So you’re in the market for some new memory for your PC? Awesome! After the graphics card and CPU, the memory is probably the third most critical component in your system. The type and quantity of RAM you choose can have a considerable impact on your overall PC performance. Perhaps you aren’t exactly sure what RAM is, and you’d like to understand what it is first. If that is you, head on over to our RAM guide for a primer on all things memory-related.
Now purchasing RAM can also be a fairly daunting task, as the options before you may seem overwhelming at first. There are a seemingly endless number of specs to look at, and yet, for the layperson, most of them are totally irrelevant.
Let’s take a look at five simple factors to consider that will make this as easy as installing the RAM itself.
The first thing we’ll want to decide upon is the amount of memory we need in our system. Are you a gamer or a PC enthusiast? Are you looking to run multiple tasks simultaneously or stream or edit video? Depending on your needs, your RAM requirements will vary.
A few years back, 8GB of RAM used to be plenty for gaming, but we are now in a world where 8GB is the bare minimum, and 16GB is more standard for gamers. 16GB of RAM will be sufficient to run even the latest games with no concerns whatsoever, and leaves a little in the tank for futureproofing. If you’re a gamer, pick up 16GB and call it a day.
For those users who are looking to run memory intensive video editing software or server related tasks, your memory requirements may warrant going beyond 16GB. If you are looking to run massive server tasks that consume memory at an unparalleled rate, then looking to 64GB to 128GB capacities will more likely suit your needs.
Now that you have determined how much memory you need, you need to decide how exactly you will break down that RAM capacity. Do you want one 16GB stick of RAM, or two 8GB modules? There are two things to consider here when making this choice:
Generally, single memory modules have the least bandwidth. Bandwidth can be thought of as the size of the pipe through which data travels. Dual or quad style modules have more bandwidth simply due to the fact that there are more modules through which data can travel.
Multiple module memory kits also are in most cases cheaper. This is as a result of smaller capacity modules being cheaper to manufacture.
So, it makes sense to go for multiple module kits, but another thing to think about is how many available memory slots your motherboard has!
Memory clock speed can range from 2133MHz to 4600MHz and above (especially if you overclock your memory). How important is this variable? Unlike in the case of graphics cards and CPUs, memory clock speeds are not as critical of a factor. The differences in performance between one clock speed and another can however cause a noticeable improvement in frame rates for gaming specifically.
AMD CPUs have been known to run better when paired with higher memory clock speeds (3000MHz and above is recommended). This is not universally the case though.
Again, it is worth taking a look at what memory modules your motherboard can support, as not all clock speeds will be supported by all motherboards. Make sure to check this prior to purchase!
Memory latency, called CAS latency (CL), is a measure of how long it takes for instructions to be sent from the CPU to the RAM. Given that the time is literally measured in nanoseconds, (yes, that’s one-thousand-millionth of a second) this variable is not really something to be all that concerned about. DDR4 memory latency is so small that you do not need to let this be something that sways your decision between various memory options. One thing to note is that the greater the capacity of the RAM module, the higher CAS latency.
Gone are the days where RAM modules looked like bare circuit boards. Nowadays, memory modules are kitted out in the most awesome designs. RGB colours that sync with the rest of your PC, and beautiful metallic heatsinks can easily make you choose one module or brand over another. When it comes to design, it really is up to you. Bear in mind that modules with RGB lighting are more expensive than the non-RGB options. Heatsinks do serve a purpose other than mere design, as they allow heat to dissipate from the memory and thus permit the user to overclock the memory to lightning fast speeds.
You are now fully equipped to purchase your memory. The only thing you really need to decide on is which brand you want to buy.
Ready to make your choice? Head on over to our store and browse our quality memory modules.