For the majority of tasks, it’s accepted that 16GB of RAM is the sweet spot as it can handle gaming, streaming, video editing, and other forms of computing pretty easily.
So the thought of going above 16GB of RAM is pointless to many people, 32GB of RAM is said to be overkill for most tasks.
So yes, 32GB of RAM is overkill for many tasks, but there are some nuances that you need to watch out for. RAM consumption is application dependent, so some applications may need 32GB of RAM.
How Much RAM Is Needed?
For gaming, it’s pretty much accepted that 16GB of RAM is the perfect amount, this number used to be 8GB, but games are getting more intensive.
For other applications such as video editing, depending on the resolution, you may actually require 32GB of RAM to video edit effectively.
Even for some games, 32GB of RAM isn’t enough for some such as DCS 2.7 which requires a huge amount of RAM due to its open world nature.
But if you’re the average gamer or the average video editor, then you should be able to do just fine with 16GB of RAM.
8GB of RAM today would be enough for plenty of games, mostly older ones, but it should be enough for newer games depending on the resolution.
8GB is pretty much ideal for 1080P gamers as the pixel count(resolution) isn’t high enough to exceed the frame buffer storage (8GB) RAM.
For other applications such as streaming, 8GB of RAM might be enough for light video editing, 720P-1080P, but it’s not recommended to video edit with 8GB of RAM.
But it’s worth noting that 8GB of RAM will eventually become ineffective after some time, so it’s better to go with at least 16GB of RAM if you’re building a new PC.
16GB RAM is the new sweetspot when it comes to computing, it’s enough for most tasks today such as gaming, video editing, and streaming.
16GB of RAM is enough for 1440P, and 4K gaming as it provides enough frame buffer so you don’t run out of RAM.
For video editing, 16GB of RAM is enough for light 1080P and 1440P editing, but you’ll need at least 32GB of RAM if you’re looking to become a professional video editor.
With only 8GB of RAM, you’d find the PC struggling to run background tasks when gaming or performing other RAM intensive tasks.
So, 16GB of RAM will also make it significantly easier to run multiple programs simultaneously, so if you stream or record on the side, this could be a massive benefit.
32GB of RAM is considered overkill for most, but it’s actually becoming more relevant as many applications are starting to use more than 16GB of RAM.
Applications such as Video Editing use RAM extensively, it’s a RAM intensive program therefore the more RAM you have the better your video editing software will run.
This is because they handle a lot of uncompressed data which is significantly larger than their compressed counterparts.
So applications such as Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro will benefit extensively from 32GB of RAM. You will often find 32GB of RAM in workstations for high end specialist applications.
But it’s not just media editing that benefits from 32GB of RAM, some video games such as DCS 2.7 and Modded such as Minecraft and GTA V will consume up to 32GB of RAM very easily.
A gamer looking to edit and record videos for YouTube would benefit immensely from 32GB of RAM as it allows you to edit at 4K with visual effects.
If you’re a streamer which is quite popular nowadays, you don’t need 32GB of RAM as streaming isn’t a RAM intensive application; 8-16GB of RAM should suffice for streamers.
So Is 32GB Of RAM Overkill?
If you’re looking to future-proof your gaming system, then 32GB of RAM can be an excellent choice, this will ensure that your system can run future games with minimal issues.
Although 32GB of RAM is technically overkill for most uses, we don’t think it’s a bad idea going for 32GB of RAM even if you’re going to be a gamer as it can make your build more flexible.
However, if you’re a media editor that specializes in Photoshop, Video editing, or Music Production, then you need to understand that these tasks handle a lot of data.
Music Producers will work with sound libraries that can be intensive on the RAM as the data is often uncompressed.
Professional photo editors will often find themselves needing at least 32GB of RAM, this is because they find themselves working with large image files(~3GB) which take up a lot of RAM.
Video editing is a RAM intensive application that can require more than 32GB of RAM, but if you’re a professional handling video files at the 4K resolution, then 32GB is necessary.
So in conclusion, 32GB of RAM has many uses, it would be wrong to say that it’s overkill as that makes it seem that it’s pointless for most tasks.
RAM Gaming Benchmarks
As you can see in a typical gaming scenario, having the extra RAM doesn’t make a difference because 16GB of RAM is more than enough for most video games.
With 16GB of RAM, the average is 55FPS, and the 1% lows are 48FPS, and it’s pretty much identical with the 32GB RAM config.
For Battlefield 5, it’s still recommended to go with 16GB of RAM, because it’s highly unlikely you’ll encounter a situation where you will need more.
With Microsoft Flight Simulator you get a completely different story, this is because MS Flight Simulator is more RAM intensive due to its open world nature.
The average frame rates are quite close with 16GB RAM having 52 FPS avg, and 32GB of RAM having 54 FPS avg, but this isn’t what we should be looking at.
When we take the 1% lows into consideration, we find that the 32GB RAM config is 8FPS higher at 35FPS, this reduces stuttering.
And the 0.1% lows with 16GB of RAM reach 19FPS, and the 1% lows reach 27 FPS which is another 8FPS difference.
Can You Have Too Much RAM?
Whether it’s possible to have too much RAM comes down to personal use because not all applications will use 32GB of RAM.
So if you don’t see yourself using 32GB of RAM, then it would be a huge waste of money to purchase it, the only purpose it would serve is for future-proofing.
Also, if you’re running a 32bit instance of an operating system which you shouldn’t, it can only max out at 4GB of RAM, so it will not notice that you have 32GB of RAM.
So it’s possible to have too much RAM from a practical and a financial perspective, but having too much RAM won’t negatively impact your systems performance.
How Fast Should My RAM Be?
Besides RAM capacity which is the most important metric when purchasing RAM, there is also RAM speed which also has a huge impact on performance.
RAM speed should be considered as if your RAM speed isn’t fast enough, you could be severely bottlenecking your CPU.
Furthermore, RAM speed is extra important if you have a Ryzen based PC as Ryzen CPUs react more to different RAM speeds.
We recommend going with a minimum 3000MHz DDR4 when building a PC. With Intel CPUs, the ideal RAM speed is 3200MHz, and with Ryzen CPUs it’s around 3600MHz.
In conclusion, 32GB of RAM is not overkill as it has several uses such as Video editing, photo editing, music production, and some video games.
Should you buy 32GB of RAM? Well that all comes down to what you’re going to be using your PC for, if you’re a typical gamer, than 32GB of RAM probably won’t be worth it.
But if you’re a professional that needs a powerful workstation, then you may require 32GB of RAM due to many professional workloads requiring 32GB of RAM.