Many gamers think that PC construction is both a blessing and a curse because of the sheer number of options available. On the one hand, you have complete control over which components you use and how much you spend, but on the other, you’re constantly concerned about whether or not they’ll work together.
RAM is not exempt from these compatibility difficulties, and it has the potential to be one of the more confounding components in this regard.
In order to be sure that your new RAM kit is compatible with your system, what are the things you need to look out for? That’s what this essay is all about, so keep reading!
Desktop computers today use DDR SDRAM, which stands for Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory.
The first version of this type of memory, DDR, was launched in 2000, followed by DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4, which is the most common type of DDR memory today. As a result, we now have DDR5, the most recent edition of DDR that has yet to make its way into the market.
As each new generation came along, the clock speeds, transfer rates, and bandwidth increased, as well as the power efficiency. It’s vital to keep in mind, however, that DDR memory is not cross-generational in use.
If a motherboard and CPU list DDR4 as the supported type of RAM, then DDR3 and DDR5 are not compatible. We don’t have to worry about too much generational crossover because the different DDR generations are far enough apart.
A new gaming PC built in 2022 using current components is almost guaranteed to use DDR4, as previously described as the dominating memory type in the mainstream PC market.
In addition to the generation, you should also keep in mind the format of the RAM modules, or memory sticks, as they are generally referred as, before purchasing fresh RAM.
Specifically, DDR memory is currently available in DIMM and SO-DIMM forms, with the latter being the most common. The former features a standard 288-pin configuration whereas the latter is more compact, as the name suggests, and features 260 pins instead. In portable computers, SO-DIMM is more prevalent than DIMM, but DIMM is the standard for desktops and laptops.
Even while some pre-built compact form factor PCs employ SO-DIMM memory, it’s rare to locate a standard off-the-shelf desktop motherboard that does. So the only thing to be concerned about here is not purchasing laptop RAM by mistake!
RAM Clock Speed
The speed of the RAM modules you wish to purchase is the next consideration, and this is where both the CPU and the motherboard come into play.
On top of the type of DDR memory support, CPU specs always provide information on RAM speed. Although these figures indicate the CPU’s official native speed, they do not represent a maximum RAM speed cap.
Rather, if you’re planning on overclocking your RAM, you’ll need to reference the motherboard specifications, which will indicate the maximum supported overclocking RAM speeds.
When it comes to gaming, RAM speed isn’t nearly as crucial as RAM capacity. Typically, high-speed RAM results in only marginal performance gains. So, unless you’re an enthusiast or a professional with a lot of money to spend on high-end overclockable RAM, it could be a better idea to focus on the GPU and CPU, which are both more vital for in-game performance.
When it comes to capacity, both processors (the CPU and the motherboard) and motherboards (the PCIe card) are involved in the process.
In order to ensure that you don’t go overboard, you only need to check the CPU and motherboard specifications for their respective maximum RAM capacity.
As a result, you shouldn’t be too concerned about memory capacity, because gaming CPUs and motherboards are unlikely to handle less than 32 GB of RAM, which is considerably more RAM than you need for gaming in 2022 anyhow.
In 2022, the sweet spot for gaming performance and cost is expected to be 16 GB of RAM. In terms of price, 8 GB is a good place to start, but it may not be enough for memory-hungry games. On the other hand, 32 GB or more is just too much, unless you plan to run RAM-intensive software or are extremely concerned with future-proofing your system.
The second item on our list is multi-channel RAM configurations, which are incredibly beneficial for current PCs but aren’t given as much attention as they deserve due to their ubiquitous use.
There has been a lot of talk about dual-channel memory in PCs recently, and for good reason: Having two lower-capacity memory modules instead of a single high-capacity one can considerably enhance the overall bandwidth, resulting in higher performance overall. A fast spec sheet check can establish whether or not a standard CPU or motherboard is capable of supporting it.
Another benefit of dual-channel RAM is the ability to save money by purchasing a kit with two 8GB sticks rather than one 16GB stick. So’s also a lot less expensive to replace a faulty stick, and your PC won’t be out of action while you do it.
Of course, multi-channel setups aren’t limited to two channels. High-end CPUs like the AMD Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC series or the Intel Xeon lineup, all of which are solutions aimed at high-end workstations and servers, support four, six, or even eight memory channels, but they’re not really relevant to gaming or typical desktop PCs.
RAM Compatibility Checkers
The final option is to utilize RAM compatibility checks to narrow down your options and identify the proper RAM kit more quickly if you want to be absolutely certain.
You may utilize RAM compatibility checkers on the websites of major RAM manufacturers like Kingston, Corsair, and Crucial to identify compatible memory for your motherboard, laptop, or pre-built PC model. Newegg and other online retailers such as Amazon also have their own compatibility checkers, which is helpful for those who prefer to shop online rather than directly from the manufacturer.
Also, if you’re worried about the entire hardware compatibility of your new build, PCPartPicker is a site you should check out because it may identify potential compatibility concerns not just with RAM but with all the other components as well..
Types of Motherboards
The motherboard is the heart of every assembled or branded tablet, laptop, PC, or mobile device. In other words, it is a circuit system that contains other subsystems to which other critical peripherals are directly attached or connected. Electronic components are held together by the motherboard, which is the primary printed circuit board found in computers. The most prevalent form factor is ATX, although there are also ITX, NLX, and LPX boards out there.
Advanced Technology motherboards were utilized in the early computers (AT). AT motherboards used AT power connections that were available in the early ’80s to power the motherboards. Additionally, it is equipped with two 6-pin power connectors. New peripherals couldn’t be installed easily due to the motherboards’ large size. Furthermore, putting a component in the improper spot on the motherboard could easily destroy it.
These motherboards have received an upgrade from Intel. Back in the 1990s, the Advanced Technology Extended (ATX) motherboard standard was introduced. In contrast to their predecessors, these devices allow for the interchangeability of connected parts without causing damage and are often smaller in size.
In the 1990s, following Western Digital’s invention of AT motherboards, the LPX or low profile extension motherboard was developed. Serial, parallel, video, and PS/2 connections are all housed on riser cards that plug into the rear of the motherboard on LPX motherboards.
How Much RAM Is Supported By My Motherboard?
“It depends” is a typical response to many hardware-related concerns. This question is no different, as far as I’m concerned. Your motherboard’s RAM capacity is determined by the motherboard’s capabilities.
The maximum amount of RAM supported by a certain PC model and the number of slots the RAM may be inserted into vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. To find out how much RAM your PC motherboard can handle, you can do the following:
- Your manufacturer’s website should be checked.
- Check out the complete PC name on Google to see if it has a maximum RAM capacity that is specified in the spec.
- RAM motherboard compatibility can be determined with the Memory Compatibility Tool.
- Compatibility can be checked using a third-party software like CPU-Z or HWinfo
Is RAM Compatible With Any Motherboard?
How can I know if my motherboard’s RAM is compatible with my RAM? Using a 12GB RAM on a PC that only supports memory modules of up to 8GB RAM is an extreme case. The inserted RAM may not be read correctly by the system. Consequently, your motherboard or processor will not be able to handle the higher memory speeds supplied by the increased RAM capacity. Whenever this occurs, the motherboard’s maximum clock speed is used for all modules. Using 2400 MHz RAM on a motherboard and CPU that only support memory speeds up to 2133 MHz is an example of this.
You can’t install DDR4 RAM in an old PC that only has DDR3 RAM. Incompatible with current hardware and software standards due to the fact that they employ different clocking methods. You must use DDR3 RAM in any slot on a motherboard that specifies this type of memory. Other RAM would not function.
Can I Use 1600 Mhz RAM In The 1333 Mhz Motherboard?
If you have a 1333 MHz motherboard, you can use 1600 MHz RAM. Only if you were given the money by someone else or you made an error in your purchase would this be acceptable. As a side effect, the higher 1600 MHz RAM would not be utilized to its maximum potential on a 1333 MHz motherboard. The fact that RAM operates at a different pace than it is sold at is an intriguing discovery to keep in mind. The maximum speed of 1600 MHz is the speed at which it is guaranteed to work if purchased.
A 1600 MHz RAM, for example, will only operate at that frequency or lower. That is to say, a 1600 MHz RAM can be used at 1333 MHz. Overclocking your motherboard is another way to get the most out of your RAM. The full 1600 GHz capability will be utilized and the system will run more efficiently as a result. Using a 1333MHz motherboard with a greater RAM capacity may result in the system not even being able to boot.
Does RAM Speed Have To Match Motherboard?
In other words, yes, but it isn’t need to be the same as the motherboard. However, to be on the safe side, a PC’s RAM speed and motherboard specifications should match exactly.
A number of instances have been reported where higher clock speeds than those supported by the motherboard have worked without any issues. Only the fact that the PC was running at the motherboard’s set clock speed rather than the higher frequency RAM requirement was noted as a disadvantage in these cases.
In most cases, there are two or more RAM slots on a laptop or a desktop computer. For the most part, this is true for the most recent models of desktops and laptops. It’s important to understand RAM to PC compatibility if you want to maximize the computational power of your computer and fill up these slots. Due to the fact that using RAM sticks from the same brand, size, and frequency ratings supported by your motherboard type is strongly recommended,
Can I Mix And Match RAM? (RAM Compatibility With Other RAM)
It all depends. You may or may not be able to mix and match RAM depending on the specifications of your computer. Again, this is entirely dependent on the manufacturer’s approach to the design of the computer’s motherboard. Some systems may benefit from mixing and matching RAM modules, while other systems may suffer as a result. Depending on how you define mix-matching, this can have an impact. For RAM memory, PC motherboards have specialized slots or modules that are keyed together. DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4 RAM memory types all have an unique slot type, and mix-matching in this regard is exceedingly improbable.
DDR4 is a good example of a RAM type that can be mixed and matched with ease. If you use two identical sticks of DDR4 RAM, but one is faster and the other is slower, the computer will use the slower speed by default. Using RAM from several manufacturers in a same PC is another way of saying “mix matching.” It doesn’t matter what brand they’re using as long as the DDR type is the same.
Upgrading Your RAM: All You Need To Know
Before making a decision on the type of RAM (e.g. DDR4 or DDR3 or DDR2 RAM) and what RAM amount to upgrade to, you need to be well-informed. Your PC motherboard’s RAM capability and the PC’s largest possible size are critical to this process. The RAM’s clock speed in MHz is another piece of information to keep an eye out for.
If you’re obtaining two or more RAM sticks, it’s best if the MHz speeds are the same. The quantity of RAM slots on your motherboard is another piece of information to keep an eye on. Laptops and desktops with more than two slots are not uncommon. You can then purchase the correct RAM size for your PC after verifying these facts.
Make sure your computer is shut down before installing the new RAM. After removing the RAM from the back of the system casing with a screwdriver, you can then insert the new RAM into the vacated slot. Once you’ve reinstalled your RAM, all you have to do is power on your PC and it’s ready to go.
5 Best RAM You Should Try
You can choose from a wide variety of RAM modules. The following are the best RAM options for your needs:
1. Best DDR4 RAM
This RAM from G.Skill is among the best available. This isn’t just because it’s quick, but because it has a latency range of 14 to 19 that makes it ideal for a wide range of applications, with a maximum speed of 4,266.
2. Best DDR3 RAM
The DDR3 RAM in this product series is among the best available on the market today. Its latency ranges from 9 to 11 milliseconds, while its bandwidth ranges from 1866 MHz to 2666 MHz.
3. Best LED RAM
As a well-known brand in the computer hardware industry, you can put your faith in Corsair. Corsair’s DDR4 RAM has the best performance and is compatible with the majority of DDR4 RAMs on the market today. CL16 latency and a top speed of 3,466 MHz are included in this RAM series.
4. Best Laptop RAM
Crucial RAM Ballistix Sport is compatible with SODIMMs, making it appropriate for most laptops. While keeping you protected, it enables exceptional multitasking skills and conserves electricity at the same time.
5. Best Gaming RAM
Does building a high-end gaming PC interest you? Then this RAM would be ideal for you. This is due to the fact that the RAM can operate at up to 5,000MHz and has anti-overheating characteristics.
Make sure that the RAM you choose is compatible with your system before you buy it, so that you can obtain the maximum performance possible.
How To Check RAM Speed: A Quick & Easy Guide
Published on May 28th, 2020 by
Date of last modification: 7th October 2021.
Kevin Ashwe penned the piece.
Learn how to check your device’s RAM speed, what sort you need, and more in this short and sweet guide!
It’s critical to know how fast your computer’s RAM is. That’s because your apps will run faster and files will be more easily available if you have a high-speed RAM chip. Depending on the speed of your computer RAM, the amount of time you can spend working on your computer is limited. Whether or whether your computer’s RAM is sufficient will be examined in this article.
Important Things To Consider When Buying a RAM
- Do I need DDR2, DDR3, or DDR4 of RAM?
- What is the minimum amount of RAM that I require?
- The maximum RAM frequency supported by my motherboard is…
- What is the maximum amount of RAM that my motherboard can handle?
- Exactly how much room do I have above my RAM to install heatsinks in my case?
What Ram is Compatible With My Motherboard?
Your motherboard manufacturer’s handbook is a good place to start when it comes to finding the right amount of RAM for your computer. All of the memory specs that the device may support are listed in this document.
Please visit the motherboard manufacturer’s website if you do not have this manual. A list of RAM modules including timings, frequencies, and model numbers is usually available from most vendors, and this list is called a Qualified Vendor List (QVL).
End-user manuals for laptops are provided by the manufacturer. There are detailed instructions in the user’s guide for replacing all of the laptop’s components. If you don’t already have it, you can look it up on the website of the manufacturer.
What if I Need More Ram for My Old PC?
Memory upgrades are a great way to boost the performance of a computer. RAM can improve your computer’s performance, whether it’s new or old.
BSODs, instability, and other problems can arise when two or more RAM sticks do not work together properly because of memory compatibility issues. It’s best to get a new dual-channel DDRx kit with two identical sticks of RAM in most circumstances.
You can get rid of the older RAM sticks as, if you have four RAM slots, even two sluggish sticks will impact the performance of the newer, faster RAM sticks. (2 identical sticks of RAM constitute a “kit”).
If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you might try to find a RAM module that matches the timings, capacity, and clock speed of your current RAM sticks. The slowest RAM stick will suffer performance deterioration and stability difficulties if timings and specs are mismatched.
DDR4 is significantly more expensive than previous generations of RAM, as evidenced by the price differential. If your system is functioning normally and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on new parts, consider getting cheaper DDR3 or DDR4 memory.
Even though a RAM update may seem insignificant, the costs of previous generations are sometimes inflated due to supply shortages. A product’s remaining supply or reconditioned components from the Used PC market are the only options once it has reached its end of life.
If your PC only supports DDR memory that is 2 generations older than the current market technology, please keep this in mind. Upgrades to DDR1 or DDR2 memory, even at low cost, are not recommended because there is no guarantee that the new module will operate.
Insertion Order and Single Replacements Can Affect RAM Compatibility
For those who are installing more than two RAM sticks, it is important to keep in mind which order to put each RAM stick. If you install them in the wrong order, they won’t work properly. This is part of the compatibility issue.
For more than two RAM sticks, the particular slots that need to be filled sequentially are normally shown in your motherboard’s user manual (and sometimes even on the motherboard itself).
When it comes to finding out which RAM modules are compatible with your machine, this should be all you need. The following information will help you better understand RAM modules’ technical aspects so you can make a more informed purchasing decision.
What Generation of RAM Do I Need?
DDR3 has been a standard in PCs since 2007 and is still commonly available today. Each every generation of RAM introduces new form factors.
Changing the form factor of RAM, such as “DDR3 to DDR4”, makes it impossible to enter the wrong RAM into the slot.
Electronic standards alter with each iteration, such as the lower voltages in DDR4 compared to DDR3 being one key factor. The RAM and other peripherals could be seriously damaged by the voltage changes.
DDR4 is more energy-efficient than DDR3 since it operates at 1.2V instead of 1.5V or 1.35V like DDR3 does. DDR4’s lower power consumption and faster transfer rate make it more appealing.
Identifying Using Stickers on the RAM Sticks
Differentiating between DDR3 and DDR4 can be done in a number of different ways. The sticker on the RAM itself is the simplest of the three. This information should be included on the RAM sticker if one is present.
If the sticker is missing or fails to supply this information, you will be unable to use the aforementioned programs. Use your motherboard BIOS to check the voltage of your RAM. From SDRAM to the cutting-edge new DDR5, the voltages of various RAM types are shown in the table below.
Identifying Using Third Party Apps
Third-party software for viewing your computer’s component details are readily available online. For example, you can use AIDA64, CPUZ, or HWinfo to see how much RAM your PC has right now, among other things. In addition, the BIOS on most motherboards provides only a limited amount of information on this.
DDR3 is identified as the memory type by Speccy. Dual-Channel RAM totals 16GB, as we can see.
The RAM’s speed or frequency is 797.8 MHz. The total speed of this computer is roughly 1600MHz because of the use of Dual-Channel RAM.
The number of memory slots on the motherboard and the amount of RAM being used may both be seen here as well.
How Is Laptop RAM Different From Desktop RAM?
Laptops employ SO-DIMM (Small Outline – Dual In-Line Memory Module) RAM, which is referred to as “small form factor RAM.” The physical size of SO-DIMM laptop RAM is the main difference. The length of the SO-DIMM is between 2 12 and 3 inches.
DDR3 and DDR4 desktop RAM modules measure about 5 14 inches in length. Laptop DDR4 (SO-DIMM) has 260 pins, but Desktop DDR4 (DIMMs) has 288 pins.
There are 204 pins on a laptop DDR3 (SO-DIMM) and 240 pins on a desktop DDR3. Below is a chart showing several SO-DIMM and DDR configurations.
What Do RAM Clock Speeds and RAM Timings Mean?
Things are about to get a little more complex now that we’re moving into the realm of the technical. It is important to keep an eye on both of the memory timing requirements on each RAM module that you are purchasing. One spec is the frequency or the number of times something occurs over a specific period of time.
The bus speed of a DDR RAM module is seen below. Dual channel DDR3 and DDR4 module descriptions commonly refer to these speeds as 2133 MHz, 2666 MHz, 3000 MHz, and so on.
Latency, or the amount of time it takes to get up to speed, is the second metric you’ll want to examine. If you want to get the most out of your RAM purchase, these two specifications are essential.
Your RAM module’s latency is defined by a set of numbers (CL 11-11-1-28) seen in the image above. CAS (Column Access Strobe) Latency or CL is usually the first number in the series.
When your RAM responds to a request, CAS is the amount of time it takes for the process to begin. Depending on the frequency of 1600 MHz, this number can range from 0 to 1.
The tRCD is found in the second digit (the Row to Column Delay). Using these values, you can see how much time it takes to search each column of data to find the row you’re looking for.
The total return on investment (tRP) is the final digit (the Row Precharge). The Row Precharge specifies how long the RAM must wait before opening a new row.
tRAS is the final number (the Row Active Time). Data can only be read or written after the minimum amount of clock cycles that a row has been open for.
All of the numbers stated above (CAS + tRCD + tRP) should be greater or equal to this figure.
Achieve a perfect balance of these factors:
- low clock speeds, particularly the CL (first number of the sequence)
- frequency of occurrence (rated stock speed of the module)
- lowest possible volts
- The best deal
- your motherboard’s compatibility (Qualified Vendor List of each motherboard or QVL)
How Much RAM Capacity Do I Need?
Your hard drive will be used to help lessen workload if your system doesn’t have adequate memory. Using Windows virtual memory (pagefiles) or paging, this process is completed. When you open a program that exceeds the amount of RAM on your computer, the program is moved to the pagefile.
Paging is a problem since it might cause the hard drive to become overworked. Having insufficient RAM may cause your hard disk to work overtime to keep up with all of the tasks running on your computer, resulting in slower performance.
The additional read, write, and re-write on the hard disk drive might lead to memory allocation mistakes and hardware failures, making this operation significantly slower than a standard RAM procedure.
“4GB of RAM for casual internet browsing and email, at least 8GB for those using spreadsheets and flash games, at least 32GB for gamers” is Crucial’s recommendation.
For gaming and media consumption/streaming, we recommend at least 16GB of RAM, and 32GB for video editing, content production, and content manipulation, we believe that 8GB is the very minimum.
In the Windows environment of 2021, 4GB of RAM barely suffices for basic browsing. Linux, on the other hand, is unique in that it can run with this much RAM, albeit not as smoothly as Windows.
Another factor to keep in mind is the architecture of your processor. A 32-bit (x86) operating system will not use more than 4GB of RAM. Although if you have a 64bit OS (x64), you can use much more depending on your maximum motherboard requirements, you can use a lot more.
It’s also worth noting that some CPU chip manufacturers, including Intel, set RAM frequency limits based on processor type.
Finally, Choosing My Ideal RAM…
Choosing a RAM manufacturer might be a difficult task, as there are so many to choose from. There’s no harm in going with a well-known and trusted vendor for any PC component.
There are a wide variety of memory suppliers, all of them offer high-quality items. Preferences vary widely, and there are many variables to take into consideration.
Crucial, Corsair, G.Skill, Kingston, Transcend, ADATA, Apacer, etc. are some of the most well-known RAM manufacturers. Do your research and use this guidance to make an informed decision on a high-quality device that will meet your needs in terms of speed and performance.
Is 16GB of RAM Necessary in 2021?
Even in the year 2021, a Windows 10 PC with only 4 GB of RAM will suffice for most day-to-day tasks like checking email and browsing the web. HD video editing, some light gaming, and Adobe Photoshop’s required 8GB of RAM are all possible on a PC with 8GB of RAM.
Most users agree that 16GB of RAM is the ideal quantity. Video editing, high-performance gaming, and multitasking with many memory-intensive apps can all be done with 16GB of RAM.
Why Is DDR So Expensive Right Now?
DDR4 is in high demand due to cellular technologies’ adoption of the new DDR4 in their new phones, according to PCGAMER. Smartphones are here to stay, and they’ll be around for a long time to come.
The new technology’s supply and demand have resulted in a significant increase in price.
What Is the Fastest RAM I Can Buy?
The CORSAIR Vengeance LPX is the fastest of the 15 kits tested by TrustedReviews, with a clock speed of 3200MHz and a latency of just 16-18-18-36. This module lacks RGB lighting, but it makes up for it with raw power.
There is no doubt that this specific set is a high-quality piece of equipment that will satisfy.
Will More RAM Make My Laptop Faster?
More RAM is the simplest and least expensive way to speed up your laptop or desktop computer. In addition to speeding up multitasking, increasing your RAM will also reduce startup time.
Is DDR3 or DDR4 Better for Gaming?
For a high-end gaming equipment, DDR4 is the best option. However, if you’re just a casual player, you won’t get any benefit from the more expensive RAM.
The supply and demand of DDR4 ram means that the performance differences between the two don’t equal the pricing. To a lesser extent than DDR4, you can use higher frequency DDR3 at the time of this writing.
Is 32GB of RAM Overkill for Gaming?
It’s not required to have a gaming computer with 32GB of RAM. In a gaming system, the GPU’s GDDR RAM is used. With 16GB of RAM and a powerful CPU and GPU, you’ll be OK.
However, if you’re a serious gamer who doesn’t want to deal with frame drops, stuttering, or any other potential performance issues, getting 32GB of RAM is the way to go, especially if you’re streaming or using several displays.
Can You Use 2 RAM Sticks From Different Vendors?
A total of two DDR modules can be used simultaneously. DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, etc. must all be of the same generation. It’s possible that, even if one of the frequencies is higher, all the RAM modules will be decreased and assigned to the lowest-performing RAM.
A DDR3 module that runs at 3200MHz and another that operates at 2100MHz will use the lesser speed of 2100MHz if they are both installed on the same motherboard.
That’s all there is to it in terms of RAM compatibility! It’s my hope that this post has been of assistance to you in your quest to construct a PC, especially if you’re a novice.
As a last resort, if you’re building a new PC from scratch, have a look at our gaming PC builders, which range from budget-friendly entry-level PCs that cost as little as $300 all the way up to high-end gaming machines for those with more money.