What is RAM and Does RAM Speed Really Affect Your PC Performance?

Do you know what is RAM, does RAM speed really matters and how much is it affecting your PC performance? In this article, you will find the answers to that and many other questions. So let’s start with the basics.

What is RAM?

Random-access memory or RAM is a type of fast computer memory that saves all the data your PC needs now and in the near future. It is also known as one of the most significant parts not only for PCs but also for other devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles. Without the RAM doing anything on your PC would be almost impossible.

RAM sticks

What Does RAM Do?

RAM enables your computer to operate many of its daily tasks, such as loading apps, browsing the web, editing some videos, or playing the latest games. This memory also allows you to switch between tasks quickly, while it remembers which task you left at the moment when you switched to a different task.

In order to get a true answer about RAM efficiency, you need to know that there are two important factors to know, and they are:

  • Clock Cycles (RAM MHz)
  • CAS Latency (CL)

Clock Cycles (RAM MHz)

RAM speed or frequency is measured in megahertz (MHz), which is how many clock cycles are done in 1 second. For example, 3200 MHz RAM performs 3,200,000,000 cycles per second.

So the more cycles per second, the more information can be stored and read. in other words, faster RAM speed is leading to a smoother user experience. 

Let’s say that faster RAM speed enables your processor to reach stored information faster.

  • DDR – supports only two frequencies – 333MHz or 400MHz. 
  • DDR2 – from 400mHz to 800mHz
  • DDR3 – from 1066mHz to 3200mHz
  • DDR4 – from 2133mHz to 4266mHz 

CAS Latency (CL)

Column Access Strobe (CAS) latency or CL is the number of clock cycles that pass from the moment when RAM receives a command to the moment that it is able to issue it.

Example one of the CLs 15-17-17-35…These numbers show how many cycles of the clock it takes for the RAM to react to the command.

Important note:

In the first factor of RAM speed (Clock Cycles – RAM MHz), we said that a bigger number means faster performance, but here in the second factor (CAS Latency – CL) things are the opposite. That means that the lower CL performs faster.


Does RAM Speed Really Matter?

Since we know what RAM speed is and how it works, now we can talk about if that speed really matters.

Many people would say that there is no big difference between ram speeds and that those speeds are not affecting any performance. Well, it depends on what you’re using your PC for. 

If you are a gamer and you playing FPS games (like Fortnite, CSGO, PUBG, Overwatch, etc.), higher RAM speed can significantly boost your FPS. Again it depends on how fast your RAM is and how much you upgraded it.

Let’s take a look at how much will game performance increase using different RAM speeds…

After this video, we can fully confirm that RAM speed affects game performance, especially in FPS games. 

There’s not a big FPS range between the slowest and fastest RAM, and if you are new in the gaming world and don’t have any experience, you probably won’t feel it.

But for someone who is a pro gamer and makes a living from it, every single frame(FPS) makes a difference, especially if you play on a 144Hz or 240Hz monitor with G-sync or Free sync technology.

You will certainly feel the speed difference in:

  • Multitasking like running multiple programs
  • Streaming while playing the game
  • Editing and content creation

Which RAM Do I Need? 

In order to save some money while buying the RAM, you need to watch out for some other things like, which type of RAM your motherboard support (you can check that on the manufactures site of your motherboard) and what capacity should be enough for your needs.

Types of RAM

From DDR to DDR4 we witness many successful changes and improvements in the performance of RAM. 

Changes like…

Types of RAM

DDR – Beyond outdated, a machine operating on DDR is very unlikely to be found.

DDR2 – Old, but not entirely extinct. Many older desktops and laptops still use DDR2 RAM 

DDR3 – The current standard, supports frequencies twice as fast as DDR2 and higher capacities. It is also cheaper than DDR2 RAM at the same capacity.

DDR4 – The latest standard, although buying machines with DDR4 support can cost a lot of money. Frequencies start at the high end of DDR3 of 2133MHz 

DDR5 – When this generation of DDR arrives, we will witness another successful upgrade. We find out that the new DDR5 brings chips with significantly greater efficiency compared to existing DDR4 modules and reduced power consumption. it will be available to consumers in 2020.

We can truly see the big difference between every single generation of DDRs. This leads us to believe that every future generation of DDR ram will be something amazing and more powerful than the previous one.

RAM Capacity

This area is very confusing because many people spend way too much money on unnecessary RAM capacity. Most of them are not aware that they don’t need extra GBs for their needs and that it’s better to invest that money into other PC components.

Let’s clarify this:

  • 512 MB of RAM to 1 GB of RAM. Completely horrible, unless you got something from the 90s or early 00s. That’s when it was good. Today’s standards, won’t do the job.
  • 2GB of RAM. Quite modestly. Multitasking will result in some very noticeable glitches, especially if you’re using multiple applications at once. 
  • 4GB of RAM. Solid. It shouldn’t be too bad. Plus, you are now in the land of the 64-bit operating system. Enjoy your increase in efficiency, but understand your limits!
  • 8GB of RAM Excellent. Even with heavy gaming and multiple tabs and apps, you shouldn’t be bothered by noticeable slowdowns at all. For now, 8GB of RAM will be fine for everyone, but some recent games are starting to require 6GB as a baseline now.
  • 16GB of RAM.Ok boy. Either you run a VR or you just want to look cool.
  • 32GB of RAM. Son, you got to stop. If you’re talking about servers though, then that’s cool.
  • 64GB+ of RAM. come on are you serious? Are you running a server? If not you are insane, but I like you in any case.

This should help you to understand how many GBs of RAM is enough for your personal needs.

How To Check Your RAM Speed?

This Youtube video will help you to check your RAM speed.

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