Is your Minecraft running slower than a crippled sloth wearing concrete shoes? Chances are it’s an issue with your computer running out of memory.
Although Minecraft is getting on a bit these days (the game was first released back in 2011), you might still find that your system struggles at times to render those enormous maps. After all, it’s not optimised like most top-tier PC titles. And if your session is really struggling, this is probably down to memory issues.
Your computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory) is a major component when it comes to overall performance. This is used to temporarily store important files, so your computer has immediate access to them. If your RAM fills up, this means your computer has to fetch those files from the significantly slower hard disk instead – and this is what causes slowdown.
Related: What is RAM?
Fortunately you have a number of possible solutions if you’re running out of memory, to help get your game back on track.
How much memory do I need to play Minecraft?
The official minimum system requirements suggest 2GB of RAM is all that’s needed to run the game. However, these minimum reqs are usually a little, shall we say, optimistic. For a consistently smooth performance in Minecraft, you should ideally have more than 4GB of memory – and the current recommended amount is 8GB with a Windows 10 system.
What should I do if I don’t have enough RAM?
The best solution to this problem is simply get more. Memory is relatively inexpensive these days, especially compared with yesteryear. If you don’t feel confident installing it yourself, you can pay an IT expert a small fee to perform the operation on your behalf.
However, if you’re using a laptop or you’re completely skint, some other options can be explored instead for smoother performance in Minecraft.
How do I allocate more RAM to Minecraft?
First up, make sure that you’re playing Minecraft in full-screen mode. This allows your system to prioritise the game, allocating as much memory as possible to its smooth running.
You’ll also want to axe any other applications that are running in the background. The easiest way to do this on a PC is to open the Task Manager (accessed by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del all together), and then hit ‘more details’. A full list of open programs should pop up, and you can sort these by memory usage simply by clicking on the ‘memory’ column.
If you have stuff like web browsers open at the same time as Minecraft, these apps will hog precious RAM and slow your game down. So kill them dead and see if that improves the overall performance.
While you’re in Task Manager, you should quickly tap on the ‘Start-up’ tab and see which applications are automatically running when you boot up your computer. Chances are some sneaky programs are firing up in the background and snatching some precious memory for themselves, without your knowledge. If anything in that start-up list is non-essential, then right-click and disable them to prevent them from running without your consent.
If all of this hasn’t helped matters, you could always try increasing your virtual memory. This is basically a slice of your computer’s hard drive which is set aside as backup RAM, when your actual memory is running out. It’s therefore not as quick, but boosting the VM can occasionally help with overall performance.
- Open your PC’s Control Panel and click on ‘System and Security’, followed by ‘System’.
- Hit ‘Advanced system settings’ on the left.
- In the Performance box, click the Settings button.
- In the Virtual Memory section, click the Change button.
- Down at the bottom of the new window, you’ll see values for ‘recommended’ and ‘currently allocated’. If the recommended figure is less than the allocated number, untick the ‘automatically manage paging file size’ option.
- Poke the ‘custom size’ option and enter an initial and maximum size around the recommended total.
Are there other ways to make Minecraft run faster?
Have you tried playing around inside the game’s settings menu? For instance, you can lower the graphics from ‘fancy’ (the top setting) to ‘fast’. This makes the game world look even more low-res but helps to keep things running smoothly, as there’s less to render. Optional visuals like clouds can be toggled off, while other settings such as render distance can be dropped as well. Try playing around to see if you can get a good balance.