Need the best RAM for gaming to start 2021 the right way? We’ve got your back, whether you are looking for the best of the best, an affordable option, or even an “outdated” option, DDR3, as it still has its use. In our opinion, a great balance, whether you’re using Intel or Ryzen, is between 2933 and 3200 MHz. Newer Ryzen CPUs benefit from a higher frequency, so we suggest going for 3600 and 3733 MHz for Zen 2 (Ryzen 3000). The Ryzen 5000 series supposedly performs best between 4000 and 4400 MHz. Always pick a dual-channel (2 sticks) or quad-channel (4 sticks) kit, don’t go below 16 GB, and if budget allows, go for 32 GB. With that said, enjoy our list of the best gaming RAM.
TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem is the top gaming RAM, in our opinion. It has it all – a sufficient speed of 3600 MHz benefiting Ryzen CPUs greatly, a low CAS latency of 14, a voltage of 1.45 V tight timings (14-15-15-35), and comes in a kit of two sticks with 8 GB each. It’s also not plain-looking, since it comes with a subtle, diffused ARGB LED that can be controlled. If visuals are something you also care about as well, there you go. They’re not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but have a great price-to-performance ratio, as you’ll quickly discover.
G.Skill Trident Z Neo is cheaper than the RAM above, yet it still has 3600 MHz of speed, and typically comes in two DIMMs of 8GB each. So, what’s the catch? It comes down to CAS Latency of 18, timings of 18-22-22-42, and operating voltage of 1.35 V. In short, it’s slightly slower and has a smaller overclocking potential. However, you might not notice a significant difference in Ryzen CPUs, plus you’re getting flashier RGB lighting. Additionally, you can get a 4 x 8GB kit to get a bigger discount, which is ideal for multitasking while gaming.
Why is Corsair Dominator Platinum more expensive than the ones above with a speed of 3200 MHz? It’s not the CAS latency of 16 and a 16-18-18-36 timing, which is quite decent, but not as low as 14. The colorful, eye-catching design is the reason. You’re getting high-quality Capellix RGB LEDs that are vivid and ultra-bright, and they can be controlled with iCUE software. Furthermore, you’re getting their best, Dominator DHX heat-spreaders that keep the temperature low. Oh, and it comes in a kit containing 2 DIMMs of 8 GB each, too.
It’s time for a crescendo before we bring things down again. Patriot Viper Steel is a beast, likely the best-high speed RAM for gaming. It’s so good that many tests showed it beats kits with a higher speed of 4600 MHz, which is likely due to its supreme timings of 19-19-19-39. It achieves this using an XMP profile at a 1.45V voltage. That means no manual experiments are needed, but you still need a top-of-the-line motherboard. It comes as a 2 x 8 GB kit that is suitably priced for what it offers, but the fact that it has no RGB whatsoever might put some people off.
Kingston HyperX Fury is a relatively cheap gaming RAM that’s a great visual upgrade from the Fury (red or black) models with no RGB. Plus, it has an even better overclocking potential. The base model is 2400 MHz with a CL15 (CAS Latency), but it can go up to 3733 MHz with CL19. Furthermore, it has more kit variations than any of the RAMs we mentioned, with single modules of 4/8/16/32 GB. Finally, RGB lighting can be synced with a variety of other devices that use RGB, which makes for a streamlined theme if you have a windowed case.
Got a cheap motherboard or are afraid of overclocking? G.Skill Ripjaws V is an affordable RAM for gaming that has the best out-of-the-box performance running at 2400 MHz. It ships with a has a CAS latency of 15 and 15-15-15-35 timings. Plus, since it operates at a voltage of 1.2 V, and has heat spreaders, you don’t need to worry about temperature. The best part? You can upgrade your motherboard or decide to test things out. With a slight voltage bump, this 16 GB (2 x 8GB) kit won’t have trouble reaching a speed of between 2800 and 3000 MHz.
Going back to high-performing options that are also flashy, we have Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro. The RGB lighting envelops the top of the module and can be controlled via software. However, its white light diffusers can look pastel, so it might not be your cup of tea. Other than that, you’re getting great performance at speed of 3200 MHz, coming as a kit of 4 modules of 8GB each at CL16, 1.35V, and a lifetime warranty. With a small increase in voltage, you can expect to get speeds of 3600 MHz and (maybe) 3800 MHz, although 4000 MHz is out of reach.
XPG Spectrix D80 is the best RAM for gaming that uses a hybrid air and water cooling system. It is also the only one of its kind on our list. Although unique and luxurious-looking, it is also significantly more expensive than the competition. But there’s a silver lining – after you pay for its prestige, you can reach a speed of 4133 MHz to 4400 MHz with ease, and in the right circumstances, up to 5000 MHz! It also has programmable RGB lighting, comes in 2 colors, and is compatible with both Intel and Ryzen. We advise getting a 4 x 8 GB kit to unlock its full potential.
If you need a G.Skill Ripjaws V alternative, Patriot Viper Elite is an affordable gaming RAM that is literally its twin. Out of the box, it has a voltage of 1.2 V, a speed of 2400 MHz, and a CAS latency of 15 with identical timings. With a slight increase in voltage, you’ll have no issue reaching speeds of between 2800 MHz and 3200 MHz. It also has heatsinks to keep temperatures down and comes in multiple versions. You can get two kits of 2 DIMMs with 4 GB each if you have a quad-channel motherboard, or get a 2666 MHz version with a 2 x 8 GB DIMMs kit.
We haven’t forgotten about those playing video games on a laptop. Since you won’t be seeing it regularly, the best laptop RAM for gaming focuses on performance. Crucial Ballistix Sport comes as a kit of two SODIMMs of 16 GB each. They can reach a speed of 3200 MHz with the right cooling, plus the RAM modem is reasonably priced for what it is. Although nothing special, it’ll undoubtedly dominate over the RAM that your laptop came with. The only concern is whether RAM can be replaced at all. Many manufacturers solder it to the motherboard.