The Best RAM For Gaming in 2021

RAM, or operating memory, is often overlooked when building a new rig. You usually just pick enough RAM to run all the latest games, select speed that looks high enough and that’s it. Well, if you really want to get the best RAM for gaming, at least for your particular configuration, you’ll have to dig deeper. But more on that after we show you some of the best DDR4 RAM and DDR3 RAM modules you can buy right now.

If you like our gaming RAM guide, check out other guides that feature the best gaming CPUs, motherboards, and graphics cards.

crucial ballistix standard rgb
  • 16GB (2x8GB) and 32 (2x16GB) Kits
  • Available Speeds: 3000Mhz, 3200Mhz, and 3600Mhz
  • Intel XMP 2.0 Support
CHECK PRICES

This 16GB memory kit offers great performance for the money and operates at high speeds. Latencies are pretty good no matter the speed and the memory itself solid overclocking potential. You should be able to overclock this RAM without issues thanks to the Intel XMP 2.0 support. Just make sure you have a quality motherboard.

Memory supports third-party RGB controllers, which is another plus. Further, you can replace default lightbars with custom 3D printed ones. This is an awesome feature that makes this memory the best RGB RAM you can get. Overall, this is the best DDR4 RAM for users looking for a customizable RGB memory.

Pros:
  • Support For Many Third-Party RGB Apps
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Support For Custom Printed Lightbars
Cons:
  • You Need A 3D Printer To Make Custom Lightbars

Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO DDR4

The Best Mid-Range DDR4 Memory

corsair vengeance rgb pro
  • Intel XMP 2.0 Support
  • Capacity: 16GB to 64GB Kits
  • Speed: 2666MHz – 4266 MHz
CHECK PRICES

The Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO DDR4 memory comes in variety of speeds and sizes and features tight latencies no matter the speed. This should provide a small edge in gaming compared to the same memory running at looser timings.

The price is also great for the performance you receive. The 16 GB kit should be enough for most gaming rigs, providing performance that’s just a couple percentages lower than the most expensive DDR4 RAM modules out there. The memory supports third party RGB apps from many different brands. Overall, this is an excellent purchase for most users.

Pros:
  • Supports Lots Of Third-Party RGB Apps
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Available In A Variety Of Speeds And Sizes
Cons:
  • Higher Capacity Kits Could Be Cheaper
  • Fastest Models Are Available Only In 16GB Capacity

G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4

The Best RAM For Ryzen CPUs

g skill trident z neo
  • 32GB (2x 16GB) Kit
  • 3600 MHz Working Frequency
  • CL16 Latency
  • Automatic OC Profile Support
CHECK PRICES

The G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4 comes in 32 GB (16GB x 2) kit and runs at 3600 MHz. It features CL16 latency and is one of the best memory kits around for 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs. The 3600 MHz combined with relatively tight timings allows you to run AMD’s Infinity Fabric at its native frequency and achieve the best possible results.

You can also try overclocking IF and RAM and get a bit more performance. G.Skill is proud of the fact this memory is thoroughly tested with Ryzen CPUs so you can rest assured you’ll get the best performance and complete compatibility with all Ryzen CPUs and AM4 motherboards.

And G.Skill RGB heatsinks look amazing. The design is above every other RAM brand around. The only downside is that heatsinks aren’t removable and that modules don’t support custom printed lightbars. If we had to nitpick, we would also say that you can get tighter timings with a 4×8 GB kit.

Pros:
  • Thoroughly Tested With Ryzen CPUs
  • Great RGB
  • Supports Many Third-Party RGB Apps
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons:
  • Timings Aren’t Tight As On The 4x8GB Kit

HyperX Fury RGB DDR4

The Best DDR4 RAM For Gaming For Those Who Want HyperX Memory

hyperx fury rgb
  • Intel XMP Support
  • Speed: From 2400MHz To 3733MHz
  • Capacity: From 16GB To 128GB
CHECK PRICES

The HyperX Fury RGB DDR4 memory is an excellent budget alternative to the more expensive HyperX Predator memory. It offers basically the same features in a package that looks more attractive, at least to us. Heatsinks found on HyperX Fury sticks are less aggressive and have more style than those found on Predator modules.

Also, this RAM is available in a variety of working frequencies and comes in all sizes. From single, 8GB sticks to massive 128GB (4x32GB) kits, perfect for workstations. In other words, this is great DDR4 memory for gaming that features affordable price and wide range of options. It also comes with cool RGB lighting.

If you want a quality RAM from Kingston but aren’t ready to pay extra, get the HyperX Fury memory. It sports reasonable prices and features an excellent RGB app from Kingston. It also supports many different RGB apps from third-party brands.

Pros:
  • Attractive Design
  • Kingston RGB App Is Great
  • Support For Many Different Third-Party RGB Apps
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Available In Wide Selection Of Speeds And Capacities
Cons:
  • Some Kits Do Not Support RGB

Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4

Budget Corsair Memory That Works Great

corsair vengeance lpx
  • Intel XMP 2.0 Support
  • No RGB
  • Speed: from 2400MHz to 3200MHz
  • Capacity: from 8GB to 32GB
CHECK PRICES

The Corsair Vengeance LPX DD4 is an excellent budget RAM series from Corsair. It sports competitive prices no matter the variant. The memory is tested on a huge number of different motherboards and it should work with most boards on the market. There’s no RGB support which is a positive for those who don’t want their PC case to look like a rave party.

When it comes to downsides, we don’t really like the heatsink design. It looks like something out of a bad cyberpunk movie. Also, if you’re looking to get a 32GB kit, make sure to snatch the 4×8 GB version.

Pros:
  • Solid Performance For Price
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Available In Wide Selection of Capacities And Speed
  • Should Work With Virtually Any Motherboard
Cons:
  • Design Is Too Aggressive
  • Doesn’t Come In Capacity Larger Than 32 GB

Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4

The Best DDR4 RAM For Those On A Budget

patriot viper steel
  • Size: 16GB And 32GB Kits
  • Speed: from 3000MHz to 4400Mhz
  • Intel XMP 2.0 Support
CHECK PRICES

The Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 is a great bang for the buck. The RAM is cheaper than most alternatives and offers speeds up to 4400Mhz. We like that even the fastest modules sell for extremely competitive prices.

The performance is great, there’s no need to overclock the RAM to get great results in most games. Timings are also pretty good, although the fastest versions tend to have pretty loose timings. Also, 32GB kits are available only in 3000Mhz and 3200Mhz versions.

Pros:
  • Great Bang For The Buck
  • No RGB Support Is Just What Some Users Look For
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons:
  • Fastest Versions Have Loose Timings
  • Limited Availability Of 32GB Kits

G.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series

The Best High-End DDR4 RAM

g skill trident z rgb
  • Intel XMP 2.0 Support
  • Speeds: 4133MHz and 4266MHz
  • Capacity: 16GB (2x8GB) Kit
  • CL19 Latency
CHECK PRICES

Trident Z RGB series from G.SKILL is the best high-end RAM you can get. It costs a pretty penny, especially for a 16GB kit, but the quality is there. It features exceptional performance. You won’t get any performance gain by buying faster RAM modules. And if you want, you can overclock it and see for yourself.

It is available in 4133MHz and 4266MHz speeds but only in 16GB kits. The design is amazing. This is the best looking RGB RAM on the market. The brushed metal heatpipes with slick-looking fins and bright yet not tacky lightbars is very hard to match. If you’re looking the ultimate RAM for gaming for your new rig, get this one.

Pros:
  • Slick Design
  • Excellent Performance
  • Supports Many Third-Party RGB Apps
  • Lifetime Warranty
Cons:
  • Pricey

TEAMGROUP T-Force Night Hawk RGB

The Best High-End DDR4 RAM For RGB Rigs

teamgroup t-force night hawk rgb
  • Intel XMP 2.0 Support
  • Capacity: 16GB (2x8GB) Kit 32GB Kit Only For The 3200MHz Option
  • Speed: From 3200MHz to 4000MHz
CHECK PRICES

If you want a high-end RAM that looks like it’s ready for a disco show, get the TEAMGROUP T-Force Night Hawk RGB. This RAM is over the top, perfect for builds that revolve around massive usage of RGB lighting.

We really like that the TEAMGROUP T-Force Night Hawk RGB supports virtually every third-party RGB app. No matter which RGB app you’re using, it will work with this memory.

But, this memory also offers excellent quality and doesn’t cost too much. Its price-performance ratio is excellent. Timings are tight and this memory has excellent overclocking potential. All sticks should offer decent overclock results, just make sure you have a quality motherboard.

Pros:
  • Perfect for RGB Showoff Builds
  • Excellent Performance For The Price
  • Great Overclocking Potential
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Supports Every Third-Party RGB On The Market
Cons:
  • Many Will Find Design To Be Over The Top

Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3

The Best DDR3 RAM You Can Find

corsair vengeance pro ddr3
  • 16GB (2x8GB) Kit
  • 1600 MHz Working Frequency
  • CL9 Latency
  • Intel XMP Support
CHECK PRICES

The Corsair Vengeance Pro DD3 1600MHz 16GB Memory is one of the best DDR3 RAM kits you can buy right now. It offers great OC potential and very tight timings. Combined with seriously looking heatsinks you should achieve 1866 MHz OC without issues.

And it looks great, too. Heatsinks are huge but they don’t sport in-your-face design. And the price is right. If you’re looking for DDR3 memory get this one, you won’t make a mistake.

Pros:
  • Great Design
  • Tight Timings
Cons:
  • None

How To Choose The Best RAM For Gaming

Getting the best RAM for gaming seems simple on the surface. Just get the amount you need and be done with it. In, reality, things are a bit more complicated. There are plenty of layers concerning RAM and each variable has a clear impact on gaming performance.

There’s the question of whether you’ll use your new rig exclusively for gaming or do you plan to get some work done. The age-old question of whether faster RAM matters much is also present. As is the question of just how much performance you’ll get by running memory in dual-channel setup.

These and other questions are answered below. Check them out.

Make Sure To Turn On XMP Profile On Your Motherboard For All RAM Faster Than 2133 MHz

The official DDR4 specification lists 2133MHz as the base clock. All RAM sticks running at higher frequencies use some sort of overclock. This is where the XMP comes in.

XMP stands for Extreme Memory Profile. It’s a technology developed by Intel that enables automatic memory overclock. Basically, RAM sticks featuring speeds higher than 2133 MHz achieve those speeds only under the XMP profile.

So, you should make sure the XMP is turned on in order to get the most out of your memory sticks. You can do that in BIOS. The setting is labeled as XMP, automatic RAM (or memory) overclock profile, or something similar.

And yes, XMP works on motherboards for Ryzen CPUs. The only difference is that automatic OC profiles on AMD boards usually bear different names. Such as A-XMP (MSI boards) or DCOP (ASUS boards).

Dual Channel Memory Configuration Is Always Better Than Single Channel

Getting the best RAM and using that RAM to its full potential means using it in the dual-channel configuration. You see, RAM feeds data to the CPU, which then feeds data to the GPU. If RAM runs slower the CPU will fall behind the GPU, thus creating a bottleneck.

Enabling dual-channel memory configuration means doubling its bandwidth. This allows RAM to feed the CPU at double speed, which leads to the CPU needing less time to fetch and process data. This allows the CPU to send data to the GPU faster.

This works great in theory, but what about in real use? Well, results are varied but there’s always some level of improvement when using a dual-channel memory profile. First of all, games can perform up to 20 percent better with dual-channel memory. Yes, the text is in Polish but just look at the graphs, that’s all you need.

The performance gain depends on how large a part CPU plays. CPU heavy titles such as Battlefield V or AC: Odyssey will see larger improvement than GPU-bound titles such as Metro: Exodus or Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Productivity apps receive about 20 percent gain with dual-channel memory across the board.

So, when getting RAM, make sure to buy a kit containing 2 or 4 sticks so you can enable the dual-channel setting. Getting one stick and then getting another stick of the same memory with the same frequency and timings doesn’t guarantee that the dual-channel setup will work. The only foolproof way to run your memory in a dual-channel setup is buying a 2 or 4 stick kit.

RAM Frequency Matters, Up To A Point

We don’t recommend getting 2133MHz or 2400MHz RAM sticks. They offer up to 20 percent less performance compared to faster modules. The best value is getting 2666MHz memory since it achieves more than 10 percent better performance compared to 2133MHz memory.

3000 and 3200MHz modules are even faster. They can net about 5-10 percent more frames than 2666MHz memory, depending on which games you play. Getting anything faster than 3200MHz will give you a couple percent more performance, which is negligible unless you have a 3rd gen Ryzen CPU (or newer). The upper-speed limit where performance gain is noticeable is around 4000Mhz-4166MHz. Everything above those speeds is very expensive but without performance gains.

Also, remember that GPU-bound games may not see any performance gains from faster RAM. How many more frames you get depends on how big a role CPU plays in a particular game. But, overall, we recommend getting a 3000 or 3200Mhz RAM, unless you own the latest gen Ryzen CPU (you may want to go for 3600 or even 4000Mhz). 3000 and 3200Mhz modules feature almost the same price as 2600 and 2666MHz modules while offering a noticeable performance boost.

If You Have To Pick Just One, Go For More RAM Instead Of Faster RAM

While faster memory does provide some performance benefits, opt for more RAM instead of faster RAM. Getting 16Gb of 2666 RAM is way better than opting for 8 gigs of ultra-expensive 4133 RAM. Performance-wise anything that’s DDR4 2666MHz or faster is good enough for gaming on Intel CPUs.

Timings Are Not That Important, Except In One Case

The most important thing is the amount of memory you have. It’s better to get 16 gigs than 8 gigs no matter how faster the former choice is. Next, there’s dual-channel setup performance compared to single channel. It is better to get 2133 MHz RAM and run it in dual channel configuration than to get a single-channel 3000 MHz RAM.

Next, there’s the frequency. 3000 or 3200MHz memory can increase performance up to 20 percent, depending on a particular game. And then, at the bottom you have memory timings. Tighter timings equal lower memory access latency. But, faster memory with looser timings is almost always better than slower memory with tighter timings.

It’s almost always better to pick CL16 3200 MHz memory than CL14 2400 MHz. Your two main concerns when buying RAM (aside from the amount of memory) are getting a kit to run it in dual-channel setup and getting fast modules that run at 2666 MHz or higher.

We say almost because there’s the situation with AMD Ryzen 3rd gen processors, which we discuss next.

Speed And Timings Are Very Important If You Have Ryzen CPU

AMD Ryzen CPUs use something called the Infinity Fabric. This is an interface that enables the CPU chip to communicate with the GPU. And up until Ryzen 3rd gen Infinity Fabric frequency was tied to RAM frequency. This is why faster memory has a great impact on the performance of AMD Ryzen-based builds.

With 3rd gen Ryzen, the relationship between IF and RAM speed stayed the same, but AMD allowed users to decouple IF frequency and memory frequency. This means you can run lower speed memory but ramp up the Infinity Fabric frequency.

And results show that even slow, 2133 MHz RAM kits with low latencies can provide almost the same performance as high-speed high latency modules if your Infinity Fabric frequency is set to max (1800, or 1900 MHz if you get a great CPU sample).

In other words, while it is recommended to get at least DDR4 3200 MHz memory for 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs, cranking up the Infinity Fabric frequency while running low latency 2133 MHz RAM will yield similar results. Further, getting a DDR4 3600 MHz memory (the fastest memory that keeps the 1:1 frequency ratio with the Infinity Fabric frequency) and running tightest timings you can go with should yield up to 8 percent more performance in games.

Oh, and if you want to be sure your Ryzen CPU definitely supports memory you want to buy, check out the official AMD’s list showing all officially supported memory models.

Don’t Go Overboard With The Amount Of Memory

Today, 16 gigs of RAM is more than enough for a gaming machine. This amount of memory allows playing games while listening to Spotify and having multiple tabs open in your browser of choice. And by the looks of it, 16 gigs will be enough even for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, at least during the first few years of their lifecycle.

But, if you’re doing any kind of work on your PC, 32 GB of RAM is desirable. If you edit photos and videos and do some light rendering work, get 32 gigs, they will noticeably impact performance and will allow for the work to finish faster. Going over 32 gigabytes of memory is pointless today except if building a workstation. And when it comes to workstations, the more memory the better.

Be Sure To Check Whether Your Motherboard Supports The RAM

Finally, specific motherboard models just don’t work with specific memory modules. So, before you pull the trigger check online whether your motherboard works with the RAM module you want to buy. If you can’t find a definitive answer make sure to buy the memory from a place that offers free returns and replacements.

About The Author

Goran Damnjanovic

Goran studied psychology but video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. On top of that he likes writing so he decided to become a writer. And it was the right choice. Other than games and hardware, Goran is interested in basketball, Sci-Fi literature, and music.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
dave
dave
2 months ago

That 16GB DDR3 CL9 Corsair kit is about £80 new, for £72 you can get a 16GB kit of Patriot Vipers 1866MHz CL10 (you’d also need to loosen timings on the Corsair kit to attempt to achieve 1866MHz), no gambling necessary. While its starting to get a little expensive if you are still on a DDR3 system you can also pick up a 16GB kit of G.Skill Ares 2400MHz CL11 for £115. Either of the latter two kits offer much more than that Corsair kit.