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What happens when you don't meet the games RAM requirement ?

I'm curious to what will happen if I have enough RAM for the game from the "Minimum requirement" section but not from the "Recommended".


The game which I'm looking forward to play and in question is Middle-Earth: Shadow of War since I would like to see if I could max the game out with my GTX 980TI while having only 8GB of RAM and see what the negatives will be from not having enough RAM.


Performance decrease ? Higher loading times... ?

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You would just have to run it on lower settings since ram is where the game engine stores textures and other graphical things so they are ready to be used when needed. (higher quality = more ram needed) you can see higher quality games take less ram that lower quality ones when they are better optimized btw so this is only relative to that specific game. 

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The game may have to constantly move data from memory to your computer's page file (or swap file) on your hard drive to make room for new data it needs to have in memory, then throw away the data when it doesn't need it anymore and read back the old data from page file.

This means your hard drive or SSD which holds page file is accessed more often and since that is slower than memory, it could mean you'd experience small "hiccups" or lag or periods where your frame rate drops while data is written to page file or read from page file


Alternatively, some games will be smarter and simply detect you don't have as much memory as the game wants and auto configure themselves to use less memory, for example increase "fog of war" effects to lower the amount of information you have on your screen (so it won't need to use memory to hold information for that stuff), or may automatically lower quality of some textures or animations in order to use less memory.


Or for example, let's say a game has a lot of background music which changes depending on what your character does, for example in Skyrim you have those intense music bits where you start fighting something and slower bits when you just explore... a game may want to read the music tracks from hard drive and then keep them in memory so then when you start fighting, everything's smooth and music transitions right away... with less memory, the game may have to throw away the unused tracks from memory and re-read them from hard drive when they're needed again...


Some games may only run on "Low quality" or "Medium quality" with the minimal memory requirements....


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depends on how they decide their ram requirements..


- if they greatly overestimate requirements chances are you're completely fine

- if you'ren cutting it very close windows will start clearing up as much meomory as possible, if you've ever had to wait longer than usual for the start menu to open after a gaming session, that's why.

- in an extreme scenario, you'll start swapping to disk, which may or may not have great effect on your gaming experience.

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Also something I forgot... there's huge amount of configurations and people run all kind of software applications in the background like antivirus, anti malware, various other crap , steam , discord , other chats and voice group talk apps,  skype, web browsers,  all kinds of crap that also uses memory .... all those use memory which isn't always completely moved to swap to make room in memory for the game.


So sometimes even though the game may use only let's say 2..3 GB, the developer may still recommend minimum 4 GB and 6-8GB suggested as best, because all that other crap running in background could use memory as well.


PCs aren't as controlled as consoles where for example the game simply knows there's 8 GB of memory shared between the video card and the processor.

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just download more ram. no worries.

when your computer runs out of free ram it uses the hard drive which will really hurt performance. If it completely runs out of both ram and swap it will freeze and crash. open up your performance monitor and watch the page faults. You want to toy with the settings until it starts using the page file. When page file starts being used, pull it back.


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I found an article that tested games in RAM capacities of 4, 8, and 16GB: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/does-more-ram-improve-gaming-performance/


Curiously in many of their cases, 4GB performed better than 8GB. And one game does officially require more than 4GB and they got it to run anyway. So bottom line: unless you're leaving a ton of other applications up or doing something else heavy-lifting on the side, minimum RAM requirements don't really seem to be strictly so in games.


On another note, I once ran Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare with my CPU tweaked to run only two cores and about half its speed. This made it perform around the same as a Core 2 Duo or a first gen dual-core Core i5. The game complained about it, warned that I didn't meet the requirements, yet I still managed to maintain 60 FPS.

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8gb should be fine

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Worst case it crashes. You should add another 8gb. Future Games demand it.

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It's all completely dependant on the game.

For instance, Source engine games will likely crash because they run out of memory if you don't have enough (they're prone to crashing anyways, I'm sure you'd never realize it was a memory-related crash) while some games may not even need nearly as much memory as it uses.

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  • 3 years later...

For my flight simulator, it just crashes while loading when using higher settings.

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15 hours ago, reece0306 said:

For my flight simulator, it just crashes while loading when using higher settings.

There was no need to resurrect this 4 year old thread. Locked.

^^^^ That's my post ^^^^
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