Many of us want to make our pc fast and in most case the component holding it back is RAM. In this section we will understand when to upgrade RAM and what things we need to know before making a purchase.
First of all you need to make sure if it is the RAM who is culprit in making you pc slow. TO check it you need to check some basic factors. In task manager check the % utilization of your RAM, it it is more than 80% than you need to go for higher capacity.
If you are playing games and you want to know how much RAM is consumed you can install latest version of MSI Afterburner. With simple settings you will be able to check your CPU, RAM and GPU usage on screen while paying games. Also it can tell about the current FPS (frames per second) that you get.
Now when we are sure that we need more RAM, we should check how much RAM is currently installed. For that you can see the properties of my computer or you can istall another software CPU-Z, this can tell you about current RAM capacity, timings and on which architecture is utilized (single, dual memory etc) .
How much RAM do I need? A simple answer to this question will be ‘double it’. Basically this is the only component in PC that is not much costly yet it is one of the major component to make your PC fast or more responsive. If your motherboard supports multi channel then you must buy a relevant channel kit. For eg, if you need 8GB then for dual channel motherboard opt for 4GBX2 dual channel kit. This is add to overall performance to a considerable level. To know more about multi channel architecture see this link.
More frequency means fast RAM…. is it true? Well… not always. There is latency also that is kept in account to call a RAM faster. Sometimes it also happens that even though above steps show you the RAM capacity is optimum but your PC is slow, or your friend has same configuration and same RAM ‘size’ but his PC is faster than yours. This is because of the response time taken by the RAM.
This part is most important so I want you guys to pay attention. First of all what is the Megahertz (MHz) in which RAM is measured. Well these are number of cycles that RAM can do in 1 second. Here,
1 cycle = 1 operation.
1 MHz = 10^6 (1,000,000) Hz
DDR stands for double data rate, that means your DDR RAM actually processes 2 data at one time. There is one catch. The actual frequency of an DDR RAM is actually half of what is quoted. That means a 1600 Mhz DDR3 ram has the actual frequency of 800 Mhz. In order to calculate the performance of DDR RAM we need to use the actual frequency by dividing it by 2. Now we will take example of this 2000 Mhz RAM. With actual frequency of 1000 Mhz lets calculate time taken for processing 1 data or 1 cycle.
Time taken to process 1 data (sec) = 1/ (Frequency [Hz])
Time = 1/ (1,000 * 1,000,000)
Time = 10^9 sec = 1 nano second
So it is clear that a 2000 Mhz RAM takes 1 nano second to process a data. But this is not complete analysis. The time taken by RAM to get request and respond back the processed data is also taken care. This is delay called CAS latency (CL) or timings of the RAM. It is the number of clock cycles needed for one complete process from request to response. Now in our example we will see the total time taken by our RAM if our CL is 10.0.
Total time taken = Time taken to process 1 data X CAS Latency (CL)
Total time = 1 nano sec X 10 = 10 nano second.
Now what if another person has 4000 Mhz RAM and its latency is 20. If you thought this will be faster that the 2000 Mhz we checked above then you are wrong. With the above formula the time will still be 10 nano seconds for this 4000 Mhz RAM.
I know it can be bit tricky to calculate everytime. Thanks to ThioJoeTech from youtube, I am sharing his table with you that already has everything sorted up for the basic RAM available out there. Remember the thumb rule, first check for higher frequency and then go for lower CAS latency (CL). Check the link of the frequency vs latency table. You would also want to check for Wikipedia article about CAS latency.