For gaming, 8GB is considered the baseline for AAA titles. However, RAM demands are increasing. Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, recommends 12GB of RAM for optimal performance, while Half-Life: Alyx requires 12GB as a minimum. So, if you want enough overhead to keep playing new releases in the future, 16GB of RAM is recommended.
Keeping the kit simple has allowed Patriot to equip the Viper Steel with enhanced timings that dramatically boost the performance of specific programs, including some games. Since the market for pure gaming rigs and focused builds designed for singular tasks is still competitive, the Viper Steel DDR4-4400 sits comfortably in this niche.
Patriot practically binned these modules to the max, so overclocking headroom is almost non-existent, even if you're willing to go crazy on the voltage. But running the Viper Steel at the advertised frequency should be more than sufficient in most scenarios.
Generally, we'd recommend you stick with two DDR4 modules for a dual-channel build, each with a minimum of 3,000MHz clock speed. That should ensure you're getting the most out of the best CPUs for gaming. With Intel, you can essentially settle for whatever the best kit you can afford is, while AMD Ryzen patrons will want to look a little deeper.
You don't have to spend much on the best DDR4 RAM for gaming. That's something that's shocked us during the past few years of testing DDR4 kits: a 16GB or 32GB DDR4 kit will cost you relatively little today versus a few years ago. There are a few reasons for that, but namely this memory technology is coming to the end of its life, and the next generation DDR5 is already available to buy.
When it comes to speed, you want to look for DDR4 RAM that runs around 3,600MHz/3,200MHz for modern CPUs. This should give your CPU enough bandwidth cushion to handle gaming and work-related tasks. The other important stat to consider is CAS latency. When it comes to CAS latency, lower is better. Look out for CL16/CL18 or better, as these kits offer the responsiveness we want for gaming.
We've tested a bunch of DDR4 RAM kits and picked out the best ones for gaming considering all the above factors, which you can find below. Want to optimize your PC and get the most out of your RAM once you've got it? Our handy RAM speed for gaming deep-dive (opens in new tab) should be the first thing you read.
DDR4 memory really is maturing nicely. Just a couple of years ago, a decent DDR4-3200 kit was regarded as high-end, but as time ticks on, 3,200MHz is now the baseline for a decent gaming system. You could even argue that 3,600MHz is the current baseline for Ryzen 5000 and Intel 12th Gen systems, for decent performance without any significant price premium, with 4,000MHz and above the new high-end.
Corsair's Dominator Platinum has been one of the best gaming DDR4 RAM kits for quite some time now. Its sleek exterior, patented DHX cooling technology, and unrivaled performance has made it a formidable flagship over the years. Corsair's most up-to-date Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 RAM now comes with RGB lighting using the company's Capellix LEDs, and they're pretty lovely to look at.
This set of Neo RAM from G.Skill runs at 3,600MHz, which puts it in the sweet spot for red team gaming PCs for low latency operation. As a result, this is definitely a more budget-friendly option for mid-range builds with some flair, especially if you can't afford to stretch to the Corsair Dominator kits.
Similar to the overall performance of your Ryzen PC build, the Trident Z Neo offers a fantastic bang for your buck. You can get a 32GB kit for under $150, which means you can also easily upgrade your machine to an (admittedly unnecessary) 64GB of high-speed DDR4 memory down the road. If you're using your PC for more than gaming then perhaps that large pool of memory will come in handy, just don't expect much out of it for gaming alone.
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Generally, we'd recommend you stick with two DDR4 modules for a dual-channel build, each with a minimum of 3,000MHz clock speed. That should ensure you're getting the most out of the best CPUs for gaming (opens in new tab). With Intel, you can essentially settle for whatever the best kit you can afford is, while AMD Ryzen patrons will want to look a little deeper.
In short, 32GB of DDR5 RAM will give your system substantial overhead for both gaming and non-gaming tasks, such as anything to with hardware rendering (like video production or 3D modelling). While few, if any, games require such an amount of memory as a prerequisite, 32GB RAM will effectively futureproof your machine, especially if you opt for DDR5. This would keep your system technologically relevant for at least the next five years, if the long reign of DDR4 has taught us anything since its widespread adoption.
As games continue to get more technologically demanding, we generally recommend that 16GB, either DDR4 or DDR5, should be your absolute minimum. This is because of the likes of increased game worlds and HD textures, with some titles on the platform, such as Elden Ring, recommending 16GB RAM in your system as standard. In order to keep up with the latest titles, and ensure you have enough memory to run not only games but also background processes, 16GB is absolutely critical in 2022.
The best RAM for gaming can increase gaming performance and take some strain off your other components. While 16GB of DDR4 is still the sweet spot for the majority of people, DDR5 is starting to become a lot more common, particularly in new-gen prebuilt gaming PCs with compatible motherboards. With that in mind, the tide is slowly starting to change, and it might be a good idea to think about upgrading.
But how much RAM do you actually need? And what speed is best? Well, if you're trying to build one of the best gaming PCs possible, you'll want no less than 16GB. Whether you go for two 8GB sticks or one 16GB stick, you won't want less than that. In terms of speed, we'd say the sweet spot to aim for is around the 3000MHz mark for DDR4. For DDR5, We'd say to aim for 4800MHz and above, although at that point it really depends on your coffers, and what your CPU can handle. Just keep in mind that to get the quoted speed of your RAM, you may need to head into your bios or have a play around with XMP profiles.
If you're after high-end gaming RAM performance for your Intel 12th gen-enabled rig then the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 offers all the performance speed that you need. With the potential of PCIe 5.0 just now being understood and unlocked by the newest Intel CPUs, you'll be in a very good place for the future of PC gaming as an early adopter in 2022 with this memory kit configuration.
If you're running an AMD Ryzen gaming PC then the G.Skill Trident Z Neo is a fantastic match. And even with RGB flourishes, we've found it be very competitively priced compared to most other memory kits of similar spec.
With speeds starting at 2600MHz and going up to 3800MHz you'll never be left wanting for more, especially as you can upgrade the 32GB of RAM up to 64GB if you really want to future-proof your rig. 32GB will be plenty for most users though in all honesty. If you're after RAM for heavy media editing too, then you might find rival memory kits outperform the G.Skill. Sticking with gaming though? Pick this up and don't look back.
As you'll see from the images, Sabrent's bit of rocket science is extremely thin, too. It has an ingenious cooling solution in the form of a copper heat spreader that keeps circuitry efficient. At the same time, it's slight form factor makes it feel a tad fragile, so definitely handle it with care. Sabrent's Rocket DDR5 sticks come in 16 or 32GB, and come in smaller form factors so you can use them in a gaming laptop as well.
PNY's XLR8 gaming brand has become synonymous with quality, and that's exactly what I've found with its MAKO DDR5 RAM modules. As DDR5 continues to push its way into the mainstream, PNY has re-established itself as a top contender in the memory market here.
All tasks from gaming to web browsing are going to be no problem for a dual-channel kit that's clocked this high. While it's far from the most extreme numbers that we've witnessed in the early days of DDR5, the Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-4800 will still outperform the previous flagship generations of RAM, and hold its own against current-gen options as well from a real-world point of view.
If you've got the rig for it - and you're brave enough - there's little question that a 4400MHz dual-channel set will tick over flawlessly for years. But, when discussing gaming specifically, you can expect only a minor framerate boost depending on the game (usually in the ballpark of 5-10 extra FPS). Indeed, it's less about the gaming prowess of a set like this and more so what they can do for the everyday operation of your rig.
We must stress that it's very much a no-frills affair with this particular set. Don't expect the likes of RGB lighting, specially engineered heatsinks or insane overclocking potential out of, what is at heart, a very basic but effective pair of RAM sticks for both gaming and everyday tasks alike. 781b155fdc