What Ram Do I Need

Table of contents:

  • 1. What Ram do I need: New or old Build.
  • 2. What RAM do I need: Find out what motherboard you have.
  • 3. What RAM do I need: checking the motherboard notes.
  • 4. DDR1, 2 3 RAM.
  • 5 What Ram do I need: Ram clock speeds.
  • 6. How much RAM do you need

Video on the history of Ram if that interests you:

What RAM do I need: New or old build?


Ok, so your either in a situation where you have an old computer that you want to upgrade or you have an older motherboard that you want to use for you set up, or, most probably you are looking to build a computer from new parts. If you are a gaming enthusiast and have just bought a brand new motherboard then you will be in the best position to buy the right RAM for your setup, I will explain why later.

These are the scenarios for which you will be looking to buy new RAM. It can seem a bit confusing at first primarily because there are quite a few different types of RAM out there. So determining which RAM will be compatible with your motherboard is essential.

I remember personally before I learnt about computers and RAM, trying to fit an incompatible RAM chip into a slot it was not meant for and wondering why the computer would not turn on.

I learnt the hard way, and making that mistake prompted me to do some extensive research to make sure I never made that error again.

I will recommend at the bottom of the post sets of RAM that should cover most scenarios on here if not all and I will also impart some useful links  throughout the post to help even more. However, read through the article and make sure you understand as much as you can before choosing which RAM to buy.

What RAM do I need: Find out what motherboard you have.

First of all you need to ascertain which motherboard you have. Its important to do this, as the motherboard houses the DIMM slots. These are the slots for the RAM. DIMM slots are specific and will only accept a certain type of RAM and this is different across motherboards.

There are a number of ways to find out which motherboard you have. If you have bought a computer second hand and are unsure what motherboard it houses then programs such as Speccy by Piriform, which are free, will give you a detailed breakdown of all the hardware in your computer. Just download it and fire it up it will automatically list all your components.

If you have bought a new motherboard you should have the notes and box for it, which will state the manufacturer and also the model number.

If you are buying a second hand motherboard try and make sure you get the box or manual from the seller. Mind you I’m sure if your buying a second hand motherboard then I expect you have researched that motherboard and know who built it already.

What RAM do I need: checking the motherboard notes:

DDR1, 2 3 RAM.

DDR (Double Data Rate), is the modern standard for RAM at the present time. This simplifies things somewhat, and means you just have to find out whether your motherboard supports DDR1, DDR2 or DDR3 RAM.

I would strongly suggest starting from scratch if you find out that your motherboard is compatible with DDR1 RAM. Even if you just use you computer to surf and watch Youtube video’s DDR1 RAM will struggle.

Again you might need to consider your options if you find you need to buy DDR2 RAM. Although not as slow as DDR1 it is still only half the speed of the modern standard of DDR3 RAM. There are still a lot of DDR2 sets of RAM out there to buy and I will list some at the bottom, but this is really only for those you cant afford to build a whole new setup.

Hopefully you have a motherboard that supports DDR3 RAM, and if you are buying a brand new motherboard then this is almost a sure thing.
DDR3 RAM is at present the fastest available RAM that you can buy and will run all the best games of today if you have enough of it running. This is explained further down the article.

check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR3_SDRAM,



What Ram do I need: Ram clock speeds:

DDR RAM like a lot of other components on your computer works on a clock speed (MHz). This determines how fast a speed your RAM can work with. The higher the clock speed the better. Hence why over clocking components came about.

Take DDR3 that works at speeds  such as 1066 MHz, 1333 MHz,1600 MHz and 2000MHz.

What I’m getting at is that on your motherboard notes it will also say along with the RAM supported, also what clock speeds it supports.

Although essentially it is not as important as finding out which DDR RAM the motherboard supports. This is because clock speeds are backwards compatible meaning if your motherboard only supports up to DDR3 RAM 1333 MHz and you have bought 1600 MHz the RAM will still work but only at 1333 MHz.

The main reason to find out which clock speeds you motherboard supports is so you don’t overspend and buy something you don’t need.

How much RAM do you need:

I would reccomend for those who are gamers then dont go lower than 4 GB’s DDR3 RAM and probably you should have 6 GB’s or over for a good setup. A lot of poeple like to buy up to 32 GB of RAM or even 64 GB if your motherboard has space. As RAM is reletivaly cheap compared to most other components buying more than you might need at the present is not to much of a bad idea.

Be aware though that if you go above 8 GB’s you will need a 64 bit version of your operating system to recognise it.

For recommended RAM:

Check out are stores below. Check what socket motherboard you have and buy the RAM you need from that store:

Socket 1155 Gaming Builds:

Socket 2011 Gaming Builds:

Socket 1366 Gaming Builds:


DDR2 RAM sets:









Picture acknowledgement:

By smial (Own work) [FAL or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Gani01 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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