(Pocket-lint) – If you’re on the cutting edge of PC gaming or building, DDR5 RAM is a must.
With Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs, the company rolled out support for the latest generation of RAM for both laptops and traditional desktop machines.
DDR5 RAM is different from DDR4 in several ways. For a start, it’s not interchangeable as its design is different, meaning DDR5 won’t fit in DDR4 slots and vice versa. The RAM timings and speeds are also significantly different, so it’s worth keeping that in mind.
In this guide, we’re rounding up the best DDR5 RAM we’ve tested. We’ve been running these DDR5 RAM options in our machines for day-to-day use, gaming, video editing and much more besides. So we’re able to recommend the best DDR5 RAM to buy based on that experience.
What is the best DDR5 RAM? We currently recommend the Kingston Fury Beast DDR5 6000Mhz as our top choice. Other DDR5 RAM options we’ve tried and recommend checking out include Corsair Vengeance DDR5 32GB 5200MHz, Crucial DDR5 16GB 3200MHz and XPG Lancer RGB DDR5 5200MHz 32G (2x16GB).
Our Top Pick: Best DDR5 RAM
Kingston Fury Beast DDR5 32GB 6000Mhz
- Great looking RAM with subtle but solid design
- Fast and reliable
- Reasonably low profile
Kingston Fury Beast lives up to its name. This is great looking DDR5 RAM with some nice specs.
This RAM rocks 6,000Mhz speed in a 32GB package. Though the timings might not be as fast as DDR4 RAM (it’s CL40-40-40) it’s still able to deliver the goods. And with a speed rating that’s almost double that of most DDR4 sticks, it’s pretty nifty.
We ran this RAM through its paces with Memtest86 and also with day-to-day use. We’ve been video editing, photo tweaking, gaming and more with this RAM and found it solid, reliable and problem-free.
Alas, there’s no RGB lighting here, but it is low profile and sits nicely underneath the air tower coolers.
DDR5 RAM we also recommend
There are a number of other RAM offerings worth looking at that we’ve tested – here are all the details.
Corsair Vengeance DDR5 32GB 5200MHz
- Fast and reliable
- Classic Corsair design
- Lower timings than others
Corsair Vengeance RAM is synonymous with quality and performance, in our experience, and the company’s DDR5 offering is no different.
Though on paper it’s not the fastest RAM available, it’s still impressive with 5200MHz and lower timings than some other kits (CL38).
Again, we used this RAM for a range of intensive tasks, as well as gaming, and found it performed really well.
It might not be quite as fancy looking as Corsair Dominator RGB RAM, but it’s still a great addition to any modern PC build.
Crucial DDR5 16GB 4800MHz
- Uncluttered and low profile
- Not inspiring design wise
- Not the fastest option
If you don’t need masses of capacity, but still want a fast kit that delivers the goods then this Crucial offering might be worth a look.
It’s not the fanciest looking RAM, in fact it’s fairly basic looking, but the performance is great. We didn’t find any issues with benchmarking and memory testing and it performed well, even at 16GB.
4800 MHz is faster than many DDR4 kits, so it’s a good upgrade. This RAM is also low profile and thin too, so it doesn’t get in the way.
XPG Lancer RGB
- RGB lighting
- Solid build quality
- Intel XMP 3 compatible
If you want some RAM that ticks multiple boxes – fast, solidly built and good liking too, then the XPG Lancer RGB RAM may be a good option.
This is a 5,200MHz kit with 32GB capacity. It stands out from other RAM we’ve tested with its RGB lighting. That RGB is also compatible with various motherboard lighting software including Asus Arua Sync, MSI Mystic Light, ASRock RGB LED and more. So it’s a perfect fit for any RGB-rich gaming system.
It’s XMP compatible so you can get full speeds out of it too.
How to choose the best DDR5 RAM for your system
When selecting the right DDR5 RAM for your system, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to ensure your motherboard is compatible. Older motherboards won’t support DDR5 as it has a different design, which means there are pins in different places, so you can’t install it.
Older Intel and AMD motherboards won’t be compatible, and, at the moment, only Intel 12th generation motherboards (LGA 1700 socket) will work. Some of those new motherboards are also designed to run DDR4 RAM and not DDR5, so be sure to check the specs before you buy.
What you need to know
If you’re building a PC from scratch, then the first thing to do is check what your chosen motherboard can support. Most modern motherboards have a dual-channel memory format.
Dual-channel simply means two sticks of RAM work in pairs on the motherboard. You’ll need at least two sticks of RAM minimum, but you could fill all four slots for more memory if you need it.
How much do you need?
There are a few different things about RAM that impact performance – size, speed and frequency. The amount of RAM you need will depend on what you’re planning to use it for.
If you’re taking on RAM-hungry tasks like video editing, 3D modeling, rendering and such, then you’ll likely want a large amount of RAM, and would see more benefit from having 32GB or 64GB.
Meanwhile, for gaming and fast tasks, you’ll want faster frequency.
What is RAM frequency?
RAM’s frequency is measured in MHz. Generally, the faster the better. DDR5 RAM has a large range of frequency possibilities and is generally much faster than DDR4. You’ll see we’ve tested kits with five and six thousand MHz, but there are even faster models available with as much as 8,000MHz.
As with size, you need to check to see what your motherboard can handle. Most motherboards have both maximum and minimum MHz speeds they can handle.
Some gaming motherboards can handle a maximum frequency of 64000MHz but not more and not less than 4000MHz either. You need to ensure you buy RAM that fits in the right category.
This might all sound complicated, but you just need to ensure you have the right architecture (channel, MHz, type and size) and it will work.
What about RAM timings?
Another thing to look out for is memory timings. These appear in numbers like 15-16-16-35. The lower the first three numbers the better.
At the moment, DDR5 RAM has higher timings than DDR4. It’s early days in terms of the architecture of DDR5, so these timings may drop in future. But many of the kits we’ve tried have higher timings (CL40 for example).
If you’re upgrading, it’s also important to ensure that any new sticks of RAM you buy match not only in size and MHz but also in this timing frequency logic. You can find out more about RAM timings broken down in a logical way here.
If you can, getting fast MHz, large capacity and good (low) timings is a real winning formula, but you will pay a premium.
More about this story
There are a number of factors we consider when looking at recommending products, and the DDR5 RAM in this list has been thoroughly tried and tested in real-life situations.
We’ve installed it in different motherboards and used it for both day-to-day working, video editing, gaming, surfing and other activities. We’ve also benchmarked it and tested it with tools like Memtest86 to ensure there are no issues.
We’ve poked and prodded this RAM to ensure the best results possible and that it functions as it should. Please be sure to check what RAM is compatible with your system before purchasing, though.
As with any roundup, it’s not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider pocket-lint team – as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above – in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each charging station is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.
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Writing by Adrian Willings.