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DDR4 3200 vs 2933: 3 talking points

RAM is one of the most important parts of your computer. Outside of being responsible for all the hundreds of mini data transfers and temporary storage, it also can impact performance quite significantly.

If you’re building a gaming PC or a machine for high-performance workloads, you might be wanting to get the fastest memory you can buy. 3200MHz is usually a good enough memory speed, but is fast enough to justify the higher price tag from the same DDR4 2933 modules?

In this article, we’re comparing the two together in terms of speed, latency and pricing to see which one’s the better option. 

Also read: DDR4 3600 vs DDR4 3200: 6 things to know


Memory Speed

Let’s tackle the obvious first — DDR4 3200will be ever so slightly faster than DDR4 2933 because the former, after all, has a higher declared speed. Keep in mind these numbers aren’t measured in MHz but in MT/s or Mega Transfers per second instead. 

DDR4 does have slightly more headroom for your hardware.

In either case, the real question here isn’t the difference in the number on the modules themselves but whether or not you’ll observe a noticeable performance difference between the two. There are a lot of factors that come into play here including

  • CPU
  • Motherboard
  • Memory configuration (Single or dual channel)
  • Total physical memory available to the system. 

If you’re gaming, naturally your CPU will be able to extract more from the DDR4 3200 module as compared to DDR4 2933, that is, if your CPU and other interfering factors can even push the RAM to its maximum limit. The difference, however, is going to be almost negligible. 


Memory Latency

RAM latency, also sometimes called CAS (Column Access Strobe) Latency measures how fast your RAM can process commands received from the processors and prepare the required data. Since it’s a measure of time, the general rule of thumb is that lower latency means better performance. However, other factors, including your choice of processor (Intel or AMD), play an essential role. 

The module’s CAS latency combined with the speed can however make a visible difference. Whether or not that difference is big enough is going to come down to your exact hardware. 


Pricing and availability

Memory prices are often impacted by the total capacity, latency and speed of a particular module in addition to external features like RGB and whatnot. That said, if you were looking at regular DDR4 modules from both speeds, you’ll find very little difference in price. 

How much ram does games use and how is it used?
Your PC’s accompanying hardware plays a big role in determining what memory will work better.

Most Amazon listings we saw listed a DDR4 3200 module as an optional 2933 or even 2666 module as these memory speeds can often be set in the BIOS to make a particular stick compatible with the one you might already have on your PC.

That said, high-performance, low latency DDR4 3200 RAM will be a tad bit more expensive as compared to modules that top out at 2933. 


So which one should you buy?

Unless you have specific workloads in mind that require a particular type or speed of memory to function best, you can pick either of the two and be just as happy with your purchase. Even with top-end hardware, it’s unlikely that you’ll see a visible difference in performance between the two. 

Another potential factor will be your CPU. If you’re running AMD, just go for the highest memory speed you can. While this is true for Intel as well, AMD processors benefit more from faster memory speeds, even if the difference is minuscule.

That said if you’re planning on pushing your PC to its maximum potential, getting a DDR4 3200 memory module will be beneficial as it’ll allow slightly more headroom for your hardware. 

Also read: What kind of RAM do I have?

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