There are so many PC parts to think about when you’re building or upgrading your gaming PC, and amid that mountain of specs, few parts are more puzzling than memory (or RAM). At the baseline, it may seem simple, as there’s the RAM’s capacity to think about, with 8GB to 16GB generally being acceptable for mid- to high-end systems. But, once you start digging deeper, DDR4 RAM gets astoundingly complex.
We rated, reviewed, & compared 10 of the best gaming memory kits across various budgets. These kits are perfect for gamers or anyone else looking for more memory for their computer.
Of course, in gaming, there is only so much memory that can be used. That’s why one of the most common questions first-time builders ask is “How much RAM do I need for gaming?” And, so, while we will list the best memory kits for gaming in this post, we’ll first try and answer the question of how much memory you’ll need for gaming and other purposes.
How Much DDR4 RAM Do I Need for Gaming?
Generally speaking, 8GB of RAM is all that is needed in the majority of today’s most-played titles. However, newer games are starting to utilize more and more RAM and if you are planning on doing other process-intensive tasks like video/image editing, or if you like to watch video content while you’re gaming, more memory will come in handy.
But, if you are building a budget gaming PC, you can definitely start out with a single 8GB stick of RAM, as that will be enough to handle most games and it will be incredibly easy to add a second stick (for 16GB total) down the road.
10 Best DDR4 Ram of 2021:
|Name||Size||Number of Pins|
|Ballistix Sport Gray 8GB||16GB (8GBx2)||288|
|Corsair Vengeance LPX||16GB (2x8GB)||288|
|G.Skill Trident Z Royal 8GB||32GB (2x16GB)||288|
|Patriot Viper Steel Series||16GB (2 x 8GB)||288|
|TEAM XTREEM ARGB 16GB||16GB (8GBx2)||288|
This is a great RAM to start with on a budget, especially if you’re building a PC for the first time. This will manage the minimum specifications for games from 2012 onwards, and while most modern games are ok with 4GB of RAM, you’re probably better off starting out with 8GB to avoid having to replace it too soon in the future.
It also is compatible with the Intel® XMP 2.0 standard, which means, if you felt daring, you could try and overclock the memory bandwidth speed. But only do this if you’ve had experience in this. It has been known for PC’s to fail even at the boot-up process when the wrong overclock figure is attempted with RAM. It’s also a great upgrade opportunity, as you can buy another of the same module, have double the memory, but also in ‘dual channel’ mode. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty (except for Germany, which is a 10-year warranty from the date of purchase), alongside great documentation on Crucial’s website to correctly install it if you’re unsure.
Corsair’s Vengeance LPX series offers a compact solution for high-performance RAM. While it’s not the fastest modules on the market, the kits offer incredible value for new and existing PC builds. They’re also capable of overclocking with XMP 2.0, thanks to the aluminum heat spreaders.
The support list is extensive, too, allowing you to throw these modules on older Intel 100 series or AMD 300 series motherboards. We’re highlighting the 3200MHz kit, which comes with a base clock of 2133MHz, but it’s easy to bump it to 3200MHz with but a simple change in the motherboard BIOS.
The only real downside is the lack of overclocking past its XMP configured boost. So the 3200MHz kit we highlight won’t go much further than that without system instability. Still, for most builds (including small form factor cases), this kit is more than enough for work, play, and enthusiasts.
To be frank, G.Skill’s Trident Z Royal series RAM resembles the ostentatious blingage we saw on the fronts of hip-hop CDs in late 90s and early 2000s. In fact, we’re pretty sure Nas was donning one of these glistening crystalline modules on his wrist when Columbia Records shot the Stillmatic album cover almost two decades ago. But, of course, this is RAM meant for gaming.
We know this because the Trident Z RAM, through its “diamond” trimming, emits RGB lights. Using G.Skill’s dedicated controller software, you can command hundreds of millions of possible color combinations by way of eight different LEDs. That said, the G.Skill Trident Z Royal is more than just a pretty face.
It’s fast. We’ve only tested the 3200MHz kit, but the company has up to 4600MHz variants in its catalog. More recently, it’s even introduced hexa-channel versions of the kit for combined memory capacities up to 192GB.
Bursting at the seams with cutting-edge goodness, Kingston’s HyperX Predator is a must-have for any gaming setup. It boasts a stylish black aluminum heat spreader that not only improves heat dissipation, but also complements the color-matched PCB (Printed Circuit Board) wonderfully, thereby lending the whole module a visually consistent look.
Each DDR4 RAM memory module also features a full-length RGB light bar, which can be conveniently customized (via Kingston’s companion “NGENUITY” software program) with myriads of dynamic illumination effects.
And with the patented “Infrared Sync” technology, these effects can be synchronized without needing any special cables. Kingston HyperX Predator is available in the form of “kits” having differing capacities (e.g. 32GB, 256GB), along with clock speeds of up to 4000MHz. Some other notable features include a limited lifetime warranty, and support for Intel’s XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) technology for trouble-free overclocking.
With a CAS latency of 14, the Team Xtreem kit leads the way in low-latency RAM favoured by gaming PCs, especially AMD Ryzen rigs. As such, it takes the top spot as our pick for the best RAM for gaming.
Not all that long ago a kit as well-rounded on both price and performance would’ve been a distant dream. However, a recent DRAM price crash and an increasing process maturity in DDR4 production means kits such as this can often be found for far less than they would’ve been only a couple of years ago.
That’s great news for those of you eyeing up AMD’s Ryzen CPUs, which favour a memory clock around the 3,600MHz mark—thus ensuring the Infinity Fabric clock is kept at a 1:1 ratio with your memory and your chip ticking over happily with minimal latency penalties. A kit such as the Team Xtreem is optimal for AMD Ryzen CPUs.
Even the RGB lighting on this kit is kept within moderation. Each DIMM features diffused RGB lighting that creates a glow-in-the-dark effect. And while that doesn’t sound great on paper, it’s surprisingly smart in the flesh.
If you want to eke out all your CPU has to offer, and ensure your system looks fresh in the process, the Team Xtreem ARGB kit is a great option—just a shame about the name.
Corsair has outdone itself with the Dominator Platinum RGB. The original DDR4 kit has been our favorite high-end memory bundle for quite some time now. Its sleek exterior, patented DHX cooling technology, and unrivaled performance have made it a formidable flagship over the years, often topping our best RAM for gaming list. Now, the iconic Dominator Platinum is back with a stealthy new design and Corsair’s new Capellix LED technology.
The Dominator Platinum RGB takes the same best-in-class performance of the original, adds higher-clocked SKUs and 12 individually addressable Capellix RGB LEDs. The new LEDs are brighter and more efficient than previous iterations, and are only available from Corsair. Combined with Corsair’s iCUE software, the Dominator Platinum RGB has become both the best RGB and high-end performance kit.
The price doesn’t differ too much from the original, non-RGB Dominator Platinum, but you’re still paying a hefty premium compared to some of the other kits mentioned in this guide. We still think it’s well worth every penny if you can afford it, whichever capacity kit you go for.
The HyperX Fury RGB DDR4 memory is an excellent budget alternative to the more expensive HyperX Predator memory. It offers basically the same features in a package that looks more attractive, at least to us. Heatsinks found on HyperX Fury sticks are less aggressive and have more style than those found on Predator modules.
Also, this RAM is available in a variety of working frequencies and comes in all sizes. From single, 8GB sticks to massive 128GB (4x32GB) kits, perfect for workstations. In other words, this is great DDR4 memory for gaming that features affordable price and wide range of options. It also comes with cool RGB lighting.
If you want a quality RAM from Kingston but aren’t ready to pay extra, get the HyperX Fury memory. It sports reasonable prices and features an excellent RGB app from Kingston. It also supports many different RGB apps from third-party brands.
If your PC case has a windowed side, why not jazz up the internals with a spectacular light show? The past year has seen a flood of RAM sticks with integrated RGB LEDs, adding yet another way to get your PC glowing and flashing with different colours and effects.
The XPG Spectrix D60G might be the most RGB-laden of them all; unlike the HyperX Fury, here the lighting extends down both sides as well. The only bit staying dark is the aluminium heat spreader strips, which themselves add a cool grey look.
Performance is decent enough, with 16-18-18-35 timings and a nippy clock speed, but, really, you’ll be buying memory like this for the aesthetics. Handily, if you also have compatible hardware from ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte or MSI, you can sync colours and effects for a more coordinated RGB display.
Not as expensive as the previous, but they’ll still make an impression if you wanted to show off some colors again. The Night Hawk still brings some fast performance, where ‘dual channel’ mode of 16GB and a bandwidth of 3200MHz will result in next-to-no lag (dependent on your graphics card and CPU).
These will be for a PC where you’ll be doing a lot of editing for your YouTube channel, but you’ll also be playing games a few times a week. You’ve got the option of streaming, but you’d rather play a great MMORPG inbetween editing. For just under £190 / $200 you will get your money’s-worth, and 16GB in a PC will be future-proof on the RAM side for the next few years to come.
Of course, it has the colors as mentioned, with the software to boot, so you can again customise it as you wish. It also has the heatsinks on each, so it can better siphon off any heat when under extreme load and rendering the 4K videos you’ve been working on.
Thermaltake took its RAM and decided that simple metal heat spreaders simply would not do. Thus here we are with RGB and water-cooled RAM. You read that correctly; you can now water cool your RAM. What this allows you to do is take your custom water-cooling loop and add your RAM to the mix.
This should provide additional headroom to the RAM modules, allowing you to overclock them a little higher, as well as enjoy lower operating temperatures. But Thermaltake isn’t all about looks, however. There’s XMP profile support and dependable performance all-round.
The one bad part about the Thermaltake WaterRam RGB kits is the price. For a 16GB kit, you’ll be expected to part with considerable levels of cash. But if you’re all about looks, this is one killer RAM solution. Just make sure your motherboard has a 5V RGB header.
Quick Shopping Tips
For many people, 16GB is the current sweet spot. Programs get bigger and messier over time, 1080p and 4K video are now common, PC game files are always expanding, and websites get more complex by the day. While heavy multitaskers and power users may need 32GB to keep from tapping into much slower disk-based virtual memory, 16GB is far more affordable, and sufficient for gaming and mainstream productivity tasks.
Memory speeds advertised as part of an XMP profile might not be achievable on AMD-based motherboards. XMP is a sort of automatic memory overclocking setting that was designed for Intel motherboards. Some motherboard makers offer BIOS settings to help you achieve these faster speeds on AMD motherboards. But these settings aren’t present on all boards, and they don’t always work when they are present.
Want the fastest RAM speed on an Intel platform? Get a K-series CPU. Non-K-series Core i7 and Core i5 processors have the same DDR4-2666 limit as that imposed by Intel’s lesser H370 and B360 chipsets. Core i3 processors have a lower limit of DDR4-2400.
Even though all of the above-detailed DDR4 RAM modules are fantastic in their own right, our top vote goes to Ballistix Sport Gray RGB. It combines best-in-class overclocking performance with high clock speeds, and its “Capellix” RGB LEDs make the whole package even better. If you’d rather have something that looks a little more svelte, we have no qualms recommending G.Skill’s Trident Z. It works exceptionally well with AMD-based builds, and its signature “tri-fin” design is a sight to behold.