PC Components

Is 32GB RAM Overkill?

Computer Ram
Quick Answer

In most situations, 32GB of RAM can be considered overkill, but this is not always true. There are situations where 32GB is an appropriate amount to have. It is also a good way to futureproof your PC as requirements increase with time.

In the rest of the article, we’re going to look at the most common quantities of RAM that people use, what they’re appropriate for, whether 32GB of RAM is necessary for gaming, and in which scenarios it is appropriate to use.

What is a Good Amount of RAM to Have?

Almost all PCs have one of three quantities of RAM. Between these three, they fill almost every niche that you could use a computer for. Let’s look at each of them and what they’re appropriate for.

8GB RAM

It wasn’t too long ago that 8GB of RAM would be seen as impressive, but when running a modern operating system and current programs, this becomes a sort of minimum. While you can technically run a modern computer with only 4GB of RAM, its performance will be abysmal and the experience will be extremely frustrating regardless of what you’re doing.

A PC with 8GB of RAM will be sufficient to use for most work situations. If you need a computer for checking and responding to email or to run the Microsoft Office suite, you won’t need more than 8GB of RAM. A computer like this will also be suitable for keeping up with social media, reading the news, or watching videos on YouTube or from streaming services.

16GB RAM

16GB of RAM is often referred to as a sweet spot for gamers. A PC with only 8GB of RAM can struggle to run even games that are a few years old, and it will certainly make it very difficult to alt-tab out of them. When you double up to 16GB, the difference you add picks up all of the slack for a comfortable gaming experience.

16GB of RAM can also make it easier for you to run a lot of programs simultaneously. This isn’t necessary for the functioning of your PC, but it can make the experience more user-friendly. If you’re not on a tight budget, 16GB is the safer option for a general use computer, especially with regard to futureproofing against increasing overall memory requirements.

32GB RAM

Some gamers will build rigs with 32GB of RAM, but this is rarely needed to run games. Although many people may consider this quantity of RAM to therefore be overkill for a gaming rig, it is a practical way of futureproofing your computer to be ready for the games of tomorrow. This saves you having to upgrade, but also allows you to plan out your RAM slots effectively.

32GB of RAM is most common in workstations or personal computers used for high-end specialist applications that need to work with a lot of memory. The most common example among both professionals and hobbyists is software used for editing media.

Is 32GB of RAM Necessary for Gaming?

There are very few games that would benefit from having 32GB of RAM, even at the highest quality settings. The kinds of games that do benefit from this increase in RAM will often only show very small differences. Having 32GB of RAM does allow you to keep a modern game minimized while working in another resource-heavy program with no interruption, though, so it’s not necessarily overkill.

If you’re buying RAM for a gaming PC, it’s more important to pay attention to the speed of the chips. 16GB of RAM operating at high speed will perform much better in video games than 32GB of slow memory.

The most famous example of a game that genuinely benefits from having 32GB of RAM to work with is Microsoft Flight Simulator. The official requirements recommend 16GB but list 32GB as “ideal,” and players have noticed the difference in performance.

What Would You Use 32GB of RAM For?

Other than futureproofing, you can benefit greatly from having 32GB of RAM if you use your computer in certain ways. It might be as simple as having multiple programs running at the same time, or it could be more specific, like media editing.

Parallel Programs

If you’ve ever run a game that just about maxes out your memory usage, you’ll know that it runs fine right up until you attempt to alt-tab out of it. Having a minimized game that’s already using up all of your available RAM leaves little to no memory for anything else, and the result is a very slow computer.

If you want to be able to alt-tab between your games and work software or your internet browser tabs, having 32GB of RAM will allow you to do this without experiencing any slowdowns. On a more practical side, if your work requires you to have a lot of software running at the same time, this quantity of RAM can make this faster, easier, and more practical.

Media Editing

In the same way that 16GB of RAM is the sweet spot for gaming, 32GB of RAM is the sweet spot for media editing. Programs used for manipulating still photos, like Photoshop, will often run perfectly well on systems with 16GB of RAM, but this becomes less true with music production and video editing.

Digital audio workstations that use sound libraries can become very demanding on your RAM the more of these libraries you use. Because they’ll include losslessly compressed or even uncompressed audio samples of the musical instruments, they can fill up your memory capacity very quickly.

Video editing software, like Adobe After Effects, will store each rendered frame in memory without compression to allow you to scrub back and forth instantly. They will also often keep replaced frames in memory to allow you to enable and disable effects without having to wait for the entire clips to rerender with the new settings. This uses up a lot of memory very quickly.

Conclusion

When looking at is 32GB RAM overkill, it’s important to assess the situation. For most gamers, the answer might be yes, but we’ve learned where it can be appropriate and even necessary.

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