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
Kingston HyperX FURY8GB Kit (2x4GB)1866MHz DDR3
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT8GB Kit (2x4GB)2666MHz DDR4
G.SKILL Ripjaws V8GB Kit (2x4GB)2400MHz DDR4
Adamanta16GB Kit (2x8GB)1600MHz DDR3
Patriot Viper III16GB Kit (2x8GB)1866MHz DDR3
Corsair Vengeance16GB Kit (2x8GB)1600MHz DDR3
Viper 416GB Kit (2x8GB)3200MHz DDR4
Mushkin Redline16GB Kit (2x8GB)2666MHz DDR4
G.SKILL Ripjaws X16GB Kit (2x8GB)1600MHz DDR3
Corsair Vengeance LPX16GB Kit (2x8GB)3000MHz DDR4
G.SKILL TridentZ RGB16GB Kit (2x8GB)2400MHz DDR4
Kingston HyperX Predator16GB Kit (2x8GB)3000MHz DDR4
XPG Spectrix D8016GB Kit (2x8GB)3600MHz DDR4
Silicon Power XPOWER RGB32GB Kit (2x16GB)3200MHz DDR4
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro32GB Kit (2x16GB)3200MHz 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 2019-2020.

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 hard look at the Ultimate Top 10 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’ve brought you the following 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. Check out the video, and 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. Kingston HyperX FURY

Kingston HyperX FURY 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1866MHz DDR3 CL10 DIMM - Red (HX318C10FRK2/8)

Although the latency runs relatively high for DDR3 RAM, this 2×8GB kit by Kingston offers a large amount of memory for an insanely low price. Plus, in addition to its high speeds, the Kingston HyperX FURY offers a number of manufacturer perks that make this the ideal kit for performance enthusiasts.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 1866 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 240 Pins
  • Latency: CL11
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 8GB Kit (2x4GB)

2. Crucial Ballistix Sport LT

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 2666 MHz DDR4 DRAM Desktop Gaming Memory Kit 8GB (4GBx2) CL16 BLS2K4G4D26BFSC (White)

Although this RAM kit isn’t the fastest or largest memory kit on the market, it does hit the sweet spot between capacity and speed— all at a great price. In that regard, it’s an excellent option for saving money without compromising the efficiency of your system. Plus, Crucial is one of the top PC component manufacturers around, ensuring excellent quality.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 2666 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288 Pins
  • Latency: CL16
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 8GB Kit (2x4GB)

3. G.SKILL Ripjaws V

G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 8GB (2x4GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200) Intel Z170 Platform / Intel X99 Platform Desktop Memory F4-2400C15D-8GVR

For Intel Z170/X99 chipsets and newer, the Ripjaw V Series is blazingly fast and stylishly designed. With a Cas Latency 15 timing (15-15-15-35) and 2,400 minimum memory speed, this is a reliable option for the average user. It’s also got fantastic ratings from other PC builders looking for a deal.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 2400 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288 Pins
  • Latency: CL15
  • Voltage: 1.2
  • Purchase Options: 8GB Kit (2x4GB)

4. Adamanta Memory

Adamanta 16GB (2x8GB) Desktop Memory Upgrade DDR3/DDR3L 1600MHz PC3L-12800 Unbuffered Non-ECC UDIMM 2Rx8 1.35v CL11 DRAM RAM

Is it pretty? Not particularly. Is it among the most affordable DDR3 RAM for gaming on the market? Absolutely.

Although this RAM kit isn’t the fastest, it hits the sweet spot between capacity and speed- all at an exceptional price. It can be a great option for saving money without compromising the efficiency of your system. Plus, it’s got stellar consumer reviews, ensuring its performance deep within the gaming trenches.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 1600 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 204 Pins
  • Latency: CL11
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

5. Patriot Viper III

Patriot 16GB(2x8GB) Viper III DDR3 1866MHz (PC3 15000) CL10 Desktop Memory With Black Mamba Heatsink - PV316G186C0K

Though this RAM kit has a premium price attached to it, the memory is among the fastest DDR3 on the market. Available in kits of two (or individual sticks, if you prefer), you can select exactly what you need for your build.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 1866 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 240 Pins
  • Latency: CL10
  • Voltage: 1.5
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

6. Corsair Vengeance DDR3

Corsair CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10 Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory 1.5V

If you’re looking for reliable DDR3 RAM from a top brand, you’ll want to go with this Corsair Vengeance kit. Alongside its low voltage and quick speeds, you’ll fine a bunch of extras including superior overclocking capabilities, XMP memory profiles, and much more. It’s among the best DDR3 gaming RAM on the market.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 1600 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 240 Pins
  • Latency: CL10
  • Voltage: 1.5
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

7. Corsair Vengeance LPX

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz C15 Desktop Memory Kit - Black (CMK16GX4M2B3000C15)

This memory kit boasts impressive capacity and speed in one easy to use 2x8GB kit designed specifically for gamers. Once installed, it can handle any number of multi-tasking jobs you throw at it, from multiple applications to a browser full of walk through tabs. There’s no doubt about it: Corsair Vengeance will give you the fastest gaming experience RAM can provide.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 3000 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288 Pins
  • Latency: CL16
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

8. G. Skill Ripjaws X

G.SKILL F3-1600C9D-16GXM Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

Boasting a full 5/5 stars with hundreds of reviews, this DDR3 RAM kit offers solid price and performance. That includes top-notch 1600MHz speeds, low voltage, and top-of-the-line Cas 9 latency. Plus, given that it’s from G.SKILL, you can rest easy because they back their products with a lifetime warranty.

  • RAM Technology: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 1,600 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 240
  • Latency: CL9
  • Voltage: 1.5
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

9. Mushkin Redline

Mushkin Redline Series - DDR4 DRAM - 16GB (2x8GB) Memory Kit DIMM - 2666MHz (PC4-21300) CL-16 - 288-pin 1.2V Desktop RAM - Non-ECC - Dual-Channel - FrostByte G3 Red Heatsink - MRA4U266GHHF8GX2

This RAM kit offers competitive latency and high speeds, making it worth a gander for any gamer. Just because it’s from a smaller, lesser-known brand doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on your list. In fact, this Mushkin Redline kit is offered at a fantastic price considering its specs, and you get a respectable 2x8GB of RAM.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 2,666 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288
  • Latency: CL16
  • Voltage: 1.2
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

10. Viper 4

Viper 4 16Go (2 x 8Go) DDR4 3200MHz C16 XMP 2.0 Kit de Mémoire Haute Performance- Rouge - PV416G320C6K

If you’re looking for a reliable 16GB DDR4 kit, the Viper 4 by Patriot is a great choice. This kit features 2x8GB sticks with excellent latency and voltage. The sticks are also equipped with a custom heat shield that provides superior dissipation for perfect performance every time you boot up.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 3,200 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288
  • Latency: CL16
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

11. Kingston HyperX Predator

Kingston Technology HyperX Predator Black 16GB Kit 3000MHz DDR4 CL15 DIMM XMP Desktop Memory HX430C15PB3K2/16


Ready for the hunt? The Kingston HyperX Predator offers everything you need to get in the game and achieve victory fast. This RAM performs at a respectable CL15 latency and achieves a lightning-fast 3,000 MHz memory speed. It’s specially optimized for Intel’s latest processors and will deliver powerful performance, unlike anything you’ve seen before. Oh, and did we mention that it draws less power than its DDR3 predecessor?

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 3,000 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288
  • Latency: CL15
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

12. G.SKILL TridentZ RGB

G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 2400MHz (PC4 19200) Desktop Memory Model F4-2400C15D-16GTZR

If you’re looking at going wild instead of mild on your gaming rig lighting, G.SKILL offers the Trident Z series in RGB style. In this series, you’ll find a startling array of speed and capacity options, allowing you to customize your RAM exactly the way you want it.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 2,400 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288
  • Latency: CL15
  • Voltage: 1.2
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

13. XPG Spectrix D80

XPG Spectrix D80 Liquid-Cooled RGB DDR4 3600MHz 16GB (2x8GB) 288-Pin PC4-28800 Desktop U-DIMM Memory Retail Kit (AX4U360038G17-DR80)

Can you imagine loading up RAM that’s liquid-cooled to guarantee maximum performance? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what the Spectrix D80 RAM from XPG offers! That means incredible overall performance and insane overclocking potential, with speeds exceeding 3,600 MHz! This 16GB kit features two 8GB sticks, offering plenty of power for all your competitive gaming needs.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 3,600 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288
  • Latency: CL17
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 16GB Kit (2x8GB)

14. Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO

Corsair CMW32GX4M2C3200C16 Vengeance RGB PRO 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 3200 (PC4-25600) C16 Desktop Memory Black

Dynamic multi-zone lighting? Check. Next-gen software that can power Intel’s 100-300 series? Check. Incredible memory speeds and latency, all at an ultra-affordable price? Check and check. The Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO is LED-powered RAM that looks as sleek as it performs. Load up the two 16GB sticks to unleash an incredible light show as you take down you opponents with ease.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 3,200 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288
  • Latency: CL16
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 32GB Kit (2x16GB)

15. Silicon Power XPOWER RGB

Silicon Power 32GB (16GBx2) XPOWER RGB Turbine Gaming DDR4 3200MHz (PC4 25600) 288-pin CL16 1.35V UDIMM Desktop Memory Module - Low Voltage (SP032GXLZU320BDB)

The XPOWER RGB is all about performance. To that end, it boasts top-notch 3,200 MHz memory speeds, a reasonable CL16 latency, and yes⁠— sexy RGB lighting. In fact, both 16GB sticks of RAM support LED profiles from top motherboard manufacturers, including ASUS, MSI, and ASROCK. The XPOWER also comes with a dynamic thermal heatsink mechanism that prevents overheating and offers cool overclocking potential. All backed by a lifetime warranty.

High Ground Overview:

  • RAM Technology: DDR4 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: 3,200 MHz
  • Number of Pins: 288
  • Latency: CL16
  • Voltage: 1.35
  • Purchase Options: 32GB Kit (2x16GB)