The age old question 16gb of RAM or 32?

I always thought that 16gb should be enough and 32gb is a dual channel nice to have boost, that being said, I have found lately more games are hitting the 16gb usage mark.

Most users will have an opinion on this and that's fine, just bare in mind YOUR use case scenario when talking about this.

Lately, I have seen a few games hitting and going over the 16gb mark, I had Dragons Dogma 2 sit at 17gb for a while. Baldurs Gate 3 was sat at 16gb fairly frequently too. I know Windows can cache ram for random crap, but I'm using a clean install with only stuff I use on here. Before anyone brings up other apps, Steam, HWinfo, MSI Afterburner and Throttlestop were the only other apps running at the time. Hilariously, I started Fallout New Vega and modded the hell out of it and that still only uses around 9gb or RAM.

Why does this question matter?
Let me tell you why, if more and more games are going to hit and exceed 16gb or RAM usage (total, I know the game themselves don't use that much), you will NEED to upgrade to 32gb. Because, when you hit that RAM cap, your system dumps it into the storage instead which will cause major stuttering and slow downs as this is not how it is meant to work. Not only that, but that will thrash SSDs as you're constantly rewriting on the same blocks.

Take into account smaller form factor laptops that use soldered LPDDR5X and the likes, aftermarket upgrades may not be an option. Unless you know a wiz with a rework station and who can adjust BIOS settings to make it recognise the new chips too. That and it will be more expensive to have that adjusted post sale than ordering a machine with more to start with.

So, good people of the forum, how is your RAM usage?

  • I've got 64GB RAM in one gaming rig and 32GB in the older one and also my laptop. 16GB has been good enough for about a decade but I honestly think it's now the absolute minimum and any PC sold with 8GB (gaming or otherwise) is going to struggle massively to even run windows and a few browser tabs, plus one or two basic programs.

    Just like a single 512GB nvme does not cut it for gaming devices. 1TB should be the new standard installed by OEMs. 

    Half the RAM in my Legion Slim 7 is soldered, there were two options for this laptop as it was customisable. 16GB soldered with an empty slot or have them fit another 16GB in the factory for me. I chose to have it maxed out for RAM at the time of purchase to avoid any future complications but also because there were multiple offers on through which I combined codes and got the 16GB extra RAM, an upgrade to a 1TB nvme and an RGB keyboard added and still paid less than the price of the unconfigured base model. I have since added a 2TB WD_Black SN850X nvme

    I haven't been monitoring RAM usage because I have had the luxury of not needing to as I'd rather just get seemingly more than enough installed at the time of purchase for laptops or assembly for desktops since I usually build my own. I do use a couple of my systems for work too and that includes the laptop. Quite often I'm running virtual machines, CRM and accounting software while watching twitch streams, using discord and/or helping customers remotely all off the same machine.

    DirectX 12 games can use DirectStorage, but you also need a system capable of supporting that. The requirements are that games are stored on a gen3 upwards nvme with 1TB or higher capacity. That feature does reduce the load on the CPU and system RAM as the GPU loads files directly instead of the CPU decompressing files and then sending them to the GPU, which raises another factor. You need a decent amount of VRAM too nowadays.

  • I mean, I never NEED to monitor it, I just have MSI AB up so I can see what's going on at times. Especially when tuning the CPU and GPU parameters. It becomes a habit to have the overlay there sometimes.

    Hmmm, I wonder if the LP7i is direct storage compatible?

    You definitely need 32gb minimum for your type of work/play. 

  • For me because I use multiple web browser tabs for my day to day. With pinned tabs and research etc. 32GB tends to be more than enough. 16GB have to make sure I'm under 50 tabs. 

  • Dragon's Dogma 2 is known to overextend hardware for what it needs, so I'm not surprised the RAM usage is up there, and Baldur's Gate 3 is pretty graphics intense as well.

    I think you'd be hard pressed to find any new machines having less than 16GB which I would assume to mean that's the (new) minimum. My old laptop has 16GB and I can feel it start to struggle when too much is going on (tons of open tabs plus games plus a few other programs). I wouldn't say we're at the stage where you NEED 32gb yet, but we're very close.

    I'm thinking of making the upgrade to 32 but I'm unsure if it's worth it on this machine or if it would be better to get a new one with a better GPU and just upgrade the RAM on that straightaway. But as you said, with some laptops not offering the option for aftermarket upgrades, I may be out of luck - which I think is kind of unfair, by the way!

  • LP7i should be as long as you have at least 1TB in one of the nvme slots

  • Some of the LOQ and IdeaPad Gaming products still come with 8GB RAM

  • We are definitely approaching 32GB with some games, but for now 16GB are enough.

    But for new users that are planning to buy a new PC I would definitely recommend to check that the motherboard allow 32GB of ram.

    32GB are definitely a must now for people working with heavy files and processing (video , audio ).

    You have a good point regarding the life span of SSD due to the increase workflow and amount of usage, for me is definitely an issue If SSD life span decrease.

  • Dogma sure as hell needs more optimising, I hope they release more fixes soon.

    I mean soldered RAM is usually ecause of space issues with smaller laptops, building the traces around hard mount is likely less of a bind than building them around sockets. As well as the sockets needing more space due to SODIMM sizes.

    Harsh that it becomes a locked in affair, but at the same time, it will be documented before you buy the machine so the option is yours at the time. Seems like 32gb is definitely going to become the norm. Especially with them pushing AI into the OS too, more bloat in the background you cant switch off.

  • I need 32 GB and should upgrade to 64. 16 GB aren't enough for all the browser tabs I have open at the same time and for 3D renderings 32 GB are sometimes not enough, so 64 GB is my new target.

  • Yeah, I run into the same problem when browsing, 16 GB is really not enough anymore and for how long will 32 GB still be enough, 64+ GB is the future.