What Does RAM Do for Gaming? [Things You Should Know]

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Dilyan Dimitrov
Written by
Dilyan Dimitrov

Updated · Aug 19, 2023

Dilyan Dimitrov
Gaming Expert | Joined March 2022
Dilyan Dimitrov

Dilyan Dimitrov is a gaming enthusiast who loves playing and exploring new games. His passion for ga... | See full bio

April Grace Asgapo
Edited by
April Grace Asgapo


April Grace Asgapo
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
April Grace Asgapo

April is a proficient content writer with a knack for research and communication. With a keen eye fo... | See full bio

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Playing your favorite games on a PC or laptop is more fun if the games load fast and are lifelike. RAM and its size are a few factors in achieving this enjoyment.

For instance, 51.74% of Steam users have 16 GB of RAM, whereas 21.3% use 8 GB. Sufficient RAM generally boosts device performance and heightens the overall gaming experience. 

Learn about what RAM does in gaming and the essential factors to consider in this informative article.

🔑Key Takeaways:

  • RAM stores and processes data temporarily, allowing for faster game performance than storage devices.
  • Certain games require 16GB or 23GB of RAM to achieve optimal performance.
  • For a smooth gaming experience, it's best to check the RAM speed factors such as speed, DDR designations, number of RAM sticks, and motherboard compatibility. 
  • There are five main RAM specs that you should take note of. They are capacity, speed, module type (DDR4 and SDRAM), and form factor.
  • For everyday browsing, emailing, and other essential tasks, 8 GB of RAM is sufficient. For more intensive tasks like video editing and modern gaming, 16 GB of RAM is best. Lastly, 32 GB may be unnecessary for some users. 

RAM in Gaming: Does It Matter? 

The device must quickly access temporary data when playing games on your computer or laptop. The device's operating system uses RAM and stores the games you open. 

💻RAM Definition: 

RAM (Random Access Memory) is short-term memory in a computer. It temporarily handles information when it has power. 

Games often require 16GB of RAM to perform well. By using RAM, the device can read and write the game's information faster. RAM's speed in running the games' data is quicker than storage devices like:

  • Hard Disk Drives (HDD) 
  • Solid-State Drives (SSD)

Learn more about the elements that surround gaming memory in the following section. 

✅ Pro Tip:

SSDs offer faster performance than HDDs. With an SSD, the device turns on or reboots quickly because of the extra storage. Overall, it is a helpful addition to a great gaming experience. 

RAM for Gaming: Factors to Consider 

To ensure a seamless gaming experience, it’s best to know the RAM factors involved. In this section, learn more about:

  • Clock speed
  • DDR designations
  • Number of RAM sticks
  • Compatibility of the motherboard.

Clock Speed

Clock speed is how fast the RAM accesses data in the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Measuring the memory's speed in accepting new commands is called the clock cycle (megahertz).

The higher the clock speed, the more tasks or data the RAM can handle each second. For example, 2666 MHz RAM processes 2.666 billion cycles per second. 

RAM Sticks’ Number

What RAM sticks do for gaming is help transfer data quickly, improving game performance. The number of sticks depends on your computer's motherboard's RAM slots. 

Dual-Channel Memory 

Some motherboards have dual-channel memory, allowing the system to use two RAM sticks simultaneously. For example, you want to put in 16GB of RAM. Using two 8GB RAM sticks to use dual-channel memory is best.

Quad-Channel Memory 

Other motherboards have quad-channel memory. It means there are four slots for RAM sticks. For 16GB of RAM, you can attach four 4GB sticks. 

Doing so will make it easier for you to replace the sticks if one goes bad. 

Two RAM sticks on a motherboard

DDR Designations

Double Data Rate (DDR) or double pumped and DDR SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory). As its name suggests, it doubles the speed of a RAM clock cycle. 

DDR runs the data to the processor on both clock signals' upbeat and downbeat. 

Due to its usage of both beats to transfer data, it enhances the frame rate of the game. Therefore, better graphics mean fewer visual glitches. 

Motherboard Compatibility

You must know what version of DDR RAM your device’s motherboard supports. Due to technological growth, there are newer versions of DDR on the market:

DDR Versions


Data Rate (Megatransfer per second or MT/s)

Transfer Rate

(Gigabytes per second or GB/s)


2 - Bit

266 - 400

2.1 - 3.2


4 - Bit

533 - 800

4.2 - 6.4


8 - Bit

1066 - 1600

8.5 - 14.9


Bit per Bank

2133 - 5100

17 - 25.6


16 - Bit

3200 - 6400

38.4 - 51.2

When buying DDR support for a device, ensure you know where RAM should be placed. There are a few specs that you need to consider when checking for motherboard compatibility. 


The generations of DDR aren't compatible with each other. You can't plug a DDR2 RAM stick into the motherboard's DDR4 slot. 

RAM details will be discussed in the next section. 

RAM Specifications

You must be aware of the RAM specs to ensure compatibility between the RAM support, your computer or laptop, and games. 

Learn more about the RAM requirements for gaming by reading on.


The RAM capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB). The higher the capacity, the more games can run simultaneously. 

Here are the most common capacities:

  • 4GB - suitable for tablets or smartphones 
  • 8GB - the standard capacity for PCs because it can run games and applications together
  • 16GB - suitable for an optimal gaming experience 
  • 32GB - a future-proof capacity but not suitable for all users; it is good for video editing and heavy games

💡 Did You Know? 

There is separate RAM for gathering and storing image data. VRAM (Video Random Access Memory) is a specialized memory that supports visual display on your computer's graphics card. 


RAM's speed is measured in megatransfers per second (MT/s) or megahertz (MHz). The system responds more quickly when the speed rating is higher. 

Module Type

RAM is in the form of memory modules or sticks. RAM modules that do not fit or are incompatible with the system will not function well. 

If you want to replace the sticks, they should be the same version as the previous RAM sticks. 

For example, modern computers' motherboards support DDR4 RAM—you can't replace it with DDR3. 

Understanding whether the RAM brands you're combining are compatible is crucial. 


First introduced in the 1970s, Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM) is not a regulated clock and is asynchronous. There's no external influence that synchronizes it. 

This system raised a problem in organizing the order of data. DRAM wasn't able to catch up with the upgraded processors. 

On the other hand, SDRAM is synchronous. It depends on a clock to arrange signals, creating an orderly data cycle of fetches and writes. However, SDRAM runs the data on the clock's one edge. 

DDR SDRAM is a memory type that fetches data on both the falling and leading edges of the clock signal. Its upgraded system leads to faster operation. 

The present-day computer standard is DDR4 SDRAM. This memory is the fourth generation of DDR. It features greater capacity, lower voltages, and quicker data transfer rates. 

Clock cycle of SDRAM and DDR SDRAM

Form Factor

Among different generations of RAM, it has two main form factors.


Larger RAM modules include Dual In-line Memory Module sticks. These are for desktop motherboards. Most DIMM RAMs come with built-in features like stylish lighting and heatsinks. 


The Small Outline Dual In-Line Memory Module is compact for laptops, notebooks, and smaller PCs. Comparatively speaking, SO-DIMM slots are half the size of DIMM slots but consume more power.

✅Pro Tip:

As seen under the Motherboard Compatibility section of this article, if the RAM DDR's capacity and speed are high, so is the performance.

Final Thoughts

The gaming industry is estimated to be worth $197.11 billion at its peak. With 3.09 billion gamers globally, the business shows no signs of slowing down and is expected to expand significantly in the years to come.

For an exciting and realistic gaming experience, it's best to have the latest and most compatible version of RAM. Knowing what the game requires in RAM would help you understand how the setup works.


Is 32 GB RAM overkill?

For some users, 32 GB of RAM is too much. For everyday use like browsing, emails, etc., 8 GB of RAM is enough.

Is 16 GB RAM good?

16 GB of RAM is suitable for everyday browsing, emails, video editing, and modern games. 

Is 32 GB RAM good?

Yes. 32 GB of RAM is good if you want graphically enhanced games and have many tabs open while playing. 

What is the fastest RAM?

One of the fastest RAMs is the G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-6000 C36. It is a DDR5, which means a fifth generation of DDR.


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