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What are the main criteria for selecting "good" RAM? Obviously, everyone wants quantity with RAM, 16GB is better than 8GB, but what about quality? What are the main factors involved? When I see two RAM sticks, each with the same quantity of RAM, at two different price points, how should I determine what to get?

Is there such a thing as RAM speed, and does it make a significant difference which makes a disparity in price justifiable?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Priority one: Clock speed. Higher numbers are better.

Priority two: Latency. Lower numbers are better.

Priority three: Voltage. Lower numbers are better.

Priority four: Heat sink. Cooler looking is better.

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Thanks for the answer. Could you elaborate a bit esp. on points one and two? I understand three and four: less heat and less power are usually always a better option. So RAM has a clock speed; is this variable, like on a CPU? Does RAM always run at the clock specified? – Naftuli Tzvi Kay Nov 28 '11 at 20:14
Modern RAM has a maximum clock speed. It will happily run at a lower clock speed. One of the reasons clock speed is important is that when you run RAM at a lower clock speed, generally the latency (measured in clock cycles) decreases. – David Schwartz Nov 28 '11 at 20:38
One of the priority is brand. Don't ever go for cheap brands, you will be disappointed. – Sachin Divekar Nov 28 '11 at 22:01
Basically, any brand you've heard of is fine. But if no brand is mentioned or it's a brand you've never heard of, watch out -- you may get whatever junk is lying around. – David Schwartz Nov 28 '11 at 22:05
@SachinDivekar "Value RAM" by quality brands is the best choice (IMO); unless you want to over-clock and/or enjoy screwing around with finicky "enthusiast" RAM, you're just burning money on shiny/blinky bells and whistles you'll never see. ;) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Nov 29 '11 at 0:58

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