Your computer’s random access memory (RAM) is one of its core parts. It acts as a temporary memory storage for quick data access. Some users are also curious about “can you mix RAM brands?”
Having your own PC build will allow you to customize, like mixing RAM brands. This guide will show you the factors to consider when mixing RAM and if it’s better to have matching RAM brands on your computer.
Read this guide to learn more.
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Can I Use Different RAM Sticks?
Yes. In theory, it’s possible to use RAM sticks with different brands, sizes, and speeds. Some users consider this due to today’s vast array of RAM brands and manufacturers. However, mixing RAM brands won’t be the best for your computer’s system.
While you won’t immediately notice this change in your computer’s performance, it may cause incompatibilities, especially when the RAMs are made in different generations. Each RAM brand also follows various standards for their product’s specifications—materials used, memory modules, PCBs, etc.—which might conflict with your computer when used along with other brands.
The same issues apply when mixing RAM kits from different brands since you’ll use more dual-in-line memory module (DIMM) slots to accommodate it.
But, since considering an overhaul or upgrade on RAM components with a new kit may cost a lot, some users may still consider using other budget brands with their current RAM setup. So, if you’re wondering, “does RAM have to match?” Not necessarily. But buying an entire RAM kit is still recommended when you have the money.
Factors to Consider When Mixing RAM Brands
If you’re planning on using different RAM brands for your PC, you’ll need to consider various factors to avoid causing problems to its other components. Here are some key aspects to take note of when mixing RAM brands:
The most crucial factor when using another RAM brand is its voltage requirements. It’s critical to integrate a RAM stick that matches the voltage demand of your current RAM to keep your computer stable. Keeping the power evenly distributed on your computer’s system also helps improve your computer’s memory performance.
When using different RAM brands, it’s important to keep them in the same memory size. Using RAM with different sizes can negatively impact your computer’s overall memory configuration and operation. Specifically, using different RAM capacities—an 8 GB and a 4 GB RAM stick— on a system can cause asynchronous operation, also known as Flex mode.
Depending on the workload you’re having on your computer, and how memory-exhaustive it is, Flex RAM can cause an apparent decline in its performance and even cause long-term issues.
Depending on your computer’s memory requirements, the memory configuration on its RAM slots will significantly affect its performance.
Overall, there are two types of memory configurations: single-channel and dual-channel. While, in theory, integrating two RAM sticks will place the configuration in to dual-channel, mixing incompatible RAM brands will possibly put some RAM working in a single-channel rather than dual-channel.
Although this change is almost unnoticeable in typical computer tasks—like gaming and internet browsing—it can have a visible impact on memory-intensive tasks, such as 3D rendering, photo and video editing, and using virtual machines.
Another key factor to consider is speed. Since some RAM kit brands operate at different speeds, you’ll need to match your current RAM with another one that matches its speed to avoid affecting your computer’s performance. You’ll also need to consider their latency and frequency.
If you plan on using different RAM brands with varying frequencies, their latencies will have to match for them to work simultaneously. You’ll also likely experience RAM issues when using multiple DIMM slots due to speed differences. You can use this online RAM latency calculator to calculate your RAM stick’s latency.
Is it Worth Buying a RAM Kit?
As mentioned earlier, buying a RAM kit will avoid compatibility issues and can definitely make your life easier since all components included in the kit are designed to work together. However, you’ll need to assess your computer’s needs and what’s best for your daily workload before picking the right RAM brand.
For context, if you’re using your computer for high-memory tasks, such as video editing, it’ll require between 32 to 64 GB of RAM, while running most games will only need about 16 GB of RAM.
You can consult your current RAM brand manufacturer’s customer support for more help.
Mixing RAM brands have been a huge talking point for most PC enthusiasts and typical computer users. When on a budget, mixing RAM is the ideal option. But buying a complete RAM kit is a solid choice if you don’t want to do extensive research and experiment with different RAM brands.
Hopefully, this guide helps you know more about mixing RAM brands and the factors to consider when doing it on your computer.