Best RAM for Intel Core i5-12600K in 2021
Intel's new 12th Gen "Alder Lake" processor lineup includes the outstanding Core i5-12600K. It's a mid-range option that should appeal to just about anyone, including gamers who want stellar performance without overspending. Because these new CPUs offer DDR5 support alongside DDR4 support, the best RAM for the Core i5-12600K is going to be split across the two standards. And since the best DDR5 RAM is currently about as easy to find as the best graphics cards, your best bet might be to go with DDR4 for now until DDR5 becomes more common. Nevertheless, we've put together a collection of the best DDR4 and DDR5 RAM options for the i5-12600K.
Best DDR4 RAM
Corsair's Vengeance DDR4 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.
Upgrade to DDR5
GeIL's Polaris RGB Sync DDR5 RAM was some of the first to hit the market, and it impressed us with its clean look, RGB highlights, and huge performance improvements over DDR4. This kit has dual 16GB DDR5-4800MHz sticks for 32GB total, and it comes with a lifetime warranty to protect your investment. Be sure your motherboard supports DDR5 RAM before buying.
Fancy DDR4 RAM
G.SKILL makes some undeniably beautiful RAM, complete with RGB lighting and metal heatspreader. This particular DDR4 kit includes two 8GB sticks for 16GB total. It brings DDR4-3600MHz speeds and CL18 latency for excellent performance on top of the good looks. Be sure your motherboard supports DDR4 RAM before buying.
Speedy DDR5 RAM
Care less about extra RGB lighting and just want some reliable DDR5 RAM to match the black interior of your PC case? XPG's kit includes two 16GB sticks for 32GB total. It has DDR5-5200MHz speeds and CL38 latency for excellent next-gen performance, and it's priced competitively. Be sure your motherboard supports DDR5 before buying.
Best value DDR4
This kit includes dual 8GB DDR4-3200 sticks with XMP profile for overclocking. It's super affordable and it looks great thanks to a red metal heat-spreader along the top. If you're looking to build on the cheap, this is a great way to go.
Vengeance in DDR5
Corsair's Vengeance RAM is some of the most popular out there, and it's now available in DDR5. This kit has two 16GB sticks for 32GB total of DDR5-5200MHz with CL38 timing. Its black shroud is perfect for anyone who prefers to not have their PC light up like a beacon, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. Be sure your PC supports DDR5 before buying.
Building around the Intel Core i5-12600K CPU
Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Intel's 12th Gen Alder Lake Core CPUs feature a new hybrid core design, which also comes along with a new LGA 1700 socket. That means your older motherboards will not work with the CPU, requiring a more substantial overhaul for anyone going the upgrade route. Whether you're building completely new or upgrading, be sure to check out the best motherboards for the Core i5-12600K.
Depending on the motherboard you choose, you'll need to use either DDR4 or DDR5 RAM. Because the latter RAM is so hard to find right now, DDR4 might be the smartest choice despite the disparity between performance. DDR4 RAM is also considerably cheaper, making it the best option for budget builds. Note that DDR4 and DDR5 RAM is not interchangeable, and a motherboard compatible with one will not be compatible with the other.
If you'd like to hold out and try to find DDR5 stock, we recommend checking out GEiL's Polaris RGB RAM once it's back in stock. It has RGB lighting, it's incredibly fast, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. For those looking to stick with DDR4 RAM and save some money, Corsair's Vengeance LPX is never a bad choice. It's fairly cheap, it performs well, and it's readily available.
Windows Central Newsletter
Get the best of Windows Central in your inbox, every day!
Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.