Building a new PC will have you going through different brands and manufacturers for each PC component, from the CPU to the GPU to the RAM itself.
But you’re thinking: why would I even bother going for branded RAM modules? Shouldn’t I just be concerned with the speed and specs?
Believe it or not, there’s a significant difference between using branded RAM and non-branded one. And we’ll tell you more about it in this article.
Does RAM Brand Matter?
Let me answer this question with another question: would you settle for non-branded shoes if you’re more concerned about quality and durability?
RAM brand matters in the same way that you’d want to go for buying branded electronics or any other item. Quality is always your #1 priority when you want to go for the top-tier RAM brands.
Should You Mix Two Different RAM Manufacturers In One PC?
Does RAM brand matter if you want to mix two different RAM modules of the same specs? That’s another question worth asking. And we’ll have different answers for that.
- You could mix different RAM modules from different brands so as long as they share the same specs.
- You can’t mix RAM modules with different RAM specifications, even if they come from the same brand. For example, you can’t get a DDR4 RAM to work together with a DDR3 RAM. Your PC will run whatever is the slowest RAM stick installed while downgrading the faster one to match the speed.
On the first point, there’s nothing incoherently wrong with mixing different brands of RAM so as long as they share the same specifications. But it’s not exactly recommended either. The minute differences in how they were manufactured could make or break their performance altogether.
If you want to use different RAM brands, you’ll need to make sure that the two different RAMs have the same specifications listed:
- RAM type or generation
- Voltage requirements
- RAM speeds
- CAS latency
- Motherboard compatibility
If quality assurance is what you need, then just buy the same RAM sticks coming from the same brand. The RAM market is relatively bigger compared to CPU and GPUs. The latter will have only two brands fighting for supremacy, but RAMs have different manufacturers that are going toe-to-toe at any given time.
Having said that…
Can you mix RAM brands? Yes, so as long as they share the same specifications. But if you want to cut the guesswork, then just buy the same brand.
Will Any Brand of RAM Work With Your PC?
Does RAM brand matter when you’re building your first PC? Well, the more correct question should be: does RAM brand matter when it comes to matching your motherboard?
RAM brand doesn’t really play a lot when it comes to compatibility. What you do need to be on the lookout for is the type of RAM you’re using.
Much like RAM, motherboards have different manufacturers. Your compatibility issue will depend on how recent the motherboard is. For example, older motherboards can handle DDR3 RAM modules, but not DDR4 modules. If you’re upgrading from a DDR3 to a DDR4 but your motherboard can’t handle the latter, you’re going to need to buy a new motherboard.
Can You Use DDR4 and DDR5 RAM Modules Together?
Motherboards are designed to handle only one type of RAM altogether. If your motherboard can handle a DDR5, then just install a DDR5 RAM. Chances are, if a motherboard supports the latest RAM generation, then it can support the previous generations. But it’s not recommended.
Running a DDR4 and DDR5 at the same time is just not possible. They’re both different physically and internally.
What Are The Best Brands In The RAM Market?
The RAM market share is divided amongst brands such as Corsair, Kingston, Patriot, and G.Skill. These are the most popular brands of RAM right now, and they’re individually known for their quality, price, speed, and more.
But let’s go over them one by one…
Corsair is a brand name that needs no introduction. They’re known for their high quality peripherals and components, including their RAM. Corsair is one of the best RAM brands out there and is one of a few brands that’s preferred by a lot of PC builders.
And as you can see from the image above, they appeal mostly to builders and gamers alike. You also get a decent lifetime warranty for their RAM and other components, so you feel safe knowing that you’re getting a high end RAM with the best quality control possible.
Much like Corsair, Kingston is known for their excellent computer components. The quality of their RAM modules, storage devices, headsets, microphones, and other peripherals are excellent. Most users can testify to how great they make their products.
And on a personal note, I am using a Kingston HyperX Fury RAM and HyperX Quadcast Microphone. It comes with good warranty from the store and manufacturer warranty as well.
If you want a high end RAM without paying top dollar, then you can always go for G.Skill RAM modules. Much like Corsair, G.Skill is a fan favorite amongst builders, especially those who like to add RGB to their builds.
It’s one of the top brands on this list solely because they make RAM kits of all sizes and speed, so they’re sure to cater to whatever floats your boat. They’re affordable enough that you don’t have to spend a lot of money without worrying about quality control.
And speaking of quality control, G.Skill RAMs are covered by limited warranties, and while that’s not a lifetime compared to what Corsair has to offer, they do their best to make sure you get the best RAM stick possible.
Like G.Skill, Patriot is one of the well known brands of RAM with excellent quality and customer servicer. Lifetime warranty is limited, but that’s a non-issue at this point.
Patriot brings to the market their high-performance, low-cost RAM modules that’s capable of giving the three companies above a run for their money.
What Are You Looking For When Buying RAM?
If you’re planning to buy RAM from the companies above or from other brands, you need to know a few things about what to look for. You don’t want to end up with slower RAM sticks, or worse, RAM sticks that are not compatible with your motherboard.
Remember, you only need to know two important units of measurement: GB or Gigabyte for RAM Size and MHz for RAM Speed.
If you’re in the market for new RAM sticks, then size is the first thing you need to keep an eye out for.
Most people think that it’s difficult to determine how much RAM you need, but it isn’t. The current standard for office PCs is somewhere between 8GB and 16 GB. For gaming, 16GB is the bare minimum and 32GB if you want to push the envelope further.
People who do video editing and other forms of heavy workload will require at least 32GB to cover some of their applications used.
RAM speed is measured by the number of commands it handles in a second. The unit of measurement is called Megahertz or MHz, or millions of transfers per second (MT/s). The higher the number, the faster the CPU transfers data to and from the RAM per second.
Higher frequencies are ideal, but only if your motherboard and CPU can handle it. Your CPU can only handle a finite number of commands per second, so there’s no point in buying a RAM that goes past your CPU’s capacity.