What is the best ram for gaming?
When it comes to building computers, most people think about the graphics card or the processor in order to evaluate a computer’s performance. These two parts are, indeed, the most important ones which will affect the computer’s performance in both editing and gaming scenarios.
Everyone who has ever been involved in building a computer or with adequate hardware knowledge is aware that Random Access Memory (RAM) is essential to the computer’s ability to operate. When talking about RAM we mean the actual capacity of simultaneous workloads a computer can do at the same time. Without enough RAM we would not be able to play games and surf the web at the same time, let alone stream games or edit high-quality videos.
A memory capacity of 8GBs is required for most mid-range PCs. However, most people recommend 16 GBs of RAM, as many applications, especially in rendering scenarios make use of much more than 8 GBs of RAM. Even games, nowadays, while not requiring more than 8 GBs of RAM are getting more and more “Ram-Hungry” over the years.
While being aware that not enough RAM can cause serious issues when gaming, having more RAM than necessary will not actually improve the gaming experience. Whether you have 16, 32, 64 or 128 GB of RAM installed will not have any impact on gaming. However, many people are ignorant of the fact that RAM Speed can actually boost their computer’s performance by a small margin.
So, let us answer my first question: What is the best ram for gaming?
DDR4 High-Speed Memory
The first generation of RAM was called DDR memory, followed by DDR2, DDR3 and ultimately today’s DDR4 memory.
Today’s DDR4 generation of memory ranges from 2133 Mhz up to 4000 Mhz. As the Mhz increases, the price goes up significantly, too. Every DDR4 Ram module has a base frequency of 2133 Mhz, which can be overclocked via the X.M.P profile within the bios to the advertised frequency. Essentially, what this means is that even a 3600 Mhz set of Ram without X.M.P enabled will only run at 2133 Mhz. Once X.M.P is enabled the RAM automatically goes up to 3600 Mhz.
RAM overclocking is not recommended as it gives minimal performance gains. Your best option is to buy high-speed memory to ensure the RAM’s stability at high frequencies. However, you can check out my CPU and GPU overclocking guide, if you are interested in draining free performance out of your system.
A GPU upgrade is your best bet if you want to improve your system’s gaming performance while a CPU upgrade can also boost your experience by a great margin, specifically in CPU-demanding games. Independent reviewers, additionally, have proven by doing gaming benchmarks, that high-speed RAM can indeed improve gaming results. Some games are not that much affected by high-speed RAM while others gain a 5-7% performance gain, only by replacing the low-speed memory with high speed.
This video by Digital Foundry proves exactly my points. Check out this video if you want to find out how much performance gains you can get with high-speed RAM and which games benefit the most from it. Additionally, do not forget to subscribe to Digital Foundry’s channel on Youtube as they upload regular videos with quality content.
But what is considered high-speed memory and why should you care?
High-speed memory is considered any set of RAM modules which can operate at a frequency of 2800 Mhz and above.
Should you consider investing in high-speed memory? Well, it depends.
If you intend to upgrade your system’s graphics card, you are better off spending your money on a new GPU. Your performance gains will be much bigger. But if you are on a budget and can not afford a new CPU or GPU at the moment and are looking for a new set of RAM, I recommend choosing RAM over 2800 MHz.
3200 Mhz is currently the sweet spot and while being more expensive, you can benefit from it especially if you upgrade your CPU or GPU in the future. Paying a little more for RAM will ultimately boost your PCs performance and it is always a good idea to future-proof your Pc. It is not recommended to buy RAM with higher speeds than 3200 Mhz as prices really go from there and you do not want to spend more money for no performance improvements.
Before buying new RAM you should not forget to take into account the CAS Latency. CAS-Latency refers to the time delay between when a command is entered and executed. It essentially is the time-frame between you ordering a specific task and the time the RAM needs to execute it. The lower the latency, the better. The CAS Latency is measured in ms and is listed on the RAM in this form: 15-15-15-35 for example. The lower these numbers are the better, as less time is necessary for a command to be entered and executed.
High-speed RAM often comes with sloppy CAS Latency timings, which will decrease your RAM’s performance. As stated before, the sweet spot is 3200 Mhz because good speed and latency can be combined with a good price point. Anything above 3200 Mhz usually comes with higher latency (17-17-17-37 for example). If you can find two 3200Mhz RAM modules with 15 or even 14 CAS Latency, you have found the perfect combination of speed and latency.
Besides Ram speed and latency, you have to carefully choose the RAM manufacturer, too. There are many options available as many companies produce RAM modules, however, you can not go wrong with Corsair and G-Skill. These companies are the best and you should always rely on trusted brands when choosing Pc parts. Corsair’s “Vengeance” or their “Trident-Z” high-end modules aimed towards the enthusiast are an excellent choice. G-Skill, on the other hand, competes neck to neck against Corsair with their “Ripjaws” IV and V series of RAM modules for mid-range consumers and with their “Trident Z” modules for high-end consumers.
Personally, I have 2×8 GB G-Skill Ripjaws V 3200 Mhz installed in my system and I never had an issue with them. Even if something was to happen these sticks come with a lifetime warranty, which means that whenever you encounter problems, Corsair and G-Skill will send you a new pair of RAM as long as those are still available. Whatever you choose is up to you, but you can not go wrong when choosing one of those.
Below I will provide a list of the RAM modules I would be looking at if I were about to buy new RAM for my system:
A better GPU or CPU may still be the best way to boost your computer’s performance but a new pair of RAM can significantly impact your Pc’s performance in a positive way, too. Always remember that high-speed RAM is the way to go as more and more games will eventually take advantage of the memory’s speed and basic DDR4 memory speed of 2133 MHz does not do the trick anymore and will only decrease as we move towards next gen’s DDR5 memory in 2020. By buying a good pair of RAM you ensure the longevity of your system and great gaming performance for the next couple of years.
Just remember that RAM will not drastically improve performance but only complement your graphics card and processor with small additional gains, which can prove useful if you want to take advantage of your Pc capabilities to the maximum.
I hope that you enjoyed my post. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org