How to choose the right RAM for your desktop or laptop PC
Do you want your computer to be more efficient, to run games and programs quickly and effectively? If so, in addition to the processor and graphics card, make sure you also choose the right RAM.
The RAM is the powerhouse of your computer. The speed of program execution depends on this crucial element. This article is an explanatory guide to help you choose RAM that will fit your needs.
Definition and importance of the RAM.
- Types of RAMS;
- The Things to Consider during your Purchase.
- How to choose the RAM that suits your Needs (Office compute, Games, Graphic design, …).
What is RAM (Random Access Memory)?
We will begin with a quick summary of what RAM is and what it does in a computer. RAM can be thought of as a fast transition voice for information between your storage disk and your processor.
When your computer wants to use a piece of information, it retrieves it from your hard drive and stores it temporarily in the RAM. Since RAM is much faster, this will avoid having a fast processor that is constantly waiting for information.
It is therefore understandable that a larger amount of memory makes it possible to store more information and thus to speed up processing. We went from computers with 512 MB of memory not so long ago to models with 16 or even 32 GB today. However, most computers today run with 8 GB of RAM, which is more than enough for the average user, both on Windows and Mac.
Reminder: The storage capacity of RAM is expressed in MB or GB (Mega & GigaBytes), and the data processing speed of RAM is measured in MHz or GHz (Mega and GigaHertz).
Types of RAM.
In general, you should remember the following instructions when purchasing RAM for your computer.
- The laptop’s RAM is smaller than the desktop RAM.
- Different types of RAM are not compatible with the same system.
Here’s an overview of the different formats of RAM and what you need to know about them.
- Rimm: These RAMs have 184 connectors (pins) with a capacity of 64 bits.
- DIMM: They have connectors on each side, with a capacity of 64 bits minimum and 168 connectors. This is the most common format.
- SIMM: memories with 30 or 72 connectors and a capacity of 8 or 32 bits. This format has not been used for a few years; it is only found on old computers.
- SO DIMM: RAM format for laptops.
In addition to the format of RAM, we must also differentiate the types of memory Chips. Here is an overview of the most popular types of RAM.
Dram (Dynamic RAM)
An old format that is no longer used but can be found on old machines.
Sd ram-type memory sticks are also only found on older computers. These bars have a 168 DIMM format.
It was mainly found on entry-level computers. This type is less and less widespread. The DDR memory sticks are in DIMM 184 format. They are twice as fast as sd ram and have a frequency ranging from 100 to 275 MHz.
When it first came out, this type of memory was mainly installed in high-end computers, but now it is one of the most widely used types of memory. Ddr2 are in DIMM 240 format and are twice as fast as DDR SDRAM; they have a frequency of 200 to 533 MHz.
The newest type of memory chips, DDR 3 chips, is in DIMM 240 format. They are twice as fast as DDR 2 in data processing and have a frequency of 266 to 400 Mhz.
This is the most recent and most used operating memory. The energy requirements have been reduced by up to 20% compared to ddr3. The operating frequency of the ddr4 RAM is a minimum of 2133 Mhz.
Manufacturers have already announced a new memory standard, ddr5, which should eventually replace the current ddr4. The modules will offer even more capacity and higher bandwidth – speeds up to 6400mhz, while having lower power requirements.
The types of RAM presented differ significantly in their specifications. Of course, a ddr3 chip can work well on older equipment, but due to its power-saving design and better performance, it is always worth using the latest solutions. Therefore, the choice of ram types and individual parameters is essential.
Features to consider when choosing a RAM…
When choosing a RAM, we need to consider the type of RAM that will be compatible with our motherboard and the size of the memory we need.
In addition, there are some other important parameters to consider:
The Size (Mb-Gb)
This is one of the most important criteria and is measured in gigabytes (GB). Regardless of the speed and type of memory, if we are thinking of buying a new computer, we should assume that the absolute minimum is 4 GB. This value will be sufficient if we want to use the computer for office work. We will dive deeper into this subject in one of the sections below.
Only DDR (double data rate) memory is available, so we can choose ddr3 or ddr4 versions. The former is designed for older generations of motherboards. As we mentioned earlier, the difference between ddr3 and ddr4 lies in the power requirements and overall performance – in favor of the new type. In addition, the cost per gigabyte of ddr4 memory is lower than that of ddr3 memory.
When buying RAM, we must pay attention not only to its size. Another important parameter is the frequency, that is, the clock speed. The higher the frequency, the faster the data processing.
This parameter will be responsible – in familiar terms – for the speed of the RAM. Currently, the standard is 1333 Mhz; in the case of the most modern type of memory, ddr4, even above 2000 Mhz. It should be remembered that other factors also affect the speed of the computer. We can include the already mentioned memory size but also a fast SSD drive or processor. High frequency will be more important for professionals, computer game enthusiasts, or simply people who want to enjoy perfect working conditions on their devices.
When looking at the specifications of the RAM, you will probably come across a four-digit string, for example, 7-7-7-20. The lower the RAM’s latency, the better the performance of your computer.
The cooling system (Gamers, Video Editors)
Some memories come with an additional colling system. These are basically heatsinks mounted on top of the memory to help dissipate heat from the RAM. Such cooling is only necessary for extreme solutions and high voltages -Games, video editors. It’s not worth buying them just for their interesting appearance. You should also make sure the additional ram heatsink fits next to or below the CPU cooling system.
Ecc RAM (For servers)
The ECC technology is nothing but error correction. RAM marked with this sign is mainly used in server solutions where stable operation is required 24 hours a day. You should not look for them in home applications unless you intend to build your own small server; these memories are very expensive.
The Brand of the Memory
Of course, as with all devices, even when buying ram memory, you may pay extra just for an additional inscription or logo. In general, however, all the memory offered on the market today are of adequate quality.
A defective model can be found both at the price of 100 dollars and at the price of 400 dollars. The most important element when choosing a manufacturer should be the warranty. Some manufacturers offer a two- or three-year warranty.
Make sure you double-check before you go to the store.
To make the purchase of your RAM fast and efficient, it is worth checking a few basic things before going to the shop.
- You will need a model of your computer – the full number is on a sticker at the bottom, we can write it down or take a picture, for example, with a cell phone.
- Next, you should check what the maximum amount of RAM supported by this particular model is.
- It is also worth checking what memory is currently supported.
- Moreover, when you buy a RAM, you must also consider the type of motherboard you have.
How to choose the RAM for your computer?
We have answered the most important questions about RAM:
- what is it (function and importance)
- The types;
- The most important parameters to consider (during our purchase).
Now it’s time to consider which RAM will suit each application.
A computer for office and basic Tasks.
A user who mainly wants to perform tasks related to, for example, word processing and office tasks, will not need a large amount of RAM.
- A high-performance ddr4 module with a clock frequency of 2133 Mhz
- Recommended capacity 4gb-8Gb
Gamer, and professional PC (Engineers for example)
Since games require a lot of RAM, gaming Computers should be equipped with a large amount of RAM for a smoother experience.
- DDR 4 memory with a minimum clock rate of 2400 MHz;
- Recommended capacity 8gb-32Gb (depending on the requirements of preferred games)
- Presence of a heat sink or water-cooling system.
It should also be remembered that the graphics card is a very important element to consider when choosing a computer for a gamer.
- Memory ddr4 with 2400 Mhz minimum;
- Recommended capacity 8 Gb-32 Gb;
- Temperature sensor.
Laptop and PC for Videos Edition, Graphic Design.
Finally, users who are in the field of video editing or graphic design need 16Gb or even 32Gb of RAM for the computers to work at their full potential!
Indeed, editing and visualization software such as some applications of the adobe suite need this amount of RAM to ensure a flawless rendering.
Users’ needs are very different. When choosing RAM for a computer, one can opt for a cheaper module, but in the case of professional gaming equipment or a server, it is difficult to look for compromises.