The Ultimate RAM Guide for Gamers

Learn everything you wanted (and didn't want to) know about RAM!

HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB
HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB

Building a computer for the first time is a pretty daunting task. With so many components and specifications to keep track of, knowing what to look for in a purchase can be tough. Graphics cards and processors usually steal the limelight, but if you want your games to load and run smoothly, knowing what RAM to buy is just as important.

High-quality RAM will help your games load levels and effects faster, letting you cut down the time spent waiting and get straight into the action. If you like to run software in the background while you game, having more RAM is crucial. Programs like Google Chrome are extremely RAM-hungry, so if you want to watch videos or check social media as you game, then you’re going to need some extra RAM. HyperX produces top-of-the-line, affordable RAM to keep your PC in peak form. In this guide we'll break down exactly what you need to know and understand as a first-time RAM buyer.

What is RAM?

RAM Specifications
RAM Specifications

RAM stands for Random-Access Memory. Essentially, it temporarily stores data for any programs that your computer is running at the moment, so your processor can access it quickly and easily without delving into your slower but larger hard drives. The more RAM you have, the more space your computer has to store this information, allowing it to run more processes concurrently. A 16GB stick of Ram, for example, allows your computer to store more temporary information than an 8GB stick. Size isn’t everything though, as RAM also comes in different speeds and generations.

DDR3 and DDR4

HyperX Predator DDR4 and DDR3 Comparison
HyperX Predator DDR4 and DDR3 Comparison

If you've been left confused by different DDR numbers when shopping for RAM, don't worry, it's actually very simple. The DDR number refers to the generation of RAM. The newer the generation, the higher the number. In other words, DDR4 is newer than DDR3. DDR4 uses a lower voltage and has a larger number of pins, which means it runs faster and more efficiently than DDR3. However, you should expect to pay a little more for a module of DDR4 RAM than you would for a DDR3 module of the same size.

One important thing to note is that DDR3 and DDR4 have different connections so you need to make sure the RAM you want to buy is supported by your motherboard. Every motherboard will list whether it is DDR3 or DDR4 compatible, so you should be able to find the information you need with a quick search online of your board model. DDR3 is the earlier generation of RAM but remains the standard for many computer parts. Over the next few years DDR4 will begin to replace DDR3 entirely, so if you want to plan for the future, purchasing a DDR4 compatible motherboard is a good idea.

Size and Speed

HyperX RAM Installed
HyperX RAM Installed

RAM is sold in sticks that slot into your PC's motherboard. Typically, motherboards have four RAM slots, though some extreme setups push this number up to eight. Single sticks of RAM tend to range in size from 4-16GB, but thanks to the nature of how computers work, they're usually sold in sets of two or four, and work most effectively in pairs. For a high-end gaming PC the minimum amount of RAM we'd recommend is 16GB (two sticks of 8GB RAM). If you like to run a lot of programs in the background, you might want to push this number up to 32 or even 64GB.

Speed is also an important factor when it comes to RAM, as it determines how fast your computer can load information from it. This is largely dependent on which DDR generation you purchase. The HyperX Savage DDR3 sticks boast a top speed of 2133MHz, while HyperX Predator DDR4 can run as fast as 4600MHz. The higher the speed, the better the performance and the higher the price. DDR3 speeds are perfectly capable of running modern games, but DDR4 will really bring out the best in your PC. Don't stress too much over the clock speed of your RAM, as the capacity will generally prove more important.

Laptops and SODIMM RAM

HyperX IMPACT DDR4
HyperX IMPACT DDR4

Laptops and notebooks differ in design from PCs, and that means you need to purchase a different type of RAM as well. Most PC RAM is known as UDIMM, while laptops and notebooks use SODIMM such as the HyperX Impact SODIMM DDR4. RAM for laptops will typically be marked clearly as SODIMM making it easy to spot. However, you'll still need to search for your notebook's motherboard to make sure it's compatible with that generation of RAM.

HyperX offers a range of speeds and sizes for all budgets and systems with their HyperX FURY and HyperX Savage DDR3 offerings, or HyperX FURY and HyperX Predator DDR4 lines. Each RAM type can be purchased as individual sticks or in kits of up to four. If you really want to push the boat out, check out the HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB and add some real style and color to your rig.

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