Many people were asking about How to Choose the Right RAM for Your PC which is why I have come up with this article so that you can get the core knowledge.
Building a PC is a good idea because it lets you make changes and add new features. Choosing the right RAM is important, whether you want the best performance, the best looks, or something in between.
Confused about which RAM stick to buy?
This piece of writing is my idea, based on my decades of experience as a fan.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Gaming RAM, Best RAM for Ryzen 9 3900X and Best RAM for Ryzen 7 5800X
What RAM Is Compatible With Your Motherboard
Remember how easy it was to tell your third-grade teacher what RAM stood for? I wish it was as easy as that.
Most people don’t know how hard it is to build a PC. For instance, a very common idea about RAM is that it is a temporary memory that stores app instructions and data in real time. This is true, but there are more things to think about, like the type of data rate, capacity, speed, channels, etc.
To choose the best RAM, you should know more about these terms.
Here are the factors to consider for selecting the best memory for your computer:
Double Data Rate (DDR), which came after Single Data Rate (SDR), is a much better memory technology SDR. DDR memory can write both when the clock goes up and when it goes down.
Have you gone crazy? Alright, let me illustrate.
Think about jumping over a rope. If you say “Hello” when you try to jump and then say it again when you fall, you will hear it twice. In the same way, DDR memory can run twice as fast.
Check out our separate post: Does Ram Brand Matter
Also, software like CPUZ may show your memory speed as 1200mhz, but thanks to DDR technology, the Task Manager will show 2400mhz. A thing called Channel is also involved. We’ll find out more later.
Coming back to DDR, it has numbers like DDR3, DDR4, DDR5, and so on. What do they mean, then?
Well, these numbers show which generation of DDR technology we are using. With each new generation, the clock speed and storage space got a lot better. And none of them can be used with older systems.
So, once you know what DDR is and what generation it is from, it’s time to look at your motherboard’s specs to make sure you have the right DDR memory.
The form factor is basically just how big RAM is. As far as shape goes, there are two common types of memory right now: DIMM and SODIMM.
DIMM, which stands for “Dual Inline Memory Module,” works with most desktop motherboards. It has a total of 288 pins.
Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module (SODIMM) RAMs, on the other hand, are made for laptops and some mini PCs like the Intel NUC. And there are 260 pins on SODIMM memory.
Go through our epic guide on DDR4 Ram Overclocking Informative
So, because of their physical differences, DIMM memories cannot be used with SODIMM motherboards and vice versa.
When people ask how fast your RAM is, they usually look at the clock speed. There can be a ridiculously high number of MT (Mega Transfer) rates. For example, DDR4 4400Mhz means that the RAM can read and write 4.4 billion times per second. Currently,
There are DDR5 memory modules with a speed of 6400Mhz on the market, and 9000Mhz kits are being made.
But is it something you can put on your system? Or do you need it?
You already know which version of DDR memory your mainboard can use, right?
Now, check the fastest clock speed that can be used. The CPU or the Motherboard can both be the bottleneck. Let me simplify for you.
Also, check out our separate post on Can Increasing RAM Help CPU Usage
Your CPU has a limit on how fast your RAM can run. The motherboard does, too. Most of the time, the CPU’s native speed is the number of Mhz it supports. The boards can do much more than that. This is called “OC speed.”
Let’s think about what this means in the real world.
Intel Core i5 10400/10400F can support up to DDR4 2666Mzh RAM. So when you put it on an H410 or B450 board, your memory modules will run at 2666Mhz. Note that these boards don’t have a way to speed up the processor.
The next board is the Z490, which can be overclocked. So this CPU can run RAM at a speed of 3200Mhz. You can go even higher, but the more you go up, the less you’ll get out of it.
See, if you go from 2666Mhz to 3200Mhz, the overall performance will be 5-7% better.
With higher-end CPUs like the Core i9 10900K, you can speed up your system memory to over 4000Mhz.
So, pick the speed of your RAM based on the speed of your CPU and motherboard. Since high-speed memory kits cost a lot, don’t let them go to waste.
Whether you’re running a game or a work app, the amount of RAM in your computer is the most important factor in how well it works.
You can’t just go out and buy as much RAM as you want if you don’t know why it’s important.
So, 16GB RAM on a modern computer is fine if all you do is play games. But with newer games, things can get messy if you choose a resolution other than 1080p, like 2K or 4K. So, 32GB is a good choice for the near future.
On the other hand, productive apps like Android Studio, Premiere Pro, Blender, etc., can use a lot of memory. Even so, you can still use them on 16GB or less. It’s just that if you have memory headroom, the whole thing will run smoother.
Go through our epic guide on DRAM Frequency & How to Set it Properly
So, more RAM means better performance, right? No, not always.
Not only that, but your CPU and Motherboard have limits on how much memory they can hold. So you can’t spend a lot of money on more memory. Also, you won’t be able to use them to their full potential if you can’t use them all.
So, choose RAM based on how well it works with your CPU and mainboard and how much you need it to do.
Memory channel is a way for the CPU and RAM to send and receive data. Most modern motherboards can work with either two or four memory channels.
Most popular sockets, like AM4, LGA 1200, AM5, etc., have support for two memory channels. Quad memory channels are found in High-End Desktop (HEDT) platforms like TRX40, X299, etc. But how does the memory channel change how well a PC works?
Any pro tips on how to speed up DDR4 RAM?
Let’s use an analogy to get to the bottom of what the memory channel is and how it works.
Think of a restaurant (CPU) with several chefs (cores) ready to cook. Waiting for food to cook, like meat, vegetables, rice, flour, and other things. They only get these things from one place (memory channel).
Even though the supplier has a lot of space (16GB, 32GB, etc. for memory), they can’t deliver goods as fast as the restaurant (CPU) can use them. So the restaurant can’t do as well as it could because of the way it gets its supplies.
Now, if the restaurant can get cooking supplies from another source (multi-memory channel), it will easily reach the maximum production rate.
For a real-world example of this, I used an AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor with 16GB (single channel) and 8x2GB of RAM (Dual channel). And the results are very surprising.
When I switched from Dual Channel to Single Channel, the performance dropped by 40–50%. The tests are summed up in the chart below.
So, with only one channel, the effective bandwidth is cut in half, which hurts performance. Memory kits always come in packs of two because of this.
So, if you want the best performance, you should always choose memory with multiple channels.
The memory rank is one of the things that people don’t pay much attention to when choosing the right RAM. It has a real effect on how well the system works as a whole.
A single group of memory blocks is called a memory rank. A 64-bit bus links your memory to the motherboard at each rank. There can be 1, 2, or 4 ranks on a single stick of RAM. As a general rule, more ranks means better, because your system’s memory controller can access each rank separately.
Because the modules share the 64-bit bus, the CPU can’t use all ranks at the same time. But it can start a process on one rank while a task is done on another. It’s called “interleaving,” and it cuts down on response time and improves memory bandwidth without making the bus wider. Isn’t that a lot to take in?
Should you care about memory rank, putting all these details aside? Or, does the performance boost make it worth looking into this complicated subject?
It seems that the answer is yes, especially if you have an AMD Ryzen CPU. With more ranks of memory, some games and productivity apps, like File Compression, can run faster and do more.
Check out our separate post on DDR4 Ram Overclocking Informative
Still, there is some good news. If you fill all four DIMM slots with single-rank memory, you don’t have to look for expensive dual-rank RAM sticks. This is about the same as a two-rank setup. But if you want to use 2 DIMM slots, dual-rank memory is a good choice.
But how can you tell how many ranks a RAM has?
Most of the time, memory chips are only on one side of a single-rank stick, but they are on both sides of a dual-rank stick. If they have a heat spreader, it’s hard to tell just by looking at them. So, to be sure, go to the product page.
After you’ve looked at the main specs and are almost done choosing the right RAM for your system, you may want to look at some small details.
The metal cover on the RAM stick that leaves the connector pins at the bottom is the heat spreader. It helps get rid of the heat that memory chips make.
You know, some companies make heat sinks with very fancy designs. They may look cool and weird, but they make it hard to connect things inside the case. Also, CPU coolers are hard to put in when the case is like this.
So, before you get too excited about how a DIMM stick looks, make sure that it fits perfectly inside the chassis. Safer to be safe than sorry!
ECC & Unregistered Memory
No matter if it’s a desktop, laptop, or mini PC, most of the time the memory we find is not registered. But ECC RAM is used in cloud servers, big data centres, supercomputers, and other things.
You know that ECC memory checks for and fixes mistakes in data while it is being processed. These errors cause systems to crash. Random crashes or restarts may not bother most people, but they can cost a company millions of dollars. These memories can handle data errors well, keep power from going out, and provide reliability.
ECC memory is also called “registered memory,” which is another name for it. It gives the memory controller some tasks to do.
So, these facts show that ECC is a better technology. But should I buy it?
The answer, for most people, is “No.”
Because of all the extra processing and algorithms, ECC memories are slow and won’t help you with everyday tasks. Also, most mainboards for home use don’t support registered RAM. These are not at all cheap.
The lighting effect on a RAM has no real effect on how well it works. But it makes your rig look better. How you want your PC to look is up to you.
RGB RAMs are very popular right now. They cost more because of all the lights and effects that make them sparkle.
But some RGB software can sometimes make the system less stable. It’s a good thing to keep in mind when you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong.
There is no such thing as a computer without Memory. However, it can be difficult for you to select the appropriate Memory for your computer.
Verify the specifications of your motherboard, and then use this advice to select the RAM that will work best with your computer.
FAQs for How to Choose the Right RAM for Your PC
How do I know what RAM to buy for my PC?
From the Start menu in Windows, look for System Information and open the app. You can find your Processor under System Summary. Using this information, you can look up your processor on the manufacturer’s website to find out what RAM will work with it.
Is 32 GB RAM overkill?
No, a computer doesn’t have too much RAM with 32GB. People are using computers with that much RAM more and more as software and operating systems keep getting more complicated.
Is DDR4 better than DDR3?
What is better about DDR4 than DDR3? DDR4 modules use less energy than DDR3 modules because they only run at 1.2V instead of 1.5V or 1.35V. The lower power use saves a lot of power and makes it possible to run at higher speeds without needing more power or cooling.
Does upgrading RAM increase speed?
In general, the processing speed is faster when the RAM is faster. With faster RAM, the memory can send information to other parts of the computer faster. This means that your fast processor now has a way to talk to the other parts of your computer that is just as fast. This makes your computer much more efficient.
Is 64GB RAM too much for gaming?
64GB is way too much for gamers; 16GB will be enough for new games that come out soon. It depends on what else is using up memory on your computer. Browsers can use a lot of space, especially if you have a lot of tabs open and a lot of add-ons loaded.