If you’re on the cutting edge of PC gaming or building, DDR5 RAM is a must.
With Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs, the company rolled out support for the latest generation of RAM for both laptops and traditional desktop machines. AMD has followed suit with AM5 motherboards as well.
DDR5 RAM is different from DDR4 RAM in several ways. For a start, it’s not interchangeable as its design is different, meaning DDR5 won’t fit in DDR4 slots and vice versa. The RAM timings and speeds are also significantly different, so it’s worth keeping that in mind too.
In this guide, we’re rounding up the best DDR5 RAM we’ve tested. We’ve been running these DDR5 RAM options in our machines for day-to-day use, gaming, video editing and much more besides. So we’re able to recommend the best DDR5 RAM to buy based on that experience.
Our Top Pick: Best DDR5 RAM
Kingston Fury Beast DDR5 32GB 6000Mhz
1. Best DDR5 RAM overall
$135.35 $219.99 Save $84.64
Kingston Fury Beast lives up to its name with a solid kit that delivers great performance.
- Great looking RAM with subtle but solid design
- Fast and reliable
- Reasonably low profile
Kingston Fury Beast lives up to its name. This is great-looking DDR5 RAM with some nice specs.
This RAM rocks 6,000Mhz speed in a 32GB package. Though the timings might not be as fast as DDR4 RAM (it’s CL40-40-40) it’s still able to deliver the goods. And with a speed rating that’s almost double that of most DDR4 sticks, it’s pretty nifty.
We ran this RAM through its paces with Memtest86 and also with day-to-day use. We’ve been video editing, photo tweaking, gaming and more with this RAM and found it solid, reliable and problem-free.
Alas, there’s no RGB lighting here, but it is low profile and sits nicely underneath air tower coolers.
Crucial RAM 32GB Kit
2. Runner Up
Excellent low-profile DDR5 option
$75 $98 Save $23
If you’re not fussed about looks but want something reliable and fast, this Crucial RAM is a great option.
- Uncluttered and low profile
- Fast and reliable
- Affordable option
- Not as swish as other options
If you don’t need masses of capacity but still want a fast kit that delivers the goods then this Crucial offering might be worth a look.
It’s not the fanciest RAM visually, in fact, it’s fairly basic looking, but the performance is great for the price.
We didn’t find any issues with benchmarking and memory testing and it performed well.
The advantage here is not only the affordability of this RAM but also its design. The low-profile nature of this Crucial DDR5 means it will fit perfectly with a variety of PC builds. Especially if you have an all-in-cooler or CPU air cooler that larger RAM would interfere with.
Corsair Vengeance RGB DDR5 32GB 5,600MHz C36
3. Best DDR5 RAM for RGB
$115 $125 Save $10
This DDR5 RAM has more on offer than just great looks. It’s also fast, stable and overclocking ready. A great choice for modern gaming PC builds.
- Fast and reliable
- Stunning Corsair RGB design
- Faster timings
Corsair’s Vengeance RGB has long been a favourite with PC gamers thanks to its clean aesthetic and great lighting. This kit is fast and also has lower timings than some of the first lots of DDR5 RAM that appeared.
The RGB lighting might not give any performance benefits, but with 10-zones of lighting it certainly adds an eye-catching splash of colour to your PC build.
This RAM also has the promise of compatibility with custom Intel XMP 3.0 profiles and stable overclocking performance.
XPG Lancer RGB
4. Best DDR5 RAM for Intel
$100 $185 Save $85
This RAM offers more than just looks, with superb speeds, excellent build quality and more.
- RGB lighting
- Solid build quality
- Intel XMP 3 compatible
If you want some RAM that ticks multiple boxes – fast, solidly built and good liking too, then the XPG Lancer RGB RAM may be a good option.
This is a 5,200MHz kit with 32GB capacity. It stands out from other RAM we’ve tested with its RGB lighting. That RGB is also compatible with various motherboard lighting software including Asus Arua Sync, MSI Mystic Light, ASRock RGB LED and more. So it’s a perfect fit for any RGB-rich gaming system.
It’s XMP compatible so you can get full speeds out of it too.
Crucial Pro 32GB Kit (2x16GB) DDR5-5600 Pro Series
5. Best budget DDR5 RAM
Ideal for those who don’t like RGB
$90 $99 Save $9
Crucial’s Pro series RAM offers superb speeds at budget prices.
- Solid build quality
- Intel XMP 3 and AMD EXPO compatible
- Good heat shielding
Another offering from Crucial that’s worth looking at is this Pro Series DDR5 RAM kit. This RAM is remarkably affordable considering the price. Sure it’s not as fast as some of the other more expensive RAM on this list, but if you are looking for something cheap but reliable and capable then this is the RAM to consider.
It also has the benefit of a low profile design, making it suitable for smaller PC builds and the heat spreaders should ensure good performance whatever your cases’ airflow capabilities too.
How to choose the right DDR5 RAM
When selecting the right DDR5 RAM for your system, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to ensure your motherboard is compatible. Older motherboards won’t support DDR5 as it has a different design, which means there are pins in different places, so you can’t install it.
Older Intel and AMD motherboards won’t be compatible, and, at the moment, only Intel 12th generation motherboards (LGA 1700 socket) and AMD AM5 motherboards will work. Some of those new motherboards are also designed to run DDR4 RAM and not DDR5, so be sure to check the specs before you buy.
If you’re building a PC from scratch, then the first thing to do is check what your chosen motherboard can support. Most modern motherboards have a dual-channel memory format.
Dual-channel simply means two sticks of RAM work in pairs on the motherboard. You’ll need at least two sticks of RAM minimum, but you could fill all four slots for more memory if you need it.
How much RAM do you need?
There are a few different things about RAM that impact performance – size, speed and frequency. The amount of RAM you need will depend on what you’re planning to use it for.
If you’re taking on RAM-hungry tasks like video editing, 3D modelling, rendering and such, then you’ll likely want a large amount of RAM, and would see more benefit from having 32GB or 64GB.
Meanwhile, for gaming and fast tasks, you’ll want faster frequency.
What is RAM frequency?
RAM’s frequency is measured in MHz. Generally, the faster the better. DDR5 RAM has a large range of frequency possibilities and is generally much faster than DDR4. You’ll see we’ve tested kits with five and six thousand MHz, but there are even faster models available with as much as 8,000MHz.
As with size, you need to check to see what your motherboard can handle. Most motherboards have both maximum and minimum MHz speeds they can handle.
Some gaming motherboards can handle a maximum frequency of 64000MHz but not more and not less than 4000MHz either. You need to ensure you buy RAM that fits in the right category.
This might all sound complicated, but you just need to ensure you have the right architecture (channel, MHz, type and size) and it will work.
What about RAM timings?
Another thing to look out for is memory timings. These appear in numbers like 15-16-16-35. The lower the first three numbers the better.
At the moment, DDR5 RAM has higher timings than DDR4. It’s early days in terms of the architecture of DDR5, so these timings may drop in future. But many of the kits we’ve tried have higher timings (CL40 for example).
If you’re upgrading, it’s also important to ensure that any new sticks of RAM you buy match not only in size and MHz but also in this timing frequency logic. You can find out more about RAM timings broken down in a logical way here.
If you can, getting fast MHz, large capacity and good (low) timings is a real winning formula, but you will pay a premium.