I left my finance job 6 years ago to work for my dream boss, myself. I've never looked back. I focus on tech, gaming, and hardware reviews.
While Ram may not seem like that big of a deal, if you're using an AMD Ryzen CPU, I recommend you pay a bit more attention. The right Ram can have a big impact on the overall performance you can achieve. This includes AMD's latest 3000 series of processors.
The reason for this is that AMD's new 3rd GEN CPUs have twice as much high-speed cache as before. That memory has to pull data from somewhere, and thus, memory becomes more crucial than ever to AMD's third-generation processors.
Easier Than Before
Stock memory speed has gone up from the first generation Ryzen CPUs from 2666MHz for Gen 1, 2933MHz for Gen 2, and 3200MHz for Gen 3. This already makes a big difference.
However, to achieve 3600MHz + speeds the easiest way is to get a high-quality kit and motherboard. Keep in mind that motherboards hold the configuration for the timings that are automatically configured. This is true even with XMP. And kits that are recommended by motherboard manufacturers in their vendor list tend to have better performance. I've listed some of the more commonly used options below.
If you've got a bit of experience, manually tightening timings and adjusting voltages can also get you there.
G. Skill TridentZ
You may be wondering why we're recommending a particular kit on top here. It's because the G. Skill TridentZ gives you some of the best performance using XMP out of the gate. This includes options like Trident Z Neo, Royal, and RGB.
It's not super expensive, it's not a ton of work, and it gives you the performance you're looking for. A bit more can be achieved with some tweaking, but most won't find the performance difference to be substantial.
Another really good reason to go with it is that it's on a lot of motherboard manufacturer's QVL or qualified vendor list. Kits that aren't on your motherboard's list usually suffer from performance issues.
Why 3600MHz Is a Good Idea
Go with a kit that achieves at least 3600MHz speeds (preferably with CL16). Tweaking the infinity fabric and other clock speeds along with and especially tightening up the timings should net you a large performance benefit (up to 10%) over the stock amounts. And going with a 3600MHz stock kit should allow you to get most of the performance improvement available if you're willing to put in the time.
If you spend a lot of time editing videos or photos this could end up saving you time and money.
Gaming Performance Increase
The difference in performance for gaming tends to be 15-30%, varying by game, in FPS from a standard 2400MHz kit like the G. Skill Ripjaws V and a kit that's been tweaked to run at 3800 or 4200MHz at CL 16.
If max performance is most important to you, and budget comes second, the MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE should be considered the best motherboard for Ryzen in this instance. A close second might be the Gigabyte X570 Aorus. However, keep in mind that a good motherboard comes second to your CPU and GPU.
CL Matters, Too
You may be wondering why I didn't just list every kit that was listed in the 3600MHz range. One of the reasons is Cas Latency which proves to have a big impact. A kit like the CL 19 4000MHz HyperX Predator, for example, actually has worse performance than a 3200MHz G. Skill TridenZ option with CL 14.
Corsair Vengeance RGB 2x8GB Kit Model CMR16GX4M2C3600C18
As this is one of the most popular kits on the market, I wanted to make sure that this model number was addressed here.
First, it's a decent option. However, it comes with C18 so my preference, especially if you don't plan on tweaking anything, would be for you to choose one of the TridentZ kits.
This German hardware forum confirms this model as B-Die as well as many other models. You'll be able to get 3200MHz+ speeds with both the 1st and the 2nd generation of Ryzen processors and easily reach that on Ryzen 3rd Gen.
In terms of pricing, Corsair's 16GB kit is on par or better than better RGB options out there. Of course, the RGB isn't necessary; however, the fact that you get high-speed memory here for a decent price is the key.
This particular kit comes in both black and white for matching your color scheme.
The Final Verdict
Overall, this is one of the first kits I'd tell you to buy if you're looking to get 16GB or more at high speeds. It's readily available, inexpensive, and well-known enough to work well with pretty much any motherboard out there. However, I prefer TridentZ (listed above) for Ryzen 3rd Gen.
Conclusion: Your Motherboard Matters in Some Cases
While I mentioned this briefly in the introduction of the article, I wanted to bring up the importance of your motherboard as well.
Certain memory kits perform better on one motherboard than another. And because you likely can't find all of that information or don't have the time to test different motherboards, in my opinion, it's probably a better idea to go with the more used options here.
That's why the TridentZ option is so good. Across the board, it's recommended on almost all manufacturer's lists.
And reading the motherboard's QVL list is very important before choosing your memory. If your memory doesn't happen to be on that list, you can expect a substantial decrease in overall performance.
If price doesn't matter, we've found the MSI Godlike Motherboard to be one of the better performers we've seen. However, you'll likely find if you're on a budget, a cheaper board and a better graphics card will give you better performance overall.
Can't afford high-speed memory or don't have it available in your area? You can get most of the performance out of Ryzen by using a low latency kit and focusing on overclocking your infinity fabric!
However, depending on where you live, you may find that the difference in price between 3600MHz and 2133 or even 3600MHz and 3200Mhz is minimal.
A Good Budget DDR4 Kit for AMD Ryzen 7 and 5 CPU
Need to save some money? I get it. You want the performance from the higher performing memory kits, but don’t want to pay for it. I recommend G. Skill’s Flare X Series DDR4 2400 Model F4-2400C15D-16GFX. Voltage starts at 1.2V and it’s likely you’ll be able to mirror the performance of the higher-end F4-3200C14D with some additional voltage. As this Ram costs around $100, you’ll be able to save some serious cheese. No guarantees on this one, but we’re hearing good things
G. Skill Flare X DDR4 2400
G. Skill’s model F4-2400C15D-16GFX is a good option for budget-minded gamers. It has the same great look of the more expensive modules (red or black) and it should perform very well when tweaked. The best part is that it’s around 40% cheaper than the comparable 3200MHz model F4-3200C14D-GFX. Out of the box specifications are DDR4 2400 with 15-15-15-39 timing and 1.2V.
Like the more expensive model, it’s listed as designed and tested for Ryzen and includes a limited lifetime parts and labor warranty.
Samsung B-Die Confirmed Memory List
Want to get the absolute most out of Ryzen? Use kits that have verified Samsung B-Die. Here is a list of these options. I'm fairly certain I haven't covered every single option out there; however, B-Die should allow you to get to 3200MHz. They don’t need to be shown as “AMD DDR4 compatible” as this is mostly a marketing gimmick. Anything listed as 3600MHz or greater should fall into this category. For budget-friendly options, you should be able to reach 2933MHz with Samsung E-Die.
These kits are verified B-Die in this thread which you can follow if you want additional information. All of these models are verified Samsung B-Die kits. While they aren’t the cheapest options out there, they should get you where you want to go. With each of these series are various models that are completely different. Pay attention to the lists down below so that you know the actual models I recommend. Again, those of you building a budget Ryzen system may want to check out some options below as settling for 2966MHz may save you some money.
For those using the B350 chipset, checking the ram QVL on the motherboard vendor site is helpful. Memory requirements for that chipset seem to be a bit tighter than those on the X370 platform.
G.Skill Trident Z 3000 MHz CL14
G.Skill Flare X 3200 MHz CL14
G.Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz CL14
G.Skill Ripjaws V 3200 MHz CL14
G.Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz CL15
G.Skill Ripjaws V 3200 MHz CL15
G.Skill Trident Z 3466 MHz CL16
Crucial Elite 3466 MHz CL16
G.Skill Trident Z 3600 MHz CL15
G.Skill Trident Z 3600 MHz CL16
G.Skill Ripjaws V 3600 MHz CL16
Corsair Vengeance 3600 MHz CL16
G.Skill Trident Z 3600 MHz CL17
KFA2 HOF 3600 MHz CL17
Corsair Vengeance 3600 MHz CL18
G.Skill Trident Z 3733 MHz CL17
G.Skill Trident Z 3866 MHz CL18
G.Skill Trident Z 4000 MHz CL18
G.Skill Trident Z 4000 MHz CL19
G.Skill Trident Z 4133 MHz CL19
G.Skill Trident Z 4266 MHz CL19
G.Skill Ripjaws V 3000 MHz CL14
G.Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz CL14
G.Skill Ripjaws V 3200 MHz CL14
As I never listed it on the table, D-Die options include the following G; Skill models; F4-2800C15D-16GTZ, F4-3000C15D-16GTZ, F4-3200C16D-16GTZ, and F4-3400C16D-16GTZ. These are all confirmed Samsung E-die options for G. Skill’s Trident Z series. If you can get them for a reasonable price, they might be preferable to other options for your particular build. Also be sure to take into consideration the option below.
Ram Guide – Understanding Timings
We all see those numbers written across the specifications. If you’re unsure how they work or what they are, here’s a brief explanation. First of all the numbers are written in a particular order that represents values written as clock cycles for CAS Latency, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, and finally Command Rate. Lower is better.
Some definitions can get overly complicated. So, we’ll try to make this as simple as possible. Most of you understand latency as a delay and, in this case, that’s what we’re talking about here. The delay from when the memory controller tells a module to access a specific column and when the data is available from that location’s output pins.
tRCD is the row address to column address delay. It represents the number of cycles between the active command and the read/write command.
tRAS or row active time is a number of clock cycles that are taken between a bank active command and issuing the precharge command.
This is basically the time it takes to terminate one-row access and to start another one.
Command rate is the delay from when a chip select is asserted and commands can be issued to the RAM. Typically the values for this are 1T or one clock cycle and 2T or two clock cycles.
Ryzen 7 and 5 Memory Benchmarks
Want to see exactly how much your Ryzen system can improve from faster memory speeds? I recommend Guru 3D’s benchmarks for this one. They go through 7 games and several applications. Performance is shown for stock processors with increased memory speeds as well as overclocked processors. I wish that they would have shown an overclocked processor with all the memory speeds, however, they’ve still done a thorough job.
If you want to get the most out of your Ryzen system, you’ll want faster memory speeds. Kits that use Samsung’s B-die are ideal. However, with the price of these budget builders may want to opt for alternatives that can reach the sweet spot, which we’d consider 2966MHz. Price checking may allow some to get better kits for cheap when they come on sale.
In addition, it’s likely that additional kits other than the Samsung B-Die ones will be able to achieve 3200MHz and beyond in the future. If you’re willing to be patient, you’ll likely be able to save some money. However, that seems to always be the case.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
J.F.R on January 27, 2020:
Yeah got the same question. I just bought myself a b450 tomahawk max and ryzen 2700x and wonder which ram would be nice
andrew on September 12, 2019:
what is the best buget friendly rgb ram to pair with a ryzen 5 2600 and a tomahawk b450 mother board