The best RAM for gaming can make a real difference to your PC's performance when playing the latest games. While 16GB of DDR4 is the sweet spot for the majority of people, we found out before the new year that the PC version of Returnal recommends a chunky 32GB for the best performance. With that in mind, the tide may be slowly starting to change, so it might be a good idea to think about some upgrades.
But how much RAM do you actually need? And what speed is best? Well, if you're trying to build one of the best gaming PCs possible, you'll want no less than 16GB. Whether you go for two 8GB sticks or one 16GB stick, you won't want less than that. 8GB of RAM is alright if you only use your PC for general browsing and such, but we'd always recommend 16GB of more if you're interested in playing games. In terms of speed, we'd say the sweet spot to aim for is around the 3000MHz mark for DDR4. For DDR5, Wed say to aim for 4800MHz and above, although at that point it really depends on your coffers. Just keep in mind that to get the quoted speed of your RAM, you may need to head into your bios or have a play around with XMP profiles.
Our best advice whether you go for an AMD or Intel build in 2022 is to keep the RAM sticks consistent. Mixing and matching models may technically still function, but you're going to be limited to the lowest speed of the two. Even if the frequencies match, you could be losing out on features between brands without knowing it. DDR4 is undoubtedly the go-to system RAM at the moment, but DDR5 is a starting to creep in with quite ridiculous speeds. The prices of DDR4 came down dramatically in 2022, while DDR5 will still set you back a fair bit thanks to its drastic futureproofing.
Without further ado, here is the best RAM for gaming on the market in 2023.
Best RAM for gaming 2023
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If you're after high-end gaming RAM performance for your Intel 12th gen-enabled rig then the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 offers all the performance speed that you need. With the potential of PCIe 5.0 just now being understood and unlocked by the newest Intel CPUs, you'll be in a very good place for the future of PC gaming as an early adopter in 2022 with this memory kit configuration.
Unsurprisingly, a DDR5 memory solution is going to cost you a fair amount to invest in early at this current point in time, and the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 is no different. While you're paying a bit of a premium already for the aesthetics and build quality, higher configuration RAM like this clock speed certainly doesn't come cheap.
If you're running an AMD Ryzen gaming PC then the G.Skill Trident Z Neo is a fantastic match. And even with RGB flourishes, we've found it be very competitively priced compared to most other memory kits of similar spec.
With speeds starting at 2600MHz and going up to 3800MHz you'll never be left wanting for more, especially as you can upgrade the 32GB of RAM up to 64GB if you really want to future-proof your rig. 32GB will be plenty for most users though in all honesty. If you're after RAM for heavy media editing too, then you might find rival memory kits outperform the G.Skill. Sticking with gaming though? Pick this up and don't look back.
Sabrent's Rocket DDR5 punches three weight classes above what its minimalist design would suggest. It comes in either 16 or 32GB sticks and although it's quoted at 4800MHz out of the box, Sabrent has designed it to withstand up to four times the module capacity. For our review, we pushed it into the 5000MHz range, but we wouldn't be surprised at all if it could keep up with the Corsair Dominator Platinum's speeds. What we have here, then, is a DDR5 module that's priced along with the cheaper DDR5 kits on the market, but can absolutely perform with the top dogs thanks to its XMP capabilities.
As you'll see from the images, Sabrent's bit of rocket science is extremely thin, too. It has an ingenious cooling solution in the form of a copper heat spreader that keeps circuitry efficient. At the same time, it's slight form factor makes it feel a tad fragile, so definitely handle it with care. Sabrent's Rocket DDR5 sticks come in 16 or 32GB, and come in smaller form factors so you can use them in a gaming laptop as well.(opens in new tab)
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.
If you're after a more reasonably priced DDR5 memory kit to take advantage of your new Alder Lake-S CPU then the Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-4800 has all the guts for the job. Keep in mind, you aren't getting flashy RGB here, nor are you benefiting from the crazy fast speeds upwards of 5000 MHz, but as a current-generation option for early adopters, this kit will do everything you need it to in 2023.
All tasks from gaming to web browsing are going to be no problem for a dual-channel kit that's clocked this high. While it's far from the most extreme numbers that we've witnessed in the early days of DDR5, the Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-4800 will still outperform the previous flagship generations of RAM, and hold its own against current-gen options as well from a real-world point of view.
What you lack in looks, you more than make up for in performance, and that's the most important factor when considering making the jump to DDR5, after all. If you've got a Z960 motherboard and are looking out to spec a machine that's ready for the speeds of PCIe, then Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-4800 is one of the more affordable ways to do that right now.
Here's some high-speed RAM that doesn't discriminate based on your motherboard. Also, fans of all things sleek and subtle will be pleased to hear it doesn't glow (as much as we love RGB, it isn't to everyone's tastes).
This particular dual-channel kit runs at a staggering 3600Mhz. That's perfect for gamers, video editors, and bedroom developers alike - especially at such a competitive price.
As we've touched upon several times above, 32GB is also more than enough for most people. Arguably, it's still double the standard of most rigs. As such, there's no need to fret about your rig slowing down any time soon.(opens in new tab)
While the recommended RAM specifications for a game are fine, there also needs to be room to think of the RAM you’ll be using when you’re streaming with friends, capturing, running multiple apps, or putting any other strain on your PC, so this should be a big factor in your purchase. Streaming applications and capturing your game can be taxing on memory, which is why I recommend always ‘doubling’ the amount of RAM if you’re looking to use a PC just for gaming. You may not even be interested now, but you may need it in the future.
Also, more RAM can’t hurt for a gaming PC. This Trident RAM has an incredibly high bandwidth of 4266Mhz, so you’ll have no trouble running the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Even though the resolution you can choose is mainly down to the power of your CPU and Graphics Card, the RAM is how all that information goes from one component to another, so you need quality stuff. If you have an AMD Ryzen in your system with this RAM, you should have no problems in playing games in native 4K resolution.
Another big factor of setting up a great gaming PC, I’ve found, is that people want to show how nice the actual PC unit looks, not just in how it renders the games. This RAM gets full marks for making a visual impression: it can light up your rig nicely, and there’s even an application where you can individually assign lights to each of the modules. A lot of fun can be had with this but, of course, it depends if you have the right case to look at the components.
This is a tremendous high-end RAM bundle. While it has a cool design, the proof is in the performance pudding and this has it by the bag load. Building on the reputation and awesome pedigree of Corsair, high-end RAM, the Dominator Platinum RGB is a no brainer if you have the budget.
Corsair’s iCUE software also plays a role here and can help you get the best out of the Dominator Platinum RGB. This all-round high-end nature means you've probably got one of the best RAM kits going here, while also being one of the best RGB-augmented kits too as even it's LEDs have increased efficiency so match the sheer raw power of the kit in their own brightly colored way
The price is borderline attractive for a premium RAM package, tho there is still a bit of an expensive vibe coming from the Dominator Platinum kit. Whatever capacity you;re after though, it won't disappoint or let you down.
We'll be real with you - only consider RAM that's this fast if your intention is to overclock the absolute hell out of your machine. At the same time, in order to take advantage of these insane speeds, you will also need a top-of-the-line motherboard that can handle that kind of pressure.
If you've got the rig for it - and you're brave enough - there's little question that a 4400MHz dual-channel set will tick over flawlessly for years. But, when discussing gaming specifically, you can expect only a minor framerate boost depending on the game (usually in the ballpark of 5-10 extra FPS). Indeed, it's less about the gaming prowess of a set like this and more so what they can do for the everyday operation of your rig.(opens in new tab)
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.(opens in new tab)
If money is no object, may I introduce the insane 32GB RAM from Corsair and its Vengeance line. An incredible amount of memory, where the modules show a soft glow of lights when slotted in and the PC is running, where it almost ‘pulses’ off and on. Running in ‘dual channel’ mode with a massive 3600MHz of bandwidth speed, you will have no problem meeting the required specifications of most games and, I suspect, for many years to come. With Corsair this RAM has a lifetime warranty, which I had experience of a few years ago, where they replaced my DDR2 RAM after a week, which was a great touch.
In all honesty, 32GB of RAM is overkill for a lot of use cases, though it's becoming more and more common. It’s venturing into RAM that a beginner Server needs but, on the other hand, it does future-proof one part of your PC. And being able to overclock the RAM only adds to this.
Teamgroup T-Force Vulcan RAM directly targets those PC gamers with more modest builds. It can be easy to overlook mid-tier setups through a sea of cutting-edge tech, but if all you're after is reliable and fast, memory at a low price, then this kit is definitely worth a second look.
We must stress that it's very much a no-frills affair with this particular set. Don't expect the likes of RGB lighting, specially engineered heatsinks or insane overclocking potential out of, what is at heart, a very basic but effective pair of RAM sticks for both gaming and everyday tasks alike.
Best RAM for gaming - Frequently asked questions
What type of RAM is the best for gaming?
In short, 32GB of DDR5 RAM will give your system substantial overhead for both gaming and non-gaming tasks, such as anything to with hardware rendering (like video production or 3D modelling). While few, if any, games require such an amount of memory as a prerequisite, 32GB RAM will effectively futureproof your machine, especially if you opt for DDR5. This would keep your system technologically relevant for at least the next five years, if the long reign of DDR4 has taught us anything since its widespread adoption.
Do games run better with 16GB RAM?
As games continue to get more technologically demanding, we generally recommend that 16GB, either DDR4 or DDR5, should be your absolute minimum. This is because of the likes of increased game worlds and HD textures, with some titles on the platform, such as Elden Ring, recommending 16GB RAM in your system as standard. In order to keep up with the latest titles, and ensure you have enough memory to run not only games but also background processes, 16GB is absolutely critical in 2022.
Is 32GB of RAM overkill?
Depending on your rig, and the games you like to play, 32GB may be more RAM than you need. For the majority of people, 16GB will be more than enough to be getting along with. However, we are seeing more contemporary games benefit from 32GB, so if you'd like to futureproof as much as possible, or you run hardware intensive tasks and games all the time, it might not be overkill for you.
Can I mix different gaming RAM brands?
While the answer to this question is technically yes, we would encourage you to keep your RAM sticks consistent in your build. This is because mixing RAM kits, even though they may be technically clocked to the same speed (such as 3200 MHz, etc.) can lead to slower performance. After all, specs will differ between different RAM models and manufacturers even within the same family line. To keep things consistent, we advise a matching pair.
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