RAM seems to be getting faster every day, but does faster RAM matter? Does it make sense to buy 3000MHz or something like 2400MHz is enough?
Let’s take a look at what higher frequency RAM actually does for your system and if it’s worth buying. When you’re done reading, you will understand what faster RAM does and whether it makes sense to buy it or not.
Introducing RAM and its speed
Introduction to RAM and RAM speeds
Before talking about RAM speeds, let’s take a look at what RAM is used for.
RAM accepts data from the hard drive, including data for programs and games, and stores data while you use those programs or games. This is because RAM is much faster than your standard hard drive or even SSD. The data stored in RAM is then transferred to the CPU
Based on this, it would make sense that a higher RAM frequency would mean better performance. But the end result is not that obvious. The problem is, no matter how fast your RAM can send data to your processor, there is a limit where your processor simply cannot process all that data fast enough.
Fortunately, processor manufacturers have made it as easy as possible to find the speed that’s best suited to their processor. All you have to do is look at the specifications of each chipset on the Internet.
For example, Intel assumes that their fastest supported RAM for the Intel i9-9900K is DDR4 2666 MHz, while AMD says their Ryzen 2600 processors support up to DDR4 2933 MHz. So why are RAM manufacturers selling faster RAM? This is because with acceleration these speeds can still be achieved.
What does it mean? Well, if you go for the factory experience and don’t dabble in overclocking, boosting the clock above 2666 MHz on Intel or 2933 MHz on Ryzen won’t do any good.
So if you are the kind of person who does not touch the BIOS, you should choose the MHz limits mentioned above. You can go further if you find that the price is the same at higher speeds, but you will not actually reach those speeds.
Overclocking to increase RAM speed
Overclocking for faster RAM speeds
Now if you enjoy overclocking or tinkering with the BIOS, then upgrading to a higher RAM speed might make some sense. By enabling XMP in the BIOS, you can potentially achieve higher RAM speeds, but understand that this will only be possible if you have a supported motherboard
The end result is that choosing a higher RAM speed after enabling XMP can help improve frame rates in some games, while there won’t be much noticeable difference in others. It seems to vary from game to game, but the minimum frame rate was better in many games.
Based on the Linus Tech Tips results, we can see that there is not much difference, but there is definitely a difference. In some extreme cases, we are talking about 20-30 additional minimum average frames. In some other cases, only 5-10 more frames are required.
It is difficult to find benchmarks for non-game related tasks such as video editing, but it is likely that it will be the same story: a very minor performance improvement to increase RAM speed.
Should you buy faster RAM?
Should you buy a faster RAM?
With this information in mind, you may still be wondering if the faster RAM is worth buying. Well, if you want to overclock your RAM and don’t mind fixing any potential issues that might arise, then it’s worth it.
But it’s only worth it if the price increases are not significant. For example, in some cases a 2x8GB 2666MHz kit on Amazon may cost exactly the same as a 2x8GB 3000MHz kit. Only $ 70 at the time of writing.
But I would not recommend it when the RAM is much more expensive, for example the 2x8GB 4266MHz kit is now $ 269. That extra $ 200 is better spent on an upgraded processor, GPU, or even just more RAM.
So, as long as you are running at 2666 MHz or higher, it makes sense to spend any extra budget you may have on more powerful components before trying to get a higher RAM speed.
Hopefully this article answered any questions you might have about faster RAM. If you are still unsure, please contact me and I will be happy to advise you.