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The Ultimate RAM Guide for Gamers

Everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about RAM!

Building a computer for the first time is a 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 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. Kingston produces top-of-the-line, affordable gaming 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?

DRAM stands for Dynamic Random-Access Memory. It temporarily stores data for any programs that your computer is running now so your processor can access it quickly and easily without delving into your slower but larger solid-state drives or hard drives. More DRAM (often abbreviated as just RAM) means more space for your computer to store this information, allowing it to run more processes concurrently. A 16GB stick (more formally referred to as a module) of RAM, for example, allows your computer to store more temporary information than an 8GB module. Size isn’t everything and RAM also comes in different speeds and generations.

DDR3, DDR4 and DDR5

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. DDR5 is expected to release in the second half of 2021, and will bring a substantial increase in speed and capacity, while further reducing the voltage.

One important thing to note is that DDR3, DDR4 and DDR5 have different connections, numbers of pins and keying 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, DDR4 and, eventually, DDR5 compatible, so you should be able to find the information you need with a quick search online of your board model.

Size and Speed

RAM is sold in modules that slot into your PC’s motherboard. Typically, motherboards have four RAM slots, although some extreme setups push this number up to eight. Single RAM modules tend to range in size from 4-32GB and, due to how computers work, they’re usually sold in kits of two or four, and work most effectively in pairs. For a high-end gaming PC, the optimal amount of RAM we’d recommend is 16GB. 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 higher the speed, the better the performance and the higher the price.

Laptops and SODIMM RAM

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, notebooks and NUCs use SODIMM. RAM for laptops will typically be marked clearly as SODIMM, making it easy to spot. However, you’ll still need to check for your notebook’s motherboard to make sure it’s compatible with that generation of RAM.

Kingston Technology offers a range of speeds and sizes for all budgets and systems with our Kingston and Kingston FURY memory product lines. Each RAM type can be purchased as individual modules or in kits of up to eight. Get the RAM that best suits your needs by checking your system requirements and making sure everything is compatible to use.

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