What is RAM in PC building?


RAM in PC building attached to CPU

Wondering what RAM in PC building is? Well, we're here to answer all your burning questions about it.

Random-access memory (RAM) is a crucial element in a variety of devices, ranging from desktop computers to smartphones. In this guide, we'll take you through what RAM in PC building is.

While you're here, you might want to know how to find out RAM speed on Windows & Mac. Also, feel free to check out our guide on how much RAM you need for a laptop.

Everything you need to know about RAM in PC building

RAM is a physical component of your CPU (Central Processing Unit), located in the motherboard. It's a high-speed, short-term storage option that provides quick access to vital information required by applications, the CPU, graphics card, or other components. Unlike slower storage options such as hard drives and SSDs, RAM enables quick retrieval of data.

Various types of RAM exist, including DDR4 (common in desktops), DDR3, DDR2 (older systems), and the latest DDR5. The choice of RAM type impacts speed, generation, and costs. Of course, the higher the speed and generation, the more you'll need to spend.

RAM has a clock speed, controlling data handling per second. Bandwidth, measured in megatransfers per second, determines the total speed. DDR4 runs between 2,133MHz and 3,000MHz, while DDR5 can reach up to 8,000MHz.

You might have heard of RAM timings which are given through a series of numbers. These represent the time between clock cycles. Most memory supports dual-channel, utilizing two lanes between memory slots and the CPU's memory controller. High-end kits may support triple or quad-channel memory designs for specialised systems.

Also, there's Video RAM (or VRAM) which refers to dedicated memory on graphics cards. This memory is reserved exclusively for the GPU. GDDR6 and GDDR6X are common in modern graphics cards, with GDDR7 in development for the future.

RAM in PC building - holding the RAM
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How much RAM do you need?

When you're building a PC, you need to consider what capacity of RAM you'll need. PCs typically require between 4GB to 16GB, with 8GB considered a minimum for modern Windows systems. Gaming PCs often use 16GB, and heavy multitasking or video editing may benefit from 32GB or more.

It would be nice if you could download RAM, but since it's a hardware component of your CPU, you'll need to physically buy and install RAM in PC builds.

That concludes our guide on what RAM in PC building is. We hope that we were able to answer your questions about RAM and that now you have a clearer idea of what it is.

Before you go, make sure to check out if DDR5 RAM is worth it. Did you hear that Steam Deck users are upgrading their RAM for better gaming? Find out how much RAM you need for gaming.

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