ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

RAM - Computer Gaming on a Budget

Updated on August 23, 2018

RAM for gaming

RAM makes a difference, there is no denying that. Fast RAM and larger amounts of memory will increase the speed of your computer. Especially when large amounts of data are being moved about, more RAM means you have to access the "swap file" on your hard drive. RAM is much faster than accessing your hard drive in most cases, so accessing the swap file is something you want to minimize.

That said, on a gaming rig, RAM isn't going to be the be-all end-all importance compared to some of the other components.

Diminishing Returns

There is certainly a minimum amount of RAM you would want on a gaming rig, and this amount is going to change based on current games, but 4 to 8 gb are going to be enough in most cases.

This is not a "break the bank" item that is going to cost an arm and a leg. RAM is relatively inexpensive nowadays. Thirty dollars can get you two 2 gb sticks or 4 gb stick, and 60 will get you four 2 gb sticks or two 4 gb sticks.

At some point, more RAM is not going to make a noticeable difference. I've stopped at about 8 gb on my gaming machine, and I haven't had a problem yet. If you run more intense gaming, you may need more.

From Wikipedia
From Wikipedia

What kind of RAM to buy?

The kind of RAM you buy will be directly related to what motherboard you purchase(to be covered in another lens, look for it in the future).

You must buy RAM that matches the slot type in your motherboard.

Most motherboards today are running DDR3 RAM. DDR3 RAM stands for Double Data Rate(version 3) Random Access Memory. Sounds confusing, but actually is quite simple.

It's very similar to a car generation. You may know the difference between a second generation Corvette versus a third generation Corvette. It is the same principle, comparing DDR2 to DDR3.

Picture Credit: Martini

How fast?

Modules have two ways they normally express speed. Sometimes you will see them labeled "DDR3-800." You may also see them labeled PC3-6400. This does not mean the 6400 is 8 times as fast as the 800. These are different ways to express the same value, similar to how 10 millimeters is the same as 1 cm.

Think of a car going down the highway. How fast is the car going? 50 mph? 60? 70?

DDR3-800 would be driving about 50 mph, DDR3-1066 would be going 60, 1333 would be going 70, and so forth.

If you follow this link, it contains all the different DDR3 types and list all the speeds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR3_SDRAM#JEDEC_stan...

Most of the time, your motherboard will figure out how fast to run your RAM correctly, and without any intervention on your part. The motherboard should slow the speed of your RAM to the slowest stick, if they are mismatched.

If you are building your computer now, it is a good idea to buy identical sticks, or possibly a "kit" of 2 or 4 sticks that match. I will explain why next.

Why to buy paired memory sticks

Generally, your motherboard will have 2 or 4 memory slots(occasionally 3, 6, 8). If you are building your computer now, it would be a good idea to buy memory sticks that are paired to increase the speed that your computer can access data.

Newer mother boards have memory slots enabled that allow you to have "dual channel" memory, if you have paired(identical) memory sticks.

Dual channel memory allows your memory sticks to be accessed together, speeding up memory access. Think of a 2 lane road getting widened to a 4 lane road.

Curtousy "Fir0002/Flagstaffotos"
Curtousy "Fir0002/Flagstaffotos"

Plan Ahead

As you are building your system, it is important to plan ahead. Do you have 2 memory slots or 4 on your motherboard? The picture to the right shows 1 memory stick in 1 slot with 3 open slots.

If you are the kind of person who is "always upgrading" your computer, consider buying 1 larger memory stick that will only take up 1 slot. Later on, you can upgrade with an identical memory module that will complete your dual channel.

If you are the kind of person who will want to put it together any be done, consider buying multiple, smaller memory modules, in multiples of 2, generally. Smaller modules are less expensive than larger modules, but you will have to buy more of them.

Triple channel motherboard/modules exist as well. If you get a motherboard with triple channel, buy in multiples of 3. These motherboards will have 3 or 6 slots.

Picture: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

Watch for deals

Look for deals! Sometimes you can find a faster memory stick that costs the same as, or even less than a slower one. Sometimes you can find 4 gb stick for the price of a 2 gb stick.

You can often find kits with bundled games, or even a "buy one-get out" deal, and make out like a bandit.

If you have the patience, biding your time will pay off and you can score a great deal!

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)