Best RAM for Gaming in 2021- Ultimate List

State-of-the-art CPU? Check. The newest generation of graphics card you paid an exorbitant markup on? Also check. Memory is often among the most overlooked of all the other components that leaves you with when putting together a speedy PC. It shouldn’t be, as the best RAM for gaming is what makes the difference between running a demanding game smoothly with several open Chrome tabs and a sputtering, unplayable mess.

The best gaming RAM at a glance

It’s no surprise people get discouraged when buying RAM and just go with what looks good.  So many options exist, even at identical speeds, that it’s challenging to make heads or tails of it all. Add frequencies, CAS latencies, and various configurations into the mix, and you’re sure to walk away with a headache. This exhaustive list has come about as an answer to that problem. It will help you pick out the most suitable memory for your needs.

These are different for everyone. Even so, you’re sure to find the optimum kit by exploring our many picks, whether you’re looking for speed, value, quantity, or all of the above.

  1. Teamgroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB – Best RAM for gaming on a Ryzen build
  2. Crucial Ballistix MAX RGB – Best gaming RAM for Intel systems
  3. G.Skill Trident Z Royal – High-frequency RAM with exceptionally tight timings
  4. Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB – Best RGB RAM
  5. G.Skill Trident Z NEO – Superb overclocking potential
  6. CORSAIR Vengeance RGB PRO – Great value
  7. Patriot Viper Steel – A fine choice for SFF builds
  8. Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RGB – The smartest memory in the room
  9. Corsair Vengeance LPX – No frills, no fuss
  10. HyperX Predator RGB – Versatile and great for overclocking
  11. Teamgroup T-Force Delta RGB – Best budget RAM for gaming

1

Teamgroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB

Teamgroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 32GB (2x16GB) | Clock speed: 3600MHz | CL: 14

  • Highly optimized for top-tier Ryzen performance
  • Distinctive look and lighting
  • Keeps cool despite plastic heat spreader
  • Expensive

$157.99

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469 Reviews

Advancements in AMD’s Infinity Fabric technology finally enabled native 4000MHz RAM support for Zen3. The gains are minimal, though, which means 3600MHz at the lower CAS latency you’re comfortable paying for remains optimal. The cream of the crop? Teamgroup’s T-Force Xtreem ARGB! No other memory offers a combination of specs, looks, and real-world results so ideally suited for the platform.

You’ll notice something special is going on the moment you feast your eyes on the Xtreem ARGB’s shiny exterior. Its standard version has an unusual heat spreader made almost entirely out of plastic that’s indigo blue in bright light but appears black otherwise. The spreader is broken up by an aluminum bar housing six alternating LEDs on either side. These shine both up and down, offering unique and stunning lighting. Teamgroup doesn’t have proprietary lighting software, so Mystic Light, Aura sync, or any other motherboard software will have to do.

The kit we’ve chosen isn’t cheap, but that’s the cost of highly optimized excellence. It has an XMP-boosted frequency of 3600MHz with remarkable timings, 14-15-15-35. The RAM requires 1.45V to run at this speed, more than expected but still well within safe limits. Better yet, you can feed it slightly more power and try to push for 4000MHz on a suitable motherboard. The Samsung B-die at the Xtreem’s core will have no trouble handling it.

This kit is a solid choice for Intel owners as well, but pairing it with a Ryzen CPU reveals its true potential. It’s currently the best RAM for gaming in that respect since it consistently tops the fps charts no matter which game you’re keen on testing. You can thank its flawless synergy with the platform and the resulting speedy read & write times that provide the processor with as much info as it and the GPU can handle.

2

Crucial Ballistix MAX RGB

Crucial-Ballistix MAX RGB

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 32GB (2x16GB) | Clock speed: 4400MHz | CL: 19

  • Excellent gaming performance out of the box
  • Lots of room for tweaking
  • Versatile lighting software
  • Expensive

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8,737 Reviews

Much like Intel’s long-standing CPU philosophy, pushing memory to ever higher clocks makes Team Blue systems perform better. That’s the idea behind Crucial’s top-tier Ballistix MAX RGB. It comes tuned to a whopping 4400MHz while providing enough overhead for further optimization. RGB adds to its attractiveness, and you can do much to change a DIMM’s physical appearance too. The RAM will cost you an arm and a leg, but seeing games like Resident Evil Village run in all their glory is worth it.

A cursory look at the Ballistix MAX RGB doesn’t reveal much. It has an unassuming PCB with a few stamped areas that improve thermal efficiency and a low diffuser that conceals 8 LEDs. You can easily remove that diffuser and replace it with your own 3D-printed design. Alternatively, you may ditch it altogether to bring the sticks’ already short stature to a low-riding 37mm.

The MOD light manager is worth mentioning separately. It’s intuitive and provides a means of setting effects & individual colors independent from Aura Sync and the rest. Each DIMM incorporates a thermal sensor and can glow differently based on the RAM’s temperature, which you also set up in MOD.

A sky-high yet stable starting frequency is the MAX’s main selling point. This makes it great for newbies who want the best RAM for gaming without doing anything other than enabling the XMP profile. The default timings are set to 19-19-19-46 at 1.40V, which is less than the kit is capable of in the right hands. Frequencies as high as 5GHz aren’t a pipe dream for this RAM, but it performs better after dropping its default frequency by around 600MHz instead. This allows you to boost the timings to CL16 & net tangible gains.

As you’d expect, the kit shines when paired with Intel processors since everything past 3600MHz yields diminishing returns on AMD. Expect high framerates and even higher artificial benchmark scores at stock settings. Following one of the two tweaking approaches described above improves framerates even further.

3

G.Skill Trident Z Royal

G.Skill Trident Z Royal

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 32GB (4x8GB) | Clock speed: 4000MHz | CL: 15

  • High frequency, tight timing
  • A look that’s impossible to ignore
  • Excellent overclocking potential
  • Might not suit everyone’s taste

−$16.00 $149.99

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714 Reviews

Although RAM can be called many things, glamorous likely isn’t first on the list – or tenth for that matter. Get ready to have your mind changed and then blown by G.Skill’s flashiest, most premium memory! Already part of the illustrious Trident series, it lives up to its name since it received the royal treatment in terms of aesthetics and performance alike. The RAM is fast, tight, not always easy to come by, and worth every penny.

It might be divisive, but there’s no getting around the uniqueness of the Royal’s appearence. At its core, each stick sports a blinged-out traditional Trident Z look with its iconic three fins. However, drab gray and black give way to either gold or silver polished to a mirror sheen. Needless to say, the sticks attract more fingerprints than Saints Row’s singularity gun does innocent pedestrians.

It’s a crime to lock this kit away inside a windowless PC case, especially once RGB enters the equation. The key is in the faceted diffuser that’s supposed to simulate a diamond cascade. While it looks more like crushed ice, the effect undeniably turns heads. Moreover, the LEDs hidden underneath glow evenly and brightly.

The best thing about the Royal is its ability to back all that fluff up with cold hard numbers. Intel and 5000-series Ryzen owners will love its 4000MHz base XMP clock. Better still are the timings, a respectable 15-16-16-36. You’ll need to supply the sticks with 1.5 volts to get there, acceptable for the stats on display.

Need to be impressed further? How about the fact that you can overclock the RAM to as much as 4500MHz while keeping it stable? That’s more a testament to the quality of the Samsung B-die at the Royal’s heart than a genuine feature since pushing past XMP doesn’t yield much improvement. Not that you’ll need any since both artificial results and game performance consistently rank at or near the top.

4

Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB

Corsair Dominator Platinum

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 32GB (4x8GB) | Clock speed: 3200MHz | CL: 16

  • Exceptional LEDs
  • Large and efficient heat spreader
  • Beautiful, even lighting
  • Height might be problematic

$205.99

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3,150 Reviews

What does it take to stand out in a sea of RAM? Judging by the Dominator Platinum RGB, truly different LEDs are the answer. This kit has them in spades, surrounded by a stylish spreader and configurable through iCUE. More importantly, performance doesn’t take a backseat to appearance since stock and overclocked results alike look promising.

Gamers familiar with previous Dominator iterations will find the Platinum RGB’s look reassuring. It’s not as bulky anymore since the thick aluminum armor gives way to a more slender heat spreader. A black version is available. However, the white one is even more attractive and stylishly augmented with gold-colored screws. Any white case would be lucky to house it.

Calling the Dominator’s LEDs unique is no exaggeration. They’re Corsair’s own Capellix lights, smaller yet brighter and more power-efficient than the competition. They’re so effective that only 12 illuminate each stick and do so evenly without diffusers. They shine through pairs of five squares and the Dominator logo on top and resemble a DIMM’s contacts from the sides.

Corsair lets you create intricate lighting patterns and effects using iCUE, not to mention sync the lighting with its other hardware. Clearance is the only problem that might arise from the memory’s construction since 55mm makes it the tallest kit in the article.

Most kits we’ve looked at contain two high-capacity sticks. This one consists of four single-rank 8GB DIMMs instead. There’s no impact on how your games will run, but the arrangement does make the inside of your case look more appealing.

Conversely, the ICs at the Dominator’s heart do have a drastic performance impact. They’re Hynix C-die and not that far removed from Samsung’s gold standard. A look at the stats confirms this, with 16-18-18-38 at 1.35V being listed as the default for its single 3200MHz XMP frequency. Be sure to turn it on unless you want to plod along at 2133MHz. Lastly, the RAM allows tech-savvy users to increase the frequency by several hundred MHz, albeit with looser latency.

5

G.Skill Trident Z NEO

G.SKILL-Trident-Z-Neo

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 16GB (2x8GB) | Clock speed: 3600MHz | CL: 16

  • Solid out of the box, even better overclocked
  • Looks cool without overdoing it
  • Broad choice of specs and kit sizes
  • Inconsistent overclocking

−$10.00 $139.99

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1,645 Reviews

The Trident Z Royal is among the best RAM for gaming out there. It’s also pricey and flamboyant, which may alienate a fair chunk of buyers. Don’t fret – G.Skill has the perfect alternative for anyone who wants a taste of refinement coupled with good initial performance and even better overclocking chops. The new kid on Trident’s block is a welcome addition and a likely candidate for a broad audience.

As its name implies, the NEO takes G.Skill design in an inspired new direction. The three fins place it firmly within the Trident family. On the other hand, the heat spreader got a revamp in the form of two contrasting tones that work well together no matter your build’s theme. The lighting is no slouch either. While not as bright as Capellix, the addressable LEDs work flawlessly and deliver an even glow guests are sure to appreciate.

Wide availability is another of the memory’s strengths. You may get anything from 2666 to 3600MHz at varying CAS latencies, with kit sizes going up to 64GB. The 3600MHz CL16 version caught our eye since it’s among the most capable while still having some room for growth. Its stock timings are 16-19-19-38, not nearly as inspiring as the Royal’s.

That brings us to the final ace up the NEO’s sleeve – a high overclocking ceiling. The RAM’s excellent architecture lets you perform two kinds of tweaks to get optimal benefits whether you’re on AMD or Intel. AMD users are able to tighten the timings even further, reaching CL14 with a slight power draw increase as the only concession. Alternatively, the RAM holds steady at 4000MHz if you loosen the timings to CL18, with greater benefits for Intel-based PCs. Your experience will depend on the individual kit since some can achieve better OC results than others.

6

CORSAIR Vengeance RGB PRO

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 32GB (2x16GB) | Clock speed: 3200MHz | CL: 18

  • Balanced feature set
  • Fair pricing
  • Beautiful, even lighting
  • Might cause clearance issues

−$15.00 $137.99

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1,487 Reviews

Are you in love with the Dominator’s dazzling light display, yet its price is holding you back? Corsair has another mesmerizing kit on offer at more reasonable prices. The Vengeance RGB PRO might not have state-of-the-art LEDs, but it makes up for that with a healthy balance of cost and performance.

Corsair has a knack for designing RAM that’s simultaneously imposing and sleek. The RGB PRO is no exception, with its high heat spreader available in matte black or white. The spreader gradually opens up to reveal a sizeable light bar housing ten addressable LEDs. They’re brighter than most and don’t experience bleed. You may tweak them to your heart’s content through iCUE or let your motherboard’s lighting software take care of it automatically.

The RAM is accessible in a wide range of options, anywhere from 2666MHz CL16 to 4400MHz CL18. Whatever your choice, keep CPU cooler clearance in mind since the DIMMs are 51mm tall. The linked kit sits towards the bottom end with 3200MHz at CL18, its precise timings being 18-22-22-40 at 1.35V. It can’t reach overclocking extremes similar to some other kits on the list, but a little fiddling will let you improve the timings or boost the frequency.

Performance-wise, the RGB PRO is precisely where it should be for the asking price. Its read and write speeds are a bit above average, and you can expect to see a few frames less in the latest titles than with more expensive kits. This won’t matter unless you’re an owner of a 144Hz monitor, but new releases like Far Cry 6 will run buttery smooth even then.

7

Patriot Viper Steel

Patriot Viper Steel

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 64GB (2x32GB) | Clock speed: 3600MHz | CL: 18

  • High per-DIMM capacity
  • Effective heat spreader with low profile
  • Eye-catching look even without RGB
  • Mediocre overclocking

−$5.00 $64.99

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4,573 Reviews

SFF cases are compact, and many look fantastic as the basis of unorthodox gaming setups. However, their cramped interiors can only hold so much. Patriot offers an elegant solution to your SFF RAM woes with the Viper Steel series. It doesn’t come with the shortest DIMMs around. Still, Patriot offers 64GB kits that fit into just two slots if video editing, virtual machines, or 3D modeling also happen to be among your passions.

Kudos to Patriot for dreaming up RAM that looks both stealthy and badass without any LED lighting in sight. The secret lies in a tasteful dark gray heat spreader with black accents, identified by a stylized snake logo as being a Viper. The aggressive look isn’t just for show – all the elaborate cutouts and fin arrays draw heat away from the ICs and make for a more even distribution.

We wanted to highlight at least one 64GB kit and went with the Viper Steel for several reasons. It’s a bargain since it costs less than half the memory you’d get in a T-Force Xtreem RGB kit. More importantly, each DIMM’s high density makes it possible for you to put together a beastly ITX-based system that tackles games and memory-hungry tasks with equal ease. It’s definitely overkill for just gaming, though. Go with the 16 or 32GB versions of the Viper Steel for that if you like everything else about it.

And what’s not to like? The kit does equally well on Intel and AMD, keeping pace with slower yet tighter RAM. A lack of overclocking ability is the only thing disappointing about it. The highest stable OC frequency you can expect is 3800MHz, and you’ll have to loosen the timings to achieve it.

8

Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RGB

Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RGB

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 16GB (2x8GB) | Clock speed: 3600MHz | CL: 18

  • Does better than implied by its tech specs
  • Attractive lighting you can control remotely
  • Excellent companion software
  • Pricy for what it offers

$129.99

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187 Reviews

Why bother setting complex lighting patterns up when you can have Alexa sort those out for you with a voice command? That might be the TOUGHRAM RGB’s most gimmicky feature, but it’s by no means the only noteworthy one. The RAM puts on an excellent showing even though the raw numbers in our linked example appear lackluster. Add excellent build quality & a splash of color, and you’ve got memory many will love.

Thermaltake’s RAM lives up to its name since it boasts a rugged appearance with a brushed black heat spreader. Two thick layers of copper contribute to the spreader’s excellent thermal efficiency. While the Trident series apparently influenced the RAM’s aesthetic, it’s distinctive due to two large stripes that cut into the spreader and RGB diffuser alike.

Lighting enthusiasts will appreciate the level of customization at their disposal. TOUGHRAM is compatible with all major motherboard software and can change color if you install the appropriate Alexa skill. Thermaltake’s own TT RGB Plus is more impressive. It allows for zone-specific RGB customization. However, the right setting can also turn the RAM into a handy diagnostics tool that assumes a different color based on usage or memory & CPU temps.

The right TOUGHRAM is easy to find whether you’re an Intel or AMD user since kits climb from 3000 all the way to 4600MHz. It’s a hair’s breadth shorter than the Vengeance RGB PRO at 49mm, so check that your CPU cooler won’t cause issues before committing. Thermaltake doesn’t list the CL specifics. Unsurprising, as Hynix-driven timings of 18-22-22-48 at 1.35V don’t sound inspiring.

And yet, mediocre timings do not make for bad memory. TOUGHRAM isn’t the best RAM for gaming in the grand scale of things. Still, it can keep up with alternatives set at the same frequency at a CAS latency of 16 with little discernible difference. Unless you count a frame or three less at 150+fps, that is.

9

Corsair Vengeance LPX

Corsair Vengeance LPX

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 32GB (2x16GB) | Clock speed: 3600MHz | CL: 18

  • Affordable yet effective
  • Available in a wide range of specs & styles
  • Decent timings
  • Aesthetics might not appeal to everyone

−$17.00 $122.99

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62,757 Reviews

Vengeance LPX RAM has been a staple recommendation ever since DDR4 became a thing. This dependable memory keeps on delivering all these years later, with a wide frequency range and tight timings. Its no-fuss approach is sure to appeal to anyone keen on completing their build and trying some games out ASAP.

Choices regarding the LPX’s appearance abound even though it’s among the simplest-looking RAM on our radar. You can get it in four colors. People who like to build their rig around a theme will appreciate the addition of blue & red. We’re partial to the white version, though. The heat spreader is made from anodized aluminum and sports a ribbed look reminiscent of a shipping container. Whether you’re a fan or not, the added surface area does much to keep the sticks cool.

Our highlighted sample is ideal for AMD users looking to get above-average memory at a reasonable price. It defaults to 2133MHz, so make sure that XMP is on to boost the kit to its 3600MHz advertised speed. The timings are fairly tight as well, reaching 16-19-19-36 at a standard 1.35V. There’s no mention of the ICs on the official spec sheet, but a little sleuthing reveals they’re one-sided and made by Micron.

Interestingly, the LPX line is also where you’ll find some of the fastest DDR4 RAM in the world. A 5000MHz kit made up of two 8GB modules is available from Corsair’s website, albeit at an astronomical price. Sticking to the line’s tamer offerings is a better idea anyway since the investment isn’t worth it unless you’re after the accompanying bragging rights.

10

Kingston HyperX Predator RGB

HyperX Predator

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 32GB (2x16GB) | Clock speed: 3200MHz | CL: 16

  • Substantial gains when overclocked
  • IR-synced RGB
  • Comes with two XMP profiles
  • Worth it only if you overclock

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138 Reviews

Do you like juggling voltages and CAS latencies to push your RAM to its limits? Then the HyperX Predator should be quite a treat. It works at stock speeds well enough, but no other memory on the list gains so much even with modest overclocks. Feel free to pick it up even if you don’t plan on squeezing out everything your system has to give, but you’ll find better value elsewhere in that case.

This kit is among the stealthiest RGB entries on the list. The PCB and heat spreader are black, and the latter features a stamped V-shaped pattern that hints at speed. The light diffuser’s design is equally intriguing since it’s highly geometric and broken up in several places to add visual interest.

It’s a shame Kingston doesn’t provide any lighting utility. Your motherboard should do a good enough job, and a rainbow pattern is there to save the day even if you find mobo manufacturers’ solutions tedious. How do the sticks stay in sync without software, you ask? Each has an infrared sensor that makes sure both are on the same page.

HyperX Predator is among the most prolific memory lines on the list. You can get 8GB at 2400MHz to breathe some life into an aging system or go all out and buy 128GB at 4800MHz for the Intel workstation of your dreams. We opted for the 3200MHz version since it’s well-rounded regardless of your system. That doesn’t sound too exciting, but it gets better.

You’ll want to consider this kit for its serious overclocking potential. It’s alright at stock, but even a slight bump to 3466MHz at CL16 contributes to a more streamlined gaming experience and adds some extra kick to productive tasks like video editing. It’s improbable that you’ll encounter stability issues. If you do, you can always switch to the second, less demanding XMP setting that throttles the clock speed to 3000MHz.

11

Teamgroup T-Force Delta RGB

TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB

Type: DDR4 | Capacity: 16GB (2x8GB) | Clock speed: 3200MHz | CL: 16

  • Excellent value at an affordable price
  • High overclocking ceiling
  • All-encompassing, attractive LEDs
  • Runs hot

−$37.00 $122.99

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6,556 Reviews

Teamgroup goes full circle, gracing our list with the best RAM for gaming on a Ryzen rig and the most worthwhile affordable memory regardless of platform. The T-Force Delta RGB aims its sights at the budget builder, promising a solid showing in games and applications alike. It’s eye-catching, allows for serious overclocking, and comes with a lifetime warranty to boot.

This is one of the best-looking kits out there. It combines a long diffuser that extends downward with a heat spreader laden with a cool stamped pattern. We use cool only in the figurative sense here; the spreader is thin and won’t help much if your system fans aren’t up to snuff. At least it’s available in a lovely white alternative, as well as a ROG Alliance version.

Users were limited in terms of light customization when the kits first arrived since they only supported ASUS Aura Sync. Teamgroup has since brought other motherboard manufacturers on board, so accessing millions of colors won’t be a problem. The only problem you might encounter is one of height since 49mm makes for a tight fit with some coolers.

It’s a testament to Teamgroup’s ingenuity that a kit with such a low asking price has decent stats. You’ll find no Samsung ICs here, but the ones the Delta does come with keep up with the competition. Holding steady at 3200MHz is as easy as selecting the XMP profile, which sets the timings to a tame but acceptable 16-18-18-38 at 1.35V.

You’d think that a cheap kit wouldn’t hold up well when overclocked, but that’s not true for this one. Lowering the timings slightly and adding 0.10V of juice is enough to hold steady at 3800MHz, with noticeable corresponding gains. You can try your luck and attempt to reach still higher frequencies, but the RAM’s stability becomes questionable.

Matt Vallence
Matt Vallence
Matt has been staring at one monitor or another for much longer than he'd care to admit. He enjoys keeping up with trends in gaming & related hardware, exploring immersive worlds in RPGs, as well as crafting his own using Blender.

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