Ensuring your PC is packed with the best RAM for gaming is essential if you want to get peak performance out of your system. There’s something truly satisfying about the quick-swap click as you pop some new RAM sticks into your PC build.
So, we hope that this helpful guide to the best RAM for gaming will help you give you a quick-fire insight into some top performers. Remember, from in-game framerates, to snappier responses, having some of that sweet memory in the form of the best RAM will always pay dividends.
Some slightly firmer lines are now drawn as to how much RAM you need too: 4GB is just too low, and you barely see machines built with that in – 8GB should be considered the absolute minimum nowadays. However, with games maintaining a demanding level of graphics, and helped by RAM being at least somewhat affordable, 16GB should be the target now. Those intending to use their PCs for video editing or 3D rendering alongside their gaming should consider 32GB.
We’ve put together a list of our favourite RAM modules for both AMD and Intel platforms, factoring in budget and use. And if you want RGB invading yet another corner of your gaming world, we’ve got you covered.
5 Best RAM for Gaming of 2021:
If you want the best budget RAM, look no further: the Crucial Ballistix Sport LT Kit has you covered. This DDR4 RAM kit comes with two 4GB DIMMs, each rated to run at 2666 MHz- which is slightly above the 2400 MHz standard for DDR4 RAM. While this 266 MHz difference won’t make a massive performance difference, it is a nice-to-have and it does indicate higher quality than most budget DDR4 RAM sticks, which target lower clocks.
When buying PC RAM cheap, it’s always important to buy from a reputable manufacturer. Fortunately, manufacturers like Crucial, ADATA, and Patriot always seem to have this price range covered, providing cheap RAM to anyone who needs it. That’s to say, despite being considered budget RAM, this is still good RAM for gaming and one of the best 8GB RAM options as well.
If you’re building a new PC and don’t want to spend too much on RAM, then this is the kit for you. Just make sure you don’t make the mistake of buying a single RAM stick, as that will prevent you from being able to run in Dual-Channel mode, which may bottleneck your system.
- Low price
- Slight bump above standard clock speed
- Not the best RAM available
With a CAS latency of 14, the Team Xtreem kit leads the way in low-latency RAM favored by gaming PCs, especially AMD Ryzen rigs. As such, it takes the top spot as our pick for the best RAM for gaming.
Not all that long ago, a kit as well-rounded on both price and performance would’ve been a distant dream. However, a recent DRAM price crash and an increasing process maturity in DDR4 production mean kits such as this can often be found for far less than they would’ve been only a couple of years ago.
That’s great news for those of you eyeing up AMD’s Ryzen CPUs, which favor a memory clock around the 3,600MHz mark—thus ensuring the Infinity Fabric clock is kept at a 1:1 ratio with your memory and your chip ticking over happily with minimal latency penalties. A kit such as the Team Xtreem is optimal for AMD Ryzen CPUs.
Even the RGB lighting on this kit is kept within moderation. Each DIMM features diffused RGB lighting that creates a glow-in-the-dark effect. And while that doesn’t sound great on paper, it’s surprisingly smart in the flesh.
If you want to eke out all your CPU has to offer and ensure your system looks fresh in the process, the Team Xtreem ARGB kit is a great option—just a shame about the name.
- Great for AMD
- RyzenSubtle RGB
- Great price
- Be careful if overclocking
Patriot’s Viper Steel memory lineup encompasses a range of products from DDR4-3000 to DDR4-4400, with models above DDR4-3200 available only as 2x 8GB kits. 16GB isn’t a whole lot of memory capacity these days, particularly when considering that most of the boards capable of supporting this data rate have only two slots.
Yet keeping the kit simple has allowed Patriot to equip the Viper Steel with enhanced timings that dramatically boost the performance of certain programs, including some games. Since the market for pure gaming rigs and focused builds designed for singular tasks is still competitive, the Viper Steel DDR4-4400 sits comfortably in this niche.
For those with a board that can handle its top speed and games or workloads that can take advantage of it, Patriot’s Viper Steel DDR4-4400 16GB kit is an excellent high-performance option that also skips RGB.
Keeping the kit simple has allowed Patriot to equip the Viper Steel with enhanced timings that dramatically boost the performance of certain programs, including some games. Since the market for pure gaming rigs and focused builds designed for singular tasks is still competitive, the Viper Steel DDR4-4400 sits comfortably in this niche.
- Superb 19-19-19-39 DDR4-4400 timings
- Outperforms competing DDR4-4600 kits
- Reasonably priced
- RGB-free design
- Pricier than the closest-performing RGB kit
- Top XMP profiles require specially-selected motherboards
G.Skill have been one of the leading brands in memory for years. With the Trident series being at the top of the line.
Consistently good overclocking capabilities, classy aesthetics, rock-solid stability, and outstanding quality are what define the Trident Z Neo series of RAM. Loved by enthusiasts and overclockers alike, this kit is one of the best RAM on the market, and it shows.
With its unique half-black, half-silver styling, translucent light diffuser, and tasteful RGB, it provides a classy, modern look to compliment any build. Asus Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light, and Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0 compatibility make customizing your visual experience a breeze.
Fast frequency, with tight timings, and overclocking headroom to boot, courtesy of Hynix DJR ICs, provide a seamless gaming experience, boosting FPS averages and lows, and improving smoothness in the process.
XMP 2.0 profiles that have all the settings in one easy click. Easy compatibility for any X570, Z390, or Z490 motherboard. And last but not least, a lifetime warranty with G.Skill’s great customer service gives this high performance kit the win and is the best DDR4 RAM for gaming right now.
- Made with AMD Ryzen 3rd gen compatibility in mind
- Reasonably priced for its performance
- Good overclocking thanks to Hynix DJR dies
- Not as much overclocking potential as a Samsung B-die kit
- May not always be available due to high demand
Not as expensive as the previous, but they’ll still make an impression if you wanted to show off some colors again. The Night Hawk still brings some fast performance, where ‘dual channel’ mode of 16GB and a bandwidth of 3200MHz will result in next-to-no lag (dependent on your graphics card and CPU).
These will be for a PC where you’ll be doing a lot of editing for your YouTube channel, but you’ll also be playing games a few times a week. You’ve got the option of streaming, but you’d rather play a great MMORPG inbetween editing. For just under £190 / $200 you will get your money’s-worth, and 16GB in a PC will be future-proof on the RAM side for the next few years to come.
Of course, it has the colors as mentioned, with the software to boot, so you can again customise it as you wish. It also has the heatsinks on each, so it can better siphon off any heat when under extreme load and rendering the 4K videos you’ve been working on.
- Looks very fancy
- Performs well
- Not that expensive
- White light diffusers cast pastel hues
Best RAM for Gaming Buying Guide
Our short and sweet sum-up is this: If you want to make a straightforward pick based on rough speed and capacity, then 16 or 32GB at 3,200MHz should see any Intel or AMD CPU perform admirably. However, if you want to make a more informed decision, you’ll find below a list of kits we’ve tested at differing price points so that you can spend your money well.
When selecting the best DDR4 RAM for gaming, there are several things you have to take into account. First, consider the total capacity of memory you’re looking for. We recommend a minimum of 16GB for most serious gaming PCs (it’s what we use in our high-end PC build), but it isn’t too costly to upgrade to 32GB these days, thanks to a recent pricing crash.
DDR3 Or DDR4: What’s The Best Type Of RAM?
The first big difference between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM is the fact that they’re different standards. DDR3 RAM is a previous generation of RAM and is supported by older motherboards– pretty much any motherboard manufactured after 2007 and before 2014. DDR4 RAM was introduced in 2014, and has been the standard for RAM in PCs ever since.
The other difference between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM is, well… speed. DDR3 RAM speeds peak at around 2133 MHz, while DDR4 RAM speeds start at 2400 MHz. Since DDR3 is such an old standard, DDR4 RAM is often less expensive than DDR3 on average and much, much faster. However, this doesn’t mean that DDR3 RAM should be foregone entirely.
DDR3 RAM is still necessary for upgrading pretty much any PC built in or before 2014. If you’re a savvy budget gamer, you may also have purchased a used prebuilt desktop to slap a new GPU into– and that desktop is likely to still be using DDR3. There are many reasons to still be browsing for DDR3 RAM in 2019.
However, you shouldn’t be browsing for DDR3 RAM if you’re building a new PC. There is no benefit in doing so, and you’ll also be locking yourself into obsolete motherboards and CPUs. These older-generation motherboards and CPUs will often be inflated in price as well, thanks to the fact that they are no longer being manufactured.
How Much RAM Do I Need for Gaming?
Generally speaking, 8GB of RAM is all that is needed in the majority of today’s most-played titles. However, newer games are starting to utilize more and more RAM and if you are planning on doing other process-intensive tasks like video/image editing, or if you like to watch video content while you’re gaming, more memory will come in handy. But, if you are building a budget gaming PC, you can definitely start out with a single 8GB stick of RAM, as that will be enough to handle most games and it will be incredibly easy to add a second stick (for 16GB total) down the road.
The good thing about memory is that, as far as cost goes, it’s probably the one component that will give you the biggest increase in performance relative to its cost (up to a certain point, of course). In fact, for about $30-$40, you can get a kit of 2400MHz 8GB DDR4 RAM–which is pretty good for the price.
However, there are higher-end options out there as well. And, in this post, I will go over the best RAM for gaming for 2021 at various price ranges for different budget sizes. I’ve broken the guide down into three different sections… RGB memory kits, DDR4 memory kits, and DDR3 memory kits.