Popular myths about random access memory (RAM)

What memory frequency is needed for games, what gives dual-channel mode, why overclock RAM and more

In one of the previous materials, we talked about the myths that hover around motherboards. Most gamers think of it as just a large chip inside the system unit, into which everything else is inserted. We hope that our text helped you understand this topic better. Well, this time we will try to dispel popular myths about RAM. Interestingly, many of them turned out to be not entirely myths.

Myth number 1. The more RAM, the faster the computer runs

For Adobe After Effects, experts recommend at least 32 GB of RAM

Any memory (not only RAM) is never too much, but it does not make the computer faster. Rather, a large amount of RAM removes some of the restrictions on data transfer. For example, the latest versions of many professional applications have learned to work with projects that are gigantic in terms of content and complexity. However, many objects in Adobe After Effects or dozens of tracks in Adobe Premier will require much more RAM than the standard 16GB. And already by 32 there will be noticeably fewer lags during work, and the project will begin to be displayed faster.

As for games, 32 gigabytes is still more than enough for most new products. But 16 in 4K resolution is sometimes not enough.

Myth number 2. No need for dual channel RAM

For many years, games have been sharpened for operation in dual-channel RAM mode, and in single-channel mode, the processor has a noticeably higher load and the number of FPS decreases by 20-30% (and if the processor is weak, then even stronger). The difference in undemanding online projects may be less, but most modern open-world games perform better the higher the memory bandwidth. The most striking example is the latest releases of Assassin’s Creed .

Myth number 3. For dual-channel RAM mode, two absolutely identical memory strips are needed

This myth dates back to the days of DDR2. Then the two-channel mode really started up only on the most similar memory strips. But already in the 3rd generation DDR module compatibility has improved. Now, even if you put bars with different frequencies and from different manufacturers together, the dual-channel mode will still be activated, and the bandwidth will increase significantly. They will simply work at the lowest of the two frequencies (but you can try to overclock the “lower” module).

Myth number 4. Four sticks of “RAM” work faster than two

More than 2 memory channels are supported only by server and professional processors like Ryzen Threadripper or Core X. For them, motherboards also release separate ones, which are not suitable for the socket for mass processor models. Therefore, even 4 RAM slots are often enough in abundance. And at once everything in the home PC is usually occupied only for beauty.

Myth number 5. Overclocking RAM does not give a performance boost in games

Open world games are especially bandwidth-hungry

Increasing the frequencies of memory modules also increases its bandwidth. For many games, the default “factory” DDR4 values ​​may be sufficient, but there are also many that like fast “RAM”. And if you are still using DDR3, then overclocking RAM for new products is simply necessary for you.

Also note that when you increase the frequency of the RAM (for example, from 2400 MHz to 3200 MHz), you usually have to increase the timings to restore stability (for example, from 15-15-15-35 to 18-18-18-38). But ideally, both the frequency should be high and the timings as low as possible. Otherwise, overclocking will be ineffective. Therefore, sometimes it is better to lower the frequency a little so that you do not have to raise the timings too much.

Myth number 6. You can burn the RAM by overclocking

It is possible if the voltage is set too high. For example, for DDR4, the standard voltage is 1.2, and the maximum safe voltage is 1.35. As for a simple increase in frequency without voltage regulation, then this method of overclocking is not for nothing called safe. If voltage is a hardware physical characteristic, then the frequency is only software. It is impossible to damage the RAM chip (and even the video card) by simply increasing its frequency. Even if the computer stops turning on, you just need to reset the BIOS settings by removing the battery from the motherboard. And then try to set the frequency lower (or higher timings).

Myth number 7. Radiators on the “RAM” strips (not needed)

Even the “gaming” RAM for laptops does not have heatsinks (stickers only)

Some believe that RAM heatsinks are not needed (and they are installed only for beauty), while others claim that they help it avoid overheating during overclocking. In our opinion, it would be wrong to declare that radiators are not needed at all or that one cannot do without them. In compact cases and on motherboards with a weak power system, system components can get noticeably hotter (especially if they are overclocked). Therefore, radiators will not be superfluous in such cases. But on the other hand, even in the most expensive gaming laptops with high-frequency memory, the bars of this memory are always without heatsinks. And so far no one has complained about overheating.

Myth number 8. Intel processors don’t need high RAM frequency

Indeed, AMD processors are much more dependent on the speed of RAM. However, this applies more to budget models and the middle class. Top solutions from Intel, such as Core i7 / i9, often lack the standard bandwidths of the DDR4-2400 level. Just watch the video tests attached above.

Myth number 9. 64-bit Windows has no limits on the amount of RAM (or they are gigantic)

Illustrations from the official Microsoft website

Illustrations from the official Microsoft website

Illustrations from the official Microsoft website

Illustrations from the official Microsoft website

Illustrations from the official Microsoft website

This judgment is erroneous, because it is derived from the formula for 32-bit operating systems. If 2 to the 32nd power will be 4,294,967,296 bytes, which equals 4 gigabytes, then 2 to the 64th power will be … 18,446,744,073 709,551,616 bytes! And that’s 18 exabytes, or about 18 million terabytes!

In fact, operating systems have their limits on memory addressing and 18 million terabytes is a bit too much for them. For example, even in professional versions of Windows 10 for business or server, the maximum amount of addressable memory is 6 terabytes. And in home Home and Pro: 128 gigabytes and 2 terabytes, respectively.

Nevertheless, the 64-bit bitness of modern operating systems should allow to increase the limits even further in the future, if necessary.

Myth number 10. The more expensive the RAM, the more reliable it is

There are only three manufacturers of memory chips: Samsung, Micron and Hynix. All other brands use their products to create their planks. You might think that a lot also depends on the quality of printed circuit boards, but circuitry is far from the category of production in which there are opportunities for hack-work. Modern electronics is created using nanotechnology and either works for many years and decades, or breaks down immediately if the copy turns out to be defective.

Let’s add that according to the statement of some manufacturers, selected memory chips are used for premium lines like TridentZ Royal, which guarantees a higher overclocking potential. However, the difference in price for such modules is usually noticeably higher than the difference in maximum frequency with “regular” modules.

Most PC users have very limited experience with parts. Some are slightly larger, but still insufficient. And still others focus only on brands or popular models. Lack of proven knowledge gives rise to a huge number of myths around computers, their components and peripherals. Therefore, we will continue to return to this topic in new releases.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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