Are you trying to decide how much RAM to get for your new system? Or, do you want to know how RAM speed affects your framerate? In this guide, we cover how much of an impact adding more memory and faster memory has on your in-game experience.
RAM is an important part of your computer’s performance. In fact, after your processor and graphics card (if you’re gaming), your RAM will play the next biggest role in your system’s performance.
However, while RAM is an integral part of your computer and it does have an impact on your system’s performance, there is a lot of confusion on how it affects framerates in gaming. So, in this article, we’ll go over how RAM will affect your framerate by considering a couple of different scenarios.
Does More RAM Mean More FPS?
There have been many benchmarks done that shows that, in general, just adding more RAM won’t increase your in-game performance.
However, the question of whether or not more RAM can increase FPS might not be the right question to answer. Rather, the better question would be, “if I have a low amount of RAM, will adding more RAM increase my FPS in games?”
And, the answer to that is: in some scenarios and depending on how much RAM you have, yes, adding more RAM could increase your FPS.
Games require a certain amount of memory to run. The amount of memory that games require to run can vary from game to game. Some games might require a lot of memory, whereas other games might not require nearly as much.
Also, the settings you play your games at will also affect how much memory the game uses. If you want to play your favorite games at maximum settings, those games are going to utilize more memory than if you were to play those same games at the lowest settings.
So, to answer the question of whether or not adding more RAM will increase your FPS, the correct answer would be something along the lines of the following:
If you already have a decent amount of RAM (say, 16GB), adding more RAM will probably not increase your FPS in most games and scenarios as there still aren’t very many games that utilize more than 16GB of memory. On the flip side, if you have a low amount of memory (say, 4GB-8GB), adding more RAM will increase your FPS in games that utilize more RAM than you previously had.
If you’re building a new gaming computer or upgrading your existing system, then 8-16GB of RAM is still probably the best capacity to go with in terms of what you pay for what you get. If you’re also doing video editing or graphic design, then it might make sense to choose over 16GB of RAM if your budget permits for it.
Does Faster RAM Equal More FPS?
Just like how adding more RAM can increase your FPS in certain scenarios, faster RAM can increase your performance in some situations, too.
However, most benchmarks show that the performance difference between base speeds of RAM (2133MHz is the lowest speed of DDR4 memory) performs very similar—or only slightly lower—than even the highest RAM frequencies in the majority of applications.
There are exceptions, though. For instance, many benchmarks show that Ryzen-based systems are able to deliver higher framerates in many games and synthetic benchmarks when they are paired with faster memory (~2666MHz or higher) than when they are paired with slower memory (2133Mhz).
Of course, this can vary from game-to-game. In some games, memory operating at higher clock speeds helps boost performance more than in it does in other games.
So, there is really no standard answer for whether or not faster memory will help you. It really depends on the types of programs you are running and the games you are playing.
It is also important to note that there is a difference in price between slower RAM and faster RAM. The price difference can vary, but as a rough estimate for DDR4 prices, 2133MHz memory is typically ~10-15% less expensive than 3000MHz memory. However, depending on where you’re shopping, the difference in price between 2133MHz kits and 2666MHz kits can actually be a lot less and, in some instances, can be the same price.
So, my best advice would be, first, if you’re building a system with a Ryzen CPU and you have the budget to afford faster RAM, try and get a memory kit that has a clock speed of at least 2666hz. Again, this is not going to increase your framerate and system performance in every game and application. However, it will cover you for those games and programs where faster memory does help.
The second thing to consider is your budget. If you’re working with a tight budget and the price difference between getting a slower kit of memory and getting a faster kit of memory means that you’d have to downgrade on your CPU or GPU in order to afford that faster memory kit, then you’d be better off choosing the slower RAM so that you can get the faster CPU and GPU.
Because, ultimately, the difference in performance between a lower-tier CPU/GPU and a higher-tier CPU/GPU is greater than the difference in performance between faster memory and slower memory.
But again, depending on the memory clock rate in question, in some instances, faster memory kits are only slightly more expensive than slower memory kits (2133MHz vs 2666MHz for example.)
So, maybe the best way to phrase what you should be looking for in terms of RAM speed is to say:
For new systems, get at least a 2666MHz memory kit (DDR4) and go with faster memory if the price increase won’t affect your choices on other more important components (like your CPU and GPU.)
The Bottom Line on RAM’s Impact on Framerates
The bottom line is that memory can impact the framerates you get in a given game. However, the amount it can impact it can vary from game-to-game and scenario-to-scenario.
As a general rule of thumb, 2666MHz is probably the best starting point for DDR4 memory as it typically doesn’t cost much more than 2133MHz memory. And, 2666MHz memory offers a decent performance boost over 2133MHz memory (at least, according to benchmarks on Ryzen-based systems), but not much less of a performance difference when compared to faster memory kits.