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I have been playing Minecraft for quite a while now and occasionally, my computer overloads of Minecraft using too much RAM and shuts down.

I'd like to clear up some RAM for Minecraft so, how much RAM approx. does Minecraft need?

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Are we talking single-player, multiplayer server, or multiplayer client ? –  Silver Quettier Feb 26 '13 at 15:27
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If your computer is actually shutting down, not just quitting minecraft, your computer is probably over heating. –  Echo Feb 26 '13 at 18:36
    
@SilverQuettier Um, we are talking about..... Minecraft, running a multiplayer server. –  Meraj99 Feb 27 '13 at 15:23
    
@echo Surround your computer with ice-packs! –  Jeffrey Lin Feb 27 '13 at 23:53
    
@jeffreylin_ With an old desktop computer I had many years ago, I took the side off and put a large room fan next to it to keep it cool because it was having over heating issues. –  Echo Feb 28 '13 at 15:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Answering your question

In the comments, you said you were running a multiplayer server, so I'd say you need approx 200 MB as a base level, plus some extra memory for each player. (Formula below)

You don't need the 2GB of the minimum requirements as the client side is the part needing all that memory.

If you want to calculate precisely how much memory you need, it depends on your server configuration, and the number of players. On a vanilla server, each chunk holds roughly 2.5 MB of data, and a player will have the 32 chunks around him preloaded.

On a non-standard server, both these numbers can change, as you can load more chunks to ease the I/O on the server HDD, or can have extra plugins and thingies that will increase the required memory per chunk. (I've seen it double on a particularly heavy-modded Bukkit server.)

Of course, in some cases, the players will be close together and some of these chunks will be shared, which reduce the memory needed. But you must plan as if all the chunks are different to account for a worst case scenario, unless you have a very big server, where towns and other places of gathering will increase the chances of chunk sharing.

Needed memory for a vanilla minecraft server:

MemInMB = 200 + (players x 2.5 x 32)

Needed memory for a custom minecraft server:

MemInMB = 200 + (players x nbOfChunksLoaded x informationPerChunkInMB)

Solving your problem

As you can see, I doubt RAM is your problem here, especially if the server does an emergency shutdown. As Echo suggested, I would look into overheating. You should monitor the CPU and chipset temperature on the server MB, and keep an eye on it when running the thing.

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Minecraft system requirements are

Minimum Requirements:

  • CPU : Intel P4/NetBurst Architecture or its AMD Equivalent (AMD K7)
  • RAM : 2GB
  • GPU : Intel GMA 950 or AMD Equivalent
  • HDD : At least 90MB for Game Core and Sound Files
  • Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 or up is required to be able to run the game.

Recommended Requirements:

  • CPU : Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 (K8) 2.6 GHz
  • RAM : 4GB
  • GPU : GeForce 6xxx or ATI Radeon 9xxx and up with OpenGL 2 Support (Excluding Integrated Chipsets)
  • HDD : 150MB

However, your computer should never shut down because you have too little RAM. Consider enabling/increasing the size of your system's pagefile.

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I checked and currently, a vanilla Minecraft with no mods or anything, in a relatively new world, is taking about 680 000 KB of memory, so about 600 MB (around there) –  Mandemon Feb 26 '13 at 13:56
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Those numbers are for total system specs, which includes memory for the OS and other programs and services. Subtracting all that, Minecraft needs at least 512MB to run comfortably, and is happy as a pig in mud with 1GB free. (The 1GB number is pulled from the typical Java command line that sets the max heap at 1024MB, and 512MB is from the initial heap allocation. Typical numbers I see in-game even modded are 200–300MB.) –  SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '13 at 19:23

So you ask yourself, "Can I host a Minecraft server?"

And then the Internet replies with CanIHostAMinecraftServer.com. Plug in your RAM and network connections, and it will tell you how many players you can host, and what is the bottleneck that prevents that number from being higher.

And if the number of players you tend to have when the server shuts down your computer is well within what it tells you, you definitely have a hardware problem, not a Minecraft server problem.

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