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The 5 best RAM: Top memory upgrades for your PC, Mac, or server

Upgrading your laptop or desktop's RAM is an affordable and simple way to improve performance for both work and gaming.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer
G.Skill RipJaws S5 | Best RAM overall
A pair of G.Skill RipJaws S5 RAM sticks on a grey background
G.Skill RipJaws S5
Best RAM overall
View now View at Amazon
Corsair Vengeance SODIMM DDR5 | Best RAM for laptops
A pair of Corsair Vengeance SODIMM DDR5 RAM sticks on a grey background
Corsair Vengeance SODIMM DDR5
Best RAM for laptops
View now View at Amazon
G.Skill Trident Z RGB | Best RAM for gaming
A pair of G.Skill Trident Z RGB RAM sticks on a grey background
G.Skill Trident Z RGB
Best RAM for gaming
View now View at Amazon
Kingston Fury Renegade Pro | Best RAM for servers
A bundle of four Kingston Fury Renegade Pro RAM sticks on a grey background
Kingston Fury Renegade Pro
Best RAM for servers
View now View at Newegg
Patriot Memory Signature Line | Best budget RAM
A pair of Patriot Memory Signature RAM sticks on a grey background
Patriot Memory Signature Line
Best budget RAM
View now View at Amazon

Whether you're building a PC from scratch or upgrading components as your needs change, RAM is an important piece of the puzzle. Upgrading your computer's RAM capacity can help increase speed and power efficiency, meaning you'll have an easier time multitasking in different programs. It can also help keep vital machine parts operating at optimal temperatures. 

When shopping for RAM, it's important to note whether you'll be using it in a desktop, laptop, or server, as RAM options for each differ greatly. Laptops and desktops have different connector-pin configurations, which means that RAM can't be used interchangeably between them. RAM intended for servers is also very different, as server memory is designed to run systems for multiple computers or networks. Server RAM is also designed with protection redundancy like error-correcting code and thermal sensors to ensure data integrity as well as performance.

I researched the top RAM options based on price, use case, and performance. My pick for the best RAM overall is the G.Skill RipJaws S5 -- with memory bundles up to 96GB and base clock speeds up to 6,000MHz, this RAM is great for office and creative work as well as gaming. Keep reading below to find out more about the G.Skill RipJaws S5 as well as my other picks for the best RAM.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Up to 96GB
  • Up to 6,000MHz
  • Great for both gaming and work
Cons
  • No support for AMD chipsets
  • Larger configurations can get pricey
More Details

G.Skill RipJaws S5 specs: Speed: Up to 6,000MHz | Type: 288-pin DDR5 | Timing: 30-40-40-96 | Chipset support: Intel | Capacity: Up to 96GB

G.Skill is a brand that might not be on your radar, but they make some of the best RAM you can buy to upgrade your work or gaming PC. The RipJaws S5 can be configured in bundles up to 96GB, making it perfect for high-end content creation rigs and animation, as well as with speeds up to 6,000MHz for better performance for more demanding programs. 

Each RAM stick is just 33mm tall, which means that you'll have more room in your PC case for cable management or larger components like CPU fans and GPUs. Each stick also features an aluminum heat spreader for more efficient dissipation of waste heat to keep everything running at optimal temperatures. And while gamers might be disappointed in the lack of RGB lighting, the minimalist, traditional design is perfect for work rigs where lighting can be a distraction.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Supports Intel and AMD chipsets
  • Up to 64GB
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Auto speed set
Cons
  • No heat spreader
More Details

Corsair Vengeance SODIMM DDR5 specs: Speed: 4,800MHz | Type: 262-pin DDR5 SODIMM | Timing: 40-40-40-77 | Chipset support: Intel, AMD | Capacity: Up to 64GB 

Got a work or gaming laptop that's starting to show its age? The Corsair Vengeance SODIMM RAM can be a great, affordable way to upgrade your laptop. You can configure bundles with up to 64GB of memory, making it great for content creation, animation and video editing, and high-end gaming. The RAM supports both Intel and AMD chipsets, as well as "plug-and-play" installation. This means that you don't have to be a tech wizard to install new RAM. 

The Corsair Vengeance SODIMM RAM is also designed to automatically set itself to the maximum speed when installed in a compatible system, streamlining the setup process and letting you get the best performance right out of the box. Corsair also backs up its RAM with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Finned heatsink
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Bundles up to 256GB
  • Intel and AMD compatible
Cons
  • Pricey
  • May not be compatible with some newer DDR5-enabled motherboards
More Details

G.Skill Trident Z RGB specs: Speed: 3,600 MHz | Type: 288-pin DDR4 | Timing: 16-19-19-39 | Chipset support: Intel, AMD | Capacity: Up to 256GB 

The G.Skill Trident Z RGB might be an older, DDR4 version of RAM, but it's still an excellent option for upgrading or building your gaming PC. It's available in bundles up to 256GB, which is overkill for most gamers, but plenty of memory for content creators who stream or deal with large, raw video files. It's designed for use with both Intel and AMD chipsets, meaning you won't have to worry about compatibility issues during the install. 

The Trident Z RGB also features customizable lighting to coordinate with the rest of your rig or show off your personal style. Each RAM stick is built with a finned aluminum heatsink to better dissipate waste heat and show off the RGB lighting effects.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Third-party performance and manufacturing validation
  • Bundles up to 256GB
  • Pre-registered DIMM server memory
  • Intel XMP support
Cons
  • Very pricey
  • Not suited for everyday users
More Details

Kingston Fury Renegade Pro specs: Speed: Up to 6,000MHz | Type: 288-pin DDR5 | Timing: 36-38-38 | Chipset support: Intel XMP, AMD | Capacity: Up to 256GB 

The Kingston Fury Renegade Pro is designed for business-class server computing, offering bundles up to 256GB -- perfect for data science, content creation, animation and film editing, and engineering applications. Each RAM stick is pre-registered as dedicated server memory to help streamline the installation and setup process. Kingston also works with Advanced Validation Labs, Inc. to ensure that each Fury Renegade Pro RAM stick adheres to industry standards as well as design specs. Each RAM stick is also put through a rigorous 1,000 hour stress test of temperature and humidity changes to ensure data integrity and performance under almost any circumstance.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Bundles up to 64GB
  • On-board thermal sensors
  • Available in SODIMM and UDIMM format
Cons
  • No heat spreader
More Details

Patriot Signature specs: Speed: 4,800MHz | Type: 288-pin DDR5 | Timing: 40-40=40-77 | Chipset support: Intel, AMD | Capacity: Up to 64GB

Whether you're sticking to a budget while building a PC, or don't want to spend a lot of money on a RAM upgrade, the Patriot Signature is an excellent option. You can configure bundles up to 64GB, while still staying under $200. Each RAM stick features an on-board thermal sensor to automatically monitor operating temperatures and alert you to any issues before they can ruin your computer. They also are made with enhanced error-correcting code for better data processing and power efficiency. The Signature series is also available in UDIMM format for high-efficiency gaming rigs or work stations.

What is the best RAM?

My pick for the best RAM is the G.Skill RipJaws S5. This DDR5 RAM is available in bundles up to 96GB and with speeds up to 6,000MHz, making it perfect for gaming as well as creative and typical office work. Each RAM stick is just 33mm tall, giving you more space inside your PC for cable management and larger components like video cards or liquid cooling.

Best RAM

Price

Speed

Memory

G.Skill RipJaws S5 DDR5

$100

6,000MHz

Up to 96GB

Corsair Vengeance SODIMM DDR5

$95

4,800MHz

Up to 64GB

G.Skill Trident Z RGB

$75

3,600MHz

Up to 256GB

Kingston Fury Renegade Pro

$125

Up to 6,000MHz

Up to 256GB

Patriot Signature

$47

4,800MHz

Up to 64GB

Which RAM is right for you?

The most important thing to keep in mind while shopping for RAM to build or upgrade your PC with is: how are you going to use your computer?

Not all RAM is created equal. If you're building or upgrading a gaming PC, you'll want an option that offers at least 16GB of memory as well as base speeds in the 3,600 to 4,000MHz range. For work and home use PCs, 8GB of RAM is plenty of memory for streaming and web browsing. You'll also be able to save a bit of money by choosing RAM with lower base speeds or older, DDR4 options.

If you're wanting to set up or upgrade a server, you'll want to choose a RAM option that uses sticks that are factory-matched and tested for data integrity, speed consistency, and durability.

Buy this best RAM...

If you need...

G.Skill RipJaws S5

A well-rounded RAM choice for work or gaming. This matched pair has a max speed of 6000MHz and a capacity of 32GB.

Corsair Vengeance SODIMM DDR5

A RAM upgrade for your work or gaming laptop. The Corsair Vengeance DDR5 laptop RAM is compatible with both Intel and AMD chipsets.

G.Skill Trident Z RGB

A RAM upgrade for your gaming desktop. The G.Skill Trident Z RGB features customizable lighting to match your other peripherals and components.

Kingston Fury Renegade Pro

A RAM upgrade for a dedicated server. This bundle includes four 32GB RAM sticks, each of which is pre-registered as server memory to streamline the upgrade process.

Patriot Signature

A budget-friendly RAM upgrade. The 2-8GB stick bundle retails for under $50.

How did I choose each RAM?

While researching RAM for this best list, I kept these criteria in mind:

  • Price: RAM, like most PC components, can cost as much or as little as you want to spend. Many brands offer single-stick or bundle options at varying price points to help you choose the memory bandwidth that best fits your needs as well as your budget.

  • Use cases: As I mentioned above, not all RAM is created equal. Along with traditional desktop and laptop RAM options, I also made sure to include RAM bundles intended for enterprise and server use.

  • Performance: Each option on this list has been researched to ensure that the RAM conforms to minimum system requirements for popular programs like web browsers, Adobe Creative Cloud, and gaming. 

Should I use all four RAM slots? Or leave two open?

You can absolutely use all four RAM slots on your motherboard, but there's a caveat. If you want to use all four RAM slots, make sure that you purchase a set of four RAM sticks. Bundles of RAM are often tested and matched together based on base clock speeds. If you install one or two RAM sticks and then go in later with a different brand or clock speed, it could cause some performance issues.

If one pair of RAM sticks are rated for lower clock speeds than the other, your computer will try to match all four RAM to the lower speed. Usually this doesn't cause major issues, but you may see some stuttering while playing demanding games or multitasking in work programs.

Is 64GB of RAM too much?

For most people, 64GB of RAM is absolutely overkill. Even for a decent gaming PC, most users won't need more than 16GB. Content creators who use streaming or recording software while playing games and creative professionals who work in 3D modeling or video programs may need 64GB of RAM to help render finished videos, photos, and models (and some workstations have up to 128GB of RAM, but these are usually reserved for PC rigs used for professional filmmaking, game production, or super-computing).

Is DDR4 RAM still good?

If you're shopping for new RAM to drop into your PC and wonder what the difference between DDR4 and DDR5 is: it's basically an indicator of hardware generation. While DDR4 is an older form-factor, it's still a viable option -- especially if you're looking to save a bit of cash. You can still find motherboards and CPUs that support DDR4 RAM, and you'll get similar base and overclocking results as newer DDR5 products. Though you may see performance issues in asset-heavy programs like Photoshop.

Are there alternative RAM picks worth considering?

There are plenty of brands that offer both budget-friendly and high-end, high-performance RAM options for work and gaming PCs. Here's a short list of options that I thought were great:

This pair of 16GB (32GB total) RAM sticks from Kingston are a DDR4 form-factor, which means that you can save a bit of cash while still getting great memory performance for work and gaming.

A pair of Crucial DDR5 Pro RAM sticks on a grey background
Crucial/ZDNET

The Crucial DDR5 Pro 5600 RAM is a great choice for upgrading office PCs, with their minimalist heatsink design and support for Intel XMP 3.0 motherboards.

The Gigabyte Aorus DDR5 5200 is a great choice for a RAM upgrade if you're an Intel loyalist, or looking to make the switch from an AMD-based system. It supports Intel XMP 3.0 chipsets as well as the Intel Z690 motherboard.



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