When people talk about gaming, the discussion usually focuses on graphics. While graphics are very important, in fact, essential to gaming, you also need RAM. Without enough RAM, your gaming will be sluggish at best and impossible at worst.
The dynamic games of today require a lot of processing and enough RAM to keep up with frame rates and the demands of 3D rendering, including realistic textures and crisp images. The good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot to upgrade your RAM. A RAM upgrade is actually one of the fastest and most economical ways to improve your computer’s performance for gaming.
DDR3 vs DDR4
When choosing your RAM upgrade, you will see two distinctions: DDR3 and DDR4. There are differences beyond price, so let’s unpack some of them so that you can make the most informed decision.
DDR4 runs at 1.2 volts versus DDR3’s 1.5, so that’s a lower voltage. This won’t make a significant difference for home computer users or gamers, but it is interesting to large computing operations. For instance, a Haswell-E desktop computer system with DDR4 operates between 300W and 1200W, which could result in 15W savings over a comparable DDR3 setup. Again, this probably isn’t useful to gamers, but it is a difference between DDR3 and DDR4, and therefore worth noting.
This difference will matter to gamers: speed. DDR3 specs come in between 800MT/s to 2133 MT/s. DDR4, on the other hand, begins at 2133MHz. The speed increase will result in a bandwidth increase.
Latency also increases with DDR4, but perhaps not enough to make a significant difference. For instance, DDR4s main claim to fame is increased clock speeds, with a DDR3-1600 performing at aCL11 latency which equates to a 13.75 nanosecond read initiation. Conversely, DDR4-2133 operates at CL15 with 14.06 nanosecond read. That is a 2% increase, but you’ll have to decide how important that is to you and your gaming.
Some industry experts, such as Anandtech aren’t that impressed at the final, real time comparison. They found that DDR3 and DDR4 perform pretty similarly after all. Some performance benefits were seen with DDR4, such as Handbrake video conversion and a few games, but they found that DDR3 was actually slightly faster almost half the time.
Top RAM Manufacturers
That being said, if you’re playing one of the hottest graphic intensive games out in 2016, such as The Witcher: 3, Just Cause 3, or Crysis 3, you may want to give DDR4 a spin. If you happen to still be using DDR2 components, it’s definitely time for an upgrade.
Some of the top RAM manufacturers include Crucial, Kingston, and Corsair, Ballastix, G.Skill and Patriot.
Economical RAM Options- DDR3
If you want to upgrade your RAM on a budget, here are a few suggestions. All of these DDR3 options are priced under $200.00, with some hovering around $100.00 depending on the retailer. You can save a little more by hunting for the best deals, including Voucher codes for high-quality memory retailers like Crucial.
Crucial Ballistix Tactical has a data rate and capacity of DDR3-1600 for 8GB. At the time of writing, it costs around £50.00.
Kingston HyperX has an asymmetric heat spreader and is compatible with Intel and AMD platforms. It’s a plug and plays upgrade that you can probably do at home yourself. It retails for approximately £60.00.
The Corsair Vengeance’s performance stats are DDR3-1600 for 8GB. This is a very economical choice at around £40.00.
Crucial Ballistix Sport with DDR3-1600 and 16GB is another good choice for a RAM upgrade. It costs around £60.00 and can be purchased directly from Crucial.
Economical RAM Options- DDR4
To recap from above, essentially, DDR4 is the cutting edge of memory. It’s phasing out DDR3, and therefore, it’s the best option for newer machines you plan to use for years to come. If you are rehabilitating a very sluggish old computer or are on a budget, it may be wise to save on RAM and go DDR3. The performance differences do exist with an edge to DDR4, but they aren’t so fast that your hand is forced here.
If you can splurge and your machine has lots of life left, the Patriot Viper 4 DDR4-3400 16GB (2x8GB) – PV416G340C6K is a great option at around £120.00.
Additionally, the G.SkillRipjaws 4 DDR4-3000 16GB (4x4GB) – F4-3000C15Q-16GRR is a great performer, with a cost of approximately £100.00.
Another hot DDR4 pick is the Corsair Vengeance LPX, 16GB, DDR4. It’s got a huge price point of over £400.00 at some retailers, but great timings at 16-18-18-36 (2T).
Go Grab Your RAM
In short, RAM is a fairly easy, economical way to give your computer new life, even if you go with a new DDR3 RAM package. This is obviously going to positively impact your gaming experience!