The Best DDR4 RAM for Gaming | Mega Review Guide

Whether you’re building your first gaming PC, your 5th, or upgrading from an older kit, choosing the best DDR4 RAM for gaming can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for.

Today, we explain the benefits of DDR4 RAM. We get into the details of how different frequencies, timings, number of sticks, and capacity affect your gaming experience, how to choose what’s best for you, and our recommendations for the best DDR4 RAM for your money.

Capacity: 32GB
Frequency: 3600 MHz
Cas latency: 16

Capacity: 16GB
Frequency: 4400 MHz
Cas latency: 19

Capacity: 16GB
Frequency: 3000 MHz
Cas latency: 16

Capacity: 16GB
Frequency: 3600 MHz
Cas latency:16

Capacity: 16GB
Frequency: 3600 MHz
Cas latency: 18

Is DDR4 RAM Good for Gaming?

Yes, DDR4, with its fast speeds and high bandwidth, makes it capable of a smooth gameplay experience, especially in modern, memory-intensive titles.

What Are the Benefits of DDR4 RAM When Gaming?

DDR4 offers fast frequencies, which means more overall bandwidth and better performance. It is power efficient and requires a relatively low voltage to operate. Most faster DDR4 kits come with XMP profiles that make setup a breeze and remove the need to manually input timings.

What is the Best DDR4 RAM for Gaming?

We have chosen the best memory for gaming and listed them below in the following categories: best performance, fastest, best on a budget, most value for money, and most impressive RGB kits.

This is because not everyone wants the top performing DDR4 RAM for there gaming computer, they may want the top budget or RGB option instead.

We have also included the best alternative option in each category (runner up), for the readers who just don’t fancy our top choices for whatever reason.

G.Skill Trident Z Neo – Best Overall DDR4 RAM

  • Capacity: 32GB
  • Frequency: 3600 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 16
Pros
  • Made with AMD Ryzen 3rd gen compatibility in mind
  • Reasonably priced for its performance
  • Good overclocking thanks to Hynix DJR dies
  • Gorgeous
Cons
  • Not as much overclocking potential as a Samsung B-die kit
  • May not always be available due to high demand

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G.Skill have been one of the leading brands in memory for years. With the Trident series being at the top of the line.

Consistently good overclocking capabilities, classy aesthetics, rock-solid stability, and outstanding quality are what define the Trident Z Neo series of RAM. Loved by enthusiasts and overclockers alike, this kit is one of the best RAM on the market, and it shows.

With its unique half-black, half-silver styling, translucent light diffuser, and tasteful RGB, it provides a classy, modern look to compliment any build. Asus Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light, and Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0 compatibility make customizing your visual experience a breeze.

Fast frequency, with tight timings, and overclocking headroom to boot, courtesy of Hynix DJR ICs, provide a seamless gaming experience, boosting FPS averages and lows, and improving smoothness in the process.

XMP 2.0 profiles that have all the settings in one easy click. Easy compatibility for any X570, Z390, or Z490 motherboard. And last but not least, a lifetime warranty with G.Skill’s great customer service gives this high performance kit the win and is the best DDR4 RAM for gaming right now.

Runner Up – Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro

  • Capacity: 32GB
  • Frequency: 3600 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 18
Pros
  • iCue compatibility
  • 4 stick kit that fills all slots for that full look
Cons
  • More expensive than some other RAM kits
  • May not have the best overclocking headroom

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Should you prefer a different aesthetic to the Trident Zs, Corsair offers this beautiful Vengeance Pro RGB kit, though at a slightly higher latency. This is the second best RAM for gaming kit on this list. Corsair iCue, Asus Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light, and Gigabyte RGB Fusion compatible.

 

Patriot Viper Steel – Fastest DDR4 RAM

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 4400 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 19
Pros
  • Blistering fast speeds and tight timings
  • Top-of-the-line overclocking capabilities
  • One of the best value high-frequency kits
  • Samsung B-die
  • 2 XMP profiles to choose from
Cons
  • Basic aesthetics
  • Requires higher operating voltage for full speed than most kits
  • High-end motherboard required to take full advantage of the kit

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Are you a serious overclocker? Going for those extra 3DMark points? Trying to break into the top 100 SuperPi scores on HWBOT? Or do you just want some of the fastest DDR4 RAM on the market? This kit is for you.

We must say, Patriot, have really hit this one out of the park. The Viper Steel series of RAM are no-frills kits with one thing in mind, being the best value kits for enthusiasts.

Cheaper and faster than most of the competition, these kits pack a mean punch. This DDR4 kit is available in speeds ranging from 3600 MHz CL17, all the way up to 4400 MHz CL19, there’s certainly no lack of variety.

As mentioned above, our choice today is the top-of-the-line kit, which comes in at 4400 MHz CL19 (Lower overall latency than even a 3200 MHz CL14 kit!), the fastest kit Patriot offers.

This kit uses critically acclaimed Samsung B-die memory chips that are highly overclockable, and highly desired by the world’s top overclockers and enthusiasts. Simple, understated, yet seriously effective.

This kit is the epitome of “form follows function”.

Shoot for the moon with Intel, or underclock the frequency and tighten timings down on Ryzen to get the most out of your 1:1 UCLK/FCLK ratio, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better memory kit.

Runner Up – TEAM T-Force XTREEM

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 4133 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 18
Pros
  • More robust heatsinks
  • XOC world record pedigree
Cons
  • Not as good bang for buck

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If you don’t like the looks of the Viper Steel kit, the TEAM T-Force XTREEM may be for you. These are also solid performers with a good track record among overclockers.

 

TEAM T-Force Vulcan Z – Best Budget DDR4 RAM

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 3000 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 16
Pros
  • Cost-effective
  • Cheap
  • Compatibility with almost any system
Cons
  • Slightly slower than some of the more expensive kits
  • Room to overclock is questionable

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It’s hard to go wrong with this kit. TEAM has been around for a while but are sometimes overshadowed by their bigger brand competitors.

That doesn’t mean they don’t put out a quality product. Their T-Force lineup has started to become the go to for those who want a budget-friendly performance option that doesn’t break the bank. Our pick today, the T-Force Vulcan Z kit, does exactly that.

This DDR4 kit offers a lot of bang for buck. Stylish anodized Aluminum heatsinks, XMP profile for easy setup, wide range of compatibility for both Intel and AMD systems.

Available in both Red, and Gray, to suit your aesthetic tastes. DDR4 prices are the lowest they’ve ever been per GB, and this cheap kit shows you don’t need to spend a lot to get good performance.

Runner Up – G.Skill Ripjaws V Series

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 3600 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 18
Pros
  • Great bang/buck
  • Fast frequency
  • Good overclocking headroom
Cons
  • Timings are loose out of the box

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For those with a little more to spend and wanting a faster kit for their Ryzen 3rd gen CPU, G.Skill does not disappoint with this one.

Timings may be a little on the loose side, but with the way Infinity Fabric works, you’ll still benefit from the faster speeds over a lower frequency kit.

 

G.Skill Ripjaws V – Best Value DDR4 Gaming RAM

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 3600 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 16
Pros
  • Great value
  • Great overclocking capability
  • Tight timings
  • Good for Ryzen 3rd gen CPUs
Cons
  • Aesthetics are a bit basic
  • Availability may vary due to high demand

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The Ripjaws line has been around for a long, long time. Value for money, industry-leading quality, and stellar performance have always been what Ripjaws kits have been about, and our choice for Best Value reflects that.

The main reason we chose this kit is for its fire-and-forget XMP profile, should you want to wring the most out of your Ryzen 3rd gen CPU without manually tweaking, while also offering full compatibility with Intel platforms.

Coming in at  3600 MHz CL16, this is one of the tightest 3600 MHz kits you can get. Though that’s not to say you can’t overclock them. As with our Best RAM Overall, you get Hynix DJR ICs that respond well to overclocking and are becoming popular with the enthusiast crowd.

G.Skill’s binning and screening process is one of the best on the market, to ensure you have the most stable DDR4 RAM you can get.

Sporting aluminum heatsinks, which by the way, are only 42mm tall for cooler compatibility, the Ripjaws V sticks look sleek and understated. They’ll look good in any build and pack the best bang for your buck in the way of PC gaming performance.

Runner Up – Crucial Ballistix RGB

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 3600 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 16
Pros
  • Great RGB support and aesthetics
  • Compatibility with multiple software’s
  • Low profile
Cons
  • Not as much overclocking potential

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In case you want to spice up your build with some RGB goodness, Crucial has this fantastic kit for $90. Compatible with ASUS Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light, and Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion 2.0, as well as Intel and AMD platforms.

 

Corsair Vengeance PRO RGB – Best RGB RAM For Gamers

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 3600 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 18
Pros
  • Stunning looking, fully programmable Dynamic Multi-Zone RGB Lighting
  • Corsair iCue support for integration with other Corsair products
  • Premium, but subtle heatsink
  • Good overclocking headroom to boot
Cons
  • A bit pricey

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Corsair has a knack for producing premium, visually beautiful products without sacrificing anything in the way of performance. Our choice for the best RGB DDR4 RAM is no exception.

One of the most aesthetically pleasing kits on the market, the Vengeance PRO RGB sticks come in either black or white-colored aluminum heatsinks, with fully customizable Dynamic Multi-Zone RGB lighting.

Compatible with Corsair’s versatile iCue RGB software, you can sync your RAM’s lighting profile with all other Corsair products for a visual experience like no other.

Also compatible with ASUS’ Aura Sync, MSI’s Mystic Light, and Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion 2.0 for seamless integration with your other RGB lighting.

Performance isn’t to be understated either, 3600 MHz CL18 gives you the performance to back up the looks. ICs are stringently binned and tested by Corsair for the best stability.

Fully compatible with Intel and AMD platforms, with easy XMP profiles and overclocking headroom to boot. Oh, did I mention a lifetime warranty? You can have your cake and eat it too! Functionality never looked so good.

Runner Up – G.Skill Trident Z Neo

  • Capacity: 16GB
  • Frequency: 3600 MHz
  • Cas Latency: 16
Pros
  • Fast and tight timings
  • Ryzen 3rd gen/X570 compatible
Cons
  • Pricing
  • Availability

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If you want the best of both worlds, great overclocking, and good looks, look no further. Specifically tailored to Ryzen 3rd gen CPUs, these sticks pack a punch.

How Much DDR4 RAM Do I Need For Gaming?

With games today becoming ever more demanding, 8GB has become the minimum recommended for a good gaming experience.

16GB is advised for most games and gaming PCs as few games will utilize more than 16GB of RAM.

32GB should be considered if you’re building or upgrading a high-end system, you want to stream, or intend to do other memory-intensive tasks outside of gaming.

Single-Channel vs Dual-Channel: Which Is Best?

All modern CPUs have support for Dual-Channel memory. Meaning there are 2 separate channels going to the CPU that can be used simultaneously.

Taking advantage of Dual-Channel support means you’ll be effectively doubling your bandwidth vs only Single-Channel. It is always advisable to run at least 2 sticks of DDR4 RAM whenever possible.

One in each channel. Running only 1 stick is effectively cutting your bandwidth in half and hurts your gaming performance.

The difference between Single-Channel and Dual-Channel can be up to a 30% increase in average FPS, and over 50% increase in 1% and 0.1% lows.

Intel vs AMD, How DDR4 Memory Speeds Affect Performance

AMD Ryzen CPUs like fast, low latency memory. The difference between 2400 MHz and 3200 MHz can be 10% or more, with even more noticeable 1% and 0.1% low performance (the lowest FPS you encounter, or dips, which can affect smoothness if they’re too low).

For 1st and 2nd gen Ryzen CPUs, the sweet spot is around 3000-3200 MHz. The latest Ryzen 3rd gen chips can benefit from plug-and-play performance improvements all the way up to 3600 MHz due to an upgraded Infinity Fabric allowing higher clocks.

But that’s not to say there aren’t benefits to faster RAM on Intel CPUs as well. While overall FPS averages may not see as significant of improvement when switching to faster memory as on Ryzen, even switching from 2666 MHz to 3200 MHz can yield over a 10% on 1% and 0.1% low improvement. Making gameplay noticeably smoother.

DDR4 vs DDR3

DDR4 is faster than DDR3, offering higher frequencies, bigger capacities per stick, and more bandwidth.

DDR4 is more power-efficient than DDR3. Less voltage needed means less heat and less stress on the memory controller.

Overall, DDR4 is better than DDR3 when it comes to PC gaming performance. It has faster speeds and higher bandwidth making it more capable of smoother gameplay and higher FPS

DDR3 is also older, and no longer supported on the latest platforms, and availability can be scarce compared to how much variety is offered for DDR4.

RAM and It’s Terms, a Beginner’s Crash Course

If you’re new to this, all the terms associated with choosing RAM (Random Access Memory) may leave you with a lot of questions. Below is a streamlined guide to the terms you may come across when deciding on a RAM kit.

Frequency

Measured in MHz (Megahertz), is the effective speed the memory runs at. Generally, faster is better. But realistic gains for gaming performance fall off after 3600-3800 MHz for DDR4 in most scenarios. The higher the frequency, the more bandwidth you’ll have, meaning the more data your CPU can process at once.

CL (CAS Latency)

How long it takes from the memory controller’s request for data to the time it is available. Measured in clock cycles and is the first for the primary timings. A general rule of thumb is that lower (tighter) is better when comparing RAM with similar frequencies.

Primary Timings

How long it takes for a request from the memory controller to be completed by the RAM, measured in clock cycles.

Lower latency also contributes to RAM being faster by increasing how fast the CPU/memory controller can access the memory by lowering the time it takes (in clock cycles) for those actions to be performed.

Since latency is measured in clock cycles, relative latency decreases as the rated frequency of RAM increases.

3200 MHz CL16 is faster, in both overall bandwidth, and latency, than 3000 MHz CL16.

3600 MHz CL16 is about as tight as 3200 MHz CL14 when comparing latency but is still faster when comparing overall bandwidth. 4400 MHz CL19 is tighter than both, while also having more bandwidth.

XMP (eXtreme Memory Profile)

Also known as A-XMP and DOCP on AMD platforms. It is a pre-loaded table of frequency and timings that come stored inside your RAM modules that bring your RAM to its rated speeds once activated.

These are easily accessible in the BIOS and save you the hassle of manually inputting your frequency and timings. It’s usually a simple 1-click operation to activate these timings.

Voltage

The amount of voltage a kit needs to run at its rated frequency and timings. Most higher performance, high-frequency kits require 1.35v for their rated speeds, which is perfectly safe for any modern CPU or motherboard. Some of the fastest kits, however, may require higher voltages.

Bandwidth

The amount of data that can be read or written to the memory, by the CPU, per second. Higher is generally better.

IC(s)

The type of memory chip used in a given RAM kit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is 2666 MHz RAM Good for Gaming?

With games becoming ever more memory intensive, 2666 MHz RAM is starting to be left behind. While AMD’s AM4 platform and Intel’s Z-chipsets have no problem running higher frequency RAM.

Cheaper Intel mainstream chipsets are limited to 2666 MHz. Sometimes your system may have come with slower RAM. So that begs the question; “Is 2666 MHz good for gaming?”

We wouldn’t call it good, but it can be good enough with the right tweaks. Slower speed RAM is inherently limited on bandwidth, so performance, generally in the 1% and 0.1% low department, can be affected. You can work around this by;

> Running dual-channel memory

> Tightening timings down

> Overclock your memory’s frequency if permitted

As mentioned above in our crash course, dual-channel memory effectively doubles your memory bandwidth and improves your overall performance.

Tightening timings manually can also further improve your 1% and 0.1% lows by 10-15% in some scenario’s vs stock settings since most 2666 MHz RAM is CL16 or worse.

Raising frequency is another way to improve performance. The jump from 2666 MHz to 3000 MHz or 3200 MHz is noticeable, though your luck will depend on silicon lottery so try at your own risk. Some kits may overclock better than others, some motherboards may offer better support than others

Is 32GB of RAM overkill when gaming?

That all depends on what games you are going to be playing, and whether or not you’re only strictly gaming, or gaming and streaming/recording simultaneously.

With AAA games requiring ever more RAM, there are some games, like COD: Warzone, MS Flight Simulator 2020, or Cities: Skylines that recommend, can benefit, and may even need, more than 16GB to run maxed out.

So no, 32GB of RAM for PC gaming isn’t overkill, especially if you intend to play AAA titles, or do more than just game with your PC. Considering where the PC gaming scene may be a few years down the road, 32GB may be a safe investment. RAM prices are also as low as they’ve ever been per GB.

Does RAM increase FPS?

Yes, faster RAM can increase FPS over slower RAM. Having, or adding, more RAM can also increase FPS, as well as smoothness, if you previously did not have enough to run a game.

Faster RAM especially improves the speed and performance on AMD Ryzen chips. The FPS average can increase by up to 10% going from 2666 MHz to 3600 MHz on a Ryzen 3rd gen CPU, depending on the game.

With improvements in 0.1% and 1% lows to be had on both AMD and Intel platforms across the board, leading to smoother gameplay.

For a much more in-depth look at how RAM affects FPS follow the link.

I hope that you found this article helpful and found the best DDR4 RAM for your gaming needs.

If you find yourself wanting to buy a good $300 mid-range graphics card to go alongside the DDR4 kit, follow the link to read our reviews on the best options.

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