How to Choose RAM For Your Computer


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By Samuel Wilson

Now that you have a motherboard selected, you are more than half way done with selecting the components for your computer build. This article will focus on the basics regarding memory modules selection for your computer build type.

The RAM (Random Access Memory) will help keep your computer running smoothly. Programs store the information they are using in the RAM; if you don’t have sufficient RAM for the task at hand, your system performance is going to take a hit and your computer is going to run at a slower pace.

The RAM you choose, needs to be compatible with the motherboard you have selected. The correct speed, type, voltage, and timings of your RAM, must be supported by the motherboard (see specifications prior to purchase), for example: RAM for a Socket LGA 1150 motherboard could be: DDR3 1600 with CL 9 timing at 1.5-volts (RAM Type: DDR3, Speed 1600, and CAS Latency 9 timing). This memory specification is also a safe choice, if you don’t know what to buy. Pretty much all DDR3 motherboards from AMD and Intel will support this RAM.

Higher speeds generally offer better performance (and increased price). For example DDR4 2666 CAS 15 offers better performance than DDR4 2133 CL 15 memory, but anything beyond DDR4 2133 is considered “overclocking” and will generally use XMP (eXtreme Memory Profiles) from Intel. You would have to manually enable XMP to take advantage of the additional speed, the faster memory offers. By default, the memory will automatically run at the stock speed and voltage for the motherboard.

You also generally want to purchase and install Memory modules in matching sets or pairs from reliable Manufactures (such as Mushkin), to reduce the chance of conflicts and to help achieve maximum performance from dual-channel, triple-channel or quad-channel setups (triple-channel isn’t as common and is not discussed in this segment).

For example, if you were purchasing 4GB of RAM, you would generally want to purchase a 4GB kit containing two, 2GB Memory modules (budget build). If you were purchasing 32GB of RAM, you would purchase a 32GB kit which contains four, 8GB Memory modules (high-end build). Depending on your motherboard, you may be able to take advantage of having the additional memory modules (four sticks) because they will run in a quad-channel configuration if not, the RAM will run be run in dual-channel.

An easy way to look at it is, the more memory channels that are available, the more data or bandwidth is able to pass to the processor (CPU).

Not all setups can utilize RAM in a Quad-channel configuration. Certain motherboards and chipsets can take advantage of this. For example socket LGA 2011-v3 motherboards with the X-99 chipsets can utilize memory in a quad-channel configuration.

The following are some RAM options, that could work with your respective build types. The RAM is from a company called Mushkin, they produce quality hard drives, RAM, USB flash drives, and more. Build type: budget – ECO2 Memory, mid-range – Blackline Memory, and high-end – Redline Memory, visit www.poweredbymushkin.com for more details.

Choosing your RAM shouldn’t be a difficult process. Use the above information and carefully review the specifications of the motherboard you selected. This should provide you with  the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Stayed tuned, as I help you select a hard drive to store all your information (data) for your new computer. Visit www.newburghtechgroup.com for more information.

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