Does RAM Affect FPS and How Much Do You Need For Gaming?


It is known that the CPU and GPU are the greatest factors in determining the gaming performance of your laptop and to a lesser extent RAM.

In this article, you will find out if RAM really does improve gaming performance apart from the CPU and GPU.

Does RAM Affect FPS?

During gameplay, temporary files need to be frequently stored. The RAM serves as a storage device for such files where they can be retrieved much faster compared to SSDs and HDDs.

If memory runs out the temporary files are then stored on the hard drive. And because its slower than RAM your FPS will take a hit. But, as soon as you upgrade or increase your RAM you will notice an increase in FPS during gameplay.

More RAM or Faster RAM

Because your gaming laptop or PC didn’t have enough memory to store the files, to begin with. The gaming performance and experience drops. The main reason why the question does RAM affect FPS or gaming performance comes from.

To a certain extent, yes, RAM does affect FPS or even improves it and it is truer for laptops with an integrated graphics card or an AMD CPUs.

To put it bluntly more RAM will certainly help increase your FPS or gaming performance but it won’t be as much compared to your graphics card and CPU.

Also, after a certain amount of RAM, the increase in gaming performance becomes negligible.

In the case of integrated graphics, the amount of VRAM it has is directly related to the amount of RAM.

A laptop with an 8 GB RAM and the integrated graphics card is going to have greater performance than one with 4 GB of RAM or memory.

In the case of dedicated graphics cards, having a small amount of RAM e.g 4GB RAM is not going to be sufficient for gaming even if your laptop has an Nvidia RTX 2060.

You will definitely suffer from gaming performance. Luckily, there are no gaming laptops with such a combination.

To put things into perspective CPU and GPU affects FPS the most with RAM coming in at last.

Does RAM Speed Really Matter

What Is More Important Ram Size Or Speed For Gaming?

RAM size or RAM speed which is more important? If you are looking to increase your gaming performance by upgrading your RAM you will definitely come across these two.

Should you get the 8 GB RAM with 2133 MHz or another one with the same size but with 2666 MHz.

Just like the greater amount of RAM your gaming laptop has more temporary files it can store.

This also applies to the RAM speed also known as RAM frequency. RAM frequency commonly known as RAM speed is the number of commands it can process in a second.

The higher the frequency the less time it takes for the files to be retrieved.

If you have a gaming laptop, RAM speed is not that important if you are looking to upgrade.

Because the video RAM on your dedicated graphics card is going to be utilised more than the RAM on your actual gaming laptop.

There won’t be any a lot of performance difference between RAMs with different frequencies coming from the same DDR-family.

But, if you decide to build your own PC budgeting for a faster RAM will reap the greatest return on investment especially if you are going the AMD Ryzen build.

There is also the case of dual-channel memory which can greatly improve gaming performance.

To fully benefit from RAM speed your CPU has to fast enough to go through the files that are being stored in the RAM.

Imagine this, 100s of people entering a room with several entrances and only one exit. The room is always going to be crowded.

Now, what if the room had a lot of entrances? Chances are it will never be crowded. Now the exit is the CPU and the entrance and room are the RAM.

If the processing speed of the CPU is not high enough it is always going to be that way for the RAM, a room full of people.

That is how CPU is very important and something you should consider you going for RAM speed.

Honestly, in gaming laptops, RAM speed is not that important as compared to PC builds for gaming.

Memory Bandwith Calculation

You can use this formula to get the theoretical memory bandwidth or the size of files it can transfer in a second of a RAM.

(RAM Frequency X 64) / 8 = XXXX MB/s

  • For example, if you have an 8 GB DDR3 memory module with 2133 MHz. You can find the memory bandwidth.
  • (2133 X 64) / 8 = 17, 064 MB/s
  • That’s 17 GB/s

How Much RAM Do You Really Need for Gaming – 8 GB, 16 GB or 32 GB?

Back in the day, 4 GB of memory was sufficient to multitask and play games.

Presently that’s not the case because applications are very demanding needing large amounts of memory to run smoothly. Insufficient memory can hurt the performance of your laptop.

These days you need at least 8 GB minimum of RAM to sufficiently run games smoothly. And these minimum requirement will be increased.

dell ram sticks
Dell RAM Sticks

Just look at Arkham Knight you need 12 GB of memory required for smooth gameplay and that was a few years ago. And it is not the only game. Just Cause 3, Dead Rising 3, etc.

Currently, 8 GB of memory is a sweet spot to run games. You won’t suffer major performance issues and increasing the amount of RAM won’t have that much effect on the performance.

But if you are looking to futureproof things 16 GB is the recommended amount of RAM you need for gaming. Having that amount of memory will remove all doubts from your mind.

You will literally experience peace of mind because you won’t need to worry about if your RAM is enough.

It also helps in video editing since such tasks chew up a lot of memory.

32 GB RAM is somewhat an overkill unless you are a big-time video content creator. Having a lot of RAM will definitely help you finish large projects faster.

A small amount of RAM will take the video editing and rendering ages to complete.

To sum it all up, 4 GB is not sufficient anymore for gaming unless you only open chrome tabs, word documents and less demanding tasks.

8 GB is the sweet spot.

16 GB if you are looking to future-proof your gaming laptop and 32 GB for large video editing projects or serious high-resolution gaming.

The Takeaway

RAM really does affect FPS and gaming performance but only happens if you have an insufficient amount, to begin with.

Also, after reaching a certain amount of RAM the increase in performance becomes negligible.

The only exception is video editing or rendering where having large amounts of RAM is definitely an advantage if your budget is able to cover it.

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