Thermaltake RAMSource: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

Best DDR4 RAM for Your PC Windows Central 2020

DDR4 RAM is what's used by your desktop PC to store program and game data for the CPU and other components to access it quickly. Having speedy RAM will make your PC feel faster to use, so we rounded up some of the best kits available today.

Best Overall: Corsair Vengeance LPX

Corsair Vengeance RAMSource: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

Corsair's Vengeance LPX series offers a compact solution for high-performance RAM. While it's not the fastest modules on the market, the kits offer incredible value for new and existing PC builds. They're also capable of overclocking with XMP 2.0, thanks to the aluminum heat spreaders.

The support list is extensive, too, allowing you to throw these modules on older Intel 100 series or AMD 300 series motherboards. We're highlighting the 3200MHz kit, which comes with a base clock of 2133MHz, but it's easy to bump it to 3200MHz with but a simple change in the motherboard BIOS.

The only real downside is the lack of overclocking past its XMP configured boost. So the 3200MHz kit we highlight won't go much further than that without system instability. Still, for most builds (including small form factor cases), this kit is more than enough for work, play, and enthusiasts.

Pros:

  • Aluminum design
  • Multi-layer PCB
  • Effective heat spreaders
  • XMP profiles
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Can't boost beyond XMP profile

Best Overall

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz C16

The best DDR4 RAM

Corsair's Vengeance RAM is trusted by countless PC owners for a good reason; it's incredibly reliable. Not only is it reasonably quick, but also budget-friendly, allowing you to up your capacity without breaking the bank.

Best Design: G.SKILL Trident Z Royal

G.SKILL Trident Z Royal RAMSource: G.SKILL

These are probably the best-looking RAM kits on the market, depending on your personal preferences, of course. For me, they're gorgeous. The all-metallic design for the heat spreaders, alongside the crystalized RGB lighting effect for the top, make the G.SKILL Trident Z Royal RAM incredibly satisfying to look at when active.

As well as the good looks, these RAM modules also perform admirably in-game and during intense workloads. With support for XMP 2.0, it's easy to bump the standard speed to what's stated by G.SKILL, but you may even be able to get a little more out of the RAM beyond that.

What may put you off the Trident Z Royal is the price, which is considerably more than other RAM like the Corsair Vengeance. There's also the fact these modules are a little bulky, making it more critical for you to cross-check clearance for your favorite CPU cooler.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous design
  • Rapid performance
  • Stunning RGB lighting
  • XMP profiles

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Rather bulky

Best Design

G.SKILL Trident Z Royal 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 3200MHz C16

When you want some gorgeous RAM

G.SKILL makes some killer-looking hardware, and the Trident Z Royal series is arguably one of the best looking RAM kits around. There's RGB lighting, as well as a stunning metallic and crystalized design.

Best Value: Patriot Viper 4

Patriot Viper 4Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

Patriot's Viper 4 may be around $10 more affordable than Corsair's Vengeance series RAM, but it's only just slightly slower. If you're on a tighter budget, this is an excellent example of some solid, reliable RAM without spending too much, freeing up some additional funds for a better CPU or GPU.

The design isn't anything to shout about, but that's not the point of the Viper 4 kit. It's designed to get the job done without any thrills. It's also not quite as fast as the G.SKILL and Corsair recommendations out-the-box.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great value
  • XMP profiles

Cons:

  • Lackluster design
  • Not quite as fast

Best Value

Patriot Viper 4 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz C17

When on a tighter budget

If you don't have unlimited funds for Trident Z Royal RAM, you should look at the Viper 4 series from Patriot. It's affordable, relatively fast, and reliable.

Best Cooling: Thermaltake WaterRam RGB

Thermaltake took its RAM and decided that simple metal heat spreaders simply would not do. Thus here we are with RGB and water-cooled RAM. You read that correctly; you can now water cool your RAM. What this allows you to do is take your custom water-cooling loop and add your RAM to the mix.

This should provide additional headroom to the RAM modules, allowing you to overclock them a little higher, as well as enjoy lower operating temperatures. But Thermaltake isn't all about looks, however. There's XMP profile support and dependable performance all-round.

The one bad part about the Thermaltake WaterRam RGB kits is the price. For a 16GB kit, you'll be expected to part with considerable levels of cash. But if you're all about looks, this is one killer RAM solution. Just make sure your motherboard has a 5V RGB header.

Pros:

  • Water-cooling compatibility
  • Smart RGB lighting
  • Solid design
  • XMP profiles
  • Good performance

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Requires 5V RGB header

Best Cooling

Thermaltake WaterRam RGB 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz C16

Power of water

Thermaltake wasn't content with making normal-looking RAM with typical heatsinks for heat dissipation. Instead, the company came up with RAM that can be hooked up to your custom water-cooling loop.

Bottom line

When looking around for DDR4 RAM for your desktop PC, it's important to keep in mind clock speeds, latency numbers, required voltage, the design, price, and whether it's compatible with your motherboard and processor. Most modern boards and CPUs will support clock speeds of 3200MHz and beyond, though it's worth double-checking.

Our recommendation goes to the Corsair Vengeance LPX. It's fast enough for modern computing, doesn't cost a whole lot compared to the competition, and comes wrapped up in a sleek aluminum package. Plenty of kit sizes are available too, ranging from 4GB all the way up to 128GB.

But should you want your PC to look high-end and unique, no other RAM will do but G.SKILL's Trident Z Royal. It's fast, reliable, and looks really good. The only drawback is the high asking price.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Rich Edmonds is a word conjurer and editor at Windows Central, covering everything related to Windows, gaming, and hardware. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

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