Looking for the best RAM for your gaming PC? We go over the details, including the differences between DDR4 and DDR5, and what RAM even does in the first place.
Looking for the best RAM for your PC in 2023 has gotten a little bit more complicated than before. With the advent of DDR5, you can now choose between a newer standard, and an older one. DDR4 has a differently keyed connector, and you’re also going to have to check that the RAM is compatible with your CPU in the first place. So, what should you buy?
AMD and Intel, both support DDR5, but only Intel has retained compatibility for DDR4 on certain models of motherboards. AMD’s AM5 platform for the Ryzen 7000 chips is limited to using the somewhat faster, and slightly more expensive DDR5. Confused? We’ve got a handy chart for you to follow to get your gaming setup up to speed.
|System type||RAM support|
|AMD AM4 PCs (Ryzen 5000 and below)||DDR4|
|AMD AM5 PCs (Ryzen 7000 and beyond)||DDR5|
|Intel LGA1700 PCs (12th Gen and 13th Gen)||DDR5 & DDR4|
|Intel LGA1200 PCs (10th Gen and 11th Gen)||DDR4|
The best DDR5 RAM in 2023
|Brand||Amount||Speed (MHz)||Price ($)|
|Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB||32GB (2×16)||5200||149.99 (Usually 269.99)|
|Corsair Vengeance||32GB (2×16)||6000||134.99 (Usually 164.99)|
|Corsair Vengeance||32GB (2×16)||5600||124.99 (Usually 224.99)|
|Corsair Vengeance RGB||32GB (2×16)||6000||167.99 (Usually 254.99)|
|G.Skill Flare X5||32GB (2×16)||6000||124.99 (Usually 139.99)|
|G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB Series||32GB (2×16)||6400||169.99 (Usually 199.99)|
|G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB Series||64GB (2×32)||6400||329.99 (Usually 389.99)|
Slowly making its way into our everyday lives, DDR5 RAM is only just starting to get cheaper than the eye-watering prices that we saw last year. If you are building a PC in 2023, we’d recommend that you pick up DDR5 RAM and a motherboard that’s compatible with it. It’s better to invest and future-proof yourself, rather than save a few bucks and have to upgrade more later down the line.
DDR5 RAM is exceptionally faster and supports up to 7000 MT/s, for higher-end users. Of course, since we’re still early in DDR5’s lifecycle, it still remains relatively expensive for now. Though, as DDR5 demand grows, we expect that the prices will fall relatively rapidly.
With not many modules on the market, DDR5 is a lot easier to recommend than any other right now.
Though DDR5 is commonly found with 16GB DIMMs, you can also find it in 8GB, too. As a general rule for building a modern gaming PC, we’d recommend picking up a minimum of 16GB of RAM.
The best DDR4 RAM in 2023
|Brand||Amount||Speed (MHz)||Price ($)|
|Corsair Vengeance LPX||32GB (2X16)||3200||79.99 (Usually 114.99)|
|Corsair Vengeance LPX||16GB (2X8)||3200||45.99 (Usually 63.99)|
|Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro||32GB (2×16)||3200||99.99 (Usually 132.99)|
|G.Skill RipJaws V Series||16GB (2×8)||3200||45.99 (Usually 45.99)|
|G.Skill RipJaws V Series||32GB (2×16)||3200||74.99 (Usually 79.99)|
|TEAMGROUP T-Force Vulcan Z||32GB (2×16)||3200||70.99 (Usually 79.99)|
|TEAMGROUP T-Create Classic 10L||64GB (2×32)||3200||135.99 (Usually 164.99)|
Despite being slowly phased out, most budget and even expensive systems still running older AMD and current Intel chips will wind up with DDR4 in them. The hassle of shifting over to a new motherboard is a bit rich for some, and while it’s still a valid way to play games, why change what isn’t broken?
As a general sweet spot between speed and performance, you’ll want to pick up RAM that’s around 3600 MT/s. This is fast enough for any system, and shouldn’t be too expensive to buy right now.
As we’ve hit a plateau where DDR4 RAM can go for gaming, the best RAM is essentially what you can afford.
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DDR4 comes in various DIMM sized, with 8GB sticks being the most common. Though, we’ll again stress that you shouldn’t really be considering anything less than 16GB at an absolute minimum.
What is RAM and how does it work?
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is how your PC remembers things. By storing data that needs to be recalled quickly, like a minimized window and all the information contained within it, the PC can quickly resume its work within that scope.
For gaming, RAM is used in the same way. With large quantities of data needing to be recalled at a moment’s notice, the faster the RAM is, the quicker it can load in games, and pull in assets.
Can you mix brands and speeds?
You can actually mix RAM regardless of branding or speed. Outside of overclocking and XMP files, RAM is seen as agnostic in the system from a brand point of view.
For speeds, however, you’ll want to keep an eye on the MHz and CAS latency. CAS latency timings are important, and if both sticks of RAM do not match, it could lead to some technical issues.
If you buy DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz and your prebuilt PC‘s motherboard tops out at 2666MHz, the slower speed will be used instead. This is because the RAM can’t go at faster speeds than is rated for the motherboard that it’s going into. It’s best to consider checking the specs on your PC to ensure you’re getting the right sticks in your rig.
Can laptop RAM be used in a PC?
Yes, this is possible, but you’ll need a converter. As laptop LPDDR4 and LPDDR5 modules are much smaller than their desktop counterparts, you’ll need that extra step to get it in there. However, we’d recommend against doing this, as LP RAM is often rated lower than its desktop counterparts in speed.
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