Things to Consider Before Buying a RAM - Choose the Best One

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Walton Digitech

May 3, 2023 Published

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767 Time people Read This Article

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When it comes to improving the performance of your computer, upgrading your RAM is one of the most effective ways to do it. RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the temporary storage space where your computer stores data that it needs to access quickly. The more RAM your computer has, the more efficiently it can handle tasks such as running multiple programs or opening large files. However, with so many different types of RAM available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. In this blog- “Things to Consider Before Buying a RAM - Choose the Best One”, we’ll discuss the things you need to consider before buying RAM so that you can get the best one for improved performance.

What to Check Before Buying RAM for a Laptop/ How to Choose RAM for a PC

  1. Frequency:

When choosing RAM, it's important to consider the frequency and compatibility with your motherboard. Only certain frequencies, such as DDR3 1600MHz, will work with your motherboard. Choosing a faster frequency than your motherboard supports will result in running it at a reduced speed or not working at all while choosing a slower frequency will lead to lower system performance. Higher frequency generally means better performance, but other parameters such as timings and the like should also be considered.

  1. Timings:

Timings or latencies refer to the delay between commands executed by your computer memory subsystem. Shorter durations are better because they minimize latency and improve bandwidth.

  1. Voltage:

Make sure to check the voltage requirements when choosing RAM as some RAM might require more than the industry norm. Ensure that your motherboard can handle the required voltage. Overclocking can also lead to increased voltage requirements. If you have a Core i7 CPU, it's recommended not to exceed 1.65V on the RAM as it can potentially harm the processor.

  1. Needed Memory:

Choosing the right amount of RAM depends on your needs, but a minimum of 3GB is recommended for any machine, while high-performance systems should have at least 4GB. For gaming, a minimum of 4GB to 6GB RAM is required, but more is always better. For a new system, 8GB RAM is the industry standard, while 16GB to 32GB is recommended for gaming PCs. For production work, we recommend at least 32GB or more for faster program loading.

  1. RAM Capacity:

Using two RAM sticks is preferred over four as it's easier for your motherboard or CPU RAM controller to handle. Four RAM sticks can be difficult to manage and might limit your RAM frequency and timings for overclocking. RAM capacity is also an important factor to consider, depending on your computer's usage.

For mainstream computers, 16GB of RAM is a good choice, while 8GB is suitable for those on a budget. For basic computers used for browsing, word processing, and watching videos, 4GB of RAM is recommended. For high-end gaming, video editing, and graphics design, 16GB or more of RAM is necessary for smooth performance. Gaming RAM is especially useful for gaming systems.

  1. 32 or 64-bit:

32-bit operating systems can only address up to 4GB of computer memory, including the memory on your video card and RAM in your CPU. To use more than 4GB of RAM, you need a 64-bit operating system to fully utilize your memory.

  1. Single Channel or Dual Channel RAM:

Single-channel RAM operates on a 64-bit data channel, while dual-channel RAM offers two 64-bit channels for storing data. With dual-channel RAM, the total operating memory is 128 bits, which doubles the bandwidth and significantly speeds up your system.

  1. RAM Type:
  • DDR RAM or Double Data Rate RAM is obsolete and rarely found in machines or RAM sticks.
  • DDR2 RAM is also obsolete but still used in older desktops and laptops.
  • DDR3 RAM is the current standard, offering faster frequencies and higher capacities than DDR2, while also being cheaper.
  • DDR4 RAM is the latest standard, offering even higher capacities and starting at DDR3's high-end frequency of 2133, with better pricing than DDR3 at the same frequencies and capacities. Machines with DDR4 support can be expensive.
  • DDR5 RAM is the fastest and latest RAM. Still, several systems use DDR4.
  1. RAM Speed

Faster memory can improve frame rates for gaming without a dedicated graphics card, but it might be more cost-effective to invest in a dedicated card for better overall performance. The number of software that benefits significantly from faster memory is limited, including some games, compression software like 7-zip, and certain aspects of content creation software.

  1. Warranty:

Some RAM manufacturers offer lifetime warranties, and some warranties may allow for increased voltage. RAM can become faulty after a few years of use, so it's important to choose a vendor with a simple and hassle-free RAM return process.

  1. Pricing:

DDR RAM prices have been rising globally since last year and are predicted to continue increasing until the end of this year. To avoid higher prices, it's advisable to upgrade or build a new system now, especially if the user plans to add a significant amount of RAM, as this will make the device more expensive.

Be Aware of Certain Issues with the RAM Compatibility/ Things to Consider Before Upgrading the RAM

All RAM won’t be compatible with all systems. Consider the following when choosing RAM for an upgrade:

  • DDR Generation:

DDR generation is important as older DDR memory is not compatible with newer generation DDR memory. DDR3 cannot be used with DDR4 DIMM (Dual in-line Memory Module) slots, and DDR4 cannot be used with DDR3 DIMM slots.

  • Slots for Motherboard DIMM:

Keep track of the number of DIMM slots on your motherboard. Some micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards only have two DIMM slots, so a 4x4GB memory kit won't fit. Only use as many RAM sticks as your motherboard can support to avoid compatibility issues.

  • Form Factor:

Consider the RAM form factor, which includes DIMM for desktops and SO-DIMM for laptops. Desktop motherboards are incompatible with SO-DIMM memory, so use DIMM form-factor RAM when building or upgrading a desktop PC.

  • Clearance Required for the CPU Heatsink:

Be aware of compatibility issues between some CPU heatsinks and specific memory kits. Large and heavy air CPU coolers might interfere with DIMM slots or prevent the installation of memory kits with tall heat spreaders. Double-check that your air cooler won't interfere with your RAM, especially if you choose a bulky air cooler and RAM with tall heat spreaders.

Final Words:

Now, that you are well aware of the things to consider before buying RAM, you can certainly choose the best one for you as per your requirements. So, select the best RAM and get a rocking performance from your PC or laptop.

FAQ

What do you mean by RAM in your computer?

RAM is the internal memory of a CPU used for storing various types of data. It is a hardware device that can be randomly accessed, allowing for quick retrieval and reading of data as needed.

What is the importance of RAM for your PC?

RAM is essential for the functioning of a computer as it stores data with read and write access, allowing quick access by the CPU. It is a volatile memory and does not store information permanently.

What is the difference between RAM and ROM?

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a type of volatile computer memory that stores machine codes and working data, allowing for quick access by the CPU. In contrast, ROM, or Read-Only Memory, is a non-volatile memory that stores permanent data which cannot be modified or erased. If changes need to be made to data stored in ROM, it must first be transferred to RAM.

What are the three main types of RAM?

The main three types of RAM are as follows:

Static RAM (SRAM): Static RAM (SRAM) is a type of computer memory that uses flip-flops to store data, providing fast access and high-speed performance. It is volatile memory, which means it requires a constant power supply to retain stored data.

Dynamic RAM (DRAM): Dynamic RAM (DRAM) is a type of computer memory that uses capacitors to store data, providing high-density storage at a low cost. It requires constant refreshing to maintain stored data, which makes it slower than static RAM. Like SRAM, it is also volatile memory.

Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM): Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM) is a type of computer memory that synchronizes with the system clock, allowing for faster and more efficient data transfer. It uses burst mode to transfer multiple blocks of data in a single cycle and can operate at higher frequencies than traditional DRAM. SDRAM is commonly used in personal computers and servers.

List three considerations when you choose memory.

Here are three considerations to keep in mind when choosing memory:

  • Compatibility: Ensure that the memory you select is compatible with your system's motherboard and meets the requirements of your processor. Check the type, speed, and capacity of the memory that your motherboard supports to avoid compatibility issues.
  • Performance: Consider the memory's speed, timing, and latency. Faster memory can improve system performance, particularly for demanding applications such as gaming, video editing, or data processing.
  • Capacity: Determine the amount of memory you need for your system based on your usage requirements. For basic tasks such as browsing, word processing, and email, 4-8 GB of memory may suffice, while more demanding tasks may require 16 GB or more.

What to look for in ram for gaming?

To improve frame rates and pacing when gaming, it's important to consider both the capacity and speed of your RAM. It's also crucial to understand the differences between form factors like DIMM and SO-DIMM. For modern gaming, it's recommended to have at least 16GB of RAM and even more if you frequently multitask.

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