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Is GPU More Important than RAM Memory? (Different Use Cases!)

More RAM usually means more performance, but a better GPU will have a positive effect on programs that are used for rendering graphical tasks or gaming. So, which one of the two is more important?

If you have at least 16 Gb of RAM the GPU is more important. RAM memory is cheaper while upgrading the GPU requires buying a whole new graphics card. For gaming performance, the GPU is more important because it renders the image on the screen and will highly influence the resolution on which you can game.

So, below I will explain whether it’s better to get more RAM or a better GPU for each of some of the most popular use cases, and why RAM reaches a point of diminishing returns over about 8GB.

Is GPU or RAM Memory More Important for Everyday Use?

RAM vs GPU

For everyday use such as browsing the web, using email, and social media a computer doesn’t need to be that fast.

A GPU is more important for everyday use because a better GPU allows you to enjoy movies at a higher resolution. RAM memory can be upgraded incrementally for a very low cost while GPUs are more expensive, provided you don’t have less than 8GB of RAM, you should prioritize a better GPU over more RAM.

These days even if you build a budget PC it will have very good performance for everyday use, like surfing the net and multimedia tasks (music, movies, watching Youtube), you don’t need to worry that much about upgrading.

Is GPU or RAM Memory More Important for Gaming?

Games are on a spectrum from very graphics-intensive to low graphical requirements. But, in general, they use a lot of resources compared to everyday use.

Overall, the GPU is more important than RAM Memory for gaming if you have 8GB of RAM or more (16GB recommended). On PCs with less than 8GB RAM prioritize getting more RAM. But, more than that your money is better spent getting a better GPU because this will have the most impact on your gaming experience.

Intel recommends 8GB of RAM for gaming on its official website. In independent tests, over 8GB only offers a 1% improvement in the frames per second (FPS). For example, if you get 16GB or 32GB of RAM. 

Although, 1% is an OK improvement it generally won’t have a significant impact on your gameplay.

A better GPU will provide much more FPS, but this is not the only metric to look at when gaming. Other factors such as the load time in between ‘levels’, or loading the map before a game in a multiplayer game are factors to take note of.

But, generally, once the game starts the thing you want the most is more FPS, this translates into a smoother gaming experience and makes the game as real-time as possible.

Is GPU or RAM Memory More Important for Work?

Editing documents, putting together presentations, video editing, and coding have a medium demand for PC resources while editing and rendering video requires a higher amount of resources. So, to get the best computer performance for everyday work should you get a better GPU or more RAM?

If you use programs that have a high demand for memory such as video editing, then you should have 8-16GB of RAM at least. However, any more than that provides diminishing returns and a better GPU will provide the most improvement.

Below, I’ve explained whether it’s best to prioritize a better GPU or more RAM for each of the main types of work.

Photoshop

Photoshop recommends having 8GB of RAM at a minimum, and ideally 16GB. Provided you have this much RAM you should get a better GPU to improve the performance of photo rendering. Generally, if you have the minimum requirements you can use Photoshop without it slowing you down.

For a 4K screen Photoshop recommends a 4GB graphics card as of 2022, a 1.5GB graphics card is the minimum requirement. If you get a graphics card that has more performance than this, it will make Photoshop run faster, but isn’t necessary.

For Photoshop is better to have 16GB of RAM than to upgrade your graphics card, a better GPU will speed things up but not by much because photo editing isn’t such a demanding task for the modern graphics cards which are real powerhouses.

Video Editing

With video editing, the minimum requirement is 8GB of RAM and a 2GB graphics card, if you use programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro. If you’re using an HD monitor then it’s recommended to have a 4GB graphics card, and for 4K screens, a 6GB graphics card is the best option.

If you have a limited budget and you need to choose, a better graphics card would be the best option. The reason is that RAM is easier to upgrade at a later time because you can buy it in increments. Rather than needing to buy a whole new graphics card (GPU).

CAD Work

Using AutoCAD requires a minimum of 8GB of RAM and a 1GB graphics card. But, the recommended amount of RAM is 16GB, together with a GPU with at least 4GB of memory.

The best thing is to upgrade your RAM until you have at least 16GB and then the GPU, if your projects are small you can get away with the minimum requirements but if you work with big drawings that contain lots of details that the graphics card becomes more and more important provided that you have at least 16GB of RAM memory.

The same rule applies to using a computer for video editing, which is that you should prioritize a better graphics card over RAM if you have to choose.

Conclusion

For gaming performance, more RAM is good only up to 8GB, after that, the bang for the buck doesn’t make sense. The reason is that it only provides a very small increase in performance. 

The same is generally true of other resource-intensive software such as video editing and using CAD software. However, 16GB of RAM is recommended here and 8GB is a minimum.

For 4K and HD screens, a GPU with 4GB GPU is recommended because the graphics card needs to output more pixels than with lower resolution screens.

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Sources

I started building and fixing PCs in high school. After a couple of years of offering consultancy to a PC repair shop, I became the goto guy for all my acquaintances for PC/Laptop related buying advice or troubleshooting.