When RAM Speed Matters (And How It Affects Your Games)

The hardest part of building a computer is picking your parts, and RAM speed can be a little confusing. Does it actually matter? How does it affect the speed of your PC? Linus from Linus Tech Tips breaks it down for us in video form.

Essentially, you have two things to worry about when it comes to RAM "speed": frequency, which deals with how much data can be transferred to the stick at one time, and latency, which is how quickly it responds to requests. In the current market, as you get to higher frequencies, latency tends to increase, so in many cases, they tend to balance each other out. Buying RAM with a higher speed doesn't matter a lot.

The conclusions of the video aren't really all-encompassing though. He's mostly focused on gaming with a dedicated GPU, and RAM speed can make a difference with an integrated graphics system like AMD's APUs. It can also make your system more stable if you're overclocking on certain systems. But his explanation of how frequency and latency works is pretty worthwhile. As always, check out our computer-building guide for more info on choosing parts for your custom PC.

High Speed RAM - Is It Worth It? [Linus Tech Tips]


Comments

    [Edit: Misread somewhat - sorry peeps, see below]

    Last edited 06/10/13 12:49 pm

      Quick Google Search...
      http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Breaking-the-Hype-of-High-Frequency-RAM-142/
      The 3rd paragraph pretty much sums it up. CAS latency increases to keep Memory stable at higher frequencies.

      Last edited 06/10/13 7:11 am

      Hmmm.. I'm not sure if I was just in a somewhat sensationalist mood last night or perhaps a cheeky edit, but just reread the entire context;

      so in many cases, they tend to balance each other out.

      Keyword being 'tend to'... which makes sense. I read it very much as many people tend to think; where they think it's impossible to have both, and that as one increases so must the other.

      A nice little explanation I found though;
      7 clock pulses at 1300Mhz = 5.385 nanoseconds
      9 clock pulses at 1600Mhz = 5.625 nanoseconds
      8 clock pulses at 1600Mhz = 5 nanoseconds
      9 at 1600 is the closest match to the same speed as 7 at 1333.

    Performance ram has always been a bit of wank. I don't understand why people don't research what they buy. You just need a computer that runs the latest games at about 40-80 fps. any faster and you get tearing issues, any slower you get smoothness issues.

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