OK, memory. It’s probably the most convoluted piece of a computer. Sure, it’s a simple enough concept. RAM is used as a temporary memory bank to store information from actively used software. It’s important to have a lot when you are playing hardcore games or doing some heavy duty processing work with audio/video, imaging, or drafting, etc.
It’s been a while since I have purchased computer parts, so I had to do some research. After hours and hours of trying to come up with a straight answer, I couldn’t find one. How much RAM do I need? I don’t have a friggin’ clue. I’d say that a safe bet is 8GB if you’re standard user of the computer (meaning internet, music, office software, and light photo editing). If you’re planning on gaming, I’d go with 16GB. If you’re a professional and use Adobe software, video editing, or any other heavy duty computing, I’d go with 32GB or higher.
Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR3 1866 MHz
The motherboard I bought supports up to 32GB DDR3 1866 MHz of RAM, so I went with the Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1866 MHz (PC3 15000) Desktop Memory (CMZ16GX3M2A1866C9). I bought it as a 2 x 8 set so I could have two open slots for 2 extra DIMMs if needed for any future upgrades. 16GB should be more than enough for my computing needs and should help me multi-task more smoothly.
Anyways, if you’re out in the market for some RAM, here are some things to consider. Make sure you know the maximum amount of RAM your motherboard can accommodate. You also have to consider what your processor can handle, as well as your operating system. 32 bit versions of Windows will only recognize 4GB of RAM (really only 3.5). You’ll have to get a 64 bit version of Windows if you want to use more than that.
The second thing to consider is speed. The Asus Sabertooth Z87 can handle (up to) 1866 MHz DIMMs, so that’s what I got. Don’t buy a speed that is faster than what your motherboard can handle, because it will get bottle-necked anyway. Further, when you first install new RAM, you have to go into BIOS to make sure they are set at the right speed. Sometimes they default to a lower speed. I’ve heard the Corsair Vengeance sticks I bought default to 1600 MHz.
Third, if your motherboard is fairly new and expected to last several years (if not longer), try not to fill up all of your slots available in case you need to get more RAM in the future. For example, my motherboard has 4 open slots for RAM. You should use matched pairs, as your system can only operate as fast as its slowest part.
Lastly, CAS latency. I can’t even remember what CAS means or stands for, but it basically represents the amount of lag or responsiveness of your RAM. The lower the number, the better. More expensive RAM won’t necessarily get you a lower CAS latency level. Get the lowest you can, but if there is a price/performance comparison – a few numbers off won’t matter for most users. Most people who worry about CAS latency are overclockers. If that’s not you, don’t worry about it so much.
|1||Corsair Obsidian 550D||$124.99|
|2||Asus Sabertooth Z87||$209.99|
|2||Corsair Hydro Series H60||$54.99|
|3||Corsair HX750 Power Supply||$84.99|
|4||Intel Core i7-4770||$294.99|
|4||Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1866 MHz||$144.89|