The Asus ROG 5 Ultimate just launched with 18GB of RAM in a limited release. But … what does all that RAM give you?
For years, RAM has been used in conjunction with the chipset and storage space as a shorthand for a phone’s performance. Approximately, the more RAM, the more the phone can do at once: currently open applications use RAM as fast access memory. How? With an excess of RAM that keeps track of other apps in the background so you can quickly swap back and forth. Graphics-intensive games can also use more RAM to produce many complex on-screen effects.
The gold standard for Android phones, the Samsung Galaxy S21, only has 8GB of RAM, while the S21 Ultra starts at 12GB and peaks at 16GB. In our tests, these phones handled all the tasks a consumer could perform, from surfing the web to browsing through media to gaming. But they are aimed at regular consumers.
So it comes as no surprise that Asus, a producer of gaming-centric products itself, is signaling to its performance enthusiast demographic that games 18GB RAM from Asus ROG 5 Ultimate they are an extravaganza that theoretically can drive a lot of pixels.
So does that mean you will instantly have better graphics in today’s games playing on an 18GB phone? Not really, according to experts, as you’ll get the same performance from 12GB phones as long as you play casual games. But tomorrow’s games, especially mobile esports, is another matter.
The 18GB question
Mobile games will obviously evolve to take advantage of the more powerful components of phones, and we are already seeing some with graphics that rival their PC versions; just look at Genshin Impact, suggests Jennifer McLean, vice president of industrial relations at the industry analysis firm Niko Partners. But it may be a few years before games come out that can really take advantage of 18GB of RAM.
When it comes to game developers taking advantage of newer higher RAM devices, there will need to be a significant enough installed base before developers create games that require those specs, McLean told Android Apps in an email. .
You can put the Asus ROG 5 Ultimate to use NOW
But there are some gamers that can actually use 18GB of RAM, according to McLean:
Mobile esports will benefit greatly from these devices NOW.
Mobile esports have been growing, but are especially embraced in East and Southeast Asia. A Niko Partners report noted that in 2018, mobile esports generated $ 15.3 billion, of which $ 5.6 billion came from China alone, compared to $ 16.1 billion earned by PC esports. Mobile esports games have higher installation rates than their PC and console counterparts; this translates into better revenue per player.
Mobile esports require higher performance phones. What does this mean? That consumers may naturally gravitate towards higher spec phones like the Asus ROG 5. But it’s not just consumers who play mobile esports: professional gamers and streamers these high-performance phones need could also drive adoption.
Niko’s data on Asian gamers shows that hardware and peripherals used by e-sports competitors and streamers influence gamers and fans to buy those devices as well, McLean said.
So as we see competitors and streamers embrace these more powerful devices, we’ll see gamers and fans do the same.
Given the launch of mobile esports outside of East Asia around PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, along with upcoming titles like League of Legends: Wild Rift, which is still in beta, and the newly announced PUBG New State, We could see this phenomenon become even more common in the US and Europe.
The magic RAM number
The good news, then, is that you don’t need to upgrade to 18GB this year. That amount is an aspiration, even the upper limit of today’s phones with 12GB of task capacity.
I don’t think there is a perfect number for the amount of RAM a smartphone needs. It varies by operating system and application, says Anshel Sag, an analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
For example, my S21 Ultra is using 75% RAM at 10GB, which means 12GB seems reasonable enough to give higher-end models a breather.
That makes even 16GB of RAM a head start for consumers to consider, Sag says. Nonetheless, phone configurations have had that much RAM since 2020, when the Samsung S20 Ultra first offered it.
Of course, the rules are different between Android and iOS. Even iPhone 12 Pro Max only has 4GB of RAM. Nonetheless, it outperforms all other phones released so far in Geekbench 5 benchmarks (4240 iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. 3518 Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, according to GSM Arena). This is not exactly new: Apple has always done more with less in terms of RAM thanks, of course, to its control of the entire hardware-software ecosystem on its phones.
That’s very different from Android, which has to work on mobiles with much higher spec setups, as explained by Sachin Dev Duggal, founder and CEO of Engineer.ai, in an interview with Firstpost in 2019.
Android is designed for various phones with different hardware specifications. This means you need more memory to run the correct code for the correct device, Duggal said.
Also, applications on Android can use as much RAM as necessary. What does this mean? It means they end up collecting more data in RAM, and when it’s not being used, the data is cleaned up.
iOS, on the other hand, has several reasons why it needs less RAM. An important one is memory management: the operating system of Apple does not depend on the Java virtual machine to execute its codes. For its part, the application codes run directly on the hardware, thus limiting the need for RAM to run virtual machines on iOS, Duggal explained.
Since the article was written in August 2019, its aspirational questions are equally picturesque from today’s perspective. Duggal noted that 6GB of RAM is “more than enough to future-proof a device” and 8GB will be good for the near future. 4GB of RAM was the standard of the day, and it continues to be overrepresented in terms of global smartphone distribution. After the iPhone 7 and 8, some of the world’s most popular phones outside of China are the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9 (both of which have 4GB of RAM), according to an April 2020 Yahoo Finance report.
But in the two years since Duggal’s estimates, Android phones have included more RAM. So developers will probably start updating system requirements for more functionality and, in games, more advanced graphics. The higher watermark for RAM will increase as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), also known as phone manufacturers, increasingly include more in their devices.
Android is inherently a more memory-consuming operating system, so it seems OEMs are looking for ways to improve specs for differentiation. They also seek to improve the user experience as applications consume more memory on Android, Sag noted.
In summary: You probably won’t need the Asus ROG 5 Ultimate with 18GB of RAM for a while. However, as always, it is good to be on the cutting edge when developers start to adapt to the new cutting edge.