Is 8GB of RAM Enough In 2018?


The original inspiration for this video came when Alex craftily turned the Surface laptop he’d just finished writing the review for into his daily driver, and realized that our model, unfortunately only has 8GB of RAM, with no way to upgrade it. But does that matter? Well, the commonly held wisdom for years has been that, unless you’re some kind of power-user, 8GB ought to be enough for everyone. Well, hold on. With Windows 10 and Chrome devouring memory like Kobayashi at a hot dog-eating contest, we’ve been regularly seeing memory usage over 20GB just from web browsing on our writing workstations. So, we started an investigation. EK Water Blocks’ MLC Phoenix lineup is designed around Quick Disconnect Couplings, and brings a modular approach to connecting and expanding your water-cooling loop. Learn more at the link below. *plink plink* *intro music plays* So, our testing rig has a Core i7-7700K, a GTX 1080Ti, and a 1TB SATA SSD. Then, we equipped it with 4, 8, 16, or 32 gigabytes of RAM. At each stage, we tracked pagefile usage with Performance Monitor, then, opened up tasks until we noticed activity. Once you reach the threshold where the system starts to swap data out of RAM and onto the boot drive, you might not necessarily see the system slow to a crawl or anything like that, but you could see a dip in performance or responsiveness if a tab or an application that you go to access has already been paged to your SSD or your hard drive. So first up is Chrome. We’ll be looking both at how many Chrome tabs are open when Windows starts using pagefile, and how many are open when Chrome eventually becomes unusable. Bear in mind that not all tabs behave identically, I’ve seen some use 2GB of RAM on their own, but, we chose a mix of webpages that we feel should be representative of typical browsing behavior. With 4GB of RAM, we actually hit the pagefile with just 5 tabs open, and then after 13, Chrome crashed. Alrighty then. With 8GB we got to a respectable 25 tabs before any of them got swapped out, and managed 40 before the situation went totally south. With 16GB of RAM, we reached a fairly unreasonable 80 tabs open before pagefiling, and then Chrome finally crashed at around 180, then with 32GB of RAM we got all the way to 165 tabs before paging, and, frankly we didn’t feel like going through actually kind of laborious process of opening and loading 350 to 400 webpages in Chrome tabs, just to see the program fail. I mean, if you want that many tabs, you’re kind of doing it wrong, and this is coming from me. So, let’s move then into gaming. If all you’re doing is playing a game, I think you might actually be surprised by how little RAM you actually need. “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” for example, which recommends 12GB of RAM, didn’t suffer too badly, even with only a single 4GB stick. Although, with that said, “Rise of the Tomb Raider” had some serious issues that were only sorted out by bumping up to 8GB of RAM. After that, though, performance didn’t change for either of them when we jumped to 16GB or 32GB. So okay then. 8GB for gamers? Actually, maybe not. I mean, what if, *whoo* you don’t painstakingly close down all of your running applications every time you launch Steam? For those folks, we popped open our 10-tab test suite and an instance of Discord, to see if 8GB could handle it. And, surprisingly enough, there was no difference at all, with the exception of “Rise of the Tomb Raider”. That game seems to really love its RAM. So then, depending on the game, you probably won’t need 16GB of RAM to play it, but, it won’t give you a ton of breathing room for the future, and you might need to limit your background tasks for the best experience. So then, what does anyone need more than 8GB of RAM for? Well, I would argue that, any kind of workstation is going to want at least 16, and you might be surprised to find out that even more is pretty common for those kinds of systems. Alex actually has a number of Excel documents from his engineering days that, believe it or not, will not even open on a computer with 8GB of RAM, and has had some simulations of fluid flow or suspension movement that crash out, even with 16GB of RAM. Video editing can also be very demanding. But, this is heavily dependent on your workload. If you’re cutting together short to medium-length 1080p videos, 16GB should be plenty. But, the sky is the limit here. If you use tools like After Effects, you can expect 16 to be an absolute minimum, and as the complexity of your project increases, so does your RAM requirements. Our latest season of “Scrapyard Wars”, for example, because of how darn much footage was in the timeline, immediately crashes with anything less than 64GB of RAM. Although, for more information about how much RAM you need for video editing specifically, you can check out our video here, where we tested it with up to 128. Now, it should be noted that all of what I’m saying concerns system memory, and not video memory, which is used for loading in 3D objects and textures for your graphics card’s use. This is very important for games, and also professional applications, but is probably a discussion for a different video, one I can almost guarantee will end with, “well, it depends.” 😉 One interesting side note before we wrap up is that as we moved up from 4GB of RAM, our system boot times actually got slower. It was only at most a second more, but, (and this is cool), if you’re aware of a Windows feature called SuperFetch, it actually makes sense. SuperFetch tries to intelligently pre-load some programs into RAM so that they’ll launch faster when you need them. So the idea is that if you run out and buy excess memory, it can still be used for something. Which doesn’t mean, though, that we’re saying to do that. As you might have noticed, RAM prices are out of control right now, so our recommendation for general users and gamers is: 8GB, if you’re looking to scrape by and be ready to upgrade later, and 16GB if you wanna be comfortable for a while. As for the workstation users out there, well uh, it depends. 😉 And you know what else it depends on? Yeah, it doesn’t depend on that at all, forget it. Corsair’s new Light Loop fans. These things look freaking incredible. They have dual RGB lighting loops with 16 independent RGB LEDs in every fan, that are split between two separate loops, allowing for nearly endless customization. The included Corsair Lighting Node PRO enables dynamic lighting effects with other Corsair LINK-supported devices, and they’ve got complete PWM controls so they can be controlled anywhere from 600RPM all the way up to 1500RPM depending on whether you want them to be quieter, or cool more efficiently. So check ’em out over at the link in the video description, because come on, baby. It’s RGB.You know you love it. So thanks for watching, guys, if this video sucked you know what to do, but if it was awesome, get subscribed, hit that like button or check out the link to where to buy the stuff we featured in the video description. Also down there is our merch store which has cool shirts like this one, and our community forum, which you should totally join.

100 thoughts on “Is 8GB of RAM Enough In 2018?

  1. i play need for speed payback on 1680x1050p (as thats my monitor res ) and on msi afterburner i get shown to use fairly over 7 gig most of the time so i think 8 gigs of ram is saying give me more RAAMMMM

  2. now repeat with an HDD instead of SSD,a videocard with less memory than your ram,and maybe a worst proccesor.wait for the results before tell me that these parts has nothing to do with this test.
    swapping the HDD for an SSD on my 4GB ram laptop was enough to avoid the constant freezings caused by chrome tabs opening.

  3. i bought 32gb of ram last year, just cause it was on sale. I never see more than 7 gigs being used at any given time.

  4. I'm happy with Firefox, the best browser EVER! I could go upto 10-15 web pages on Firefox on a 2GB RAM! Google Chrome sucks everytime I use it on my PC. I hate it on my phone as well.

    I'm on an 8GB RAM from a year.

  5. Shortly:

    For Windows 10 and Chrome: NO
    For Windows 8.1/7/older and chrome: YES

    Reason: Windows 10 background spyware and that talking searching voice bitch or whatever it's called eat up tons of RAM.

    I have Windows 8.1 on my 16GB DDR3 Laptop and Chrome works fine with 20 windows and 500 tabs opened with Fallout 4 (2015) running in the background

  6. When I built my machine I put in 64GB because if I'm editing video I don't want to ever drop down to sdd or god forbid hdd speeds. Interestingly, Tom Girl Gamer and I are the only 7 days to die users that I iknow of who never drop frames. No stutters, no jitters, no nothing. She also has 64GB on her build. People always say things, like don't have any trees visible from your horde base or you'll stall out enough that it will impact your ability to fight the horde. No problem with 64GB.

  7. i currently using 8gb single stick… i just orderd another 8gb ram.. to make it dual channel…. can't wait for 8gb kingston hyperx fury

  8. It’s pretty simple really. 8 GB of RAM is absolutely NOT Enough for Linus!

    I did 32 GB of RAM in my new PC I built.

  9. I have to render this simulation of 27 rocket engines firing and fold 100 of these proteins by midnight, 8GB, dont fail me now.

  10. I had a 2ghz dual core laptop with only 2gb of ram that could run 25 tabs easily most being dailymail tabs with video clips. Since that laptop broke down I've never used another laptop with the same specs that was that fast.

  11. I'm using 8GB of RAM in 2019 on a laptop being used to get certified to become an Information Technology System Administrator.

  12. I remembered this once was my top upgrade in 1990 for my 486DX2, I spent about $100 for 8GB memory (at the time $100 was a quite lot, you can buy a used car for $500).

  13. i rely on adobe softwares. They don't actually eat up that amount of ram unless you're using adobe after effects or premiere.
    4GB you can run adobe photoshop and illustrator side by side but yea, an extra 4GB will do specially when you're editing a lot of complex stuff. Just pair it with a good quad core processor and a decent graphics card even GT series can handle everything fine.

  14. They should do this video but blind taste tests. 4v8v16v32 and see if anyone can find out without opening a task manager

  15. Watching on 10 year old laptop with 4GB RAM. My laptop is getting hokey on me, locking up and so forth, so deliberating between off the rack laptop or building a desktop. I am running 7 vs 10, and anything new will have 10. That being said, it's hard to wrap my head around needing 16 GB when 4 worked fine for so long.

  16. I hate that my gaming laptop came with 2×4 instead of 1×8 because I wanted to buy another 8gb stick to go to 16 without having to buy 2×8.

  17. So, this videos really, old but what is that thing between the graphics cards @4:30 in the video? Some kind of blower to help with airflow?

  18. I'm liking saiki k reference but we're u even a child of u didn't crash the schools last century made in East Germany PC by opening 9 million internet explorer tabs.

  19. I came here to say that it's the current year and I'm still happy with my 8GB of RAM.
    I'm not on Windows though.

  20. Aww man, G. Skill doesn't sell their Trident Z RAM in 4GB sticks and I want to fill up all 4 of my DIMM slots…

    I'll take 32GB then.

  21. I would recommend to simply not use Windows…. I use Arch btw xD. With my Arch installation with i3 I never go over 4gb,even with jetbrains IDEs, chromium with 50 tabs, discord(electron),Spotify and multiple st terminals open

  22. Hi Guys,
    I want to get the surface pro 7. I do not know if I should get the 8 or 16. So the situation is:
    The only "demanding" thing I do is Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom. I know that Lightroom can be ram hungry. On my desktop with 8gb ram it runs fine. But desktop and laptop performance is not really comparable as far as I know. Also I am doing no 3d or video work. Only 2d photo editing but that I do in raw format not JPG.
    So future proofing for me only means running Photoshop and Lightroom. I will not ever have the idea to game on the surface.
    So I am really torn about that.

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