Back in the day, picking RAM was way trickier, as there were multiple types of RAM available, and the capacity could vary greatly.
However, in 2021, things have never been simpler on this front, as DDR4 is the only viable type of RAM for gaming at the moment.
Still, there are important factors to consider before you can pick the right RAM configuration, and we’ll address those in this article.
So let us get to it: what’s the best RAM for gaming in 2021?
Our research showed that these are the best RAM sticks for gaming at the moment:
Table of ContentsShow
- Quality build
- Appealing design
- Automatic overclocking
- Great value and cost-effectiveness
- Only three color options
About The Product
Kingston is one of the longest-standing and most trustworthy names when it comes to any memory-related products, be it hard drives, solid-state drives, RAM, or anything in between. The first entry on this list is coming straight from them, and it is from their gaming-oriented HyperX brand.
The HyperX Fury Black series of RAM sticks constitutes some of the best and most affordable products in this category that you could possibly obtain. They are all equipped with sleek heatsinks that are both practical and aesthetic while allowing users a choice between black, red, and white color. That way, these HyperX sticks can blend well with almost any gaming rig.
The HyperX series’ clock speed starts at 2133 MHz but also includes 2400 MHz and 2666 MHz models.
The latter two speeds are achievable via automatic overclocking, and this sort of performance is made possible with the heatsinks that each Fury Black RAM module is equipped with.
Individual HyperX Fury Black RAM modules come with a capacity of either 4, 8, or 16 GB.
However, these individual modules can easily be paired up in either twos and fours, which leads to a maximum capacity of 64 GB.
- Excellent overclocking potential
- Durable and well-built
- No customization options
- Not the best high-end RAM solution around
About The Product
The next RAM model on our list is also Kingston’s product, HyperX brand, although this one is not quite as popular as the Fury Black series. It is, however, definitely a better performer. Meet the HyperX Predator Black.
The Predator Black follows a similar design philosophy as the rest of the HyperX RAM sticks a black exterior, built-in heatsink, and high overclocking potential. It sports a much more aggressive appearance than other HyperX RAM products, which clearly establishes it as the very peak of the brand’s overclocking game.
Unlike most DDR4 RAM sticks, the Predator Black does not start at 2133 MHz as the base clock speed. Instead, it starts at 2400 MHz.
However, it is the other end of this scale where it truly shines: a maximum speed of 3600 MHz.
The individual Predator Black RAM modules have a capacity of either 4, 8, or 16 GB, just like the Fury Black. And just like Fury Black, they can be combined in dual channel or quad channel setups in order to reach a capacity as high as 128 GB.
Although, it is worth noting that the 128 GB (8×16 GB) variant is rarely popular, given that it requires 8 RAM slots which few desktop motherboards support.
- Good performance
- A number of color variations
- Somewhat cheap-looking
- Not the best value for money for high-capacity setups
About The Product
Corsair is another company known for its high-performance gaming RAM. The first product in their lineup that we’ll be looking at is the Vengeance LPX series which picks up where the previous generation’s DDR3 Vengeance series left off.
All of the Corsair Vengeance LPX RAM memory sticks have the same exterior design as seen above, although they do come in several color variations, including dark grey, red, blue, and white. This allows for some great versatility when it comes to blending them with other components.
Vengeance LPX clock speeds start at 2133 MHz and go as high as 4600 MHz. These extreme speeds, however, are limited to only a handful of the most expensive variants.
Vengeance LPX RAM sticks come with a capacity of either 4, 8 or 16 GB.
The maximum achievable capacity is 128 GB, but as before, this is not a particularly popular option for desktop PCs because it requires 8 individual modules to be installed.
- Unprecedented overclocking potential
- Sleek design
- A bit bulky
About The Product
The next product also comes from Corsair, but it is a far cry from your regular gaming RAM sticks. In fact, the Corsair Dominator Platinum is truly worthy of its name, as it dominates the high-end RAM market.
It is a bit bulkier than the average RAM module, sporting a dark grey exterior and a metal bar on top that can easily be changed and customized. Furthermore, it also comes in two better performing variants: Torque and SE. The former sports a more dynamic color scheme, and the latter comes with either a black or chrome exterior.
The Dominator Platinum covers speeds from 2133 MHz to 4000 MHz.
Due to its high-quality aluminum heatsink, these RAM sticks have the highest overclocking potential out of all the models currently available.
The Corsair Dominator Platinum comes with either 4, 8 or 16 GB per individual module, although Corsair doesn’t sell individual modules separately.
Rather, the Dominator Platinum only comes in kits of two or four modules, and those kits’ capacities range from 8 to 128 GB.
- Beautiful RGB lighting
- High clock speeds
- Good value
About The Product
And for the final item on the list, we have something that offers not only good performance but can lend a dash of elegance to your PC with beautiful RGB lighting – the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro!
The heat-spreader design is characteristically Corsair, and it is only complemented by the RGB strips on top. But of course, you’re not buying RAM just for the aesthetics, so does Corsair deliver on the performance front, too?
Unsurprisingly, the clock on the Vengeance RGB Pro starts at 2666 MHz but can go as high as 4700 MHz.
However, there are multiple models available and not all of them can go this high. In any case, it’s obvious that this is a high-performance RAM stick that won’t leave any enthusiasts disappointed.
The Vengeance RGB Pro comes in 2x, 4x, and even 8x kits, the capacity ranging from a minimum of 16 GB to a maximum of 128 GB.
How To Pick The Right RAM
As with every piece of hardware, there are always advantages and disadvantages to consider. As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. In this section, we will discuss how to pick an optimal RAM configuration for your PC, as well as what specifications to look out for.
This one is pretty straightforward. Capacity is the key aspect to consider when shopping for RAM, but how much RAM do you really need?
For a gaming PC running a 64-bit operating system, 8 GB of RAM is an absolute minimum. In 2020, 4 GB is too little for gaming, while 16 GB tends to be the optimal choice for most setups. Granted, not many games will make full use of that much RAM, but it does make the PC more future-proof.
And as for those impressive 32, 64, and 128 GB configurations, they are reserved for other kinds of computers i.e., workstations and servers. You absolutely don’t need more than 16 GB in a gaming PC at the moment unless you also intend to run some RAM-intensive professional software.
As we have already mentioned, DDR4 RAM supports clock speeds from 2133 MHz to well over 4000 MHz, but should you even care about RAM clock speeds?
Well, when it comes to gaming – no, not really. Of course, there will be a difference in performance between a 2133 MHz and a 4600 MHz RAM module, but it is not a difference that would adversely affect your gaming experience. Honestly, when it comes to gaming, you’re unlikely to even notice it.
As such, you should always prioritize capacity over clock speed when it comes to RAM.
CAS latency, commonly abbreviated and presented as CL, is a stat that used to be more important in the past than it is today. It represents how long it takes for a command issued by the CPU to be received by the RAM module. The greater the capacity of the RAM module, the higher CAS latency it will have.
Naturally, lower latency is always better, but it is not a stat you need to concern yourself with at all. Why? Simply because the difference in the performance of the currently slowest and the fastest RAM modules is completely negligible and on the level of nanoseconds – definitely not something that you should be concerned about if your main focus is gaming.
One Or Multiple Modules?
So, you have decided to get 16 GB of RAM for your new (or your old) gaming PC. And now, you ask yourself the question: “should I get a single RAM stick or get a kit?”
Well, the main advantage of having multiple RAM modules is the extra bandwidth. Think of it as a highway – the more RAM modules there are, the more lanes there are, so the RAM will be able to process the data faster. But as you may have guessed, this, too, does not make that big of a difference when it comes to gaming.
However, getting a RAM kit might still be better, but for another reason. Namely, kits tend to be slightly cheaper since lower-capacity RAM modules are cheaper to manufacture. On top of that, you will always have a backup should one of the RAM modules fail, not to mention that replacing a faulty lower-capacity module will be cheaper than replacing a single high-capacity one.
Ultimately, what is our take on which of these products could represent the best RAM solution for gaming? That question is a bit difficult to answer, especially considering that performance differences when it comes to gaming are minuscule, to say the least.
But, if we had to choose, we’d go with:
- Kingston HyperX Fury Black for most gamers since it offers an all-around best value for your money
- Corsair Dominator Platinum for avid overclockers and those who want the best possible performance
- Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro for those who have a transparent case or are using an open rig and want to add to their PC’s aesthetic appeal
So, in conclusion, there is no “best” RAM for gaming, and the choice will largely depend on each user’s requirements, preferences and budget.