People never think about the best RAM (random access memory) when it comes to gaming, but for most games having optimized RAM actually will increase your frame rates. This is especially true when it comes to massive RPG games or MMO’s that have to process a lot of data. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for DDR3 or DDR4 RAM, this list will have them both on any budget.
Below I have the best RAM I’ve found for gaming. First is the best DDR3 RAM and second is the best DDR4 RAM. Your motherboard is what determines what RAM type you use, so check what type of RAM your motherboard uses so you don’t get something that’s incompatible.
Best DDR3 RAM for Gaming
Choosing the right amount and type of RAM when building your gaming computer is a crucial step towards achieving proper performance. Unlike the newer DDR4 modules, DDR3 is compatible with most systems and it can yield a fantastic amount of memory processing. You’ll need to take into account not only the cost but your memory requirements and compatibility with your motherboard when shopping for RAM. There are a lot of competitors on this field, and the choice essentially comes down to memory speed (in MHz) and capacity (in GB) versus the price when shopping for DDR3 modules. In this article, we’ll take a look at various DDR3 memory cores and determine which is the best overall choice for gaming.
Clocking in at a decent 1600MHz, the Corsair Vengeance is available in 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB. It features a built-in aluminum heatsink for dedicated cooling that works well to keep it chill and running well. It’s configured out of the box to be compatible with most motherboards and can be safely overclocked. Priced at $31 for 4GB (1x4GB), $41 for 8GB (1x8GB) or $78 for 16GB (2x8GB), the Vengeance is a good solid entry-level RAM upgrade, and features a limited lifetime warranty. Corsair has a good track record with its products and performance satisfaction, and the Vengeance would make an excellent addition to any gamer’s system.
Corsair Vengeance Pro Series
For those who find 1600MHz a little on the slow side, the Corsair Vengeance Pro Series offers 2400MHz of speed for your gaming pleasure. While the price is steeper than its cousin the Corsair Vengeance, the Pro Series is available in 16GB and 32GB and offers serious RAM capability for the buck. Priced at $82 for the 16GB (2x8GB) and $170 for the 32GB (4x8GB), the Pro Series features the aluminum heatsink technology and XMP overclocking ability that have become synonymous with Corsair products. And they’re available in multiple colors to boot allowing you to match your motherboard’s scheme. A good, solid, mid-range gaming DDR3 memory unit that will have your computer singing.
Delivered from the production lines of GSkill, the Ripjaws DDR3 memory core lies somewhere between the Corsair Vengeance and the Pro Series in price. Coming in at 1600MHz, it’s not a real contest with the aforementioned Pro Series, but still compares reasonably well to the regular Vengeance line. Offered in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB configurations, it prices at $31 for the 4GB (2x2GB), $46 for the 8GB (2x4GB) and $85 for the 16GB (2x8GB). While out of the box it will likely show a speed in the range of 1300MHz, it’s safely overclocked to 1600MHz with an easy modification of the XMP settings. Although it’s a capable memory unit, this DDR3 offers negligible difference over the Vengeance with regards to performance and is priced higher at the 16GB level. A capable memory core it may be, but it offers less of a value proposition than the Vengeance.
Kingston Hyper X Fury
Kingston’s Hyper X Fury DDR3 memory core offers a plethora of features for the price. Available in a host of colors from black, blue, red and white, it’ll easily complement the color scheme of your computer and will provide a memory speed burst to match. Offering a unique heat spreader system to keep it running at the proper temperature, the Fury sets the standard for ease of installation as well as overclocking ability. It’s rated at 1866MHz in standard configuration, making it an excellent deal in comparison to the Corsair Vengeance. The Fury comes in 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB flavors, at a price that won’t make a huge dent in your wallet. It’s priced at a paltry $21 for 4GB (1x4GB), $38 for 8GB (2x4GB) or $69 for 16GB (2x8GB), and offers excellent value for the cost. So if you’re looking for an extra burst of speed for the price, the Kingston Hyper X Fury makes for an excellent buy.
Crucial Ballistix Tactical
One of the few DDR3 memory cores designed primarily for gaming enthusiasts, the Crucial Ballistix Tactical series is a 1600MHz offering with a lot going for it. While lacking a color scheme choice (it comes in a bright yellow color), it may be nothing much to look at but has it where it counts when it comes to performance. It features a limited lifetime warranty which is a telling mark when it comes to performance and durability. Coming in at $27 for 4GB (1x4GB), $43 for 8GB (2x4GB), $70 for 16GB (2x8GB) or $140 for 32GB (4x8GB), it offers a range of options based on your memory needs. Unfortunately, it’s double the price of the Ripjaws memory at the 32GB level, making it not worth the extra cost as both units compare favorably.
Crucial Ballistix Sport
For the budget conscious, the Crucial Ballistix Sport stakes a claim in the low-end DDR3 module niche. Offering ease of installation and overclocking ability, the Ballistix Sport line boasts a legion of dedicated users. Much like the Tactical series, this DDR3 memory unit offers a limited lifetime warranty and supports XMP for advanced tinkering under the hood. While this line maxes out at 16GB, it’s an excellent option for those looking to upgrade their RAM at a lower cost. The Ballistix Sport comes in 4GB (1×4), 8GB (1×8) and 16GB (2×8) and is priced at $20, $54, and $125 respectively. Even though it lacks the performance of its sibling the Ballistix Tactical, the Sport line offers great memory capacity for the price. Additionally, it’s one of those memory cores that just works out of the box, with exceptional system recognizability from the get-go. Overall, it’s a great DDR3 setup considering the price.
Which DDR3 RAM is For You?
All of the featured DDR3 memory modules are excellent at what they do, and it’s difficult to pick a winner among them. Most of these entries fit the bill when it comes to price versus performance, although the cost will vary widely among the differing modules. If you’re looking for exceptional memory speed and to push DDR3 technology to the limit, then the Corsair Vengeance Pro’s 2400MHz is your choice. However, the price for that level of performance comes at a cost, and most seasoned gamers will do just fine by the 1600MHz -1866MHz range offered by the rest. Having said that, the Kingston Hyper X Fury offers that rare combination of speed for a respectable price. Clocking in at 1866MHz at a price less than most 1600MHz modules, the Fury is the clear leader in the gaming DDR3 field.
Best DDR4 RAM for Gaming
DDR4 RAM is slowly starting to stake its claim in the memory world, bringing higher capacity and faster speed with it. As more components become compatible with it, building your gaming system with DDR4 memory means paving the way to creating your ultimate rig. Alas, a lot of factors go into choosing the right type of DDR4 memory, including clock speed, capacity, and price, to name but a few variables. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the popular options available on the market and determine which one can lay claim to being the best DDR4 RAM for gaming.
The basic Crucial line of DDR4 RAM tends to be the exception to the rule when it comes to the price of bargain-basement RAM modules, and unfortunately, it shows in its performance. Offering a mere 2133MHz to 2400MHz of memory speed to the mix, this series is good only for those looking for reduced power usage when speed is not an issue. Indeed, the speed range is comparable to higher-end DDR3 modules, so the benefits are negligible. Still, it’s relatively cheap – starting at $18 for 4GB and topping out at $142 for 32GB (4x8GB), and appeals to those with strict budgetary issues. However, its lack of performance compared to other RAM sets pretty well negates the value of having DDR4 in the first place, so the prospective buyer should beware.
It’s telling about the price range of DDR4 that the decent budget-level range starts in the $40’s. In this case, the PNY Anarchy series offers a suite of features for the price. With 2400MHz of memory processing speed and overclocking ability to a built-in heat spreader and available in a two color options, the PNY Anarchy delivers great value for the cost. Starting at $40 for the basic 4GB configuration, the series is also available in 8GB (2x4GB) and 16GB (2x8GB) for $54 and $70 respectively. What really sets this line apart from others is its lower power usage, operating with a 20% lower power consumption than comparable DDR3 modules. It’s probably one of the better low-end units on the market, despite the fact that there are faster RAM blocks available.
Another lower-speed offering on the market, ADATA’s XPG line sacrifices processing speed for overall performance. Clocking in at 2400MHz for the smaller end units and ranging upwards to 2800MHz, it can’t match others in the MHz department. However, the XPG does perform remarkably well despite these limitations. ADATA claims that they use the highest standards in manufacturing the 10-layered printed circuit boards, allowing for higher performance than comparable units. Its well-designed heat spreader is especially efficient, allowing for a mere power usage of only 1.2V, the lowest of any of the RAM sets profiled here. It’s also visually attractive, featuring a strikingly angled shape bathed in red. The XPG line starts at $95 for 8GB and tops out at a whopping $490 for 32GB. It’s a lot of money for less speed, but hardcore gamers swear by its incredible performance and durability. If you’re a serious gamer and want to stretch your DDR4 performance to the max, and you have the cash to burn, then the ADATA XPG series is worth the money.
Crucial Ballistix Sport (DDR4 Version)
While an upgrade on the basic Crucial line, the Ballistix Sport series still operates at a slightly lower level in comparison to other DDR4 offerings. The speed is good – 3000MHz with overclocking possible up to 3200MHz, but where this unit does shine is in its lower power signature than comparable RAM blocks. Like the G.Skill Trident Z, it uses only 1.35V of power, ideal for high-performance, energy-sucking systems. The price range starts at $24 for 4GB of RAM, and works its way upward from there – $40 for 8GB (1x8GB), $75 for 16GB (2x8GB) and $165 for 32GB (4x8GB). The cost is lower than other higher-end RAM, but this unit, unfortunately, isn’t quite up to those same performance specs. While it does offer better overall performance than it’s cheaper sibling the basic Crucial line, the Ballistix Sport series can easily be overlooked for better products.
Corsair Dominator Platinum
Ranging from 3000MHz to 3200MHz depending on the configuration, the Corsair Dominator Platinum series delivers excellent memory speed at a competitive price. Starting at $85 for 8GB (2x4GB), it ranges upward through 16GB (2x8GB) at $135 and 32GB (4x8GB) which will set you back $310. Pricier than G.Skill’s Trident Z, Corsair comes with the added benefit of Corsair’s higher name value. The Platinum series is truly designed with gamers and high-performance users in mind, specifically with its DHX cooling system capable of handling virtually any environment. While there is no color palette on offer, it does feature the ability to add a light bar kit to incorporate LED lighting into it. Looks, performance, durability and speed are all hallmarks of the Corsair line, and the Dominator Platinum DDR4 series is a worthy addition.
G.Skill Trident Z
Offering a whopping 3200MHz out of the box with the ability to overclock up to 3733MHz, the G.Skill Trident Z series offers superior RAM performance. This product is perfect for serious gamers, giving you the opportunity to play with the big boys. The onboard heat spreader keeps the RAM blocks cool while operating at top speed, and it offers a great deal of power when used on a supporting CPU motherboard. It doesn’t come cheaply – $117 for 16GB and $250 for 32GB (in a 4x8GB configuration) – but it’s definitely worth the price for the serious gamer. The power configuration sucks up 1.35V of power, lower than comparable DDR3 RAM blocks, but higher than the low-end PNY Anarchy. All in all, the G.Skill Trident Z line will supercharge your system and let you play at the highest levels.
What DDR4 RAM is for you?
While most of these DDR4 RAM blocks are worthy of serious attention, the G.Skill Trident Z stands out with its balance of price versus performance. It’s by no means the cheapest RAM on the block – remember it starts at $85 – but it embodies everything that a good DDR4 setup should have. While the power consumption and performance of the ADATA XPG should be positively noted, the Trident Z strikes an excellent mix of speed, power usage and efficiency. It’s an excellent choice for the dedicated gamer and is sure to make your system purr while handling any task you give it.
As you can see, there are different types of RAM for people on any budget, and whether you are looking for DDR3 or DDR4 RAM you have a plethora of options to choose from. For most people I’d recommend sticking with one of the budget gaming RAMs on this list, but for others who are truly trying to optimize performance, then you might want to consider getting a more expensive option.
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