How to Choose the Best RAM for your Computer

RAM or Random Access Memory is one of the most important components of your computer. Without it your computer won’t even start or boot up. While choosing a RAM you must be very carefully as it comes in different sizes, speeds and specifications, and if you don’t know their technical differences then you might end in buying wrong type of memory for your computer. So here I will tell on how to choose the best memory for your PC or laptop.

DDR3 Desktop RAM

DDR3 Desktop RAM

Where is RAM Located?

RAM is located on your motherboard in DIMM Slots. DIMM is called Dual in-line Memory Module and these slots are located in your motherboard for both laptop and PC. For different types of RAM there are different types of DIMM slots available. Different types of RAM also have different notch position as shown in the image below.

DIMM Slot

DIMM Slot

Different Notch Position for Different RAM

Different Notch Position for Different RAM

What are the different types of RAM Available?

Currently there are mainly three types of RAM available. These are DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 RAM. DDR memories are not used nowadays and are obsolete. DDR2 and DDR3 are mainly used today with DDR2 also losing its charm, availability and compatibility with newer motherboards, as DDR3 is becoming more popular and cheaper. Today almost all new motherboards support only DDR3 memory for both in PC and Laptops. DDR 3 also runs on lower voltages as compared to DDR and DDR2 memories. DDR4 is the latest computer memory type that is not being launched officially but will be made available in the newer motherboards by the third quarter of this year. It can reach speeds up to 3200 MHz or 3.2 GHz.

Must Read: DDR4 vs DDR3 RAM Comparison

RAM for laptops are smaller in size but have the same speed as that of your Desktop RAM.

DDR2 Laptop RAM

DDR2 Laptop RAM

Must Read: Learn About Graphics Card RAM Types

Speeds of Different RAM Types

Here are the effective speeds (maximum speed) or FSB (Front Side Bus) Speed of different types of RAM with their naming conventions.

Naming Convention of DDR Type Memory

PCX-Y

Here PC denotes that is a memory for computer i.e. desktop or laptop. X denotes the generation i.e. 2 for DDR2 and 3 for DDR3 and that the last part Y denotes the FSB Speed of RAM which can be calculated as

Effective Speed or FSB Speed of RAM  = Y / 8

e.g. for PC2-3200 DDR2 RAM

Effective Speed or FSB Speed = 3200 / 8 = 400 MHz

DDR RAM

PC-1600 = 200 MHz

PC-2100 = 266 MHz

PC-2700 = 333 MHz

PC-3200 = 400 MHz

DDR2 RAM

PC2-3200 = 400 MHz

PC2-4200 = 533 MHz

PC2-5300 = 667 MHz

PC2-6400 = 800 MHz

PC2-8500 = 1066 MHz

DDR3 RAM

PC3-6400 = 800 MHz

PC3-8500 = 1066 MHz

PC3-10600 = 1333 MHz

PC3-12800 = 1600 MHz

PC3-14900 = 1866 MHz

PC3-17000 = 2133 MHz

DDR4 RAM

PC4-1600 = 1600 MHz

PC4-1866 = 1866.67 MHz

PC4-2133 = 2133.33 MHz

PC4-2400 = 2400 MHz

How to Find Best RAM for your Computer

Here are some important tips that you must follow to find the right memory for your computer.

Know your Requirements

First thing is to know your needs i.e. what type of work do you do on your computer, If you are a gamer then you should buy 4 to 8 GB (or more) RAM for your computer but if you do only general day to day work that includes MS Office, Internet Browsing and basic tasks then you just need only 2 GB of RAM.

Operating System

If you have 32-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 installed on your system then you there is no point on going above 4 GB of RAM as these 32-bit Operating System can utilize only maximum of 3 GB of RAM. But if you have 64-bit version of Windows 7/8 then you need minimum of 4 GB of RAM to run them smoothly. Also Linux Operating System also requires 4 GB or more memory for their smooth operation and proper working.

Know your Type

You should also need you know that which type of RAM your motherboard supports i.e. DDR2 or DDR3. For this you can see your motherboard manual or look up your motherboard details on the manufacturer’s website on the internet.

Compatibility with your Motherboard

Make sure that the RAM you buy should be compatible with your motherboard. For this you can consult your motherboard manual.

Read: Top Symptoms of Faulty RAM in your Computer

Speed and Cooling

Your motherboard can support RAM with different speeds so choose the RAM with highest speed that your motherboard supports. Some high speed memories have heat sinks built-in that can prove useful in dissipating the heat generated from the memory chips. This is not a basic necessity but if you can find a RAM with heatsinks then it would be an added advantage.

RAM with Heatsink

RAM with Heatsink

Brand or Company

This is one of the important thing that should consider when choosing a RAM for your computer. Always buy RAM of good companies like Transcend, Hynix, Corsair, Kingston, ADATA, Samsung, G.Skill. Also if possible do not buy OEM RAM which are sold in loose without any packing and always buy the RAM which comes in sealed packing by the manufacturer.

Buy High Performance RAM

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