Continuing with the series of posts of the best value components you can buy for your computer, this section is all about RAM. RAM is a component of the PC which is essential to performance and depending on a number of factors, the ideal amount of RAM can differ from person to person. RAM also has one wonderful quality, it is dirt cheap! This gives you little excuse for skimping on it but there is a point where you will be spending a significant amount of money for very little gain in performance.
For choosing the amount of RAM, there is a few things you need to consider. Firstly, the amount you need. Many computers you buy ship with 4GB of RAM standard and very few cheap computers will come with 2GB. Regardless of your budget, I recommend going with a minimum of 4GB of RAM but to ensure that your computer runs smoothly for many years to come, 8GB is probably going to be a better choice. I would also buy the minimum number of sticks of RAM you need to as this allows you to upgrade your computer in the future (so, instead of getting 4 2GB sticks, get 2 4GB sticks instead – this will often be cheaper). 2 4GB sticks is a good amount and can be bought for under $50 if you try to get the cheapest price.
Next, you need to look at the speed. Often this will not severely affect your computers performance but the goal here is to avoid bottlenecks. The latest processors all work fine with 1066 or 1333MHz DDR3. Faster memory than this will be useless for most people. Where it will come in handy is for overclockers since as you overclock your CPU, the FSB speed increases meaning you need faster memory to stop bottlenecks from occurring and negating the performance benefit of overclocking.
Taking all this into consideration, at the moment it looks like the best value RAM for everyday use is the Kingston Valueram 8GB (2×4 GB)Kit 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM Desktop Memory KVR1333D3N9K2/8G. At the time of writing it costs $48 which is essentially the cheapest you can get this type of RAM. Kingston is also a well known brand with good quality products so despite its low price, the RAM should be top notch.
If you have an old computer which only supports DDR2 or DDR then you may have a harder time locating RAM. On top of this it will be quite expensive due to a lower supply. 1GB of Kingston DDR RAM will cost the same amount as 8GB of DDR3 RAM. If your computer is this old, you may want to consider upgrading it as it will be cheaper in the long run rather than replacing parts with legacy hardware which is difficult to find and technologically inferior for a premium price.
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