How much RAM does OBS use?

By Viet Nguyen Written by Viet Nguyen
Updated on April 11, 2022

OBS, which stands for Open Broadcaster Software, is a popular software used for streaming and screencasting. OBS is noticeably commonly used due to various reasons, one of which is its amazing accessibility. You don’t have to be an expert to make use of OBS, which means that even non-professionals can use the program with ease. 

OBS does have one bad reputation, however: Its RAM usage is notoriously unoptimized. This means that you will probably need a lot of RAM for streaming and screencasting while using the program. How much RAM does OBS use? OBS uses at least 4 GB of RAM, but you should have about 8GB instead!

How much RAM does OBS use?

Before we dive into how much RAM OBS uses, it is important to understand what RAM is. RAM stands for random-access memory, and its main function is to offer temporary storage to the system. RAM allows your computer to tap into temporary memory, so it does not lose any progress while working on complex processes. That is the main reason why RAM is so important to OBS. The program will not be able to process videos effectively if it cannot tap into this temporary resource. 

The official system requirements of OBS state that your PC needs at least 4GB of RAM in order to run the software. However, anyone with real-life experience with OBS knows that this is definitely not enough if you wish to stream any video content. This is because the computer will have to save some RAM for the programs being streamed, which are video games in most cases, first. So if you play a game that requires at least 8GB of RAM, you will have to have at least 4GB left for OBS. 

This is, of course, the minimum requirement, so it does not guarantee that your OBS program will run smoothly. OBS often takes up much more RAM than the requirement suggests, and it will take even more RAM if it has to take on resource-intensive processes. Thus, you should expect about 8GB of RAM if you wish to run the program smoothly.

How much RAM does Streamlabs OBS use?

Streamlabs OBS is an upgraded version of OBS that comes with more features and optimizations for streaming. For this reason, Streamlabs OBS takes up a lot more resources on your RAM compared to regular OBS. The official RAM requirement of Streamlabs OBS is 8GB, but if you wish to run the program smoothly, you are advised to have 16GB of RAM for streaming. Don’t forget that you have to leave out some RAM for the program you are streaming on the net as well. 

How to make OBS use less RAM?

As you can see, OBS is not exactly the most optimized program around. There are, however, many methods that you can employ to make OBS use less RAM, thereby reducing the stress on your system. Some of the most reliable methods include: 

  • Downscaling your output resolution: Resolutions are the single most impactful element of a video. Higher resolutions such as 1080p or 4K tend to be extremely taxing on the system. If you wish to reduce this stress, try downscaling your stream or your video to 720p instead. The image quality of the video might suffer, but the system will have more resources for other tasks. 
  • Limit your framerate: You can limit the framerate of your stream to 30 FPS if your hardware has trouble keeping up with the processes. This will greatly improve your system’s performance. 
  • Try Quicksync, AMF, and NVENC: OBS itself does come with many features that help you to boost its overall performance. Quicksync, AMF, and NVENC are some of the most popular and useful ones, so don’t hesitate to try them out.

When to buy new RAMs for OBS?

Even after you have tweaked all the settings, sometimes OBS will not speed up one bit. This is probably due to the fact that your system is too dated to use the software properly. You will need to upgrade your hardware by buying new RAM sticks in this case, or else you will not be able to enjoy your stream properly.

Alternatively, you can also opt for upgrading your system if you plan on streaming more demanding programs. By upgrading the system, you will be able to prepare it for these programs. 

OBS and Streamlabs OBS are great streaming and video editing programs. However, they tend to take up quite a lot of RAM due to the fact that they have to work concurrently with the software being streamed. For this reason, you should always get a lot more RAM than the system requires. Ideally, 16GB of RAM should be enough for OBS and many modern games or programs, but you should consider getting more if you are streaming a very demanding game.