Black Friday is finally here, which means it's time to grab yourself a decent deal, and possibly upgrade your machine to handle the challenges ahead. One classic upgrade is to grab some more RAM, and this is just as true now as it ever was. More memory means your system will run smoother, allow you to do more things, and it can also mean your game performance improves as well—although there are limits, and you shouldn't go chasing RAM speeds.
Black Friday deals
Black Friday 2020 deals: the place to go for the all the best Black Friday bargains.
The good news is that memory is already in a healthy place in terms of value for money, with high-quality sticks available for some of the lowest prices ever. The best RAM for gaming really doesn't have to cost the earth. Savings on top of that can only sweeten the deal further. It really is a great time to be in the market for more memory, basically.
If you're looking to build a new machine, potentially to make use of the new RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT graphics cards, then you'll want to grab some memory that you know will last you. And here you want RAM with a fast operating frequency and as low a latency as you can afford. If you're running an Intel system, then DDR 3200 will serve you well, while the latest AMD chips work best with DDR4 3600 memory.
We've scoured the markets for Black Friday deals, focusing on Amazon, BestBuy, and Newegg (as they have the best component selections), to pick the best value RAM kits out there right now. Here's what we've unearthed so far:
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB | 3200MHz | CL16 |
$98 $63.99 at Amazon (save $34)
Corsair, now known for its peripherals more than anything else, started out as a well-respected name in RAM. That’s still absolutely true. This kit ticks everything you want from a good kit of memory—decent frequency, great latency, and thanks to this deal great value for money. You know it’ll just work in any system too. Note there is no RGB bling to be had here. View Deal
HyperX Fury 16GB | 3000MHz | CL15 |
$95.99 $71.99 at Amazon (save $24)
This pair of sticks may only be rated at 3,000MHz, but that low CAS latency means that it’ll perform better than kits that operate at higher frequencies. This is a speedy kit basically. And if you care about what the inside of your case looks like, the addition of RGB lights can be welcome. View Deal
G.Skill TridentZ RGB 16GB | 3200MHz | CL 16 |
$84.99 $76.99 at Newegg (save $8)
This may not be a huge saving, but this is a good kit anyway, so don’t be put off by the fact you’re only saving $8. Rated at 3,200MHz with a CAS Latency of 16, this is exactly the kind of specifications you want for a speedy Intel build. It just so happens to look pretty sweet in any system as well, which gets the thumbs up from us. View Deal
Adata XPG Spectrix D60 RGB | 3600MHz | CL 18 |
$94.99 $89.99 at BestBuy (save $5)
If you’re rocking an AMD system, or want to, then this 3600MHz kit is where it’s at. The CAS Latency of 18 is standard at this speed, and while it would be nice to use a CL 16 kit instead, you generally have to pay a lot more for the privilege. Beyond that, this is a fairly standard, if incredibly vibrant, pair of sticks that will make any build stand out. View Deal
What to look out for in a Black Friday RAM deal
When buying memory, there are a few things to look out for, but the main thing is to stick with trusted brands: Adata, Corsair, Crucial, G.Skill, HyperX, PNY, and T-Force. Also, it pays to look at the specifications and make sure that you're buying what you think you are. If you have time, you should check the memory compatibility charts of your motherboard (these tend to be on the website for your motherboards as well).
In terms of the actual specifications, the big one is the capacity. These days we see 8GB as an absolute minimum and are erring towards 16GB for gaming machines. If you like to mix serious work with your gaming, then an argument could be made for 32GB, but it's largely overkill except for a few niche cases. Still, 32GB should mean you don't have to upgrade for a long, long time. Whatever you choose, you want at least two sticks to make sure your memory channels are being used (mainstream AMD and Intel CPUs have dual-channel memory interfaces).
The frequency should be easy to spot, as it tends to be in the name of the product, and written as either DDR4 3200 or 3200MHz DDR4. It's not quite as easy as saying that faster is better, but as a rule of thumb, it's not a bad place to start. Again, for the latest Intel chips you're looking at DDR 3200MHz, while for AMD, DDR4 3600MHz is the sweet spot (Zen 3 potentially ups this to 4000MHz, but we're not quite there yet).
The latency can be a bit trickier to track down, and generally requires diving into the details. There are actually a lot of latencies that define how long the RAM takes to respond to requests, but the one you're most interested in is the CAS Latency, or CL, as this gives you an overview of how quick the memory is. You want this low. For fast DDR4 memory, a CAS Latency of 16 is a good aim, although DDR4 3600 at CL18 isn't a bad place to be either.