How Much RAM Do I Need to Stream?

Edited: 12/20/2022

If you’re looking to start streaming you want to make sure your PC is capable of running multiple programs at the same time. While it is important to invest in a good CPU and GPU for your custom built gaming PC, RAM plays an important role when it comes to streaming and playing games. It is the component that allows your computer to perform simple tasks like loading programs and the more you have, the quicker it can switch from one task to another.

How much RAM you need to stream depends on whether or not you are gaming and what games you want to play. Certain games require less RAM than others but streaming software requires just as much memory to run smoothly. The more there is, the better equipped your PC is to handle multiple tasks.

If you're not planning on streaming, check out our article on how much RAM you need for your gaming PC.

Minimum RAM Requirements for Streaming

The minimum requirement for streaming games on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube is 8GB of RAM but we recommend 16GB as a long-term investment.

Everyone has different needs so it’s important to check the requirements for the games or content you want to stream. If you purchase a new PC and plan to stream from it, it is better to invest in more RAM to ensure higher quality. Although it is possible to stream with only 4GB, the video quality would be poor and you run the risk of damaging your PC.

Is 4GB of RAM Enough for Streaming?

4GB of RAM is just barely enough to stream and barely enough for some gaming, but not both. Even then, 4GB is getting less and less viable for streaming as time goes on. Streaming software such as OBS recommend at least 4GB and leaves no room for multitasking.

Some games may have less system requirements but this limits your selection of titles because most modern games require more memory just to run. Due to typical system requirements, Apex recommends that you avoid streaming while gaming with 4GB of RAM as it puts stress on your hardware. Streaming with 4GB of RAM is possible but it limits which games you can play. 

Is 8GB of RAM Enough for Streaming?

8GB of RAM is the bare minimum amount for streaming to Twitch or YouTube. That said, most modern games recommend 8GB just to play them. So, you have little to no ability to multitask, limiting your streaming software.

It is possible to stream with 8GB of RAM but it depends on the type of content you want to broadcast. Most modern games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, and PUBG, recommend at least 8GB of RAM to run the game. This leaves little room for streaming and other tasks in the background.

Even though 8GB of RAM is enough to stream, we recommend you lower the quality of graphics in games that require more than 4GB of RAM to run. Otherwise, you may experience lags, low FPS, and overall poor streaming quality.

Is 16GB of RAM Enough for Streaming?

16GB or RAM is becoming the standard amount for streaming video games. It gives you enough power to run both the gaming you're playing and your streaming software and other programs.

Streaming requires about as much RAM as it takes to run a game so generally you want to use one with double the amount of RAM required for the game. The majority of modern games recommend at least 8GB, so 16GB of RAM is the ideal amount for gaming and streaming setups. It is enough to play and stream most games at 720p and 1080p without sacrificing video and sound quality. Paired with a good CPU and GPU, you may even be able to stream in 4K with the correct settings.

How Much RAM Do I Need to Watch a Stream?

Watching streams does not require as much memory as broadcasting but you need at least 4GB of RAM to watch at 720p or 1080p with no issues. This amount lets you watch movies on platforms like Netflix, as well as live streams on websites like Twitch and YouTube. If you want to watch a live stream while gaming then you may need more RAM, as most games recommend at least 8GB. A good internet connection is more important when it comes to watching a stream.

How Much RAM Do I Need to Stream Games to My PC?

If you want to install a game but worry that your computer doesn’t have enough RAM to run it, you may be able to stream it instead. Streaming games through services like Google Stadia or your Xbox console to your PC, are ways of playing video games without installing them on your computer. You need a stable internet connection when using these services but they don’t require as much RAM to run. According to Microsoft, you need at least 4GB of RAM to stream and play games from the Xbox to your PC. Google Stadia runs on the same amount, but we recommend you have at least 8GB of RAM. The benefit in streaming games is that they do not take up space on your computer and do not require as much RAM as an installed game.

How Much RAM is Overkill for Streaming?

Most people agree that when it comes to memory, the more the better. More RAM provides a better quality stream but 16GB is just the right amount for most streamers. 64GB of RAM is overkill unless you have a need for it. The only reasons you may need more memory is if you are going to stream in 4K or plan on modding. There are a lot of video games out there that support modding, which allows players to change or add things in the base game. Games with modding include Skyrim, GTA V, and Fallout New Vegas but these titles run on 16GB if you do not plan on modifying them. If you have the budget, selecting 32GB of RAM can be a way of future-proofing your PC if new games require more memory but it is not necessary for now.

Apex’s Gaming PC’s Line of Streaming PCs

At Apex Gaming PCs, we pride ourselves in providing the best possible hardware for content creators and streamers. If you are looking for a new PC to start streaming, or looking to upgrade your current setup, we recommend the Apex Steamer (AMD). This PC is ready for streaming with 16GB of RAM on the base model and the option to upgrade to 32GB or 64GB at multiple speeds.

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What ever your streaming needs, we hope to be of service at Apex!

Written By Ginni Correa

Photo Credits: Pavan Bhakta

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