Just How Overkill is 32GB of RAM?

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We’ve all been there, deciding on what parts are perfect for the build, but, one problem arises, just how much RAM do I need? Well if you’re just gaming with nothing else going on in the background, then 8GB should be enough RAM for any games you will come across in the near future. If you’re running things in the background, don’t like just skimming by, or just want some padding, 12-16GB should be good enough for you. So, why then do people like me spend money on 32-128GB of RAM?

Well the answer for this varies. In workstation, rendering, and server environments, more RAM becomes very beneficial, and necessary in some cases. That’s all well and good, but what about your average computer enthusiast like me? Why do we get excessive amounts of RAM? Well, for the most part, because we can. The clear majority of people who have 32GB of RAM or more in their PC, just like me, are enthusiasts. Most of those people will never use all that RAM. I don’t use all that RAM, but I do use quite a bit, I tend to have quite a few of programs running in the background at all times, as well as often playing games. While playing games I may also record my game play for one reason or another.

So, the original question, just how overkill are these systems with 32GB+ of RAM? Well in an enthusiast case, extremely so, but they don’t care. They’re enthusiasts, their computer purchasing choices are not driven by logic. Despite this, on the other end of the spectrum in servers and workstations, although it is not always necessary it is often very helpful. If you’re still interested in buying a 32GB of RAM kit for gaming, well, welcome to being an enthusiast. Just remember, that RAM does not on its own make a computer good, I’ve never understood that misconception. Also, you can buy a 32GB RAM kit here.

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George Johnston-Lunn

Gaming since could handle a mouse and keyboard, although mainly a PC Gamer has a long history with Nintendo Consoles. Main author for the Hardware reviews and the indie game articles. Canadian.

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10 thoughts on “Just How Overkill is 32GB of RAM?”

  1. Wait, so you actually wrote this article to say… nothing, actually? Only thing that it says in the article is that even an enthusiast doesn’t use 32GB and could very well fit in 16GB. Are you even curious what’s your system’s RAM usage when you’re gaming and livestreaming and have 10 other programs open?

    1. The intention of this article was to explain what the purpose of high RAM amounts are in professional settings, and why enthusiasts build these overkill systems. For the most part yes, 16GB is more than enough, but that doesn’t matter to most enthusiasts, as stated in the article. I often monitor my RAM usage while playing games and doing other things, but this was meant to be a fairly short article and benchmarks would have inflated its length.

    1. Very Rarely honestly. Even when running some more heavily modded games, unless there’s a ton of background programs taking it up in the background, I don’t break 8GB. The only time I break 10 GB is when I’m doing editing work, videos or running a ton or programs at one time which is typically an accident more then anything…

      1. Exactly that’s the thing! Noone will even reach 16GB doing normal stuff, even with heavy load, streaming and having a ton of games and programs working it doesn’t even go close to 16GB.
        I am one of those few that sometimes break 16GB *used*, but then this only happens when I run 3 games at the same time (2 instances of World of Warcraft and another game) and an Android emulator and a ton of other programs (and have like 30 tabs open in Chrome). But even for me, probably daily average is way below 8GB.

    2. I often do break 10GB+ used on my system, unlike Brandon. My system uses about 15% of my RAM on idle. This gives an idea of what I keep open in the background and how Windows scales RAM usage depending on your total amount. Due to this scaling in combination with my many loads on the computer I frequently break 10GB+. Although, even if I didn’t I’m an enthusiast, and having some of the best on the market is satisfying. This article was not to deny that 32GB is overkill, just what some practical uses are, and why people get it.

      1. Even 128GB has practical uses. Also don’t know why you don’t have atleast 64GB if having the bests on the market is the thing. Sorry, but I did not find any practical uses for having 32GB mentioned in the article. There are plenty of memory hungry, specialty editing or creating advanced software that would make use of 32/64GB (or more), but neither of them that a gamer would use on a gaming pc.These apps would anyway be used with server grade CPUs, not with the ‘civilian’ desktop cpus.
        Still, articles like these (which are plenty) are making gamers (and not few!) strongly believe that *they really need* 32 GB RAM, while in reality not only they have no clue why, but they will never even reach 50% of it – they’d replace their whole system before they’d be in the position to need more than 16 GB anyway. It is the same with the 6/8GB RAM mobile phones – in reality, there’s not a case when anyone with even an extreme usage would even launch so many apps as to break 4GB RAM, let alone 6GB, let alone 8GB.

        1. Of course it does, I never suggested that large amounts of RAM have no application. 64GB was more than I was willing to spend on one aspect of my computer, and so 32GB is still very top of the line, being the reason I said some of the best, and not the best. That’s a shame, although I did comment on the applications of more RAM, although I did not specifically say 32GB since the same reasoning applies to most high RAM systems. Yes, of course there are, and I did say that in server, workstation etc environments more RAM is often beneficial. The term is “consumer” not “civilian” and there is not always a server grade CPU paired with high amounts of RAM. I very clearly stated at the beginning 8GB is enough for most gamers and this article is all about overkill situations, so I’m not sure where you got that, and I’m sorry you feel that way. I agree that when buying phones people generally get affixed on the less important specifications.

    1. Running programs in the background is kind of essential. Between communication apps, browsers, etc. I don’t know a single enthusiast who doesn’t have multiple things running while gaming.

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