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What does the speed/frequency of RAM change, at least in terms of gaming?

I already know about the sizes of RAM, but I'm confused about RAM speed. Does it affect gaming performance and/or workstation stuff? How?

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3 minutes ago, bungusboy81 said:

I already know about the sizes of RAM, but I'm confused about RAM speed. Does it affect gaming performance and/or workstation stuff? How?

RAM speed is how fast it processes data to and from components.  Faster RAM means faster processing.


From Dell:

 

Memory Speed: The amount of time that it takes RAM to receive a request from the processor and then read or write data. Generally, the faster the RAM, the faster the processing speed.

 

With faster RAM, you increase the speed at which memory transfers information to other components. Meaning, your fast processor now has an equally fast way of talking to the other components, making your computer much more efficient.

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1 minute ago, Dedayog said:

RAM speed is how fast it processes data to and from components.  Faster RAM means faster processing.


From Dell:

 

Memory Speed: The amount of time that it takes RAM to receive a request from the processor and then read or write data. Generally, the faster the RAM, the faster the processing speed.

 

With faster RAM, you increase the speed at which memory transfers information to other components. Meaning, your fast processor now has an equally fast way of talking to the other components, making your computer much more efficient.

So it's just an all around boost to everything, having faster RAM?

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Just now, bungusboy81 said:

So it's just an all around boost to everything, having faster RAM?

it depends, if your RAM is slow having faster RAM will probably give you better performance overall but there is a certain point where for your combination of CPU/GPU and the application you are running your RAM is good enough.

In this case having faster RAM has very little impact because there will be another component that is holding you back.

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1 minute ago, Pixel5 said:

it depends, if your RAM is slow having faster RAM will probably give you better performance overall but there is a certain point where for your combination of CPU/GPU and the application you are running your RAM is good enough.

In this case having faster RAM has very little impact because there will be another component that is holding you back.

Alright, thank you!

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The speed of your ram will only increase the performance of things that are being limited by your ram speed, which is not many for most people. This works for any part in your PC, a faster GPU will only increase the performance of things limited by your GPU, a faster SSD will only increase the speed of things limited by your SSD speed etc.

 

The most important thing with ram is to make sure your using both memory channels on your motherboard, this is why your supposed to put your ram sticks in the correct slots. Consumer CPUs have 2 physical memory channels wired to the motherboard, the reason we need to put sticks in the right slots is so that each stick is in one of these channels. The CPU can talk to each channel at the same time because they both have their own wiring directly to the CPU.

 

The next most important thing that gives more performance is having 2 ranks in each memory channel. A rank is how the memory chips on a stick of ram itself is grouped together. The ram we use has either 1 or 2 groups of chips on each stick, called single or dual rank. The goal is 2 ranks per memory channel, so you need either 2 single rank sticks in each channel or 1 dual rank stick in each channel. ( ranks is almost never actually advertised on a kit of ram, so it is very hard to make sure your taking advantage of 2 ranks per channel. You basically either have to get lucky or spend more money to guarantee it)

 

For gaming those 2 things matter more than the speed of your ram. Intel tends to care less about your ram speed for gaming. With Ryzen things are more complicated and you ideally want 3600-3800MTs.

 

The "speed" listed on most ram is only part of its actual performance. Companies focus on it for marketing because higher numbers tend to sell better. Most people will buy 3600MTs over 3200MTs if they are priced the same. MTs and timings are used to calculate the actual performance of a kit of ram.

 

A quick dirty way to calculate ram performance

Divide MTs by the CL rating, higher value is better

 

3200CL16 = 200

3600CL18 = 200 these 2 are basically the same thing

 

3600CL14 = 257 this one is faster

4800CL22 = 218

 

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