The RAM or main system memory is responsible for communicating data between the CPU, so this means the RAM will have an indirect impact on in game FPS.
Usually, the faster the RAM you have, the more memory bandwidth you’ll have making data transfer between the CPU and the memory more effective.
So depending on the game and the CPU you have, the RAM speed can have varying effects on the in game FPS, but the general consensus is that faster RAM generates more FPS.
Does Faster RAM Equal More FPS
So yes, faster RAM does seemingly generate more FPS in certain scenarios, and it’s not just FPS, but performance across the board.
But the increase in FPS isn’t as big as you’d think unless your RAM is extremely slow, it’s actually more important to focus on the RAM capacity than to focus on the RAM speed.
Back to RAM speed, there is also CAS latency which refers to the amount of clock cycles necessary for the RAM to access the data in one of the memory columns.
CAS latency will generally look like this: CL16-18-18-38, and the lower the latency, the better your RAM will perform, and this can have an effect on the FPS in game.
If you’re wondering where you can optimize the CAS latency and the RAM speeds, it’s usually done within the BIOS.
Ryzen CPUs With RAM
When it comes to Ryzen CPUs, the RAM speed has more importance, this is because Ryzen processors are more sensitive to RAM speeds.
The faster the RAM, the better the Ryzen CPU will perform, so this means you will get more performance out of your system.
The goal with Ryzen CPUs is to have your Infinity Fabric Clock(FCLK) be equal to the same value as your memory clock (MEMCLCK), and your unified memory controller clock (UCLK) in a 1:1:1 ratio.
This can result in up to a 5% performance boost, but if any of the clock speeds are too far out of synchronization, then you will incur a latency penalty.
So due to the fact that Ryzen CPUs are more sensitive than their Intel counterparts, you need to pay extra attention to the speed of the RAM you’re getting.
Does More RAM Equal More FPS?
When buying RAM, it’s more important to focus on the capacity, then focus on the RAM speed, and the timings. This is because the RAM speed rarely makes a difference in games.
Increasing the RAM capacity means your CPU has more RAM to work with, if your system runs out of RAM, then it will run less efficiently meaning it could lower the FPS.
The most common symptoms of not having enough RAM is frequent crashes, stuttering in games, and freezing, this is because the system will use virtual memory instead.
Virtual memory is when the system will use the non-volatile storage(HDD/SSD) as RAM, and as we know, HDDs and SSDs are significantly slower than RAM.
So it’s entirely possible that purchasing more RAM will increase the FPS and playability of a game, but this is only true if the game is reaching your RAM capacity limits.
What Is The Best RAM Speed?
In general, we recommend sticking to a dual channel RAM configuration with at least 3000 Mhz clock speed, this should be enough for most Intel and Ryzen based processors.
Optimal speeds for Intel should be around 3200MHz(DDR4), which is slightly less than the recommended speeds for Ryzen.
Optimal speeds for Ryzen should be around 3600Mhz(DDR4), this is because Ryzen processors are more sensitive to RAM speeds compared to Intel CPUs.
With DDR5 RAM out, the speeds will be significantly faster, and as DDR5 matures, it’ll eventually become worthwhile over DDR4 modules.
2133MHz Vs 2666Mhz Vs 3200MHz
In Metro Exodus, the RAM will start to bottleneck the CPU at 2133MHz with an Intel I9 9900K, so it’s recommended that you go with at least 3000Mhz to minimize the bottleneck.
2133Mhz displays an average frame rate of 107FPS which is significantly lower than the 2666MHz average frame rate of 129FPS.
But the FPS jump between 2666Mhza and 3200MHz is significantly smaller due to the bottleneck not having much of an effect.
The same story presents itself with The Witcher 3, 2133Mhz falls back behind 2666MHz and 3200MHz due to a large CPU bottleneck.
The average FPS with 2133MHz is only 136FPS, going down this route means you’re going to leave massive amounts of performance on the table.
With the 2666MHz config, we find that the FPS jumps up massively from 136FPS to 153FPS, but the performance difference between 2666MHz to 3200MHz isn’t as big.
2666MHz offers 153 frames per second whereas the 3200MHz build offers 159 FPS, this shows that there’s diminishing returns going above 3200 MHz.
Also in Battlefield 5, we see the same story, the 2133MHz build falls behind quite a bit due to a CPU bottleneck, but once you increase to 2666MHz, things improve.
At 2666MHz, you have an average frame rate of 110FPS whereas 2133MHz had an average frame rate of 102, a difference of 8FPS.
But the difference between 2666MHz and 3200MHz is only 4 due to diminishing returns. We don’t believe you’ll get much more FPS going above 3200MHz.
It seems like for both Intel and Ryzen based processors, the optimal RAM speed should be at least 3000 MHz, anything higher will generate diminishing returns.
For Intel, the optimal RAM speed is around 3200 MHz, and for Ryzen it is 3600 MHz, just remember that Ryzen based processors are more sensitive due to the architecture.