How much RAM do I need for 4K gaming?

Everything You Need to Know About RAM for 4K Gaming

There are lots of variables that determine how much RAM you need for gaming, from the size of your monitor to what games you like to play, but one thing’s certain, you don’t want to skimp on RAM just because 4K gaming sounds like it requires so much of it. If you find yourself asking how much RAM do I need for 4K gaming?

This article will help give you an idea of what kind of system can run popular new games on high or ultra-settings at 60 frames per second or more.

To answer that question, we first need to define what 4K gaming is. Generally speaking, it refers to playing video games at 3840 x 2160 pixel (UHD) resolution or on gaming consoles like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. These new console models can play many games in UHD (or higher) resolutions, but their newest releases are rendered in native 4K.

They also support a high dynamic range (HDR), which means they display more colors than typical HDTVs and have a wider color gamut, the range of colors they can display.

While HDR isn’t essential for every game, it adds a noticeable level of realism to some titles, and if you’re going to drop $500+ on a new console anyway, you might as well get something out of it.

How much RAM do I need for 4K gaming?

It depends on your specific computer, but a rough ballpark is about 16GB of RAM. Today’s computers are pretty good at managing their memory, so 32GB may not be necessary unless you plan on running more intensive programs than gaming. If your computer has less than 16GB, adding more will make a difference in how smoothly things run.

Adding additional RAM can also help if you want to use virtual machines or video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X. For those who want to know why it matters, here’s a quick breakdown: A standard HD screen uses 1GB of RAM per frame (30 frames per second).

A 4K screen requires four times as much memory, 4GB per frame, to maintain that same level of performance. While today’s processors are fast enough to handle most games at 4K resolutions, they aren’t able to manage all that extra data coming from your graphics card and monitor simultaneously.

Your system has only so much bandwidth available for moving data around, and when it reaches capacity, some information must wait until there’s room for it before it can be processed. This waiting period is called bottlenecking, and it results in stuttering gameplay or lag.

By increasing your system’s memory capacity, you free up resources for other tasks, which means less bottlenecking and better overall performance.

However, keep in mind that adding more RAM won’t speed up your processor, while faster chips are always welcome, they don’t have anything to do with managing memory.

Does CPU matter at 4K?

CPUs aren’t quite as important when it comes to gaming at ultra-high resolutions. The most popular graphics cards capable of playing games in 4K, such as Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and AMD Radeon RX 6800xt, offer more than enough performance for running modern titles at steady frame rates.

That said, having a powerful CPU can help with other tasks while gaming, such as streaming on Twitch or recording video footage.  So, if you’re planning to do any of those things alongside gaming at 4K, then look for a high-end desktop processor with six or more cores.

With a CPU with more than 6 cores paired with a high-end GPU, you can run any game at 4k resolution without sweating.

What CPU do I need for 4K?

Any six-core CPU from 2017 or later will be able to handle 4K gaming.  If you’re looking to build a PC specifically for 4K, then we recommend an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 as it is one of the best budget CPUs available right now.

It has 6 cores, and a base clock speed of 3.6GHz with a maximum turbo frequency of 4.2GHz which is plenty fast enough for most games at high settings in 4K resolution.

The Ryzen 5 3600 also comes with 16MB of L3 cache and features an unlocked multiplier so overclocking is possible if that’s something you want to do. it also comes with a CPU cooler included in the box.

What Affects the Speed of RAM

When it comes to gaming performance, there are a lot of different factors that affect how fast your PC will run. All else being equal, faster RAM can help boost your game’s performance (although it can’t negate other bottlenecks). There are three main things that affect RAM speed: frequency, timings, and density. Here’s what they mean and how they work.

Frequency describes how many cycles a given amount of RAM can complete per second. A higher frequency means you have more memory bandwidth at your disposal and thus an easier time running lots of data through your system at once.

This is especially important when dealing with high-resolution textures and complicated 3D models as these items consume huge amounts of data.

Timings are basically a set of instructions that tell your RAM how to behave. They’re measured in nanoseconds (ns) and are usually presented in terms of CL (CAS Latency), tRCD (RAS to CAS Delay), and tRP (RAS Precharge).

The exact timings will vary from model to model, but generally speaking, lower numbers mean better performance, for example, CL11 would be faster than CL16.

Density refers to how much RAM is on a single stick or module. For example, if you had two sticks of 8GB DDR3-1600 MHz ECC modules, then you’d have 16GB total with a density of 1GB per stick. Density doesn’t affect speed directly since it simply indicates how much memory there is, however, it does play into pricing and availability.


The amount of memory you’ll need to game at 4K depends on your overall setup. The more powerful your graphics card is, as well as what settings you use in-game, generally leads to a higher amount of required memory. If you’re going to be gaming at 1440p or 1080p instead, then less system memory will be needed.

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