PC gaming has not been at its most affordable for a very long time, though primarily that's been down to the inflated GPU market over these past few years. There are actually heaps of components required for a functional gaming PC that are cheaper than they've ever been today. Most notably, sticks of DDR4 RAM.
A couple of sticks of speedy, high-capacity RAM would have once set you back a couple of hundred dollars, but that price has been dropping steadily for a few years. You can pick up a kit of Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro dual-channel RAM with 32GB capacity and rated to 3,600MHz (effective) for $115 (opens in new tab).
And if you don't care about flashy lighting or heat spreaders, there's some regular Corsair Vengeance LPX with the same capacity and specs for $100. Or slightly slower (but lower latency) G.Skill Ripjaws V Series sticks for $90 (opens in new tab).
Alright, I'll stop exclaiming on the page quite so much, but you get the idea. I'd almost forgotten that PC gaming would offer such impressive deals over the course of the previous few years, but RAM really is at a turning point in terms of pricing.
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro | DDR4 | 32GB (2x 16GB) | 3,600MHz (effective) | C18 |
$139.99 $114.99 at Newegg (save $25) (opens in new tab)
One of Corsair's flashiest kits going for just over $100. This is a speedy kit for AMD and Intel systems, and has plenty of capacity for gaming and more RAM intensive tasks, like content creation.
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro | DDR4 | 16GB (2x 8GB) | 3,600MHz (effective) | C16 |
$73.99 $61.99 at Newegg (save $12) (opens in new tab)
Offering less capacity than the kit above, this 16GB kit offers slightly lower latency to help make up for it.
G.Skill Ripjaws V Series | DDR4 | 32GB (2x 16GB) | 3,200MHz (effective) | C16 |
$93.99 $89.99 at Newegg (save $4) (opens in new tab)
It doesn't look like a great deal on paper but the gradual and consistent slide in RAM prices means you would have paid nearly double as much for a kit like this one only a few years ago.
Corsair Vengeance LPX | DDR4 | 32GB (2x 16GB) | 3,600MHz (effective) | C18 |
$106.99 $99.99 at Best Buy (save $7) (opens in new tab)
Another stellar saving on a 32GB kit, though a slightly less flashy number than the RGB Pro stuff above (for less cash).
PNY XLR8 Gaming | DDR4 | 16GB (2x 8GB) | 3,200MHz (effective) | C16 |
$81.99 $56.99 at Best Buy (save $25) (opens in new tab)
Here's a wonderfully cheap kit of RAM with tight timings and decent capacity for gaming.
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro | DDR4 | 64GB (4x 16GB) | 3,600MHz (effective) | C18 |
$279.99 $227.99 at Amazon (save $52) (opens in new tab)
With a 32GB kit going for just over half the amount Amazon is asking for this 64GB kit, its current price makes total sense. But at least here you get a guarantee that all four sticks will work happily together once installed in your machine. Plus this sort of capacity may have set you back $300 to $400 once upon a time.
The reason DDR4 RAM is becoming so much more affordable is undoubtedly in connection with the release and ramp-up of its replacement, DDR5. If you are planning to buy a next-gen Intel 13th Gen or AMD Ryzen 7000-series (opens in new tab) CPU, you probably want to start looking around for some beefier DDR5 RAM to go with it. It's quicker, more efficient, and just generally better. It's also more expensive, but that should come as no surprise.
Yet I can't be alone in feeling my gaming PC has a few more years in it left, and actually, I don't need a whole new CPU, motherboard, RAM combo—I just want faster RAM.
I currently have two 16GB sets loaded into my PC for 32GB in total. That sounds perfect, and in many ways it's absolutely fine, but these are two distinct kits of RAM—they both run at different, quite slow, speeds. One is rated at 2,666MHz and the other 2,400MHz. I have to run them both at 2,400MHz or else my system crashes, and my Ryzen 7 5800X (opens in new tab) is not too happy about the arrangement. It's a far cry from that CPU's preferred RAM speed of 3,200/3,600MHz.
So I'm tempted to pick up a new 32GB kit of RAM that runs at 3,600MHz and find another use for these unspectacular kits I have currently. It might just be the perfect time to do so.