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Memory - RAM

Not sure how much RAM you need? Read our Memory Buying Guide

Random Access Memory (RAM) is where data the CPU is working with is temporarily stored. More RAM is generally better, although there are diminishing returns above 16GB for consumer PC, while 32-bit versions of Windows only support a maximum of 4GB. Speed, measured in MHz, is another consideration, as is latency, but most importantly memory needs to be compatible with your motherboard: it'll either be DDR, DDR2, DDR3 or DDR4, and modern AMD- and Intel-based PCs use DDR4 memory alone. Smaller SODIMM modules for laptops and mini PCs and ECC registered memory for servers are all available in this category.

DDR3 Single/Dual Channel 1333MHz RAM Memory Kits

DDR3 SDRAM is an evolution of DDR2 SDRAM. Designed for todays systems which support DDR3, the primary benefit of DDR3 is the ability to transfer data at a much higher rate than DDR2 due to the higher clock rate. This allows you to take advantage of the high speeds of todays CPU's. These memory modules are available in single, dual and quad packs, and have a clock speed of 1333Mhz.
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DDR3 Single/Dual Channel 1600MHz+ RAM Memory Kits

DDR3 SDRAM is an evolution of DDR2 SDRAM. Designed for todays systems which support DDR3, the primary benefit of DDR3 being the ability to transfer data at a much higher rate than DDR2 due to the higher clock rate. This allows you to take advantage of the high speeds offered by todays CPU's. These memory modules are available in single, dual and quad packs, and have a clock speed of 1600Mhz.
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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: Gigabytes and Gibibytes System Buses & Bandwidth DC Ram DDR3

DDR3 Single/Dual Channel 1800MHz+ RAM Memory Kits

DDR3 memory is the most common memory. Excluding Intel X99, all current generation Intel and AMD desktop chipsets (and many previous generations too) use it. These high-end kits range from 4GB to 16GB with speeds from 1,866MHz to 3,000MHz – you may need to enabled the memory's XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) in your motherboard's BIOS to run it at full speed. Each kit has two identical sticks – they're designed for motherboards with just two slots or with four slots that need to be filled in pairs.

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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: Gigabytes and Gibibytes System Buses & Bandwidth DC Ram DDR3

DDR3L Single/Dual Channel 1600MHz+ RAM Memory Kits

DDR3L differs from traditional DDR3 as it runs at 1.35V rather than 1.5V. This means it consumes less power and runs cooler. DDR3L is required for Intel Skylake CPUs using the Z170 chipset. For the best performance choose a pair of DIMMs running together in dual-channel mode at the highest frequency you can afford. These are the entry-level kits, with speeds between 1,600MHz and 2,133MHz.

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