Does fast RAM clock speed matter for gaming? The ultimate guide

Current CPUs from AMD and Intel now help RAM with fairly fast clock charges: as much as 3200MHz with DDR4 RAM and 5600MHz with DDR5. Furthermore, greater clock frequencies are now not uncommon—in these circumstances, the usage of a particular profile permits the right management of the RAM. However, to get these clock charges, it’s a must to regulate a setting within the BIOS (different: guide overclocking). We have examined for you the way a lot the clock fee and the latency of the RAM have an effect on the gaming efficiency of your pc.

Further studying: What is DDR5?

How is the utmost supported RAM clock decided?

The acknowledged values for the utmost RAM clock typically differ significantly between processor suppliers and motherboard producers. To make sure the long-term, secure use of a pc, there are specs for RAM from JEDEC, a company for the standardization of semiconductors. These concern, for instance, the reminiscence clock or the provision voltage. To guarantee most stability, CPU builders comply with these pointers. In the next desk we’ve compiled for you the most recent CPU generations from AMD and Intel, together with the RAM clock charges specified by the producers.

CPU socketProcessor typeSupported RAM clockIntel 1700Core i5/i7/i9-130003200 MHz DDR4, 5600 MHz DDR5Intel 1700 Core i3/i5/i7/i9-12000, Pentium Gold, Celeron, Core i3/i5-130003200 MHz DDR4, 4800 MHz DDR5Intel 1200 Core i5/i7/i9-11000 3200 MHzIntel 1200Core i7/i9-10000 2933 MHz Intel 1200Core i3/i5-10000, Pentium Gold, Celeron G 2666 MHz Intel 4677Xeon w-3400, Xeon w-24004800 MHz DDR5Intel 2066Core i9-100002933 MHzAMD AM5Ryzen 5/7/95200 MHz DDR5AMD AM4Ryzen 3/5/7/9 3000, Ryzen 3/5/7 4000, Ryzen 5/7/9 50003200 MHzAMD AM4Ryzen 3/5/7 2000, Ryzen 3/5 3000G2933 MHzAMD AM4Ryzen 3/5/7 1000, Athlon2666 MHzAMD AM4A-90002400 MHzAMD sWRX8Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000, Ryzen Threadripper PRO 50003200 MHzAMD sTRX4Ryzen Threadripper 3000 3200 MHz

On many accessible motherboards, the utmost RAM clock listed is considerably greater than the above values. The best technique to clock the RAM greater is to make use of the so-called “XMP” (Extreme Memory Profile) for Intel, or “EXPO” (Extended Profiles for Overclocking) for AMD.

The producers of reminiscence sticks and motherboards specify greater most RAM clock charges in these profiles. This is usually accompanied by a rise within the provide voltage. Even if the producers perform intensive assessments for this, you don’t obtain an absolute assure concerning compatibility and stability. This implies that in the event you plan to make use of a PC 24/7, it isn’t advisable to activate such a profile. (On AMD motherboards, as an alternative of XMP for DDR4 modules, the title “D.O.C.P.” (Direct Over Clock Profile) is frequent.)

To get the utmost knowledge throughput, observe what number of reminiscence channels the motherboard used helps. This quantity signifies what number of working reminiscence blocks the processor, or extra exactly the reminiscence controller, can deal with in parallel. Most motherboards use a dual-channel structure. In this case, you get a big efficiency increase with two RAM modules versus a single reminiscence bar.

RAM: frequency and latencies defined

RAM (Random Access Memory) is one thing just like the short-term reminiscence of your PC. All knowledge and instructions that the CPU must run a program are saved briefly within the RAM. The benefit over retrieving knowledge immediately from the system reminiscence, comparable to an HDD or SSD, is the considerably shorter entry time and the upper switch fee.

A reminiscence bar is made up of a number of reminiscence chips, which in flip include hundreds of thousands of small capacitors and transistors. Each reminiscence cell corresponds to at least one bit and may assume both the standing 1 (charged) or 0 (discharged). Since capacitors discharge once more, the state is consistently refreshed. The transistors are accountable for restoring or altering the state of a capacitor.

The reminiscence cells are organized in a grid with rows and columns like in an Excel spreadsheet, which permits the reminiscence controller to deal with every cell exactly. This is the place the title “random entry reminiscence” comes from. When accessing a single reminiscence cell, numerous latency occasions happen, every of which is laid out in clock cycles and thus is dependent upon the frequency of the principle reminiscence.

First, the reminiscence controller prompts the specified row and sends a learn command. This latency is named tRCD = Row-to-Column Delay, which corresponds to the entry time from one row to at least one column. Next comes the precise entry time: CL = CAS Latency, which signifies the time span between the learn command and the arrival of the specified knowledge or, in different phrases, the entry time to a column. The learn row is then deactivated. The whole cycle from activation to studying with knowledge output and deactivation is described by the point tRAS = Active-to-Precharge Time. To reactivate the corresponding row, the time tRP = Row Precharge Time elapses. This is what number of cycles should cross earlier than the identical row may be accessed once more.

The precise elapsed time may be calculated through the frequency of the reminiscence module. Let’s take a DDR4 RAM module with 4000MHz and latencies of CL17-17-17-37 for instance. First we calculate the reciprocal of the efficient clock frequency, i.e. 1 divided by 4000MHz. We multiply this worth by two (issue of two as a result of DDR = Double Data Rate) and the variety of previous clock cycles, i.e. the CAS latency of 17. This offers us the precise latency of 0.0085 microseconds, or 8.5 nanoseconds. The worth for tRP, however, is eighteen.5 nanoseconds.

The motive for the issue of two lies within the title DDR (Double Data Rate). Here, the transmission of information bits takes place on each rising and falling edges, i.e. twice per clock cycle. An extra enhance within the knowledge throughput of DDR SDRAM is offered by the so-called burst mode. This permits the reminiscence controller to learn or change a number of consecutive cells in a single line. This eliminates step one, i.e. the activation of the corresponding row with the following learn command. In addition, DDR4 RAM has eight knowledge buffers (prefetch issue) by which knowledge from burst accesses are briefly saved.

DDR4 reminiscence modules have a single 64-bit channel (72-bit if we additionally take into account ECC right here). DDR5 reminiscence modules, however, are outfitted with two unbiased 32-bit channels (40-bit with ECC). JEDEC additionally doubled the so-called burst size from eight bytes (BL8) to 16 bytes (BL16). These adjustments enhance effectivity and scale back latency when accessing knowledge. In a twin DIMM setup, this primarily makes DDR5 a 4 occasions 32-bit configuration as an alternative of the normal twice 64-bit configuration of DDR4.

Only in sure functions does a excessive RAM clock really carry benefits. These embrace encrypting recordsdata, (de)compressing with packing program, or video enhancing. This is as a result of reminiscence entry right here is sequential and the RAM can thus profit from burst mode and knowledge prefetch. However, if many instructions with small knowledge packets happen in a short while, then low latency is extra vital than the next RAM clock. In PC video games, it’s primarily the efficiency of the graphics card that counts, as that is the limiting issue usually. Only when the PC is at its processor restrict can it profit considerably from quicker RAM.

The YouTuber Hardware Unboxed has taken a have a look at the affect of quicker DDR5 RAM in seven video games on the three present processors: Core i9-13900K, Ryzen 7 7700X, and Ryzen 7 7950X3D in a video. For the check, two 16GB modules have been utilized in mixture with an RTX 4090, and all assessments have been carried out in 1080p to be able to check within the CPU restrict so far as potential.

Hardware Unboxed

For each AMD processors, the RAM was operated at a most of 6000MHz, as the brand new AM5 firmware AGESA was not but accessible on the time of the check, which for the primary time with the Ryzen 7000 processors additionally permits considerably greater clock charges for the RAM. For the Intel CPU, the YouTuber additionally supplies measurement outcomes with 7200MHz.

The video reveals properly that the efficiency achieve relies upon strongly on the chosen sport. In Watch Dogs Legion, for instance, all three processors profit by 10 to 12 p.c by switching from DDR5-4800 CL40 to DDR5-6000 CL40. In the subsequent sport, Horizon Zero Dawn, the FPS achieve with the 13900K and the 7950X3D virtually falls into the vary of the measurement tolerances—solely the 7700X,the weakest CPU within the check area, can profit considerably from the quicker RAM. Another sport by which all CPUs can register efficiency good points from quicker RAM is Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which scales properly with quicker RAM or a quicker CPU in response to our personal expertise.

Shop gaming RAM on Amazon

Across the seven video games on common, it may be seen that the weakest processor advantages essentially the most from greater RAM clock speeds. Just switching from 4800MHz to 6000MHz will increase the FPS by 11 p.c on common, and optimizing the latencies from CL40 to CL30 ends in an additional efficiency achieve of 9 to 12 p.c. With the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, the efficiency distinction between the quickest and slowest configuration is way more manageable at simply 7 to 11 p.c. Reason primary is that the CPU very often runs into the GPU restrict. Reason two is that the X3D processor has a considerably bigger L3 cache than, for instance, the 7700X and subsequently there are fewer accesses to the principle reminiscence.

The 13900K reveals the same image to the 7950X3D. By switching from DDR5-4800 CL40 to DDR5-6000 CL30, the FPS will increase on common by simply 8 to 9 p.c. The even quicker RAM with 7200MHz at CL32 can carry out one other 3 p.c, a distinction that’s measurable however probably not noticeable.

Just a few years in the past, we examined the same comparability with DDR4 RAM and, specifically, the affect of latencies. In the next desk we’ve listed all of the RAM speeds and latencies we examined:

RAM specification Latencies2666 MHz CL19-19-43~ 14.25 ns3000 MHz CL16-18-38~ 10.67 ns3000 MHz CL14-14-14-34~ 9.33 ns3200 MHz CL16-18-18-38~ 10.00 ns3200 MHz CL14-14-14-34~ 8.75 ns3600 MHz CL18-22-42~ 10.00 ns3600 MHz CL16-16-36~ 8.89 ns3800 MHz CL18-22-22-42~ 9.47 ns4000 MHz CL18-22-22-42~ 9.00 ns4000 MHz CL17-17-37~ 8.50 ns4266 MHz CL18-26-26-46~ 8.44 ns

Our assessments confirmed an virtually equivalent image. The instance of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey reveals that there are video games the place we rapidly run into the GPU restrict and subsequently solely profit barely from quicker RAM. Even with a RAM clock of 3000MHz at CL14, we have been capable of measure simply as many FPS with each check CPUs inside the measurement tolerances as with a RAM clock of 3600MHz and even 4000MHz.


F1 2019, however, is an instance the place it isn’t solely the RAM clock that issues, but additionally tight latencies. The Intel CPU specifically advantages considerably from optimized timings. With AMD, however, the drop in FPS values from 3800MHz is noticeable. From this RAM clock onwards, the RAM (actual clock), the reminiscence controller, and the Infinity Fabric now not work in a 1:1:1 ratio, however in a 2:1:1 ratio, which causes the efficiency to plummet.


Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one other instance of how quicker RAM brings better efficiency good points, predominantly within the decrease clock vary.


DDR4 vs. DDR5 reminiscence with Core i9-12900K

Whether you must go together with DDR4 or DDR5 RAM is simply related with the Intel processors of the twelfth and thirteenth Core technology. AMD doesn’t supply processors whose reminiscence controller helps each reminiscence varieties. We took the Core i9-12900K for instance for our check in 12 video games and examined it with completely different clock charges:

Sebastian Schenzinger

During the assessments within the CPU restrict, we have been capable of decide variations between DDR4 and DDR5 reminiscence, however they have been probably not massive. In the meantime, nevertheless, new DDR5 modules can be found, which supply considerably higher timings than when the brand new RAM commonplace was launched.

Shop gaming RAM on Amazon

How to search out the clock charges and alter them within the BIOS

Finding out the present RAM clock could be very simple with a present model of Windows 10 or Windows 11. To do that, open the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) and change to the Performance tab. With the window maximized and the RAM chosen, the speed may be simply learn. The variety of RAM modules put in and the variety of accessible slots are additionally seen. From this it may be concluded whether or not the RAM is working in twin channel or not.


If you need to activate an XMP or EXPO, this may be achieved rapidly within the BIOS. All it’s a must to do is activate the right reminiscence profile (see image beneath). Note: With AMD’s AM4 motherboards, the time period “D.O.C.P.” is frequent right here.

To do that, begin your PC and press both the F2 or Del key throughout startup to enter the BIOS. There you activate the XMP, which may be discovered underneath the Overclocking Settings. Sometimes it’s even potential that your principal reminiscence is supplied with a number of profiles—on this case, in fact, you’ve the selection. Then verify the adjustments you’ve made and restart the PC. In the duty supervisor you’ll be able to then verify whether or not the set clock is current. If you can’t choose XMP, EXPO, or D.O.C.P. within the BIOS, your RAM or motherboard doesn’t help this operate.

This article was translated from German to English and initially appeared on

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