Did you watch the trailer of a newly released game and are now interested in buying it? Or are you looking forward to the summer sale to fill your game library with new games? Before answering these two questions, you need to consider whether your computer or laptop has enough RAM to run the games you want to play.
RAM is a very integral part of gaming. The larger the RAM, the more temporary storage is available to access data faster, resulting in faster loading times and better performance during gaming. Better RAM also helps increase the overall frames per second of the game.
Temporary data must be readily accessible for computers to run programs and carry out activities. For instance, current PC games must quickly access art assets. Video games use RAM to read and write data because it accesses data hundreds of times more quickly than a storage device.
Read on further to learn more about how RAM affects the gaming performance of your device!
RAM and Gaming
In simple terms, let’s first define what RAM is. Unlike a “non-volatile” HDD or SSD, RAM (random access memory) is “volatile memory”, meaning it only saves data when power is present in it. While in use, programs are momentarily loaded into RAM, although they permanently exist on a storage device.
RAM’s function is to store the temporary information that a computer needs to function effectively. However, it is reset every time the system is restarted, unlike a hard disk or SSD, which can keep data permanently.
Now that we have defined RAM, we can move on to understanding why it is important in gaming. Apart from uses for RAM in areas like multitasking, it’s also crucial to gaming because RAM is the region that stores necessary variables and material. In addition, the RAM becomes active whenever a game is launched on your device since it has been loaded into it.
As RAM enhances the gaming experience and speeds up loading times, faster RAM with a large capacity is desired. As a result, you can not only store more transient data but it can also be read and written more quickly.
RAM Specifications and How They Affect Gaming
Since we have already established how important RAM is for gaming, it is important to understand certain factors that make a certain RAM better suited to your needs. Therefore, every RAM stick introduced into the market has certain specifications that make it suitable for certain situations.
Below are certain specifications you need to consider when choosing RAM for your gaming device.
Logically speaking, it is rational to think that the higher your RAM capacity, the better the gaming performance. However, even though this is not incorrect, this is not entirely true as well.
If you upgrade your RAM from a smaller capacity, such as 4GB of RAM, to a large number, such as 16GB, you will notice a serious change in your gaming experience. But the change will be very hard to notice if upgrading from 32 to 64GB.
The reason for this is that as you increase the storage of your RAM, the change in performance becomes smaller and smaller until it becomes difficult to notice.
Double Data Rate (DDR)
Almost every RAM stick you see will have a DDR number. Double Data Rate or DDR means that it reads or writes data twice per clock cycle. This technology has advanced over time, resulting in DDR2 and subsequent variants.
Practically speaking, if you choose between DDR3 and DDR4, you won’t notice that much difference in performance. However, you might better select any of the two available and fit your budget.
After selecting, check the RAM compatibility you selected with your motherboard. You cannot install a DDR4 stick of RAM into a motherboard with DDR3 slots because different RAM generations are incompatible. So first, make sure your RAM is compatible with your motherboard specifications.
Along with DDR, a RAM stick’s clock cycles are provided either on its product page or can be found with a quick Google Search. These are provided in megahertz and indicate the number of cycles the RAM can complete in a second. As you may correctly predict, your device will run more smoothly and quickly the higher this number is.
There is a correlation between DDR generation and clock cycles; thus, old DDR2 RAM, for instance, won’t support extremely fast clock cycles. Because of this, you can be sure that your RAM will operate fine as long as you adhere to the current standard. All RAM sticks will use the lowest frequency if RAM sticks with different clock cycles are mixed.
It is important to note that your motherboard might also be a limiting factor when it comes to clock speeds, as it can also limit the speed of your RAM. That is why it’s important to check the compatibility of the RAM stick you selected with your motherboard to avoid such issues.
Quantity of RAM Sticks
The number of RAM slots on your motherboard should be considered when purchasing RAM. Most motherboards support dual-channel RAM. Due to the simultaneous use of two sticks of RAM, your system’s performance is somewhat improved.
Imagine you wanted to upgrade your PC with 16GB of RAM. It is preferable to purchase two 8GB sticks instead of one 16GB stick to benefit from dual-channel memory. Be careful to place the sticks per the instructions in the handbook if your motherboard has more than two slots to make the most of this.
CPU consumption is largely impacted due to the channel that you are using. Due to the decreased bandwidth, the CPU is used more frequently while using single-channel memory. However, due to increased memory bandwidth and more effective data transfer, dual-channel memory reduces CPU utilization by 10% to 20%.
Hopefully, using this article, you will be able to educate yourself about the impact that RAM has on your gaming experience, consequently choosing better RAM for your device.