Last week you voted overwhelmingly in favour of the AMD Ryzen 1500X CPU to be included in the GD Build 2017. It’s out April 11 priced at $189, which is just a shade higher than the $180 we’d budgeted for it. It’s also left us in a fairly tricky predicament regarding system memory, as AMD Ryzen-compatible motherboards support DDR4 memory exclusively. There’s some cheap DDR3 RAM available these days, and going for DDR4 is going to drive the cost up a little.

Component GD Choice Proportionate Spend Budget Allocation Actual Spend
Graphics Card   26% $260 TBA
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 18% $180 $189
Monitor   18% $180 TBA
Motherboard   9% $90 TBA
RAM    8% $80 TBA
PSU   8% $80 TBA
Storage   8% $80 TBA
Case   5% $50 TBA
Total   100% $1000 $189

What RAM is the Best Value for Money 2017

In terms of the allocation of the funds for the PC Build 2017, we’ve got in the ballpark of $80 to spend on RAM, give or take. This gives us a choice - either we stay within our means and pick up 8GB RAM, or we blow the budget open a little and opt for 16GB. If we do the latter this means we’re going to have to cut costs later in the PC Build Guide 2017. Decisions, decisions, but this is what buying a PC with a specific budget is all about.

GD Build Guide 2017 RAM Options

We've got a mix of different choices here, ranging from $55 all the way up to $120. There's both 8GB and 16GB choices, as well as faster/slower clock speeds and single/multi module to consider.

Remember our targeted budget is $80, so if we splash the cash here it may mean cheaping out on another component further down the line. 

All you need to do is vote in the poll at the bottom of the page and let us know which RAM configuration you would put in a $1000 build!

What is RAM?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory, a form of super fast memory which can be accessed by your computer at any point. It basically acts as the go-between of your hard drive (or SSD) and your CPU. Data is pulled from the hard drive and stored on their temporarily for high-speed access. More demanding applications need to access a greater amount of RAM to run efficiently. Having lots of RAM also means you can run more applications simultaneously, such as a game, your web browser, and streaming software.

Should you run low on available RAM your system will effectively grind to a halt. In this respect, RAM has little impact on your gaming performance. You either have enough and the game runs fine, or you have too little and it majorly slows down or just closes the application completely.

In 2017 a new gaming PC build should probably have at least 8GB RAM. Some modern AAA titles also recommend 16GB RAM.

When looking to buy RAM there’s a few basic things to look out for. Firstly, make sure it’s compatible with your motherboard. Just check the motherboard specs online and see whether it’s DDR3 or DDR4 compliant.

Secondly, laptop memory and desktop RAM have different form factors. You can usually tell the difference between laptop and desktop RAM by sight. Laptop RAM is much squatter, while desktop RAM is long and thin.

Lastly, look out for the RAM speed. Aside from the capacity, this is the key differentiator in terms of performance. The higher the memory speed, the faster it performs. In our case with this build, the speed of DDR4 memory can vary from just 800 MHz all the way up to 4266 MHz. Anything from about 1866 MHz upwards should be absolutely fine for performance however.

As for how much memory you need, that is a matter of some debate. Our community poll of GD members last year showed an overwhelming majority opting for 16GB, but a decent proportion were still happy with 8GB. In truth games which use more than 8GB are still extremely rare. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are the only two instances I can personally think of. This caused the game to crash.

The great thing about RAM is that it’s basically the simplest thing you can upgrade in your PC. If you choose to buy an 8GB stick of RAM now and you find it’s not enough a little further down the line, you can just buy another 8GB when you’ve got enough cash and bam, 16GB RAM.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the price of RAM is constantly in a state of flux, showing a general trend upwards over the last 12 months. This is due to rising demand from mobile phone manufacturers. It means the price of any given RAM bundle can change from day to day, so it’s worth a bit of time using something like an Amazon Price tracker to see its historical value and know if you’re getting a good buy.

How To Install System RAM

Upgrading your RAM is probably the simplest of all PC upgrades, and also fairly inexpensive. All you need to do is clip the RAM, contacts-side down, into the available DIMM slots on your motherboard. Just line up the pins and gently push it in. You should hear a clicking sound when it’s slotted in properly.

To remove your old RAM, just push down the clamping mechanisms which can usually be found at the end of the DIMM slots. This will unseat the RAM and let you just pull it straight out.
It really is just that simple, but we also have a slightly more detailed Hardware Guide on How to Upgrade Your RAM if you want a little more info. The article itself is a few years old now but the exact same principles still apply.

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 1 - How Much Should You Spend on A Gaming PC

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 2 - Which CPU is the Best Value for Money

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 3 - How Much RAM do you Need for Gaming

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 4 - Is It Better To Buy an SSD or Hard Drive for PC Storage

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 5 - Picking the Right Motherboard

PC Build Guide 2017 Part 6 - Getting the Correctly Sized Case

Poll closed: 17:00 Apr-05-2017