Personal, courtesy of CORSAIR

When building or upgrading a gaming PC, RAM is usually not the highest priority. A powerful CPU, GPU, PSU, and cooling solution tend to take precedence, as these components can be the difference between a powerful PC and a large, tech-laden clipboard. But more and more, we’re seeing great new PC titles come with hefty minimum system requirements. A key aspect of these requirements is sufficient and efficient RAM. Fortunately, unlike the best graphics cards, the best gaming RAM is widely available and doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars to buy.

1

2

Best Broadband

Trident Z Neo
G.Skill

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3

For lower latency

Ballistix
Crucial

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4

Entry level RGB

Revenge RGB PRO
Corsair

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5

Extravagant RGB

Trident Z Royal
G.Skill

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What to consider

Buying computer parts of all kinds can be scary. The sheer volume of tech specs can overwhelm even tech-savvy buyers. This is even more true when buying gaming PCs. While there are too many considerations to list here, keep an eye out for these key specs when shopping for RAM.

Motherboard compatibility

Not every stick of RAM is compatible with every type of motherboard. Double check your motherboard’s chipset and make sure it’s compatible with the RAM you’re buying. We recommend using a site like PCPartPicker to help you out. Also, always buy only one memory kit for your PC; never mix and match RAM from different kits.

Type of RAM

Almost all current RAM uses the DDR4 architecture. While DDR5 is on the horizon, only the newer, higher-end systems are actually compatible with DDR5 RAM.

RAM capacity

Most RAM comes in 16GB or 32GB kits. For most people, 16GB is enough. However, if you plan to do video or photo editing tasks regularly, you can consider 32 GB.

Frequency/Speed

Each RAM kit, regardless of its capacity in gigabytes (GB), has an internal speed, measured in megahertz (MHz). Most gamers will be happy with a RAM speed of 3200 MHz. RAM faster than 3200 MHz tends to incur higher costs with diminishing performance returns. Generally speaking, having more RAM capacity, rather than higher Mhz values, will lead to faster speeds.

Latency

Also called RAM timing, this is a simplified metric of how long RAM takes to access specific data. The lower these numbers, the better.

How we selected

Many of these recommendations come from hundreds of hours of internal use. For products that we have not been able to test ourselves, we carry out intensive research, reviewing content from expert sources such as PC Gamer, PCMag, CNET, Tom’s Guide, DigitalTrends, and others, plus thousands of consumer reviews from online storefronts like Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, and Walmart. As for the products themselves, we evaluated them based on performance, design, build quality, and price.

1

Best overall

Revenge LPX

  • Affordable
  • Widely compatible design
  • Not a good choice for tinkering or overclocking

Key specs

  • Memory type: DDR4
  • Ability: 16 GB (8 GB x2)
  • Speed: 3200MHz
  • Latency: 16-18-18-36

The Corsair Vengeance LPX has been a longtime favorite among PC builders. For most people, this RAM kit ticks all the boxes. It is an affordable kit of 16 GB of DDR4 RAM with a frequency of 3200 MHz, low latency and a simple design. One of its biggest strengths is compatibility: this kit is compatible with a wide range of motherboards, and its low-profile design also makes it a good choice for smaller PC builds.

With over 54,000 reviews on Amazon, the Corsair Vengeance LPX is a classic among DDR4 kits.

2

Best Broadband

Trident Z Neo

  • Good performance
  • Space for overclocking and customization

Key specs

  • Memory type: DDR4
  • Ability: 16 GB (8 GB x2)
  • Speed: 3600MHz
  • Latency: 16-19-19-39

If you’re an experienced PC builder who likes to tinker with timings and overclocking, you’ll appreciate the speed and flexibility of this G.Skill Trident Z Neo Kit.

With a sleek design and customizable RGB, the Trident Z Neo looks great in any colorful PC case. Internally, these sticks are fast, with a nominal frequency of 3600 MHz. After adjusting the speeds and latency, this RAM kit can deliver even better performance for those with the time and knowledge to tinker.

3

For lower latency

Ballistix

  • Low latency performance
  • Affordable
  • Slightly slower AMD performance

Key specs

  • Memory type: DDR4
  • Ability: 16 GB (8 GB x2)
  • Speed: 3200MHz
  • Latency: 16-18-18-36

Another classic choice among DDR4 RAM, Crucial’s Ballistix series has endured through a combination of affordability, simplicity, and performance. Similar to the Corsair Vengeance LPX, this Ballistix kit features a widely compatible low-profile design that’s great for large and small PCs. The Ballistix series is also known for its low and stable latency, ensuring consistent performance in all tasks for years to come. Available in three colorways, the Crucial Ballistix is ​​a great piece of kit for anyone looking for simple, stable performance.

4

Entry level RGB

Revenge RGB PRO

  • Affordable for RGB
  • Supports third-party Corsair and RGB software

Key specs

  • Memory type: DDR4
  • Ability: 16 GB (8 GB x2)
  • Speed: 3200MHz
  • Latency: 16-18-18-36

These days, more and more gaming components and peripherals are equipped with customizable RGB lighting. For those who’ve hand-selected an all-RGB setup, there’s colorful joy in the diffused glow of a matched RGB gaming rig.

For RAM that offers great RGB at an affordable price, we recommend Corsair’s Vengeance RGB Pro Kit. On the performance side, this kit is on par with all major competitors. But its real selling point is its customizable RGB, with each stick containing 10 controllable LEDs. Customization via Corsair’s iCUE software – or your favorite third-party program – is simple and leads to dazzling effects.

5

Extravagant RGB

Trident Z Royal

  • beautiful design
  • Wide variety of speed options

Key specs

  • Memory type: DDR4
  • Ability: 16 GB (8 GB x2)
  • Speed: 3200MHz
  • Latency: 16-18-18-38

RAM with customizable RGB is one thing, but G.Skill’s Trident Z Royal is another. One of G.Skill’s more premium RAM options, the Z Royal stands out partly for its fast performance, but mostly for its unique design. It features a brushed metal look with a beautiful crystal clear top section containing eight LEDs inside. When lit via G.Skill’s Trident Lighting Control software, these sticks instantly dazzle the interior of any PC case.

Although we recommend a more standard frequency of 3200 MHz, the Trident Z Royal is available in a wide variety of frequency options, up to 4800 MHz.

6

For a minimalist design

Viper 4 Blackout Series

  • Affordable, especially for 3600Mhz
  • Clean and minimalist design
  • Not suitable for advanced overclocking

Key specs

  • Memory type: DDR4
  • Ability: 16 GB (8 GB x2)
  • Speed: 3600MHz
  • Latency: 17-19-19-39

Many PC builders want fast, reliable speed without flashing RGB lights. The Patriot Viper 4 Blackout series is a great 3600 MHz option that prioritizes sleek design over maximalist lighting. The dark brushed metal exterior of this kit pairs well with dark PC builds or any build that omits the side panel windows.

While not as low-profile as the Corsair Vengeance LPX, the Viper 4 can still fit nicely into small, minimalist PC builds.

7

Next Generation DDR5

Dominator Platinum RGB

  • Outstanding performance
  • Efficient heat sink design
  • Ultra-bright customizable RGB
  • Limitation of DDR5 compatibility
  • Very expensive

Key specs

  • Memory type: DDR5
  • Ability: 32 GB (16 GB x2)
  • Speed: 5200MHz
  • Latency: 38-38-38-84

Anyone looking to future-proof a top-tier gaming desktop might consider RAM with DDR5 architecture. If your PC is equipped with a compatible processor and motherboard, DDR5 RAM delivers powerful new performance ready for the latest generation of games and technology.

Corsair’s Dominator Platinum RGB kit is the complete DDR5 package: great performance, amazing build quality, 32GB capacity, and customizable RGB. Like the DDR4 version of this kit, the Dominator Platinum RGB features an impressive thermal design well suited for DIY and overclocking.

While the DDR5 version may have higher latency, performance RAM fans can buy this kit and rest easy knowing they won’t need to upgrade for a long time.

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