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Friday, June 21, 2024

Best DDR5 RAM for gaming in 2023

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If you’re on the hunt for the best DDR5 RAM to match your new Intel 12th and 13th Gen or AMD Zen 4 systems, then you’ve come to the right spot! We’ve put a bunch of DDR5 memory kits through their paces in the PC Gamer labs, and we’ve handpicked the best kits for every budget, so you can get the most bang for your buck.

Although DDR5 is still a bit pricey compared to DDR4, we’ve noticed that prices have thankfully started to come down lately. Our top pick for the best DDR5 RAM for gaming at the moment is the G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB, which delivers excellent performance for memory-hungry apps and games and is surprisingly affordable. If you’re trying to save some cash for your next build, take a look at our suggestions for the best DDR4 RAM kits that offer solid performance without breaking the bank.

So DDR5 speeds can vary, ranging from 4800MHz all the way up to 7200MHz and even beyond in the future. While you can grab yourself a 2x8GB kit, we reckon 2x16GB is a better fit for a gaming setup. With 32GB, you’ll be pretty much set for a while, especially if you’re planning to play games like Diablo 4 that need a lot of memory to run smoothly.

Now, we don’t think it’s a good idea to drop a ton of cash on RAM unless you’ve got a high-spec rig that can handle it. That being said, as prices start to drop, you might want to consider spending a few extra bucks to go for DDR5-5600 instead of DDR5-4800. Some games and apps will benefit from the extra speed, while others won’t see much of a difference, if any at all. Just make sure you’re motherboard can support DDR5 RAM. 

Where are the best DDR5 for gaming deals?

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1. G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB 2x16GB DDR5-7200MHz CL34

The best DDR5 RAM for gaming

Our expert review:


Speed: 7200MHzTiming: 34-45-45-115CAS latency: 36Voltage: 1.4 VDIMMs: 2x 16GB

Reasons to buy

+Strong performance in memory sensitive apps & games+Lovely design+Surprisingly affordable

Reasons to avoid

Overkill for most usersNot plug and play in many motherboards

DDR5 has come a long way in the year or so since it was launched. It’s now widely available, prices have dropped, and early BIOS niggles have been overcome. And then there’s the speed. When 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs launched, DDR5-6400 was about the maximum speed you could get, but forget that: DDR5-8000 kits are now on the market. Not a bad improvement in just over one year!

You’d expect memory at this speed to cost a bundle, and at $299 / £319 / AU$519, it certainly carries a price premium, but it’s not that bad. When writing, a 6000MHz kit costs about $150, with 6400MHz kits starting at $190, so the price G.Skill is asking for 7200MHz isn’t unreasonable. In fact, it’s a downright bargain compared to the cost of premium DDR5 a year back, where prices of $500 / £500 / AU$1,000 or higher were commonplace.

The G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-7200 kit has 34-45-45-115 timings. It’s nice to see CAS latencies staying relatively low as speeds increase, though secondary timings are certainly much higher than those you’ll find on slower kits. The best DDR4 kits are still perfectly viable, but the early complaints around the high latency of DDR5 compared to DDR4 are quickly becoming moot.

This is a kit for those with high-end systems. However, at $299 / £319 / AU$519, it’s actually quite good value for money when compared to the cost of the other components of a high-end gaming system. In that case, it’s a no-brainer. But if your system is a little more worldly and you’re just looking for something with a simple set and forget XMP setup, something in the DDR5-6000 range is much more appropriate in terms of price and performance.

But the hell with it; I love fast memory kits. It’s actually available to buy, it will deliver some performance gains in more than a few gaming situations, it’s a great tweakers’ kit, it looks good, and it doesn’t carry an exorbitant premium. If you buy this kit, you’ll get several years of use out of it too.

Read our G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB 2×16 GB DDR5-7200 CL34 review

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2. Crucial 2x32GB DDR5-4800 CL40

The best-value high capacity DDR5 kit


Speed: 4800 MHzTiming: 40-39-39-77CAS Latency: 40Voltage: 1.1VDIMMs: 2x 32GB

Reasons to buy

+64 GB for not much more than a high-speed 32 GB kit+Its performance can match 5200 MHz kits

Reasons to avoid

Bland and generic design

If you’re after 64GB of DDR5, your options are limited. The Alder Lake memory controller struggles with high density configurations, which is why there are very few 2x32GB kits available. The Crucial DDR5-4800 2x32GB kit is as generic as it gets, but if you need a lot of RAM for whatever task you want to throw at it, it’s a great choice.

During our testing, the Crucial kit threw up a few surprises, sometimes matching a 5200MHz kit thanks to its dual rank design. Add to that its low operating voltage and surprisingly good value for money, and it’s a good solid kit for work or play. 

It’s the kind of kit that will have a long life, too. In a few years from now, 64GB will still be more than useful.

The Crucial Ballistix name is no more and this bare PCB kit won’t win any beauty contests or set speed records, but as a set and forget kit for an alt-tabbing gamer or workstation user, it’s definitely worth a look.

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3. Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR5-4800MHz

The best DDR5 for a budget system


Speed: 4800MHzTiming: 40-40-40-77CAS Latency: 40Voltage: 1.1VDIMMs: 2x 16GB

Reasons to buy

+Perfect for budget DDR5 builds+Easy to OC to 5200MHz or higher

Reasons to avoid

Modest clock speeds and timings

DDR5 memory is still expensive compared to DDR4, but that’s changing week by week. The Corsair Vengeance DDR5-4800 kit isn’t the fastest you’ll come across but it’s one of the best options for a budget DDR5 system right now.

At 4800MHz it’s not a speed demon by any means, though if you’re using it with something like an i5 processor and an older or mid range GPU, you’d be lucky to notice any difference outside of memory sensitive benchmarks. It’s not that much of an overclocking kit but if you don’t mind upping the voltage a bit, we’ve had it happily purring along at 5200MHz in testing, which adds a bit extra to its already excellent value.

It’s a perfect set and forget kit. At just 1.1V, it runs cool. It’s a great pairing for a B660 build and its low height means it’s a lot easier to use with large air coolers compared to many kits on the market.

If you’re on a tight budget and have decided to leave DDR4 behind, grabbing a kit like this instead of a higher speed kit and diverting the money to a better CPU or GPU will deliver really tangible benefits. 

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4. Corsair Dominator Platinum 32GB DDR5-5200 C38

The best RGB memory

Our expert review:


Speed: 5200MHzTiming: 38-38-38-84CAS Latency: 38Voltage: 1.25VDIMMs: 2x 16GB

Reasons to buy

+Gorgeous looks+Good sweet spot for speed, timings and affordability

Reasons to avoid

Limited OC headroom

Corsair’s Dominator kits have always had premium good looks, and I think its DDR5 kits still look great. The black aluminum heat spreaders feel very solid and heavy. Even the fonts on the sides add a touch of class, even if you’ll never see them built inside your rig. If DDR5 needed any significant cooling, these heat spreaders would do a sterling job. It must be said that these modules are very tall, so you’ll need to make sure your cooler won’t be impeded.

The tops of the heatsinks feature something of a blocky Tetris-y RGB look. They can be controlled by Corsair’s popular and easy-to-use if somewhat resource-intensive, iCue software. If you have other Corsair components lighting up your PC, you’ll be right at home. A Corsair case, memory, cooler, and keyboard/mouse combo can look great when it’s all synced up. Though I have to say I am not personally a fan of RGB, I will admit to a little bit of guilty pleasure in having a play with a full set of synchronized RGB components.

Regardless, the Corsair kit performs at a decent level across our benchmark suite. The jump from the entry-level 4800MHz kits to 5200MHz is just enough to make a difference in apps that thrive on higher bandwidth. Of course, it trails the faster kits you would expect. 

We consider 5200MHz to be a good sweet spot DDR5 kit for a mainstream 12th Gen system. At 4800MHz, it doesn’t add enough over a 3200MHz or 3600MHz DDR4 kit. And, as is the case with all DDR5 right now, the Corsair kit is too expensive to make any sort of value case. Though relative to other 5200MHz kits, at $360 (£350, $599 AUD). We know this pricing won’t remain that high long term as supply stabilizes. I mean, we’re not talking about GPUs here.

Fans of Corsair products and the iCue RGB system won’t need to be convinced to buy this kit. It looks fantastic, and though it won’t set speed records, this kit should have many years of life ahead of it. You’ll want to go with something faster if you must have every last drop of performance for a high-end rig, but for mainstream DDR5 buyers, Corsair won’t let you down. 

For me, it’s (mostly) worth the extra money over a 4800MHz kit, but you’ll need to measure its value against what other brands and speeds are available when you buy… the market is just so volatile right now. Notably, Corsair DDR5 carries a premium that can vary significantly from market to market. If you don’t mind paying a bit extra over a bland kit, the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB kit will do the job, but it must be shown off in a windowed case.

Read our Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-5200 memory review

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5. Kingston Fury Beast 32GB DDR5-6000 C40

The best mid-range non-RGB RAM


Speed: 6000MHzTiming: 40-40-40-80CAS Latency: 40Voltage: 1.35VDIMMs: 2x 16GB

Reasons to buy

+High frequency+Relative value for money+Simple aesthetic

Reasons to avoid

Limited OC headroom

Kingston’s Fury Beast kit eschews flashy RGB and huge heat sinks in favour of a design that’s subtle and discrete. If your PC is sitting under a desk, out of sight and mind, do you really need a lot of bling?

The Fury Beast DDR5 memory modules have a black PCB with a low height aluminium heat spreader. It comes with SK Hynix ICs which means there should be some OC headroom on tap, however our sample wasn’t all that capable, with a stable 6400MHz being a struggle when we were testing it. That’s likely just our particular sample though.

The real strength of the Kingston Fury Beast kit is its value for money. At the time of writing it was one of the cheapest 2x16GB 6000MHz kits on the market. If you care about performance and less about bling, this is a DDR5 kit that’s well worth a look.

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6. Teamgroup T-Force Delta RGB 32GB DDR5-6400 C40

The best high-frequency DDR5

Our expert review:


Speed: 6400MHzTiming: 40-40-40-84CAS Latency: 40Voltage: 1.35VDIMMs: 2x 16GB

Reasons to buy

+Strong performance+Overclocking headroom+Lovely opaque RGB look

Reasons to avoid


The Teamgroup Delta RGB kit has an unabashedly premium look to go along with its high-end specification and performance. It’s one of the fastest kits on the market, rated at DDR5-6400. It’s a 2x16GB kit with 40-40-40-84 primary timings at 1.35 V and a limited lifetime warranty. This means it’s the kind of kit you’ll be able to use for many years.

Do note that it’s a tall kit, however, so you’ll need to ensure your cooler is compatible with its height and doesn’t tower over the DIMM slots of your motherboard. The modules themselves feel well-built, and the heat spreader is hefty, indicating there’s good cooling potential. Perhaps some of the silk screening is a bit over the top, but you’ll never see that after it’s installed.

Entry-level DDR5 isn’t that impressive due to its high timings and resulting latency disadvantage. The Team kit almost completely overcomes that and all but matches a DDR4-3600 C16 kit, though, of course, it features much greater bandwidth, which some applications clearly appreciate. We recently reviewed G.Skill’s Trident Z5 DDR5-6000 C36 kit, and that’s a good competitor for the Team kit, though it uses Samsung ICs vs. the Hynix modules of the Team kit.

Price aside, the Team Delta RGB kit has impressed us. It’s fast enough to overcome the latency disadvantages of DDR5, and at 6400MHz, it delivers impressive performance in apps that love bandwidth. Importantly it beats out a DDR4-3600 C16 kit in gaming. Pair it with a Core i9 12900Kand GeForce RTX 3080and you’ll have a very fast, if monstrously expensive (and rare!) system.

We like its good looks, build quality, and overclocking headroom on top of its fast speeds. With a better CPU memory controller or some carefree voltage application, we think it can hit 7000MHz, and potentially a lot more as the DDR5 ecosystem matures. But yes, there’s that pricing and availability hanging around it like a dark cloud. We think we’ll have to reassess in six months when we expect the Team Delta DDR5-6400 kit to be much more compelling.

Read the full TeamGroup Delta RGB DDR5 review.

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7. Adata XPG Lancer 32GB DDR5-6000 C40

The best mid-range RGB DDR5


Speed: 6000MHzTiming: 40-40-40-76CAS Latency: 40Voltage: 1.35VDIMMs: 2x 16GB

Reasons to buy

+A great value RGB 6000MHz kit+Overclocking headroom+Vibrant RGB look

Reasons to avoid

DDR5 is still expensive compared to DDR4

Adata might not have the brand name recognition of a Corsair or G.Skill, but the company has been flying under the radar for several years. It offers some very good memory kits, usually at attractive prices. The XPG Lancer DDR5-6000 RGB kit is a perfect example. At 6000MHz, it’s a fast kit, and at the time of writing, it’s typically cheaper than competing 6000MHz kits and hardly any more than a good 5200MHz kit.

The kit features tall heat spreaders with attractive RGB lighting that covers the length of the module. It’s somewhat subtle – if that’s possible with RGB – compared to some kits that feature overly bright rave laser style LEDs. Under the hood, our kit came with SK Hynix IC’s which are the favored IC for high speed kits right now. That means it should have overclocking headroom.

We were able to run the kit at 6400MHz and drop the CAS latency to 32, albeit with some additional voltage. That elevates its performance to levels that compete against the very best DDR5 kits. It’s an easy recommendation for someone looking for a good value kit that’s fast, has some OC headroom and looks great. 

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Does DDR5 RAM make a difference for gaming?

The answer depends on what speeds and latencies we’re talking about. Games tend to be sensitive to latency, where lower is better. A good low-latency DDR4 kit is still a viable gaming option. However, the real-world performance differences are small and non-existent in GPU-limited scenarios, which is usually the case unless you’re chasing very high frames per second.

If you have a good DDR4 kit, let’s say a 2x16GB DDR4-3200 C14 kit or better, there’s little reason to spend the money to upgrade to DDR5 for gaming.

The higher bandwidth of DDR5 is beneficial in other areas though, particularly in creative-type applications. DDR5 uses less power, 32GB is generally the baseline, and a DDR5 system is better for future-proofing. As time goes on, we can expect faster and lower latency kits.

What platforms support DDR5 RAM?

When it all kicked off, DDR5 was entirely restricted to the Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake platform, but now we’ve had both the Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake and AMD Zen 4 processor platforms released, which both support DDR5.

AMD’s Zen 4-based AM5 motherboards only support DDR5, while Intel’s platforms do still offer DDR4 versions of their motherboards.

Will DDR5 work on a DDR4 motherboard?

No, it won’t. Even though both types have 288 pins, DDR4 and DDR5 memory is electrically incompatible. The two types have a different notch positions, to prevent anyone from inserting a DDR5 module into a DDR4 motherboard, or vice versa.

How much RAM do I need?

We recommend a minimum of 16GB for most serious gaming PCs (it’s what we use in our high-end PC build), but as 32GB DDR5 kits are so widely available, 32GB has become the new baseline for a DDR5 system. With 32GB, you’ll have more than enough for pretty much every task you can throw at your system. You’ll easily be able to enjoy gaming, multitasking, creative or intensive apps, and frequent alt-tabbing. And you’ll be all set for a few years to come, too.

How fast should RAM be for a gaming PC?

Firstly, you should use a dual-channel kit wherever possible. That goes for both DDR4 and DDR5 systems. That will ensure you’re getting the most out of the best CPUs for gaming. For an Intel DDR5 system, a good kit around the 5200MHz range will be fine, while for a high-end system, you’ll want something a little faster at 6000MHz or even 6400MHz if you really want to get every last drop of performance.

Do I need RGB LEDs on my memory DIMMs?

No. Absolutely not. But RGB can make your machine look slightly cooler, and we all know PCs need to run cool. 

Jargon buster – RAM terminology

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DIMMs Dual In-Line Memory Module, the physical circuit board that holds the RAM chips that plug into the slots on your motherboard. 

ECC Memory – Error-correcting Code Memory, RAM capable of automatically detecting and correcting errors on the fly, generally used in highly sensitive applications, like scientific data collection or banking. Typically only used and supported on servers and workstations, most desktop boards can run it as non-ECC.

Frequency – The effective speed at which the memory operates, measured in MHz.

CL/CAS Latency – Column Access Strobe Latency is the delay between the memory controller requesting data from the RAM and the available data; the first number listed in a kit’s timings.

SO-DIMM – More compact DIMM slots are typically deployed in laptops, although these can also turn up on tiny machines.

Timings – The measure in several memory clock cycles an operation the memory controller requests will take for the RAM to complete. Lower is generally better.

XMP – eXtreme Memory Profile, instructions for the BIOS that tell it what frequency, timings, and voltage to access RAM at, a shortcut for overclocking without tinkering with each set individually. Officially for Intel platforms, many AMD boards readily support reading XMP data (though it may go by another name like A-XMP or DOHC).

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