You’ve got your favorite game open and Spotify playing in the background. It’s been smooth sailing ’til this point, but now you’re stuck. You pull up your web browser for a quick guide, and that’s when things take a turn for the worse. Without warning, things come to a screeching halt and you have trouble switching back to your game. By the time you’re back in, you’re met with some angry goblins who came across your unsuspecting character and they haven’t been too kind in your absence. Annoyance, frustration, and now lost progress! The solution? Enter the best RAM for gaming.

Having a sufficient amount of gaming RAM is crucial for both hardcore and casual gamers who are concerned about performance. After all, many of us gamers are master multi-taskers, with dozens of programs running in the background simultaneously while playing a resource-intensive game. The best PC gaming RAM can handle these rough waters without breaking a sweat.

This guide takes you through the best RAM components on the market and gives you a look at how to optimize your gaming rig for unreal performance. Ready to up your game? Let’s get started.

Zoom Out: Top 15 Best RAM for Gaming Comparison Table

We’ve curated the following list of components and sorted them in price ascending order. For a closer look at each option, check out the Zoom In section down below.

ImageRAMCapacityData RateCost
1. Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3600MHz DDR416GB (2x8GB)3600MHz DDR4
2. Crucial Ballistix MAX 5100MHz DDR4 16GB16GB (2x8GB)5100MHz DDR4
3. Patriot Viper Steel Series 8GB 3000MHz DDR48GB (1x8GB)3000MHz DDR4
4. Patriot 16GB Viper III DDR3 1866MHz16GB (2x8GB)1866MHz DDR3
5. G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4 360016GB (2x8GB)3600MHz DDR4
6. Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz DDR416GB (2x8GB)3200MHz DDR4
7. Crucial Ballistix 16 GB DDR4-320016GB (2x8GB)3200MHz DDR4
8. TEAMGROUP T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 16GB 320016GB (2x8GB)3200MHz DDR4
9. ASTRA GEAR 16GB DDR4 3000MHz16GB (2x8GB)3000MHz DDR4
10. G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 3600 32GB32GB (4x8GB)3600MHz DDR4
11. Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 64GB DDR4 360064GB (4x16GB)3600MHz DDR4
12. TEAMGROUP T-Force Dark Za 32GB Kit DDR4 3600MHz32GB (2x16GB)3600MHz DDR4
13. G.Skill 16GB DDR4 Trident Z Royal Gold 3200Mhz16GB (2x8GB)3200MHz DDR4
14. OLOy WarHawk RGB DDR4 3600 16GB16GB (2x8GB)3600MHz DDR4
15. G.Skill 16GB Aegis DDR4 3000MHz16GB (2x8GB)3000MHz DDR4

General Thoughts on the Best Gaming RAM

Whether you’re building your first gaming rig or preparing to upgrade, getting an extra edge on the competition often comes down to the components you pick. And this extends, of course, to RAM.

best ram for gaming

But is RAM as important as, say, your processor or graphics card? How do you choose the best RAM for Gaming? Let’s dispel any confusion here and now.

Like the level cap in MMO’s, your rig’s RAM will set a ceiling on how many tasks it can handle at once. Spending more on RAM doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a better outcome. That’s because once you have enough RAM for your purposes, diminishing returns comes into play. The only time you need to go all out and get something like 32GB of RAM is if you’re a power user who likes to play games while using dozens of browser tabs and tons of background programs all at the same time. Remember — quality of RAM is just as important as quantity of RAM!

Part I of our gaming RAM guide gives you some background information on how the component of RAM functions. Read part II of our guide on this page to get an idea of exactly how much RAM you need for gaming. Part III lists the top things you should weigh before purchasing RAM for your next machine.

Gaming Ram Guide Part I: What is RAM? DDR?

RAM is the shortened name for “Random Access Memory,” and it allows you to multitask on your computer. In other words, it lets you run multiple programs at the same time. The RAM acts as a middle ground between the ultra-fast CPU cache and the large, slow-moving storage that is your hard drive (or a bit faster if you’ve got one of the best SSDs). RAM is not used as permanent storage. Rather, it is used to temporarily store working parts of the OS and data that is actively in use.

You don’t have to blow your entire equipment budget on RAM, since the most important information to pay attention to is how much RAM you can get– not the speed. For most gamers, aiming for 8GB of RAM is a great place to start.

So, what does RAM do for Gaming? As we mentioned before, the amount of RAM that your computer has is directly related to what you can run at the same time. Having systems like Steam, your internet browser, music, and the game of your choice running at the same time might cause you some problems without sufficient RAM available.

DDR is shorthand for double data rate (two data transfers per clock cycle). DDR4 RAM is not compatible with a motherboard that only supports DDR3. Fortunately, each type has a different notch cut in the pins, meaning you can’t physically shove that puppy into the slot which prevents you from damaging it. DDR4 is the latest and greatest type of RAM, and it provides the lowest operating voltage and highest transfer rate on the market right now. DDR5 is not expected in consumer applications until late 2021.

DDR Comparison Table
DDR Comparison Table

Another term you may come across when looking at RAM is Column Access Strobe Latency. Typically known as CAS Latency, this refers to the amount of time that passes between when an action is initiated and when it actually happens.

Gaming Ram Guide Part II: How Much RAM do You Really Need for Gaming?

Choppy performance is dreaded when it comes to gaming, as you need top performance to snag that mid-lane kill in Dota or take cover when you hear the alarming “It’s High Noon” in Overwatch. Fortunately, ‘lag’ caused by RAM is pretty easy to fix. As long as you have the required minimum listed by the game developers, you’ll be good to go.

But the fact remains: if they list a required 8GB minimum and you’ve got 4GB, you’re in for a bumpy ride. Furthermore, to be in the safe zone, you may want more RAM than is listed as the minimum requirement. That’ll help keep all the background programs running smoothly while you’ve got your game going simultaneously.

It used to be the case that you could get away with 4GB of RAM, but nowadays some games list 8GB of RAM (and it’s becoming more common) as the minimum requirement. That’s right- you’ll probably want to be in the 12-16GB RAM range in your gaming PC. If you’re on a strict budget and get 4-8GB, you may find yourself devoting all your time to zapping and terminating programs left and right. And that’s probably not the game you want to be playing.

In summary, given that RAM is a relatively low-cost investment (compared to GPUs and the like), it is worth to aim for at least 8GB of RAM to make sure that your gaming computer can handle your gaming system. 16GB is ideal if you can spare the cost and plan to do some heavy gaming. At the very least, we recommend no less than 4 GB even if you’re on a bootstrap budget. Furthermore, if you’re not sure how much you need exactly, it’s always better to aim a little higher.

Gaming Ram Guide Part III: How to Pick the Best RAM for Your Machine

Before you take a peek at our list of the best RAM for gaming, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Budget

Knowing your budget (and sticking to it) is an essential part of any decision we make. Games aren’t cheap these days, after all, and waiting for sales is tough. When you’re building your rig, the last thing you want to do is run out of cash. Regardless of your budget, it’s best to keep in mind that when it comes to RAM, you don’t need to go all out and get the absolute best gaming memory. That’s probably a waste of cash. Just purchase what you need, and put the extra towards a better GPU or CPU.

Capacity

As a hardcore gamer, you probably already know what kind of programs you run. But predicting what kind of action you’ll take on within the next few months or year should also come into play. Like we mentioned earlier, 8GB of RAM is a sweet spot, but if you predict that you’ll be taking on more intensive tasks–and if you have the budget–perhaps you should consider 16GB of RAM (or even 32) as an alternative. If you don’t think you’ll be upping the ante, keep in mind that having more RAM will not speed up your performance. It’s definitely a balancing act.

Platform

You don’t want to purchase some spiffy RAM only to find that it doesn’t even fit your motherboard. A good rule of thumb to follow is buying DDR4 memory sticks with roughly CAS 15 timings. The great thing about going that route is that Intel’s X99 and Skylake platforms (and newer) universally support DDR4 modules.

The biggest issue with recommending ultra-fast memory kits is that they usually take some tinkering around (manual configuration of the motherboard’s firmware) to receive the full performance benefit. Furthermore, if this manual configuration is not completed (or completed incorrectly) there’s a possibility you’ll get dropped to lower performance levels than what a more basic RAM component would offer. Fortunately, we’ve got a solution to bypass this problem entirely.

To help all the visual learners out there with the RAM selection process, we’d suggest checking out the RAM Upgrade guide video from NCIX Tech Tips. He goes over everything you’ll need to consider, all in an easy to understand format. From finding the perfect fit to getting your new RAM loaded into the PC, it’s easier than you’d think.

Feel free to leave a comment down below if you need more help!

Zoom In: Our Top 15 List of the Best RAM for Gaming

Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best RAM components currently on the market.

Note: While the majority of our picks are DDR4, we’ve also included some DDR3 modules for legacy builds & budget-conscious users.

1. Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3600MHz DDR4

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3600MHz DDR4

The best RAM for gaming overall

Manufacturer: Corsair | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3600MHz | Price: 💰💰

The Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3600MHz kit is our top pick for the best gaming RAM because it’s affordable, fast, and works in most modern systems.

8GB isn’t enough for many games, but 16GB should be plenty for almost any user, and 3600MHz speed is ideal for a gaming rig. The Vengeance LPX also comes with some very effective heat-syncs, an exceptionally low-profile and minimalist black design that will look good in any system. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Fast
  • XMP
  • Low-Profile
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • Doesn’t overclock as well as some kits
  • Sometimes requires XMP to reach 3600MHz

2. Crucial Ballistix MAX 5100MHz DDR4 16GB

Crucial Ballistix MAX 5100MHz DDR4 16GB

The best premium RAM for gaming

Manufacturer: Crucial | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 5100MHz | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

You want the best performance available? The Crucial Ballistix MAX 5100MHz DDR4 16GB Kit has a speed of 5100MHz! This is the kind of RAM that breaks records.

Do you need that kind of speed for gaming? Not even a little bit. It’s outrageously expensive, and most systems won’t be able to make use of it, but there’s no question that Crucial has the fastest RAM on the market.

Be sure to check your motherboard for compatibility before buying.

  • USERS LIKE
  • One of the fastest currently available
  • XMP
  • Great heat-sync
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • Expensive
  • Not compatible with all motherboards

3. Patriot Viper Steel Series 8GB 3000MHz DDR4

Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 8GB 3000MHz

The best cheap RAM for gaming

Manufacturer: Patriot | Kit Size: 1x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3000MHz | Price: 💰

Getting into PC building doesn’t always have to cost an arm and a leg. 16GB of RAM is ideal for most gaming rigs, but you can get by with 8GB on plenty of games.

Patriot Viper Steel Series has a 3000MHz, single-stick 8GB kit that is enough to get you started while only occupying a single DIMM slot. That means you could always get a second one down the road — even if you’re building an SFF PC that only has two slots available.

It also has a decent heat shield and a cool, industrial design.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Great value for the money
  • Stylish design
  • Good heat-sink
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • 3000MHz
  • Unstable XMP
  • No dual-channel

4. Patriot 16GB Viper III DDR3 1866MHz

Patriot 16GB Viper III DDR3 1866MHz

The best DDR3 RAM for gaming

Manufacturer: Patriot | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR3 | Speed: 1866MHz | Price: 💰💰

Got an older processor with a motherboard that uses DDR3 RAM? You’re not going to be able to hit the same speeds as DDR4, but there are still some good options out there. 

Patriot has a 16GB Kit called the Viper III, which has 1866MHz speed and comes equipped with a black heat spreader to keep things cool. You can even overclock it with XMP 1.3! 

Just make sure your motherboard is rated for 1866MHz memory.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Fast for DDR3
  • XMP
  • Stylish design
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • High-profile
  • Doesn’t work with all motherboards
  • Sometimes slows down with second kit

5. G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4 3600

G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4 3600

The best RAM for gaming with Ryzen CPUs

Manufacturer: G.Skill | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3600MHz | Price: 💰💰

CPU performance on games didn’t use to be affected much by RAM speed, but that all changed when AMD started using their new Infinity Fabric with their 3rd gen Ryzen processors.

AMD has announced that 3600MHz is the “sweet spot” for their new CPUs, making it the ideal speed for peak performance.

G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4 3600MHz is an excellent kit for affordably maximizing your Ryzen CPU’s performance. 

  • USERS LIKE
  • Runs at 3600MHz as promised
  • XMP
  • Under $80 for 16GB
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • High-profile
  • Some kits not hitting promised speeds

6. Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz DDR4

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz DDR4

The best RAM for gaming with Intel CPUs

Manufacturer: Corsair | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3200MHz | Price: 💰💰

According to testing done by Eurogamer, “3200MHz RAM remains the best value option by far” when it comes to gaming performance in Intel CPU based systems. You can buy faster kits, but you probably won’t be getting much value for your extra money.

We picked the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz DDR4 kit for Intel users for the same reasons we picked the 3600MHz version as our choice for best overall RAM for gaming. Intel users just get to save a few bucks!

  • USERS LIKE
  • XMP
  • Affordable Intel RAM
  • Low-profile
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • May require XMP to reach full speed
  • Doesn’t overclock as well as some kits

7. Crucial Ballistix 16 GB DDR4-3200

Crucial Ballistix 16 GB DDR4-3200

The best RAM for gaming with second-gen Ryzen

Manufacturer: Crucial | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3200MHz | Price: 💰💰

Have you got an older Ryzen CPU? Second-gen Ryzen was an extremely popular series, and you can frequently get these processors at discounted prices. You won’t be getting much of a change in performance with faster RAM using these, though, as they didn’t have the Infinity Fabric yet.

Crucial’s Ballistix 16 GB DDR4-3200 is a great kit. It has one of the best heat-syncs on the market, your choice of black, red, or white matte metal heat spreader that will look great in any PC, and it’s affordable to boot!

  • USERS LIKE
  • XMP
  • Good for gamers on a budget
  • Good heat-sync
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • Some buyers received the wrong color
  • May require XMP to reach promised speeds

8. TEAMGROUP T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 16GB 3200

TEAMGROUP T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 16GB 3200

The best RAM for gaming with 9th-gen Intel

Manufacturer: TEAMGROUP | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3200MHz | Price: 💰💰

Building a 9th gen Intel PC or looking to upgrade an older rig? TEAMGROUP T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 16GB 3200 is a great option!

It has a sleek, low-profile heat spreader that comes in multiple colors. You can get it in grey, red, or a black and yellow camo designed in partnership with ASUS TUF. It’s affordable and comes with a lifetime warranty.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Affordable
  • Low-profile
  • Color options
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • Some issues with XMP
  • Some trouble reaching promised speeds

9. ASTRA GEAR 16GB DDR4 3000MHz

ASTRA GEAR 16GB DDR4 3000MHz

The best RAM for overclocking

Manufacturer: ASTRA GEAR | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3000MHz | Price: 💰💰

Overclocking is a great way to save some money by pushing the performance of a cheaper RAM kit. Cooling is essential to overclocking, though, and ASTRA GEAR has some of the best heat spreaders available.

The ASTRA GEAR 16GB DDR4 3000MHz comes with 10-layer PCB, which helps control heat, and a top-of-the-line aluminum heat spreader. You can overclock it manually or simply use XMP 2.0!

  • USERS LIKE
  • XMP
  • High performance gaming RAM
  • Great heat-sync
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • Blocky design
  • Native 3000MHz

10. G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 3600 32GB

G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 3600 32GB

The best 36GB RAM kit for gaming

Manufacturer: G.Skill | Kit Size: 4x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3600MHz | Price: 💰💰💰

16GB is enough RAM for most games, but if you like open-world games like GTA 5 and Cyberpunk 2077, then you might benefit from a bigger kit. More RAM is also ideal for video editing.

G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 3600 32GB combines speed with capacity, making a full kit that can play any game and helps future-proof your system. You can get it in black, gray, red, or silver, and it comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

  • USERS LIKE
  • 3,733MHz in dual channels
  • 32GB set
  • Affordable
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No RGB
  • High-profile
  • Some colors are more expensive 

11. Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 64GB DDR4 3600

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 64GB DDR4 3600

The best 64GB RAM kit for gaming

Manufacturer: Corsair | Kit Size: 4x16GB DDR4 | Speed: 3600MHz | Price: 💰💰💰💰

What’s better than a 32GB RAM kit? A 64GB RAM kit!

I want to be clear — no one needs 64GB of RAM for gaming alone. Blender, video editing, and using your PC as a server may call for a lot of RAM, though (especially if you try to do more than one of them at a time).

The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 64GB DDR4 3600 kit has the speed you need for gaming and more than enough capacity for even the most memory taxing endeavors. Not to mention that RGB!

  • USERS LIKE
  • 10 bright individually addressable RGB LEDs per module
  • CORSAIR iCUE software
  • 64GB
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Expensive
  • High-profile
  • Some issues with RGB control software

12. TEAMGROUP T-Force Dark Za 32GB Kit DDR4 3600MHz

TEAMGROUP T-Force Dark Za 32GB Kit DDR4 3600MHz

The best 16GB per-stick RAM for gaming

Manufacturer: TEAMGROUP | Kit Size: 2x16GB DDR4 | Speed: 3600MHz | Price: 💰💰💰

Want 32GB now, but still want to keep a couple DIMMs open just in case? The TEAMGROUP T-Force Dark Za 32GB Kit DDR4 3600MHz might just be the memory kit you need. This powerhouse of a kit comes with two 16GB RAM sticks that are each blazing fast.

They have some pretty beastly heat spreaders that come in red, gray, or black. 

  • USERS LIKE
  • Wicked appearance
  • Color options
  • 16GB per-stick
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • High-profile
  • Mediocre overclocking
  • Some trouble reaching promised speeds

13. G.Skill 16GB DDR4 Trident Z Royal Gold 3200Mhz

G.Skill 16GB DDR4 Trident Z Royal Gold 3200Mhz

The best unique RAM for gaming

Manufacturer: G.Skill | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3200MHz | Price: 💰💰💰

Performance is important, but a little razzle-dazzle never hurt anything either. G.Skill’s Trident Z Royal memory comes in gold or platinum accented with RGB designed to look like gemstones along its upper ridge.

Practical? Maybe not, but it’s eye-catching. 16GB at 3200MHz isn’t half bad either.

  • USERS LIKE
  • 3200MHz
  • Crystalline RGB
  • Premium metallic housing
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Expensive
  • Shows fingerprints
  • Some issues with RGB software

14. OLOy WarHawk RGB DDR4 3600 16GB

OLOy WarHawk RGB DDR4 3600 16GB

The best RGB RAM for gaming

Manufacturer: OLOy Memory | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3600MHz | Price: 💰💰

You usually have to pay a premium for RGB. Luckily, the OLOy WarHawk RGB DDR4 3600 16GB is super-fast and has a unique V-shaped heat-sync complete with some truly stunning RGB.

You can get it in black, red, or white, and the RGB is compatible with ASUS Aura, MSI Mystic Light, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion and ASRock Polychrome.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Looks like a hawk
  • RGB
  • Affordable
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • High-profile
  • Limited overclocking
  • Not the fastest timing

15. G.Skill 16GB Aegis DDR4 3000MHz

G.Skill 16GB Aegis DDR4 3000MHz

The best low-profile RAM for gaming

Manufacturer: G.Skill | Kit Size: 2x8GB DDR4 | Speed: 3000MHz | Price: 💰💰

Small form factor builds don’t always have a lot of space. Some CPU air coolers and radiators can give you RAM clearance issues as well. If that’s the case, then you’re going to want some low-profile RAM without the massive heat-syncs to get in the way.

The G.Skill 16GB Aegis DDR4 3000MHz is an affordable kit that performs well and will fit into even the tightest spaces.

  • USERS LIKE
  • No frills
  • Affordable
  • Low-profile
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Poor overclocking
  • Some compatibility issues
  • Some trouble reaching promised speeds
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