to lower the RAM speed to make the memory controller stable.

If your existing sticks are a fair age then there is also the risk that they have changed the chips used on the new RAM sticks so that you will have two dual rank sticks and two single rank sticks and while this may work fine it increases the chance of the MB having compatibility issues.
 

LukeTbk

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Benchmarking in general tend to like very repeatable-similar outside a single variable affair (i.e. often unrealistic for people that do not have a dedicated to game PC, so even if 32 gig show little benefit over 16 (or 16 over 8 for many scenario) in a ideal clean fresh install, in reality it could show up (I imagine something very true for harddrive has well).

That said the way mainstream unmod game are made, no effort will be made to take advantage of having 50 gig of ram available, even a early build of flight sim before all the optimization of today where 32 was needed:


Massive 10x jump in the low 1% to go from 16 to 32 gig and good difference in average FPS, but absolutely nothing gain from going to 64 (often a tiny mini bit slower). I am sure there is a less mainstream giant simulation space game and some mod for the City Skyline game type that could use some of it too, but I have not a single mainstream unmodded game example that come to mind that benefit from going to 64 gig or obviously if you like to close all your Chromes tabs before playing a game.

Do you remember the reason-data given by those talking head ? I am not sure future proofing make ever any sense when you add extra part to a system like extra ram (or with DDR5 coming), has you could just do it when it will become necessary usually at a rebate.
 
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pitingres

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RAM usage / requirements is typically a step function. If you don't have enough, performance is dire (for values of "dire" generally between 2x to 100x, depending on situation). Once you have enough, adding more adds little benefit in general. Most OS's use excess RAM as a file cache, so if your usage typically refers to the same file(s) many tims, having some excess RAM might help. This is rarer than one might imagine.

If you go really crazy with RAM, you can actually slow things down a wee bit, since physical RAM needs memory structures to track it; so gross excess of RAM might involve a gross excess of in-memory data to track said RAM.
 

duronboy

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I think the big difference happens when we go to 512GB RAM and everything's in RAM, always.
 

TheSlySyl

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My hope for any improvements might come from allowing Windows to cache more data from disk into system memory. Data that can then be read out of memory instead of going to disk. I don't believe it will affect FPS at all as there have been reviews around forever showing that.
There are programs that help with this already. Check out https://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/primo-cache/ . I've been using it for years, mainly so I can use SSDs as Cache for spinning drives, but you can also use RAM as a cache for any and all hard drives and it makes a big difference. Just having a 6 gig ramcache on my OS drive means that windows uses my RAMcache instead of hitting my SSD over 50% of the time. Increasing speed and SSD wear. Also makes a pretty big difference for game load times, as I keep my games on a spinning HDD with a 1 TB nvme cache so my games can be moved in and out of cache as I play em automatically, without having to move things around manually.
 

gamerk2

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Realistically, I can see cases where 32GB could start to get filled; Warzone comes pretty close on my PC (~80% used @ 4k). But pretty much any other title barely hits half that, so I wouldn't expect many (if any) games to have any effect whatsoever above 32GB.

Current consoles have 16 GB, and most games are written to operate within that constraint.
Eh, that's now how games are coded. Even consoles have paging nowadays, so it's not like 16GB RAM use is a hard limit anymore. And given PCs have much more graphical options/resolution support and runs a non-embedded OS RAM usage in particular isn't going to track with console HW requirements. I consider 16GB RAM to be the absolute MINIMUM for gaming PCs, with 32GB being the preferred setup for anyone doing more then 1080p output.
 

ochadd

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Here are a couple videos that got me thinking. I've never run 64 GB outside of a server before so figure I'd try it.


 
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There are programs that help with this already. Check out https://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/primo-cache/ . I've been using it for years, mainly so I can use SSDs as Cache for spinning drives, but you can also use RAM as a cache for any and all hard drives and it makes a big difference. Just having a 6 gig ramcache on my OS drive means that windows uses my RAMcache instead of hitting my SSD over 50% of the time. Increasing speed and SSD wear. Also makes a pretty big difference for game load times, as I keep my games on a spinning HDD with a 1 TB nvme cache so my games can be moved in and out of cache as I play em automatically, without having to move things around manually.
SSD wear is not really a problem though. And now that they have come down in price so much there's little reason to use mech drives for gaming.
 

Domingo

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If you're running a boatload of background apps then more RAM can make a difference. When I started working from home I'd pop in and play game on my breaks. I'd keep a slew of Adobe CC apps open and running, along with Teams, a browser, Office apps, etc. 32GB definitely made a difference vs. 16BG, but 64GB seems like overkill. If you're just straight up playing games without a bunch of other shit running I doubt it'll make any difference at all. At least assuming you aren't purchasing faster RAM or something.
 

TheSlySyl

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SSD wear is not really a problem though. And now that they have come down in price so much there's little reason to use mech drives for gaming.
I have over 10 terabytes of games installed at the moment. Different styles for different people. For me, a spinning disk + Ramcache is way, way, way more convenient than uninstalling and reinstalling, or moving things around, etc. Hell, i'd have more games installed but my game drive is only a 12TB.
Also. SSD wear is definitely a concern.
1661448579661.png

I'm a bit harder on my hardware than most.
 

Eshelmen

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I occasionally hit near 16gb used in games, but it's really rare to exceed it. Most certainly because I have some chrome windows up or a few other things in the background running too.

32 GB has been a sweet spot for me even though I've never used even close to that (20GB tops I think), but for gaming in general?! Even 32 GB is excessive.
 
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blackmomba

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I fired up watchdogs2 when it came on Xbox pass on a machine with 8gb of ram and despite getting warnings about the framerate being unstable, the game was pretty playable

Ubisofts client is crazy bad though so I wouldn't be surprised if it was that gobbling up more ram than necessary
 
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I have over 10 terabytes of games installed at the moment. Different styles for different people. For me, a spinning disk + Ramcache is way, way, way more convenient than uninstalling and reinstalling, or moving things around, etc. Hell, i'd have more games installed but my game drive is only a 12TB.
Also. SSD wear is definitely a concern.
View attachment 503759
I'm a bit harder on my hardware than most.
Okay but you must know you're in the .0001% that keep 10tb of games installed. I bet I could install every game I have and it wouldn't be close to 10tb....
 

GotNoRice

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The only real reason I went with 64GB is so that I could have several VMs open in the background without my gaming performance being impacted. I also do plenty of other things in the background that use a fair amount of RAM. Extra RAM for Superfetch, etc is a nice bonus.
 

Eshelmen

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Okay but you must know you're in the .0001% that keep 10tb of games installed. I bet I could install every game I have and it wouldn't be close to 10tb....
Just got an 8TB NVME SSD and went HAM.
I installed every steam game that I could have any sort of interest in playing. RDR2, ESO, Ark(all maps), Hell Let Loose, Destiny 2, Witcher 3, Cyberpunk, PUBG, Hunt Showdown and many others (probably 30 to 40 in total).

I then went and moved over to Battlenet. Downloaded Warzone(campaign, MP, coop,etc), Overwatch, all the Diablos, StarCrafts, WOW(not subbed), WOW classic(not subbed either),

Then on to EGS and installed basically all the games I had, Borderlands 3, Fortnite, free games, etc..

Then I went to the Ubi platform and downloaded all the games I had on my account (like five or six AC games, Far cry 3,4,5 and 6(includes HD pack), Rainbow Six Siege, Division 1&2, etc.

Then I went to Origin- Titanfall 2, all of the battlefields I had (BF3, BC2, BFV, BF2042, etc), Battlefront 1 and 2, all of the Mass Effects, Sim4, etc..

Literally at about 4 TB in total. And that's with trying to fill my 8TB drive with games - games I haven't played in years nor probably will ever...

10 TB in games is just nuts.
 
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funkydmunky

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Maybe 64GB for MSFS2020 or DCLS or other intensive sims. Just a guess and based on nothing. I would think if true the gains would be minimal or if significant then reliant on a very precise scenario that isn't common.
 

DogsofJune

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The only box I considered 64 or greater in was the Threadripper system. More cores more ram. I could see little value into moving beyond 32 just yet for the majority of my boxes.

With the exception of a older Nuc, which is limited to 16, everything else I have is at 32. For my use case that’s plenty.

Although, I’m about to pull together a new 12th gen Intel box for Plex duty and gaming. I currently have only 16 gig of ddr5 for it. I’ll kick it around the block a bit, but it’ll end up at 32 gig here soon enough. Just for the “I have headroom” feeling
 
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Just got an 8TB NVME SSD and went HAM.
I installed every steam game that I could have any sort of interest in playing. RDR2, ESO, Ark(all maps), Hell Let Loose, Destiny 2, Witcher 3, Cyberpunk, PUBG, Hunt Showdown and many others (probably 30 to 40 in total).

I then went and moved over to Battlenet. Downloaded Warzone(campaign, MP, coop,etc), Overwatch, all the Diablos, StarCrafts, WOW(not subbed), WOW classic(not subbed either),

Then on to EGS and installed basically all the games I had, Borderlands 3, Fortnite, free games, etc..

Then I went to the Ubi platform and downloaded all the games I had on my account (like five or six AC games, Far cry 3,4,5 and 6(includes HD pack), Rainbow Six Siege, Division 1&2, etc.

Then I went to Origin- Titanfall 2, all of the battlefields I had (BF3, BC2, BFV, BF2042, etc), Battlefront 1 and 2, all of the Mass Effects, Sim4, etc..

Literally at about 4 TB in total. And that's with trying to fill my 8TB drive with games - games I haven't played in years nor probably will ever...

10 TB in games is just nuts.
Yeah it just makes no sense imo. Unless your internet has oppressive download caps or horrible speeds. I have 500Mbit and most games can be downloaded/installed in less than 10min. So I just uninstall most after I finish them and keep my saves.
 

TheSlySyl

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Just got an 8TB NVME SSD and went HAM.
I installed every steam game that I could have any sort of interest in playing. RDR2, ESO, Ark(all maps), Hell Let Loose, Destiny 2, Witcher 3, Cyberpunk, PUBG, Hunt Showdown and many others (probably 30 to 40 in total).

I then went and moved over to Battlenet. Downloaded Warzone(campaign, MP, coop,etc), Overwatch, all the Diablos, StarCrafts, WOW(not subbed), WOW classic(not subbed either),

Then on to EGS and installed basically all the games I had, Borderlands 3, Fortnite, free games, etc..

Then I went to the Ubi platform and downloaded all the games I had on my account (like five or six AC games, Far cry 3,4,5 and 6(includes HD pack), Rainbow Six Siege, Division 1&2, etc.

Then I went to Origin- Titanfall 2, all of the battlefields I had (BF3, BC2, BFV, BF2042, etc), Battlefront 1 and 2, all of the Mass Effects, Sim4, etc..

Literally at about 4 TB in total. And that's with trying to fill my 8TB drive with games - games I haven't played in years nor probably will ever...

10 TB in games is just nuts.
I have nearly 2000 games on steam alone, and thats not counting other pc game stores or emulators and roms. I have nearly complete catalogs of every console prior to PS3. Mostly for archival purposes. (i own thousands of physical games as well)

People have different game tastes and requirements.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hell, with a lot of modern games being 50-150GB, and a few well over that (looking at you MSFS2020), a terabyte can be filled in less than 10 games. Especially when you get into mods.
 

Eshelmen

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I have nearly 2000 games on steam alone, and thats not counting other pc game stores or emulators and roms. I have nearly complete catalogs of every console prior to PS3. Mostly for archival purposes. (i own thousands of physical games as well)

People have different game tastes and requirements.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hell, with a lot of modern games being 50-150GB, and a few well over that (looking at you MSFS2020), a terabyte can be filled in less than 10 games. Especially when you get into mods.

I'm not knocking you - moreso impressed. All the power to ya if you got that many.
 

Sycraft

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More memory doesn't help unless you need it. Memory is one of those things where it is the most critical thing to increase when you don't have enough, but once you do more doesn't help. While games could, in theory, pre-cache assets in RAM to slightly speed up load times, they don't. So you want to have enough RAM to hold however much a game needs, plus Windows, plus any background programs. As a practical matter, 16GB generally does the trick unless you run a shitload of background apps. 32GB is more than plenty.

That's probably change with time, as things go up, but I've yet to play a game that used 16GB by itself, much less more. Windows + browser + discord + lots of other misc stuff is going to be 6GB, maybe 8GB, so you still have plenty free with 32GB.
 

ochadd

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Got my new memory installed. Exactly the same timings. Crucial Ballistix DDR4 3600 16-18-18-38 4x16GB.
I'll have to live with it for awhile to see if there's any noticeable improvement but the copy numbers according to AIDA64 improved by 11.5 GBps. Probably from four sticks vs. two. Slight latency hit but gains in read and write of about 1 GBps. I have an old version of Aida64 so it doesn't display properly.
Before
1661808749058.png


After
1661808711872.png
 

gamerk2

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More memory doesn't help unless you need it. Memory is one of those things where it is the most critical thing to increase when you don't have enough, but once you do more doesn't help. While games could, in theory, pre-cache assets in RAM to slightly speed up load times, they don't. So you want to have enough RAM to hold however much a game needs, plus Windows, plus any background programs. As a practical matter, 16GB generally does the trick unless you run a shitload of background apps. 32GB is more than plenty.

That's probably change with time, as things go up, but I've yet to play a game that used 16GB by itself, much less more. Windows + browser + discord + lots of other misc stuff is going to be 6GB, maybe 8GB, so you still have plenty free with 32GB.
Yep, games *could* pre-cache, but that all goes to pieces if some other program comes along and tries to allocate RAM. As a general rule: Don't cache more then yo need, as on a general purpose OS you can *not* assume you have exclusive access to any HW resources.
 

Starfalcon

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When I built my current system I went with 64GB just for the heck of it as an upgrade from my previous system with 32GB. I knew I would likely never need that much, but I do keep my systems for a long time, and who knows what the future will bring. Plus having all 4 slots full looks better then 2 empty ones, plus having to hunt down a compatable or similar set years later is a pain to do.
 

ochadd

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When I built my current system I went with 64GB just for the heck of it as an upgrade from my previous system with 32GB. I knew I would likely never need that much, but I do keep my systems for a long time, and who knows what the future will bring. Plus having all 4 slots full looks better then 2 empty ones, plus having to hunt down a compatable or similar set years later is a pain to do.
This was a driving factor for me as well. I think Crucial Ballistix is going away and figured I might as well get a matched set. My bet is that many years from now my 10 core 64 GB system is still serving a useful purpose. An old i7 2600k system of mine is still someone's daily driver.

I'm three days into using 64 GB and I can't say for sure that anything changed. Only game I'm playing is Watch Dogs Legion and it uses 7GB all by itself even with reduced settings. Throw in the overhead of Ubi launcher, Epic launcher, and Aurora cheat engine and I'm more than 8 GB used just for the game related applications. Windows has 23 GB cached on top of that. Have not seen any normal usage drive it north of 32 GB yet. I did have an incremental backup kickoff while I was gaming one night and didn't notice it until Easus threw the "completed sucecssfully" prompt. I normally would feel this happen with some lag.
 

dvsman

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This gear bump will only reap a benefit if you are multi-tasking that NEEDS that additional ram. Otherwise, it won't do a thing.

I like to play games and have a chrome or some other browser + tabs open at the same time (as a background TV basically) and 64gig helps if the tabs are getting kind of piggy / hogging up stuff, especially video apps.
 

Kirika

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For just gaming 32 gb - 64 gb makes no difference but if your multi taking or running virtual machines more ram is good. I tend to have adobe apps open while having multiple games open while running a few virtual machines in the back around I was actually running out of ram regularly with 64 gb so updated to 128 gb but mine is rare use case.
 

Dan_D

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I had 64GB of DDR4 in my last machine and 32GB of DDR5 in this one. It's made absolutely zero difference. Actually, the new configuration is faster than the old one. I'm also gaming at 4K, etc. You will not need any more than 32GB of RAM for gaming for quite some time.
 
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I am going to go for 64GB in my next build because my last 2 builds have been 32GB. Not because it is faster, but because I don't want to deal with needing any more ram for the next 5+ years. I typically upgrade 3 gpus or so on a single mobo/cpu setup and so the additional ram saves me the headache in the long run. No way I would use 16 or 32 gb in a current build 64 is definitely my target no matter in fact I want a 6000 or 6400mhz kit in dual channel 2x32GB modules and I'm good for the next 5-7+ years easy.
 

Armenius

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I use 16GB with a 3090/10700K and have no performance problems.
What do you think 64GB can improve?

Memory speed matters and you wont get near the high speeds of 16GB if you fit 64GB.
I needed to temporarily run 16GB because I accidentally scored my motherboard near the RAM slots, and Slot A was the only one working. I frequently ran into issues with running out of memory doing things I normally did with 32GB. 32GB is the minimum amount I would recommend to people these days.
 

ochadd

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A week into living with 64 GB and it wasn't the smartest purchase. If there is a difference in system responsiveness I can't tell. In my screenshot below Windows cached 52 GB after I had benchmarked AC Valhalla, Watchdogs Legion, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider earlier that day. Some web browsing and a system backup done as well.

I have seen Windows in use + cache more than 32 GB many times now under normal use but the benefit isn't noticeable. I'm glad I know but wish I would have spent the extra $ on more video card. The $170 that went towards RAM would have put me within $60 of a 3090 instead of a 3080 ti.

I'm hoping EVGA step-up will get me into a 4080 or 4090 either way.


1662577003755.png
 
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