When it comes to shopping for RAM you want to find a cartridge that gives you speed and stability at a great value. Without knowing what you're looking at, it can be exceedingly difficult to figure out what is the best DDR3 RAM for your system. In this roundup we evaluated over 15 different DDR3 RAM based on their speed, stability and value and created what we determined to be 5 best DDR3 RAM on the market today.
Top picks for best DDR3 RAM
1. Best Overall DDR3: Corsair Vengeance 2x8GB
- Density: 16GB (2x8GB). Speed: 1600MHz
- Compatible with intel z68 aand intel Z77. Memory configuration is dual channel
- Tested Latency: 9-9-9-24. Pin Out: 240 Pin
- Voltage: 1.5V. Format: DIMM
The Corsair Vengeance is the absolute best DDR3 RAM you can buy in terms of speed, stability and value. The out-of-the-box speed is 1,600 MHz but with the right settings is capable of hitting speeds well up to 2,400MHz which is about the best you can expect from a DDR3 in most cases. Sometimes you can find this kit for sale on Amazon giving it one of the best GB/$.This kit comes in different colors as well like black, red, blue and gold and has a GB size range from 4-32.
One major drawback is that the Vengeance is not compatible with AMD motherboards and only a couple Intel chipsets. If you have an AMD, then you should skip to the other DDR3 RAM in our round up. Another drawback is the fairly high heat spreaders that could potentially block the CPU coolers. This would more likely be a problem with third-party coolers but if yours is stock then you should be alright. You can find the Corsair Vengeance ranging from 8GB to 32GB at 1,600MHz with respective price ranges of around $95.00 to $320.00 on Amazon.com.
- Z68 and Z77 Intel chipsets
2) G.Skill Ripjaws
- Memory Type: DDR3
- Capacity: 16GB (8GBx2)
- Tested Latency: 9-9-9-24-2N
- Tested Voltage: 1.50v
The G.Skill Ripjaws is effectively 18% slower than the Vengeance according to user testing though it can usually be found for a superior GB/$. With the right settings this RAM should be able to hit speeds in the low 2,000s - enough to make it the 2nd best we found. Like the Vengeance, the Ripjaws also comes with a heat spreader and XMP support.
If budget is the main factor in your decision making process, the Ripjaws may be the RAM to go with. The Corsair may not always be available at less than $115 like the Ripjaws and the Vengeance can be upwards of $150 on Amazon. In terms of compatibility, the Ripjaws is great in that it is compatible with many motherboards from many brands - except AMD.
- B85, H67/Q67/H61 x2 Slots, H77, H87, Q87, Z77/Z75, Z87 Intel chipsets
Benchmark comparison between Corsair Vengeance(left) and G.Skill Ripjaws(right)
3) Kingston HyperX Fury
- Plug N Play functionality
- Auto-overclock itself to the highest listed speed allowed by the system BIOS
- Asymmetric, aggressive heat spreader design
- 100 Percent factory tested at speed
At #3, the HyperX Fury is another solid DDR3. Where the Vengeance and the Ripjaws beat it is mainly in price. In terms of speed the Fury and Ripjaws are essentially the same, except the Fury is about $20 more expensive. Probably the best reason to choose the Hyperx Fury over the two other DDR3 RAM we've discussed so far is that it is compatible with AMD chipsets (as well as Intel chipsets). If you already have an AMD chipset on your motherboard and don't want to buy a new one, the Fury is likely your best choice. The Fury also comes in color offerings like red, white, black and blue and in sizes from 4 to 16GB. With price ranges $78.00 to $136.00 on Amazon.com. this RAM is a hard one to pass up and an easy one to be happy with.
- H67, P67, Z68, Z77, Z87 and H61 Intel chipsets
- A75, A87, A88, A89, A78 and E35 AMD chipsets
Read: Best RAM for Ryzen
4) Crucial Ballistix
- Improved performance for gamers, enthusiasts and mainstream users
- Integrated aluminum heat spreader
- Certified intel XMP profiles for easy configuration
- Premium-quality ram
The Ballistix struggles to hit the same speeds as the RAM we list above but is still a solid card if budget is your primary concern. The Ballistix is compatible with a wide variety of AMD and Intel chipsets. If your motherboard is incompatible with any of the RAM we list above, then the Ballistix is probably the card for you. The specs for this kit are 4-32GB at 1600MHz but as said earlier, performance can be enhanced. Pricing at $50.00 to $350.00 with the latter price attributed to the dual rank module.
- Most Intel and AMD chipsets
5. Patriot Viper III
- Capacity: 16GB (2 x 8GB) dual channel kit
- DIMM Type: 240-Pin NON-ECC UDIMM
- Voltage: 1.5V
- Frequency: PC3-15000 (1866MHz)
The Patriot Viper III is only capable of reaching speeds of around 1,800 MHz but is the cheapest DDR3 in our roundup. For those on a tight budget, the Patriot Viper III $5.62/GB beating out all the others by about $1 to $2/GB. Again, we would say you consider the Patriot Viper only if you are on a tight budget. If you can afford to pay the extra $20 for the Vengeance or Ripjaws we would recommend you do so. The Viper III is also compatible with all AMD and Intel chipsets.
- All AMD and Intel chipsets
What to Know When Buying DDR3 RAM
As we discuss above, the most important thing to determine when buying RAM is the speed and compatibility and how those factor into the price of the RAM. If you're in the market for a DDR3 RAM you should be aiming for about $6 to $7/GB and 2,100 to 2,400 MHz. Once you find that you just want to check the compatibility with your motherboard. The DDR3 RAM we list above we believe are the best on the market and should work for the vast majority of those shopping.
RAM Speed of DDR3
Most DDR3 RAM list 1,600 MHz speeds outside the box. Relative to where RAM speed is in 2019, 1,600 is relatively slow. Fortunately with the right settings you should be able to get your RAM up to about 2,400 MHz which is the lower end speed for DDR4 RAM.
Upgrading Your RAM: What to Watch Out For
There are some crucial things you need to account for when upgrading your RAM. If you have RAM in your system already, you either need to replace all the RAM or pair it with the exact same RAM thats already in there. Even if you buy the exact same RAM, it is not guaranteed that your system will accept the new RAM without stability issues. Therefore the safest thing to do is to replace all your RAM.
Should You Upgrade to DDR4?
The main difference for the average gamer when it comes to DDR3 vs DDR4 is speed. DDR3 RAM cannot get past 2,400 MHz even with overclocking. In comparison, DDR4 RAM generally start at 2,400 MHz and go up to 3,200MHz. Processors from before 2016 generally can't reach those speeds. If you want to buy a processor released after 2016 you are going to need to upgrade to a DDR4.
So if you are building a computer from scratch, and want to build the fastest computer you can, we would recommend DDR4 RAM. However, if your motherboard is incapable of going past 2,100 MHz, then you might as well save money and go with DDR3 RAM. Buying a DDR4 with a motherboard incapable of reaching speeds over 2,400 MHz is like buying a Ferrari you're not allowed to drive.