Choosing Memory (RAM)
RAM is your computer’s short-term memory, where the data that the CPU is currently using is stored. RAM is used for immediate data storage and retrieval — any task that requires quick access to computing resources. The amount of RAM a PC has will dictate how much a CPU can compute at any given moment. Heavy multi-taskers, power users, and content creators will oftentimes require more RAM to accommodate a more demanding workflow. Games, however, don’t require as much RAM to run efficiently.
The two primary factors in choosing memory are capacity and speed. Memory capacity will have the largest impact on your computer's ability to perform multiple tasks at once, whereas speed will affect its ability to execute individual tasks effectively. While RAM is easily upgradeable, we recommend ordering with a sufficient amount at the time of purchase to avoid incompatibility with other kits down the road. Some kits will need to be replaced entirely, which makes purchasing additional RAM more costly to do after the fact.
There are also different types of RAM, DDR4 and DDR5. DDR5 is the latest generation, and boasts higher speeds, but like any new technology, there are some nuances. One of those nuances is that it can only reach their high advertised speeds when ran in a 2-stick configuration. The moment you populate 4 RAM slots, a speed reduction is needed to maintain stability. Dialing in that exact speed takes a bit of trial and error. In our tests, we have found that sweet spot to be around 4000-4800MHz, but it honestly varies from build to build. As DDR5 further develops and eventually becomes the mainstay, we expect this to change. For now, if opting for DDR5, we recommend a kit made up of 2 sticks of RAM for optimal performance. It's also worth pointing out that DDR5 is not backwards compatible and requires a motherboard that supports DDR5.
Feeling ready to make the jump into a new build? Head over to our custom configurators to spec out your new system here. If you'd rather leave the research and customization to the experts, take a look at our Ready to Game systems here.
Too many options? Still have questions? Give us a call at 908-620-9050 or reach out via email to Sales@MAINGEAR.com. Our entire staff is made up of gamers and creators alike, and we’re happy to lend a hand with configuring your new PC, however you plan to use it most!