What is the Best RAM Speed for Gaming?

With RAM speeds ranging from 2133 MT/s to 8000 MT/s, you must find an ideal speed that suits your gaming rig.

Getting more RAM is better in most cases. But if the CPU/board does not support it, the RAM will run at a lower speed. And, a slower RAM, will likely bottleneck other components, lowering the overall PC’s performance.

RAM speed above 3200 MT/s for DDR4 and 5200 MT/s for DDR5 is ideal for most systems.

You can install more, but it does not always mean an improved gaming performance.

So, here is a quick read on determining the ideal RAM speed for your setup.

What is Ideal RAM Speed For Gaming?

The Ideal RAM Speed Depends on the CPU

You can get RAM with a speed equal to the CPU’s maximum RAM speed limit. 

The maximum RAM speed for most CPUs that support DDR4 is 3200MT/s. For DDR5-supported CPU, it’s 5200MT/s. These speeds should give you a decent performance. 

My system (Ryzen 5 5600 paired with a DDR4 32GB @ 3200MT/s CL 16 and RX 6650XT) gets around 70-80 FPS on Cyberpunk 2077 with all settings high on 1080p.

You can check your CPU‘s max supported RAM speed via the manufacturer’s website:

CPUs-memory-specification-for-ram-speed-amd-official-website-1024x576
Ryzen 5 5600 Memory Specification

Note: Make sure you factor in RAM’s CAS Latency, or memory latency, when choosing RAM. In short, lower CAS latency is better.

DDR4 3200MT/s and DDR5 5200 MT/s will give you the most performance while avoiding memory speed bottlenecks. This will also be suitable for casual, moderate, and competitive gamers. 

RAM with such transfer rates is also easy to find, with prices being in the affordable range. It is also a good choice if you are building a PC on a budget.

See also  How to Install RAM in Your Computer: Step-by-Step Guide

Further, if you want to squeeze out more performance from the RAM, you can always overclock it.

Going Beyond the CPU’s Maximum RAM Speed

You can get a bang for your buck by going for the CPU’s maximum supported RAM.

But there is still an option to give your system a slight performance boost. That is, by installing a RAM faster than the CPU’s recommended speed.

This depends on what motherboard you have.

gigabyte-memory-specification-1024x576
Motherboard memory specification list often comes with OC frequency support

The motherboard’s memory specification list consists of supported memory OC frequencies. It’s for users willing to spend a little extra for a slight advantage over their opponent.

Do remember that whether you get a speed boost completely depends on the game and how it manages memory.

There is no doubt that a higher RAM speed is better for gaming. However, if a game is not utilizing the faster memory speed, the performance will remain the same.

Monitoring performance on GTA V

In some games, a RAM speed of 4000 MT/s will significantly gain performance compared to 3200 MT/s. Sometimes, both memory speeds have similar performance.

If you want a performance boost, you can stay in the range of 3800 MT/s to 4000 MT/s for DDR4For DDR5, remain in the 5600 MT/s to 6000 MT/s range.

Note that you can only get these speeds when you enable XMP or manually overclock RAM.

The Final Verdict

I’m repeating this time and again — the maximum RAM speed recommended by the CPU manufacturer will be the best choice. It has the best price-to-performance ratio, and there are also no bottlenecks.

If you’re on a budget, you do not always need faster RAM. However, the answer is entirely different if budget is out of the question.

See also  How to Determine the Maximum RAM Capacity of Your PC

As you move to the top of the list for faster RAM, its price also increases. So, go with the faster one if money is not a concern.

Due to Infinity Fabric, Ryzen CPUs are more sensitive to different memory speeds compared to Intel CPUs. So, in the case of Ryzen processors, higher is always better.

In general, the performance still vastly depends on how memory manages workload. Some games do not care about RAM speed while others find latency and bandwidth more important.

For gaming, this means better frame rates. However, all games may not be able to utilize this advantage. Therefore, few games won’t get much of a performance improvement.

Anyways, faster is always better! So, if you are looking for RAM for the long run, always opt for more.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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