How Much RAM Is Exactly Needed for 4K Gaming? Complete Guide!

Most people ask this question when they buy a new computer. For gaming, specifically for 4K gaming, how much memory do I need? Let’s find out what you need to watch out for and consider before purchasing RAM.

How Much RAM Is Needed for 4K Gaming?

What is the minimum amount of RAM I need to play 4K games? Is it time to upgrade your RAM? What amount of RAM is not enough or too much? Can I make a PC faster by adding more RAM? Do I need DDR4, or is DDR3 enough for 4K gaming?

As gamers, we ask ourselves questions about questions, especially when we opt for 4K gaming. Our aim with this article is to help find answers and keep our and your PCs prepared for all the 4K challenges of the current and future games.

Once you’ve read this article, you’ll know exactly how much RAM is needed – especially for 4K gaming.

Our Recommendations for 4k Gaming:

Here’s our quick guide that applies to most PCs & most uses:

  • 2GB: Only found in low-priced tablets. However, for gaming on laptops or desktops, you will need more. You can hardly play standard games on it, let alone 4K.
  • 4 GB: Usually found in inexpensive notebooks. Suitable for Windows and Chrome OS, too little for 4K gaming, however can run some games like these on lower settings.
  • 8GB: The minimum required for 4K gaming and still plenty for most gamers.
  • 16 GB: The best option for 4K gaming! We recommend this, Plus you’re future-proof with this! 
  • 32GB: Designed mainly for professionals who do video editing, 3D modeling, and other jobs that require a lot of RAM. Too much for gaming. If you’re not one of these people: Over 16 GB of storage is usually a waste of money (more on that below)!

Pro Tip:

Buying too much memory will not improve performance and is not an effective use of your budget.
Your remaining budget can be spent on a powerful CPU or graphics card if you need more 4K performance from your PC.
The CPU and graphics cards are far more valuable than RAM, especially in gaming.

What Kind of Ram Do I Need for 4K Gaming?

To decide on what type of RAM to purchase, we must answer two crucial questions.

Which Motherboard Do You Have?

Before you buy RAM, you should first confirm that it is compatible with your motherboard. 

The worst thing that could happen after purchasing a new RAM set is that the PC fails to start because your motherboard can’t fit the RAMs.

To learn more about which motherboard is inside your case, check out this guide.

In case you know what model of motherboard you have, you can read up on which RAM bars will work with it on the Internet. 

If you search Google with keywords like “RAM”, “Memory”, “Qualified Vendors List” in addition to the product name of your motherboard, you should get an official list of the motherboard manufacturer.

Such a guide will help you make sure to install the right RAM that is compatible with your motherboard.

DDR4 or DDR3 RAM for 4K Gaming?

A few years back, the RAM choice was more complicated. You had to choose between EDO RAM, DDR, RDRAM, or SDRAM. 

All of that is behind us, and you can now choose between two types of memory: DDR3 and DDR4.

What type of storage you need depends on your exact needs and how much you wish to spend on it. The bottom line:

  • Accessing DDR4 memory is the best way to prepare you for the future. This contributes to the motherboards that will be introduced in the future.
  • If you are looking to save some money on RAM, which is a not unthinkable idea considering RAM prices, you might consider DDR3. 

It is essential to keep in mind that DDR4 is only a small price differential from the older standard. In comparison with the DDR3, 16GB of DDR4 will cost you only a few extra bucks. 

If you consider using the fourth generation of the GDR standard, it is probably better to do so.

“Besides that, many of you will have just as much of DDR3 as of DDR4. The differences, especially in gaming, are not significant. The size of the RAM is more important than its speed.”

So the 16GB of DDR3 will be the better choice among 8GB DDR4 RAM and 16GB DDR3 RAM. “

How Much Ram Does 4K Gaming Require?

For 4K gaming PCs, we would recommend 8GB of RAM (or better) that should run current games. 

For AAA games, your recommended system requirements may sometimes be as high as 16GB. But you can still run it on an 8GB system without big problems as long as the rest of the hardware is correct, of course.

Are 8 Gigabytes Enough for 4K Gaming?

Theoretically yes. Just for 4K gaming? Definitely.

Nowadays, very few computers are used exclusively for gaming. When you have two screens and run Twitch on one screen and Discord, Teamspeak, etc., on the opposite screen, you will soon reach your limit of 8 GB.

The Google Chrome browser, in particular, uses 2 to 4 GB of RAM in everyday use. 

With 8GB, if you are a good gamer and shut off all background programs before you start it, there should be no problems. But it gets a little crazy when you want something more than merely the pure game.

Other than 4K Gaming, do you have any other hobbies?

Additionally, you should consider whether you might be interested in image and video processing. A lot more memory is needed here. Video editing software like Premiere and After Effects needs more memory if your videos are longer. Excel can also require a lot from your PC.

You should instead use 16GB here if you want more freedom. 8 GB of RAM is plenty if your focus is on gaming and you do not need much else. 

Anything less isn’t recommended and will lead to problems, especially with AAA games. Likewise, memory above 16GB is only required in special circumstances and is generally overkill.

Do I Need faster RAM for 4K Gaming?

The answer to that question is yes and no. The performance increases up to 2666 MHz, but you won’t notice any noticeable difference in FPS after that. 

Those who would like a deeper dive into the topic can watch the following video. 

Can I Upgrade My Existing RAM for 4K Gaming?

Let’s summarize it: if you’re having trouble playing your current games on 4K consistently but you’re sure it’s not due to your GPU and Processor, then try adding an extra 4GB of RAM.

If you do more, like watching a Twitch stream on the side and finding that this is affecting your gaming performance, it is also a time to upgrade.

Here’s the first problem you will discover, it’s price. Didn’t check RAM prices since 2016? They’re almost double what they were in 2016.

Since the market changed in 2017 because of cloud storage and SSD hard drives, RAM’s supply-demand ratio has become too high.

The question of upgrading is a bit challenging right now. For those on a strict budget, without 100 to 150 bucks to spare for 16GB RAM, maybe you should first close background programs before playing.

Is it Wise To Extend instead of replace for 4K Gaming?

You could also consider just expanding your original RAM if you already have 4 or 8GB installed. Then you will need to find out exactly how much space is available and which RAM is installed on the motherboard.

You cannot use DDR4 RAM if your system is running on DDR3. DDR3 RAM is not compatible with DDR4, so you must ensure that you install compatible RAM.

Generally, it’s not recommended to mix RAM of different speeds. PCs will slow down RAM that has a higher clock rate to work properly with slower RAM, so buying expensive DDR3-2800 RAM if you’re going to combine it with DDR3-1600 RAM makes no sense.

Make sure you have enough free slots on the motherboard since it is of no use to buy two 4 GB modules only to discover that you have only two slots on the motherboard with two 4 GB modules already in them. This is where you will not expand but replace.

How much RAM does a laptop need for 4K Gaming?

Most laptops these days include 8GB of RAM. However, there are entry-level models with 4GB and high-end models with 32GB RAM. Despite the similarities in the daily use of laptops and desktop computers, there are still significant differences.

For beginning gamers, you’ll rarely connect a second screen to a laptop; this frees up RAM, which means that you can be satisfied with just 8GB for 4K gaming. But of course, don’t forget your laptop must have enough GPU power to support such high-end graphics. 

Do I need more than 8GB of RAM for a laptop?

8 GB is generally enough to play in 4K on a laptop.

It is ideal to use a 16GB RAM model if you want to perform other complex processes in addition to gaming. Video and image processing typically consume a lot of memory, so be on the safe side.

It’s OK to exceed that if you really need that much. For example, edit huge image or video files or large Excel spreadsheets.

You should make sure you have enough RAM before buying a laptop since upgrading RAM on a laptop is a hassle.

How many RAM modules do I need?

You may wonder if you should buy more or fewer bars of RAM if you need to increase your RAM’s capacity. For example, you need 16 gigabytes of RAM, and you have to decide between one 16GB module or two 8GB modules.

Having one large memory module will be expensive, and your PC won’t be functional until replacement. Large modules are only worthwhile if you intend to buy another one in the same size later on. Once your slots are full, you cannot expand, and it must be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions About 4K Gaming

The following questions keep coming up on this topic. We gathered the most crucial ones for you, summarized them, and brought them to the point

Does RAM benefit from heat spreaders or heat sinks?

Generally speaking, heat sinks for RAM bars are not necessary unless you are serious about overclocking them. You can save some money by skipping them.

How much RAM do I need for Fortnite?

It is recommended that you use a minimum 8GB of RAM for a smooth gaming experience.

How much RAM do I need for Overwatch?

Our recommendation is 8GB, even though the manufacturer recommends 6 GB.

How about GTA 5?

8 GB is a must, anything else will cause trouble, especially in 4K gaming.

How much RAM do I need for 4K streaming?

At least 8 GB of RAM, but 16 GB is recommended. You’ll have to run the game and stream the upload at the same time on your PC.

16 GB RAM? Does that make sense for 4K Gaming?

Although you can choose 16GB of RAM if you can afford it, most of you will do fine with 8GB. As we said above, only a few games require more than 8GB.

Does 32GB RAM make sense?

I would not recommend it at all for gaming and only in very special circumstances, it will come in handy. In many cases, it is a clear waste of money. 

Is 4GB of RAM enough?

The minimum recommended amount for gaming is 8GB, at the very least. However, if you only intend to use your PC or laptop for work, browsing, etc., 4GB might suffice.

Can you use DDR4 RAM in DDR3 slots?

Not at all. DDR4 RAM will not work with DDR3 processors and vice versa. 

How Much RAM for 4K Gaming – Conclusion

We’ve ended the article, so let’s talk about how much RAM we recommend for 4K gaming and what to buy.

For a pure fun PC that is only used for 4K gaming, 8GB is sufficient but considering future proofing, 16GB is a safe number. Anything beyond that is more suitable for the professional sector. 

If you have only two slots in your motherboard, then you should buy 8 GB of RAM in the form of a bar so that you can eventually upgrade to 16 GB as cheaply as possible.

We hope that we were able to help. If anything’s amiss or we have missed something essential, then please let us know! Everyone enjoys feedback!

Leave a Comment