DCS Tomcat and RAM

Recently upgraded from 16gb to 32gb and I ran few tests to see if there would be any improvement. Current system is i7 6700k, GTX 1070, and 16gb 3000mhz ram (old) 32gb 3200mhz ram (new)

Here are my settings:

I play on 1080p resolution with mostly everything on high. After testing a few different scenarios, I discovered a few things.

  1. the only time the game ever used more than 16gb of ram was in multiplayer servers like TTI and Blueflag. These servers generally show me drawing ~20gbs of ram with these settings. In my reference single player mission, the ram usage stays at about 13gb and vram at 8gb.

  2. With these settings, the tomcat uses about 1.5 - 2gb more ram than other modules. I jumped in the f18 in the same mission and saw a 1gb drop, the su25 dropped 2gb. Vram didnt seem to be affected.
    Here you can see the ram usuage between the hornet and tomcat. 12.2 to 14.1gb. Its the same mission i just switched slots.

As far as performance goes, I think the only time having more than 16gb of ram helps is when playing online with the tomcat. At these settings, I was getting around 45-50 FPS with the tomcat on large multiplayer servers with 16gb. After switching to 32gb, it can hang at 60 FPS all day.

I think its safe to say the Tomcat is a ram hog, but at least the prices are cheaper now.


Thanks for doing this, as in the same situation myself and not sure about if 16 vs 32 was going to help. This is really good info.

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Here you can see the ram usuage between the hornet and tomcat. 12.2 to 14.1gb. Its the same mission i just switched slots.

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Any difference between Pilot and RIO?
I imagine that the RIO could use a bit more, with all those displays.
But then… might not be too RAM intensive.

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there wasnt a difference between front and back seats, which leads me to believe they are both always being rendered. Thats probably why its a little more ram hungry than the others.

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I think this is true because you can manipulate the RIO’s controls from the front seat.


I can confirm that 16Gb is no longer “problem free” w/ DCS. I had trouble connecting to any multi-player server, until I set a fixed page file of 32768, as the default dynamic windows page file just wasn’t enough, and DCS would CTD w/ multiple crash logs. I think it’s safe to say that 32Gb should now be considered the new “minimum”, at least for multi-player.


i wonder which setting is the most ram dependent? Surely there is a way to reduce the ram used, but then again if you pay $80+ for a flight simulator, you want it to look as good as possible.

I’m going to run some test on low settings and see what happens.

I set huge page files for my system last year after having some memory issues with DCS. They helped with a lot of my problems and issues, though naturally not foolproof.

For reference, this is a 3-4 year old system:

16GB DDR4 3000
2x1TB SSDs

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With preset on low settings, its using 11.5gbs of ram in the hornet, but only 5.3gb of Vram. Granted this mission is very heavy with scripts and static objects (its the 476th Training Area mission)

Online in BlueFlag persian gulf, in a tomcat with low preset getting 16gbs of ram and 6.5gb of Vram. You can see the jump from the single player misison to the menu to the online server.

@Brennus I’d say your right. Without using the page file you will need more than 16gbs of ram to play online. And this is with a 8gb graphics card. I cant imagine what would happen if you were running a 970 or smaller card.

Also, the stuff inside the pit is almost unreadable but it provides great nostalgia back to 1999.


Prices are at an all-time low. Future proof thy Rig.


There are reports from Heatblur that they’ve realised DCS loads and decompresses ALL module/game sounds when it starts up. Obviously with Jester that’s a LOT of sounds. DCS later on purges many of them and the memory footprint seems to improve somewhat.

Apparently there’s a fix already submitted and awaiting the next OB release.

(Won’t help with the VRAM situation of course).


Makes sense now… Electronic Battlefield simulations are constantly evolving as more content is added. I suspect the engine will eventually need to be updated or replaced to something more capable and efficient to support features, such as dynamic campaigns. Such is the nature of sims.


I actually wish Heatblur would sell the Jester Technology to ED for the Huey and other multicrewed vehicles. (i.e.: tanks!)