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RAM Benchmark Hierarchy: Fastest DDR4 Memory Kits for AMD and Intel

RAM Benchmark Hierarchy
RAM Benchmark Hierarchy (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

RAM (Random Access Memory) is often overlooked, but our RAM benchmark hierarchy will help you find the fastest memory kit for your system. Memory is one of the most important pieces of hardware of any system. The right or the wrong memory kit can have a big impact on your system's overall performance in gaming, productivity, and (if you don't have enough of it) overall sluggishness. So it's always best to reference our Best RAM list to find the best deals on memory.

Companies regularly release new memory kits with varying speeds, timings, capacities, and ranks, making the process of sifting through seemingly endless models surprisingly time-consuming. Our RAM benchmark hierarchy aims to provide you with a simple database that ranks the best memory kits on the market based on pure performance.

To keep the ranking as objective as possible, we use a geometric mean of our memory benchmarking results and discard the intangibles, like aesthetics and overclocking headroom. We've got those details in the individual RAM reviews. Furthermore, we suspect that many of you would value performance over anything else. However, the geometric means don't always tell the whole story: If you're looking for performance in a specific workload or for gaming, we recommend taking a look at the full review of the memory kit you have in mind.

The score is a result of the geometric mean from our RAM benchmark suite that includes scripted and real-world tests for Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Cinebench R20, Corona benchmark, 7-Zip compression and decompression, Handbrake x264 and x265 conversion, LuxMark, and Y-Cruncher.

For the sake of simplicity, we've separated the memory kits into different categories according to their densities. We ranked the memory kits for each capacity from best to worst for both Intel and AMD systems.

The score on our hierarchy may differ slightly from the geometric mean in the individual review. The discrepancy is because we strive to provide you with results on the most recent and relevant Intel and AMD platforms. Keeping the metrics in the table as up-to-date as possible involves retesting every single memory kit on the list when there's been a substantial change in either of our test systems, such as a new processor, motherboard, or graphics card (or even new firmware revisions), just to name a few.

Memory pricing is very volatile. We've restrained ourselves from providing a price-to-performance value since it would only capture the pricing for one static moment in time, and memory pricing fluctuates far too much for that. That means that while you can see up-to-date pricing listed in each table below, the performance measurements don't take that pricing into account. 

If you're split between two particular kits, you can always evaluate your options on your own by dividing the real-time pricing by the geometric mean. Obviously, you'll be looking for low values, as a lower number represents a better bang for your buck.

Best RAM For Intel Systems

Best 16GB (2x8GB) Memory Kits for Intel Systems

Memory KitScoreData RateTimingsVoltage (V)Part NumberBuying Link
Patriot Viper 4 Blackout895.19DDR4-440018-26-26-461.45PVB416G440C8K$119.99
Thermaltake ToughRAM RGB884.82DDR4-460019-26-26-451.50R009D408GX2-4600C19A$215.99
Predator Apollo875.34DDR4-450019-19-19-391.45BL.9BWWR.255N/A
TeamGroup T-Force Dark Z FPS880.65DDR4-400016-18-18-381.45TDZFD416G4000HC16CDC01$169.99
Klevv Cras XR RGB874.47DDR4-400019-25-25-451.40KD48GU880-40B190Z$161.99
GeIL Orion RGB AMD Edition872.92DDR4-440018-24-24-441.45GAOSR416GB4400C18ADC$324.99
Thermaltake ToughRAM XG RGB872.18DDR4-460019-26-26-451.50R016D408GX2-4600C19A$228.43
Thermaltake ToughRAM XG RGB871.87DDR4-400019-23-23-421.35R016D408GX2-4000C19A$178.43
TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB870.37DDR4-360014-15-15-351.45TF10D416G3600HC14CDC01$143.99
Gigabyte Aorus RGB Memory866.27DDR4-360018-19-19-391.35GP-AR36C18S8K2HU416R$149.99
Adata XPG Spectrix D50865.29DDR4-360018-20-20-421.35AX4U360038G18A-DT50$109.99
G.Skill Trident Z Neo 864.84DDR4-360014-15-15-351.45F4-3600C14D-16GTZNB$194.99
Adata XPG Spectrix D60G864.19DDR4-360014-15-15-351.45AX4U360038G14C-DT60$185.99
GeIL Orion AMD Edition860.29DDR4-360018-22-22-421.35GAOR416GB3600C18BDC$79.99
HP V8858.78DDR4-360018-20-20-401.358MG07AA#ABC$99.99
PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB848.69DDR4-320016-18-18-381.35MD16GK2D4360018XRGB$99.99
Lexar UDIMM835.21DDR4-266619-19-19-431.20LD4AU008G-R2666U$59.98

Best 32GB (2x16GB) Memory Kits for Intel Systems

Memory KitScoreData RateTimingsVoltage (V)Part NumberBuying Link
G.Skill Trident Z Royal934.89DDR4-400017-18-18-381.40F4-4000C17D-32GTRGB$334.99
G.Skill Trident Z Neo926.25DDR4-360016-16-16-361.35F4-3600C16D-32GTZN$274.99
Klevv Bolt XR919.31DDR4-360018-22-22-421.35KD4AGU880-36A180CN/A
Patriot Viper Steel RGB910.14DDR4-360020-26-26-461.35PVSR432G360C0K$179.99
Crucial Ballistix Max RGB896.06DDR4-400018-22-22-421.35BLM2K16G40C18U4BL$419.99

Best 64GB (2x32GB) Memory Kits for Intel Systems

Memory KitScoreData RateTimingsVoltage (V)Part NumberBuying Link
Patriot Viper Steel913.32DDR4-360018-20-20-401.35PVS464G360C8K$339.99
Crucial Ballistix909.34DDR4-320016-18-18-361.35BL2K32G32C16U4W$175.99
TeamGroup T-Create Classic 10L888.79DDR4-320022-22-22-521.20TTCCD464G3200HC22DC01$308.99

Best RAM For AMD Systems

Best 16GB (2x8GB) Memory Kits for AMD Systems

Memory KitScoreData RateTimingsVoltage (V)Part NumberBuying Link
TeamGroup T-Force Dark Z FPS633.31DDR4-400016-18-18-381.45TDZFD416G4000HC16CDC01$169.99
G.Skill Trident Z Neo 632.48DDR4-360014-15-15-351.45F4-3600C14D-16GTZNB$194.99
TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB632.06DDR4-360014-15-15-351.45TF10D416G3600HC14CDC01$169.99
Adata XPG Spectrix D60G630.99DDR4-360014-15-15-351.45AX4U360038G14C-DT60$185.99
Gigabyte Aorus RGB Memory629.16DDR4-360018-19-19-391.35GP-AR36C18S8K2HU416R$149.99
Adata XPG Spectrix D50626.59DDR4-360018-20-20-421.35AX4U360038G18A-DT50$109.99
Thermaltake ToughRAM RGB625.89DDR4-460019-26-26-451.50R009D408GX2-4600C19A$215.99
PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB625.50DDR4-320016-18-18-381.35MD16GK2D4360018XRGB$99.99
GeIL Orion AMD Edition625.26DDR4-360018-22-22-421.35GAOR416GB3600C18BDC$324.99
HP V8624.06 DDR4-360018-20-20-401.358MG07AA#ABC$99.99
Klevv Cras XR RGB622.25DDR4-400019-25-25-451.40KD48GU880-40B190Z$161.99
Lexar UDIMM607.51DDR4-266619-19-19-431.20LD4AU008G-R2666U$59.98

Best 32GB (2x16GB) Memory Kits for AMD Systems

Memory KitScoreData RateTimingsVoltage (V)Part NumberBuying Link
G.Skill Trident Z Neo645.78DDR4-360016-16-16-361.35F4-3600C16D-32GTZN$274.99
Klevv Bolt XR644.31DDR4-360018-22-22-421.35KD4AGU880-36A180CN/A
Patriot Viper Steel RGB641.47DDR4-360020-26-26-461.35PVSR432G360C0K$179.99
G.Skill Trident Z Royal639.44DDR4-400017-18-18-381.40F4-4000C17D-32GTRGB$334.99
Crucial Ballistix Max RGB634.82DDR4-400018-22-22-421.35BLM2K16G40C18U4BL$419.99

Best 64GB (2x32GB) Memory Kits for AMD Systems

Memory KitScoreData RateTimingsVoltage (V)Part NumberBuying Link
Patriot Viper Steel638.07DDR4-360018-20-20-401.35PVS464G360C8K$339.99
Crucial Ballistix636.13DDR4-320016-18-18-361.35BL2K32G32C16U4W$175.99
TeamGroup T-Create Classic 10L626.18DDR4-320022-22-22-521.20TTCCD464G3200HC22DC01$308.99

Processors and Official Supported Memory Frequency

Once upon a time, the memory controller resided on the motherboard itself. As processors and motherboards evolved, chipmakers eventually moved the memory controller onto the chips. Therefore, Intel and AMD specify the official supported memory frequency that's supported on each generation of their processors. Unless you have a very good sample, drifting far away from the supported frequency will require manual tweaking to get the memory to play nice with your processor. For the best plug-n-play experience, you should pick up a memory kit that doesn't surpass the supported frequency.

There are two important things to take into account if you want to run memory that's faster than the official specification for your processor. For starters, the quality of your processor's IMC (integrated memory controller) determines if it can handle high-speed memory. Since no two processors are equal and you can't judge a chip's IMC until you test it, it's down to the silicon lottery.

Secondly, you need to ensure that the motherboard supports the frequency of the memory kit that you have your eyes on. A quick trip to your motherboard's user manual or product page should give you the information that you need. Furthermore, the motherboard's memory QVL (Qualified Vendors List) is very helpful as it'll tell you whether a specific memory kit has been tested and validated on the motherboard. But remember that your chip's IMC still plays a bigger role.

In case you're unsure of the memory frequency that your processor supports, we've provided the different standards for the last few generations of AMD and Intel processors.

AMD Desktop Processors

ProcessorLithographyCodename Microarchitecture Frequency
Ryzen 50007nmVermeerZen 3DDR4-3200
Ryzen 30007nmMatisseZen 2DDR4-3200
Ryzen 200012nmPinnacle RidgeZen+DDR4-2933
Ryzen 100014nmSummit RidgeZenDDR4-2666

AMD's existing Zen 2 and Zen 3 processors arrive with native support for DDR4-3200 memory modules right out of the box. As you are well aware, Ryzen 3000 puts up the best performance when the Infinity Fabric clock (FCLK) is in sync with the memory clock (MCLK) in a 1:1 ratio. Therefore, it's important to bear in mind that asynchronous operation introduces a latency penalty. The majority of Ryzen 3000 processors can operate with a FCLK up to 1,800 MHz or DDR4-3600. 

Ryzen 5000 follows the same guidelines in regards to the FCLK and MCLK. However, the really good samples can support a 2,000 MHz FCLK, which opens the door to leverage DDR4-4000 memory without any performance hit. For more information on the impact of memory frequency, capacity and ranks on Ryzen 5000's performance, see our latest Ryzen 5000 RAM guide.

Intel Desktop Processors

ProcessorLithographyCodename Microarchitecture Frequency
11000-series14nm++Rocket LakeCypress CoveDDR4-3200
10000-series14nm++Comet LakeComet LakeDDR4-2933
9000-series14nm++Coffee Lake RefreshCoffee LakeDDR4-2666
8000-series14nm++Coffee LakeCoffee LakeDDR4-2666
7000-series14nm+Kaby LakeKaby LakeDDR4-2400
6000-series14nmSkylakeCoffee LakeDDR4-2133

Intel has launched its new 11th Generation Rocket Lake processors that sport Cypress Cove cores and Xe graphics. The 14nm processors debut with new microarchitectural improvements, bringing IPC gains up to 19%. With Rocket Lake, Intel has bumped the official supported memory frequency up to DDR4-3200, which is now on equal grounds as AMD's Zen 2 and newer processors.

With Rocket Lake, Intel has reworked how the memory works. The chipmaker has introduced gear ratios in relation to the memory controller and memory frequency, similar to how AMD's FCLK works. Gear 1 finds both running in a 1:1 ratio, while Gear 2 runs the memory controller at half speed (0.5:1).

It's important to highlight that only the flagship Core i9-11900K supports DDR4-3200 memory on Gear 1. Other Rocket Lake processors stick to DDR4-2933 in Gear 1 and can support DDR4-3200 but on Gear 2.

For the first time, Intel has enabled memory overclocking on a non-Z motherboard. Both H570 and B560 motherboards will be able to run memory that's faster than Rocket Lake's default baseline.

Test Systems

For our current Intel test platform, we pair the the Intel Core i9-10900K processor with the Asus ROG Maximus XII Apex motherboard, which employs the 0901 firmware. Our AMD testbed is comprised of AMD's Ryzen 5 3600 processor and ASRock's B550 Taichi motherboard, which runs on the 1.30 firmware. The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Trio is our graphics card of choice for handling the more intensive graphical workloads.

Intel SystemAMD System
ProcessorIntel Core i9-10900KAMD Ryzen 5 3600
MotherboardAsus ROG Maximus XII ApexASRock B550 Taichi
Graphics CardMSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X TrioMSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio
StorageKingston HyperX Savage 480GBKingston HyperX Savage 480GB
CoolingCorsair H115i ProCorsair H115i Pro
Power Supply SeaSonic X-1250 1250W SeaSonic X-1250 1250W
  • ashelus
    Now, let's do quad-rank instead of dual rank: -UkGu6A-6sQView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UkGu6A-6sQ
    Reply
  • Olle P
    It's assuring to see that (for AMD) the very best is only 1.9% uplift over the basic 3,200 MHz @ 16-18-18-38. No need to spend more money there.

    ashelus said:
    Now, let's do quad-rank instead of dual rank: ...
    That review has nothing to do with ranks but with number of sticks in dual channel.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    ashelus said:
    Now, let's do quad-rank instead of dual rank:
    They sort of did. Today's 2x16GB kits are typically going to provide four ranks, while the 2x8GB kits will typically provide two. That's why all of the 2x16GB kits outperformed the 2x8GB kits, with the possible exception of that one DDR4-5100 kit that managed to hold it's own against a few of them in the AMD test system. But at $900, that 5100 kit is kind of nonsensical considering it was still outperformed by some 2x16GB kits of DDR4-3600 at a fraction of the price. Going with 32GB for four ranks (whether 2x16GB or 4x8GB) will tend to benefit performance more than paying a big premium for just 16GB of enthusiast-level RAM, and if one is planning to keep their system around for a number of years, the added capacity will likely provide even more benefit down the line.

    Tom's had an article pointing this out shortly after the Ryzen 3000 series launched...
    https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-3000-best-memory-timings,6310-2.html
    Reply
  • Mpablo87
    Well.
    Interesting article!!! Useful information!!!
    Reply
  • escksu
    Yes, this article basically reinforces what we already know, spending money on expensive ram doesnt make any sense, unless you have unlimited budget.

    Yes, someone has also pointed out that 4 ranks of ram is faster than 2. But, the gains are very small as well. You are better off using the budget for more cores or faster gpu.
    Reply
  • escksu
    ashelus said:
    Now, let's do quad-rank instead of dual rank: -UkGu6A-6sQView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UkGu6A-6sQ

    Yes, we do know 4 sticks is faster. But it cost more too...so its down to your budget. If you spare budget, its fine. If you, then no.
    Reply