When buying or building a PC, many different components will help increase your computer’s performance. Some components are more critical than others and will have a greater effect on your computer’s FPS and speed.
One of the more common questions asked and researched when building a computer for performance is whether RAM size or processor speed is more important.
When getting a computer for performance you want to try to have the fastest processor you can afford. Making the processor speed more important than RAM size. Programs don’t benefit from extra RAM they just use what they need so having extra RAM will not benefit the performance of your computer.
There are a lot more factors that come into play when determining how to balance your RAM size and processor speed. Throughout this article, we will go into more detail about this.
What Is The Importance Of RAM?
RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is used to store temporary files at a really fast speed so that your computer can load instructions very fast. This is important especially in gaming when multiple outcomes can occur in a situation.
The RAM will load up all the possible outcomes that will happen beforehand trying to predict what will happen. If you don’t have enough RAM storage, then this can cause some issues because your RAM won’t be able to store all the temporary files needed.
With no RAM storage available it won’t be able to predict all the outcomes giving it a bigger chance of getting it wrong.
If this happens your computer will have to pull the files from your hard storage like the SSD or HDD. When this happens it will cause your computer to slow down and you will experience lag.
This is why it is very important to have a good amount of RAM inside of your PC.
However, programs and games only use a certain amount of temporary storage, so having more will not benefit your system at all.
Here is an article that goes in-depth on how “RAM Improves Performance When Gaming.”
What Is the Importance Of CPU Speed (GHz)?
The CPU is the brain of the computer and any person who has used a computer in their life knows that. The more GHz a CPU has the faster it can think and process information.
Asking if processor speed is important is like asking if you would rather have a slow brain or a fast brain. Everyone will choose to have a faster brain.
To get a more in-depth explanation check out “What GHz Means and How It Affects Computer Performance.”
Another thing you should keep in mind with CPUs is that yes the processor speed is very important, but the core count matters as well.
You want to have a CPU that is very fast but has multiple cores.
The reason for this is because the more cores you have in a CPU the more it will be able to multitask.
Again, going back to the brain analogy. Would you rather have one brain working for you or multiple brains working for you?
This makes it important to choose a processor with high GHz and multiple cores, as it will be able to compute multiple tasks at a time at high speeds.
To learn more about this I wrote another article: “Higher Clock Speeds or More Cores When Gaming?”
How Much RAM and GHz Do I Need?
Right now the recommended amount of RAM you should have is about 12GB and the minimum is 8GB. Your processor should have around 3.0 GHz or 3.5Ghz. This will allow you to play any game or run any program just fine, as long as your GPU doesn’t bottleneck the rest of your system.
Having more RAM is a bit overkill, but having less than 8GB of RAM can be risky to what programs you can run and how much stuff can be running in the background of your computer at the same time.
A game might only require 4GB of RAM, but your computer is already using 4GB on its own.
You should purchase your RAM first and get at least 12GB you can get 16GB, but anything more than that is considered overkill.
After you get your RAM, you should purchase the best CPU you can with your remaining budget, however, if you can’t get at least 3.0GHz of processing speed, then consider bumping your RAM down to only 8GB.
Should I Spend More on My CPU or RAM?
More likely than not you will spend the majority of your money on your CPU rather than a few sticks of RAM. The reason for this is quite simple.
A CPU costs a lot more than RAM, and even if you were looking to spend a lot more on RAM you will most likely be wasting your money.
Most programs only need around 8GB of RAM to run. Your OS system and any background programs will use around 4GB of RAM, meaning you really only need 12GB of RAM.
However, 16GB is recommended for future-proofing and if you are doing heavy tasks such as video editing, or 3D rendering.
You can very easily overspend on RAM, but you can’t really overspend with a CPU because the better the CPU the better performance.
All in all, you should be spending more money on your CPU.