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The 8 Best 4k 144hz Monitors of 2021

4K-144Hz-Monitor

The 8 Best 4K 144Hz Monitors of 2021

Kaelum Ross

I

Dec 23, 2020

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4k & 144Hz together in one monitor? Between these and the new 1440p 240hz choices, the next generation of displays is mouth-watering.

Which is why today’s feature will take you through the best 144hz UHD monitors for gaming and more, with several different budgets in mind.

Top Picks

Best of the Rest: Quick-Fire Picks

Overall Best 4k 144Hz Monitor: LG 27GN950-B 27 Inch UHD

Standing confidently as our overall best pick, this 4k high refresh rate monitor stands tall amongst the market options, with a fantastic sweet spot between specs and value.

Perhaps the most impressive part of our top choice is how LG has managed to make this an IPS panel with a 1ms response time. Usually, the tradeoff for IPS (which typically gives better picture quality over equivalent VA/TN panels) is higher latency. Having both low response time and IPS is usually reserved for the premium models, but the 27GN is one of the cheap 4K 144Hz display options on the list!

The specs also boast a DCI-P3 98% color gamut (an impressive offering for the price-point with all the other features) and VESA DisplayHDR 600. Between these two factors and the IPS panel, the picture quality on this LG gaming monitor is mind-blowing and will be enjoyable even if you’re running games at less than 144 FPS (you can expect movies and general use to look great on here too).

With full G-Sync / AMD Free Sync compatibility you can still enjoy the extra smoothness these software add-ons offer even on such a high res 144HZ monitor.

The design and build quality of this monitor is excellent too. Adjusting the unit feels sturdy and secure, with VESA screws for wall mounting if desired.

Our favorite elements of the build, however, are the thin bezels and RGB sphere lighting 2.0 on the back. This lighting means that colors are outputted on the wall behind your monitor and are designed to blend into the sound and/or visuals on your screen. This sounds gimmicky but tied in with the fantastic screen-to-body ratio, the extra light feels immersive, and the tiny bezels mean this pick works fantastically in a dual monitor setup.

This isn’t just the best 27-inch 4k 144Hz monitor, but in our opinion, the best overall choice for people in the market today (the fact that this is on the cheaper end of the choices is a complete marvel),

Best Cheap 4K 144Hz Monitor: VIOTEK GFI27QXA 27-Inch

Although we think the LG pick offers fantastic value, we appreciate that such high-end monitor options may not be flattering to many reader budgets.

Luckily, the cheapest 4K 144HZ gaming monitor going is still a great offering that doesn’t feel like you’re “cheaping out” on a budget pick.

Boasting an IPS panel, a 122% sRGB color gamut, 1M:1 DCR, this display is still going to provide fantastic colors, whites, and blacks you’ll want while gaming or watching media (the picture won’t look quite as good as the LG pick, but it will still be fantastic when you consider the dramatic price reduction).

The build quality is great here too. With a sturdy stand, fairly thin bezels, and plenty of movement options, this is another area that doesn’t feel compromised on in the lesser price.

So with all that said, you may be wondering why we didn’t give this the overall top quick. Well, there’s a couple of things to point out:

  • The response time is a tad misleading. It is listed officially as 1ms, but documentation with the monitor talks of a 3ms latency. This is likely due to 1ms being the refresh rate under “optimum conditions” but we would recommend assuming that you’ll be playing with 3ms (still very low for a budget IPS display).
  • You may have noticed that this is officially a 120Hz 4k monitor overclocked to 144Hz. For the most part, this is an ideal option as it saves price, but a minority of users report some problems with very slightly visual stuttering on 144Hz where they have to turn back to 120Hz to remove. But for most gamers, this works fine, and there is a 3-year U.S company warranty if any concerns arise.

We should state that neither of these should be dealbreakers and this VIOTEK offering still manages low latency, great colors/blacks, and a superb build quality alongside its high refresh rate and 3840×2160 resolution.

This choice is easily the best budget 4k 144Hz monitor available today.

Best Large 4K 144Hz Monitor: ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ 43”

Now, for those after a larger gaming experience, this ASUS 144HZ 4K monitor comes in at a whopping 43-inches. Perfect for someone who wants to use a gaming monitor as a TV or for a massive main monitor (I’ve previously had a similar setup where you effectively use one screen as a “dual display” when not gaming, it can work really well.

This ROG Swift model comes with a fantastic HDR1000 rating and 90% DCI-P3 color gamut. Both specs are great, but the HDR 1000, in particular, is awesome.  You can expect this to have some of the best whites and blacks of any high end LED gaming monitor.

Another Freesync / G-sync 4k display, this ASUS screen also features GameFast Input Technology that results in an effective 1ms response time (we really appreciate how they haven’t compromised on latency when many larger monitor offerings do).

This display is beautiful and well built, with its 4K 144Hz functionality being fully enabled with a GPU by only 1 DisplayPort 1.4 input. The bezels are a tad larger than most of the other picks. But at this size? It’s not really a surprise, and they’re still thin compared to many other monitor choices.

ASUS has really nicely filled that large monitor gap in this market by creating the PG43UQ. If you’re looking for a huge 4K 144Hz monitor, this is definitely your best option.

Runner-Up Best 4K 144Hz Monitor: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ 27″

We wanted to highlight another great all-rounder pick, as we appreciate that 144Hz UHD monitors are sometimes low in stock and our LG choice may not be available when you’re looking to buy.

ASUS has a monitor in the 27-inch range that is, in some ways, even more compelling than the LG 4k 144Hz display.

Another IPS panel, this ASUS SWIFT screen has a wonderful HDR1000 rating and 97% DCI P3 color gamut. With these specs (especially the impressive high dynamic range), you can expect fantastic whites, blacks, and colors that even slightly surpass the top LG monitor.

The PG27UQ is also one of the nicest builds on the list. With an incredibly sturdy durable design, ASUS answers LG’s backlighting options with its own take: an ARGB ASUS logo on the back (and a customizable logo shining from the bottom of the display). We always rate ASUS’s addressable RGB lighting as it tends to go nicely with their Aura Sync software to give a user a unique look, so you can expect this monitor to look great in the dark.

The reason we would pick the LG monitor over this one is that the ASUS ROG Swift, unfortunately, runs at 4ms as opposed to 1ms. Now, if you’re not buying a monitor for gaming, this won’t be a problem. But we expect many readers looking at a UHD high refresh rate monitor will be after something with as low latency as possible for inputs.

If low latency isn’t a high priority for you then this ASUS monitor does offer a better picture, the only other con we’d point out on this choice is a minority of users complaining about loud fan noise. Most seem to be fine with this, but if achieving an ultra-quiet setup is your plan, bear this in mind.

With one of the nicest builds and picture qualities on the list, the PG27UQ is our top 4k 144HZ monitor pick for the average user if our LG option isn’t available.

Alternative Picks – Best of the Rest

While the top 4 picks are what we’d primarily steer you towards when looking for the best 4K 144Hz monitors for gaming or media, there are some other great options and similar alternatives (e.g. 120Hz 4K monitors). We’ve displayed the best below for those with more unique requirements.

Best OLED 4K Gaming Monitor: Alienware AW5520QF

Quite possibly the best gaming monitor on the market today. This Alienware display will have, by far, the best picture quality on the list with its OLED screen. The fact that it runs at 120Hz alongside that is simply wonderful.

So why don’t we rate it for most users? We think you’ll see why after looking at the price! But by all means, if you have the budget for the most powerful setup possible, this is perfect for you.

Second Best Budget 4K 144Hz Monitor: Acer Predator XB3-27″

If you are after a cheap 4k 144Hz gaming monitor but wanted something from a more reputable monitor manufacturer, then this refurbished Acer model is perfect for you. 

Best WQHD 120Hz Monitor: Alienware AW3420DW

While not 4K or 144Hz, WQHD is very impressive and significantly higher-res than traditional 1440p. We think someone in the market for a premium screen for gaming will really appreciate the level of immersion an ultrawide high refresh rate monitor can offer.

Worth Mentioning: Nixeus NX-EDG274K

Another 144Hz 4K monitor option in the mid-range price, this Nixeus offering is decent, but we don’t rank it as much as our top LG pick (which is in the same price range) due to its slower response time (4ms) and coming from a less known monitor brand. That said, if you catch it on a good sale, this would make a great budget 4K 144HZ gaming monitor pick.

What's Next?

The 10 Best Gaming Laptops on Amazon in 2021

Best Gaming Laptop on Amazon

The 10 Best Gaming Laptops on Amazon in 2021

Kaelum Ross

I

Dec 23, 2020

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There are thousands of different laptop specs on Amazon.

It can be difficult to decide exactly what’s best for your gaming setup (and wallet).

Which is why today’s feature has been built to guide you through the best gaming laptops on Amazon today, for all different budget considerations.

Top Picks

Overall Best Gaming Laptop on Amazon (Mid-Range Pick): Acer Nitro 5 RTX 2060

Featured previously on What in Tech, Acer has created a very impressive offering with this Nitro machine.

We wanted to find the best gaming laptop under $1,000 on Amazon for our top pick as we appreciate this is the price-range many users will be looking at. This choice is just a touch more expensive than that, but paying that tiny bit more is definitely worth it, as you gain access to an RTX 2060 laptop.

This graphics card, as far as portable gaming goes, is the best you’ll get around the $1,000 mark. With great performance, you’re going to be able to play a majority of games at 1080p high settings with good framerates. And it will be well future-proofed for big upcoming titles like Cyberpunk 2077 (of course, if you’re looking to get very high framerates & resolutions with max settings, you’ll have more luck with our premium picks below or desktop options, but rest assured, titles will look fantastic on the Nitro 5).

Working with the RTX 2060 to achieve this great value is an Intel Core i7-9750H, 16GB DDR4 RAM & a 256GB NVMe SSD. Not only are these specs more than enough for ensuring the GPU isn’t bottlenecked by the hardware, but they’re capable of giving you a very smooth general-use experience with the laptop (be it web browsing, videos, or other program usages).

The gap that you may notice is the drive space. It will serve you initially but is a little low for a gaming PC. There is another drive bay you can easily use to upgrade this space should you need it. Don’t be fooled by lower price laptops that have larger drives; we’ve been through them and their specs suffer in other ways to compensate for this (especially GPU, which is more important for your setup).

The laptop is well designed; with a good track record of thermal management for the powerful specs, a beautiful backlit keyboard, and a fantastic full HD IPS 144Hz screen (we particularly like this last part as many gaming laptops at this price still are the standard 60Hz, so this is a nice extra touch and makes this a great competitive gaming laptop).

Simply put, if your budget is around the $1,000 mark, this is the best gaming laptop on Amazon for you, without question.

Best Gaming Laptop under $1,500 on Amazon: MSI GL65 Leopard 

If you can stretch your budget a little further, the MSI GL65 is a fantastic laptop where you can expect a further 20-30% improvement in games over our fantastic top pick.

This is achieved with the great combination of the RTX 2070 and Intel Core i7-10750H, both fantastic specs for this price range. You can expect to comfortably play pretty much every title in excellent settings, 1080p with a very high frame rate.

You have a wonderful screen to enjoy those high frame rates on too, which boasts a full HD, IPS, 144Hz panel with 3ms latency, and 100% sRGB (essentially, you can expect vibrant colors and a laptop to match fast reaction times for competitive gaming).

Working alongside the CPU and GPU is 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD (if your budget was around $1,500, you could always use the savings to add an additional drive in the laptop, but this PC has decent room out of the box).

The list goes on: beautiful design, tactile RGB keyboard, good thermals, solid build quality, we really like that this 15.6″ gaming laptop doesn’t feel like it skimps on any area and is a good all-around pick worth of its price tag.

There’s a reason we ranked this offering as one of the best 144Hz laptops and choices for people after something particularly long-lasting.

If you can stretch your budget to the MSI GL65 Leopard, you’re going to love it. This machine is such a fantastic value for what you’re getting.

Best Budget Gaming Laptop on Amazon: Acer Nitro 5 GTX 1650

We’re back to another variation of the Nitro 5 for those looking for the best cheap gaming laptop on Amazon.

You have to respect that at this budget, manufacturers are very limited on what kind of parts they can include. With that said, we’re very pleasantly surprised by just how good this Nitro 5 model is for its ridiculously low price-point.

Led by the GTX 1650, you still have a graphics card capable of running most games at fair settings/frame rates; and if you’re playing older games/many of the popular titles that are well optimized (Fortnite, Overwatch, WoW, etc.) you’re still going to get great frame rates on them suitable for competitive gaming.

Accompanying the GPU is the very capable 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, 8GB DDR4 RAM & a 256GB NVMe SSD. While you won’t get very far with high-end production work on this laptop (4k video editing, rendering, etc.), it will still do very well when it comes to general use for things like web browsing, videos, and standard work if needed.

You have some easy options to upgrade this laptop also. Acer has sensibly installed 1 stick of 8GB RAM (instead of 2 x 4GB) to allow you to easily add a second 8GB RAM stick if you like. There’s also a 2.5″ drive slot if you wish to expand your storage.

Another reason we picked this as the top budget choice is that the laptop still has some impressive design features for its price range. With a good build quality, a 1080p IPS screen, and a USB 3.1 Type C port, you’re really getting a lot for your money here.

On top of being a great budget choice, I’d also suggest this is one of the best gaming laptops for beginners, kids, teenagers, or simply someone who’s behind on gaming and has some titles to catch up on alongside their general laptop use.

Reset assured, although it isn’t going to give you the same performance as our top picks, we still love the value of this Nitro 5 model. There’s a reason it’s one of the best selling gaming laptops on Amazon.

Most Powerful Gaming Laptop on Amazon: MSI GS66 Stealth

What an incredible portable gaming machine this is.

Our next pick is for those looking for the most expensive gaming laptop on Amazon that will still give them notable improvement.

There are some diminishing returns when comparing this laptop to our laptop pick under $1,500 for gaming alone (that said it has a whole lot more going for it). We’ve included a laptop under the $2,000 range further below but really, the laptops with prices between this pick and the MSI GL65 don’t improve notably on graphics performance (they up the price by including more RAM, drive space, and better CPUs, but these are all secondary for machines that are already powerful enough when it comes to these specs). The only middle-ground pick is the RTX 2070 Super version of the GS66 if your budget is somewhere in between.

Now with all that said, what you’re getting in the GS66 is one of the best gaming graphics cards available today: the RTX 2080, with some incredible additional specs to go with it. You can expect this laptop to perform about 20-30% better than the GL65 in games. That is an incredible improvement considering how top-end the GL65 pick already feels. This would be perfect for someone looking for a VR ready laptop (for the best settings) and someone who doesn’t want to compromise on game settings now or in the next few years.

Accompanying the powerhouse GPU is a beastly i7-10750H, 32GB of DDR4 RAM (upgradable to 64GB, but we can’t imagine you’ll need that for a long time) & a 512GB NVMe SSD. These are some seriously fantastic specs that will empower you to do some serious production work, with the GS66 doubling as a 4k video editing laptop/suitable for other intensive tasks (things like browsing the web won’t even phase this machine).

What’s more, we are floored by the fantastic design achievements in the GS66; this PC is incredibly thin and light for the amount of power it holds. The build quality is what you’d hope for in a premium gaming laptop and although the machine runs hot, the thermal solution is more than capable of keeping the device manageable.

And then there is the amazing display. On top of reaching great color accuracy and a sharp 3ms latency, it’s running at a very impressive 300Hz. Some laptops with these ultra-high refresh rates don’t have the specs to actually run games to take advantage of this, but the beauty of the MSI GS66 Stealth is that it does. This is our pick for the best esports laptop and anyone who takes their competitive gaming very seriously.

There’s a reason the Stealth has won a whole host of awards. If you’re serious about getting the best portable gaming computer on Amazon that you possibly can, you’ve found it.

Cheapest Gaming Laptop on Amazon: Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Now let’s be clear, I’m being very generous calling this device a gaming laptop and I would highly recommend you save up the extra money to at least get the budget Acer Nitro pick above for gaming.

That being said, I appreciate that some readers will be looking for the cheapest laptop for gaming on Amazon, even if that means some serious limitations.

This Lenovo laptop is impressive for its price point, with a capable Ryzen 5 3500U processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM & a 256GB SSD. You can still expect this laptop to be a decent runner for general usage and office work.

For games, you’ll be relying on the integrated Vega 8 graphics; which to be fair, still does a semi-decent job on older titles. You’ll be able to run games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and league of legends on lower settings.

Another credit to the IdeaPad 3 is that it has a nice build quality for its price. It’s a very slim, lightweight laptop that would be ideal for travel.

If your budget is very tight and you need a new PC now; then as long as you can respect that this is a light gaming PC, you’re still getting excellent value.

Alternative Picks

The top 5 picks are our main favorite choices for your various budgets when considering the best portable gaming PC on Amazon.

That being said, we’ve included some additional worthy choices for some other price brackets that are popular – we’d still recommend these laptops if they work for your budget.

Best Gaming Laptop under $1,200 on Amazon: ASUS TUF506IV-AS76

Between our top 2 picks is a choice that doesn’t upgrade the GPU, but does offer a fantastic design, upgraded processor, and impressive 1TB SSD. We featured one of the cheaper TUF models in our best 144HZ laptops feature.

Best Gaming Laptop under $800 on Amazon: Acer Nitro 5 10300H

Inbetween our top overall and top budget picks is space for this fantastic Acer Nitro 5 unit – it has the same GPU as our budget pick but offers great storage and CPU improvement.

Second Best Amazon Gaming Laptop under $1,200: Acer Predator Helios 300

One other very decent option in this price range was worth calling out; this doesn’t have the same storage capacity as the ASUS laptop but has an improved thermal solution and fantastic 3ms response time which is why we ranked it at the top of our list for high-refresh-rate laptops, perfect for competitive gaming.

Best Amazon Gaming Laptop under $1,500 Alternative: ASUS ROG Strix G15

Now if you’re up for spending a little more than our top MSI pick, this is one of the top gaming laptops on Amazon by ASUS. And their ROG brand really stands out with its fantastic design. For the extra price, you’re getting 240Hz and more storage, so worth considering.

Best Laptop under $2,000 on Amazon: CUK MSI GP65 Leopard

If you like the look of our best laptop under $1,500 pick, but want something with a little higher spec, this is a great future-proofed choice (it won’t get you much more performance in gaming, but it’s RAM, CPU, and storage are very impressive for other tasks).

What's Next?

The Full Guide to RAM Speeds: DDR4 2400 vs 2666 vs 3000 vs 3200 vs 3600 vs 4000 MHz

DDR4 2400 vs 2666 vs 3000 vs 3200 vs 3600 vs 4000

The Complete Guide to RAM Speeds

Kaelum Ross

I

Dec 22, 2020

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When you’re looking to build your PC and you’ve arrived at selecting RAM, it can feel overwhelming to know the right GB, MHz, and CL measurements for your needs.

This is why today’s What in Tech feature will be taking you through everything you need to know about RAM, from common speed versus speed questions and which spec matters most in your decision.

We’ve also included the best RAM choices available with different budgets in mind.

This is a long guide, the contents table below is your friend! Look specifically for the questions & recommendations that interest you instead of reading top to bottom!

Table of Contents

What is RAM Speed?

For the average PC builder, the capability of Random Access Memory (RAM) is measured by 3 key fundamentals: frequency, latency, and size (technically, size isn’t speed-related – but for the purpose of establishing what RAM is best for you, we’ll be covering it).

RAM Capacity / Size

RAM size is, as the name suggests, the overall capacity of the memory you’re buying. 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB are the most common sizes right now.

Additional capacity means your PC will have the ability to run more programs simultaneously/switch between them more smoothly.

This is where the name “Random Access Memory” comes in. Your main storage (Solid State Drives, Hard Drives, etc.) are designed to offer much larger storage but are slower than RAM, which is why those drives are store your data and require a more significant loading time when opening them for use.

Once software/games/files are open, they then utilize your PC’s RAM, which is faster than your SSDs/HDDs, so that they can be “randomly accessed” quickly during use.

A common metaphor to explain the difference is that RAM size is almost like your desk, and the more capacity you have, the larger your desk is (meaning you can have more items in arms reach ready to quickly use).

While your hard/solid-state drives are the size of your shelves, drawers, and cabinets; these are used to store most of your items and take a little longer to take out for use on your desk.

Generally more RAM capacity is better, but there are diminishing returns (we’ll get back to that).

RAM Clock Speed / Frequency

Clock speed or frequency is a RAM’s MHz rating (nowadays, most RAM will be in the 2400Mhz to 4400MHz range).

Faster clock speed allows your processor to retrieve data located on your storage drives more quickly. Reducing the time it takes the CPU to access this data increases your performance in real-world scenarios and games.

Clock speed is measured in Megahertz (MHz) which indicates how many times per second your RAM can access its memory (as you probably expect, more is better, but we’ll speak further below about the sweet spot between price and utility).

CAS Latency

The last key part of the equation is Column Access Strobe or CAS latency (often just “CL”) which is integral in understanding RAM speed and often overlooked compared to a stick’s MHz rating.

CL indicates how long it takes your RAM to recognize a command/action (similar to how a monitor has latency between receiving your mouse click and outputting the result visually).

The latency is usually recorded by 4 numbers in the following format: 16-18-19-30 which represents the number of clock cycles it takes for the RAM to register a command. It is the first number from the 4 that is typically used to establish CL. Nearly all popular RAM today is between CL 12 & CL 18 (mostly CL14-16).

We talk more about how to balance latency and clock speed below. But to demonstrate why both are important, think about it: if you have very fast RAM, but the latency is high, it would be like gaming on a high-refresh-rate monitor but each of your actions takes a second to register (a dramatic example, but you get the point…).

DDR4 RAM Speed Vs 1

How much does RAM Speed Matter?

So, we’ve established at a high level what the integral parts of RAM are for your build.

But how much does RAM speed matter?

The short answer is that for business and personal use (web browsing, e-mails, basic software, Netflix, etc), you’ll likely be fine with any 8GB (ideally 16GB) RAM from a reputable manufacturer.

If you’re into gaming or plan on using your build for production work like video editing, game development, or rendering, then the speed can have a more notable impact.

How much does size matter for RAM – 4GB vs 8GB vs 16GB vs 32GB

Of all the specs, size matters the most.

So if your battle is faster RAM vs more RAM (i.e. CL / MHz vs GB), we’ll nearly always recommend the latter option.

That said, RAM size does have diminishing returns. 16GB is what we recommend for nearly all users, 8GB for tighter budgets, and 32GB for high-end enthusiasts. Beyond that, there isn’t really much use (even 32GB is pushing past the realm of necessity unless you’re doing production work). If this sounds confusing, we detail the best RAM options towards the bottom of this guide.

How much does RAM clock speed matter?

Clock speed matters, but not as much as you may think.

You can build a powerful gaming PC with 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM for instance (which is on the lower side of clock speed). Would it be better to have say, that 16GB of RAM at 3200MHz+? Absolutely! But it’s not a deal-breaker to have lower speeds if your budget is tight or you’re simply not bothered about fine-tuning potential performance/game FPS.

If you’re building a PC purely for basic business and personal use, we would suggest that cheap RAM will suffice for you as long as the size is large enough.

We do however see lots of unanswered questions from users around the difference between X MHz and Y MHz RAM. Which is why further below, you’ll find our comparison list as a quick guide to help you decide between two types of memory.

How much does latency matter for RAM

The most overlooked RAM speed factor, CL, is kind of like clock speed; it matters, but shouldn’t be a huge deciding factor in your PC building decisions.

A higher latency RAM (say, CL18) could still be perfectly decent if its other specs were around 16GB/3200MHz, RAM size is still the most important thing overall.

That isn’t to say that if you see CL12-CL14 RAM, you shouldn’t absolutely go for it if the other specs are decent (especially if you’re building a gaming PC or something for production work). But in the context of price/value, these low latency sticks are often 30%+ more expensive, which we can’t say is worth it unless you are trying to build the all-around most powerful computer possible.

DDR4 RAM Speed Vs 2

RAM Speed Comparison FAQ

DDR3 vs DDR 4 – How much faster is DDR4

DDR4 is essentially the next natural iteration from DDR3. With significantly great size capacity & higher clock speeds, 4 is notably faster in nearly every case (latency is slightly higher on 4, but is made up for with the other specs).

In nearly all cases today, we would say pick up DDR4 RAM. It is overwhelmingly what the current market motherboards/CPUs are best compatible with.

The right question isn’t really “is DDR4 worth it” anymore in terms of speed. Because of its widespread market adoption, prices on this RAM are great. You’ll typically be getting faster RAM with little consequence compared to DDR3.

The only scenario we see DDR3 as worthwhile today is if you’re building an ultra-cheap PC and have specifically found a motherboard/CPU combo that supports 3 and not 4 (we don’t like this from a future-proof perspective and would try to stick to 4, but it could make sense if you need to be as cheap as possible).

DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM?

DDR5 RAM is in development and will offer 50-100% higher clock speed than DDR4, a slightly lower voltage and individual RAM sticks that can go up to 64GB each (the max with DDR4 is 16GB).

This sounds great on paper. But at this time, these ultra-high clock speeds/sizes lead to huge diminishing returns in pretty much all PC activity (we talk more about this in our comparison of higher MHz RAMs further below) so in reality, that 50-100% “theoretical” performance increase may not be super noticeable unless you’re building a very high-end machine (and in nearly all cases, the money would be better spent on a better CPU/GPU).

DDR5 RAM is scheduled for mass release in 2021. Though we recommend keeping expectations measured, as the DDR5 release date has been a moving goalpost for a couple of years now.

And even when the RAM is released, you can still expect a long-delayed period where