If your game is jerky and the graphics program does not allow new layers, it is probably time for a larger RAM memory. We at Gaming Guru will be happy to explain to you what RAM or main memory actually is, what you have to pay attention to and how you can optimally use your money for the right memory size. Read more here!
RAM memory – what is that anyway?
The working memory, also called RAM, is required in every functioning computer. The abbreviation stands for “ Random Access Memory ”, which, loosely translated, means “memory with random access”. Its main function is the direct access and the intermediate storage of data that are currently required for the execution of processes and programs. These read and save processes run much faster than with hard disks.
However, a RAM memory can only store this data temporarily – as long as it is supplied with power – which is the biggest difference to the hard disk . While an HDD or SSD hard drive keeps your storage data long-term, even when it is not actively needed. The RAM only provides relevant data for a short time and deletes it after the PC has been shut down.
The memory itself is integrated in the so-called RAM bar , an elongated piece of hardware. This is then located directly on the mainboard and is linked to the other components via it. While a single RAM bar is often sufficient for the conventional office PC, they usually come as a pair or even a quartet for the gaming PC. We’ll tell you why this is so important in a moment.
Function of the main memory
You can imagine how RAM works like this: While hard drives work like a long-term memory, the main memory can be compared with the short-term memory . Everything that is not needed at the moment can be forgotten. The larger the short-term memory, i.e. the RAM memory, the more can be stored on it.
Especially with current graphics-heavy games that come up with huge maps and countless interactive elements, an extremely large number of processes take place in the background. So that these do not lead to unsightly jerks or lags , it is important to process them as quickly as possible. This is exactly what the RAM is for. Theoretically, storing the required data would also work on a hard drive, but much too slowly. Therefore, a sufficiently large RAM memory is important in every gaming PC.
Whenever the PC is disconnected from the power, for example when it is switched off normally, but also in the event of a power failure, the data is deleted from the RAM . By the way, for the same reason, a restart can often be the first aid if the computer has slowed down during the day or an inexplicable error occurs somewhere. It is not for nothing that IT support usually asks first whether the computer has already been restarted.
DDR3 or DDR4 – is it worth upgrading to the new generation?
The “DDR” and the corresponding number in front of the RAM describe the respective variant or generation of the main memory. Accordingly, a DDR4 RAM memory is simply the more recent further development of the DDR3. Before that there was DDR2 and DDR (quasi DDR1). The principle is the same as when software is given a newer version number.
The current standard since 2014 is DDR4 RAM. Not infrequently, however, PCs with DDR3 are still in use. You may now be wondering whether you should replace your DDR3-compatible motherboard with a newer model. This decision may result in other components that need to be replaced. But purely for the RAM memory it might be worthwhile if you can be patient. Because the DDR5 has already been announced . As soon as this appears, we will tell you about it in a detailed article.
But let’s stay with the current candidates for now: The DDR4 bars have a larger memory volume and a higher clock rate than the DDR3. However, the timings (request speed from memory to processor), which are particularly relevant for gaming, are sometimes still better with some DDR3s. Roughly speaking, this has to do with the slightly different construction of the bolt. A closer comparison of the specific timing rates is worthwhile here. If you have enough free slots, it may be more worthwhile to add some memory to the “old” DDR3.
How much GB of RAM does a PC need?
There is no general answer to this question. However, we want to give you a few guidelines that you can use as a guide. Simple office computers can do their work with just 4 GB of RAM. However, more effective and actually the standard in most desktop PCs today are at least 8 GB. A gamer can only smile wearily at this. Because many games are now so graphics-heavy and full of details that a gaming PC needs more oomph. In principle, more RAM is always better here.
The best thing to do is to ask yourself the following questions first: Do you have music playing on your PC in addition to a video game? Several applications, for example Browser and TS or Discord, opened on a second monitor? Then you should definitely think in two digits! If BF5 doesn’t give you anything and you can live with closing all windows when you play more than Majong, then a RAM of 8GB will be enough for you.
For an unrestricted gaming experience, we recommend that you do not plan under 16 GB for a gaming computer . With 32 GB you are on the safe side in order to be able to enjoy the latest games smoothly in the years to come. By the way: video editing, 3D modeling and graphics programs also benefit from more RAM.
RAM too full – does it have to be?
Please don’t panic if your performance analysis reveals that your RAM is constantly “full”. It really has to be! At least it is normal and wanted that you have built in as much RAM as you need to work and play. A utilization of 50% or 75% alone is therefore not a reason for a new purchase. A utilization of very few percent is even inexpedient and a waste of money.
Note that just starting the PC and running its operating system will use part of the RAM memory. Every additional application and, of course, every started game are then still on top. So, if already idle is used more than half of the working memory, you notice any lag while playing or have even close programs, then you should think about more RAM. By the way, you can easily check the load on Windows using the task manager.
Why two RAM bars are better than one
You have probably already noticed that memory bars are usually sold in packs of two or even packs of four. The reason? All compatible bars plugged into the mainboard are added together. With two 8 GB bars, your PC has access to 16 GB of RAM memory. With four 8 GB bars to a total of 32 GB and so on.
The so-called dual-channel mode is also an important aspect . Your processor usually jumps into this automatically as soon as two identical RAM bars are in the slots. This doubles the data transfer rate and boosts the overall performance of your computer. With just one bar, almost half of your performance would simply fizzle out into nothing.
This only ever works for two bars with identical storage capacity and DRAM technology (DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, etc.). However, it does not have to be from the same manufacturer. A “quad-channel mode” can also be found on high-end motherboards. But you can also use a second, parallel running dual-channel mode with a second pair of modules. These two RAM bars have to be identical to each other, but not to the other bar pair.
Upgrade or replace RAM memory
When you finally have enough budget to pimp your PC, but don’t want to throw everything in the bin, you can upgrade the existing RAM memory. The first thing you should do is find out which memory modules are compatible with your motherboard . Unfortunately, it is of no use to you to spend your savings on a 64 GB DDR4 RAM and then discover that it does not even fit on your DDR3-designed motherboard. For this purpose, manufacturers provide compatibility lists as a guide. The number of free slots and whether other components restrict their height is also important.
You can also note the so-called clock rate , which indicates the speed at which data is transmitted between the components. Actually, you can combine two different clock rates. However, you are wasting performance because the faster RAM would match the slower one. So ideally you should always combine two identical RAMs in order to get the most out of them. By the way: In order to actually be able to use the multi-channel mode, you have to use certain slots on the mainboard. Which these are depends on the model and you can find out from the operating instructions.
However, a good graphics card is even more important for smooth and detailed gaming than the clock speed of the RAM memory. We explain exactly why in our blog post about gaming graphics cards . It is also relevant how much maximum storage capacity your mainboard allows at all. You can usually find out this information from the manufacturer.
Conclusion: You have to pay attention to this when buying RAM
So you see: Before you decide on a new RAM memory, there are a few things to consider . Take a look at which components are compatible with your motherboard and CPU, how many slots there are and which programs you want to use and how. Together with your budget, you can limit the selection of suitable RAM memory bars for you. Because even if more storage capacity is generally better at first, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive and newest bar. We hope you enjoy testing your RAM!