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Typically 3D engines can use less memory and show more of the same items by something like 3D instancing which reduces draw calls.

I'm currently learning more about at the moment but I'm having a hard time understanding if the Array modifier uses instancing or is actually duplicating each object. Does anyone know this or can point to me how to discover if it is or isn't using this technique?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure each copy takes up memory. I think all modifiers are implemented by calculating a complete mesh with the modifier applied. Checking RAM usage confirms it is way higher when you ramp up the number of copies. $\endgroup$
    – scurest
    Commented Nov 6, 2021 at 21:35

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Some additional functions like merging (or adding another modifier) require full copy of mesh data. Otherwise, you will not be able to add modifiers on top of the array.

Example of merging (You can see, that blocks are merged into one mesh):

enter image description here

If you want to get instances, you should use different techniques like Geometry Nodes, or Instancing on faces.

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