Buying GuidesGraphic DesignHardware

Best RAM For Graphic Design – It’s All About Speed!

By February 5, 2020June 17th, 2020No Comments

Arturth is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

RAM For Graphic Design PC Build

What Is The Best RAM For Graphic Design?

If you are building a computer for Graphic Design or looking for an upgrade, you are going to want the best RAM configuration you can afford. And with all the options out there, it is hard to know what is the best RAM brand that will meet your needs.

Graphic Designers, need their computers to handle large file sizes in programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. Not to mention, multitasking is the norm these days. Overall, having the right RAM set-up will keep your computer running fast, so that you can focus on the creative.

There is a lot to consider when choosing RAM, such as speed, size, and capabilities. If you care about how your build looks, RAM aesthetics including lights/color is another consideration.

Having built a few PCs specifically for Graphic Design, and recently publishing an article on this topic, I wanted to help by sharing my research in regards to choosing the best RAM. This way you can find the best RAM to meet your needs.

Best RAM For Graphic Design (Top 5)

Corsair Vengeance LED

Fast and looks good

BENEFITS
  • Fast DDR4 RAM
  • 2933 Mhz – 3333 Mhz options
  • Keeps cool with built-in heat spreaders
  • Vibrant LED lighting is tasteful
  • Supports XMP 2.0
  • Limited life time warrenty
Check Price

G.Skill Trident Z RGB

Best fast RGB RAM

BENEFITS
  • Fast DDR4 RAM
  • 3200 Mhz
  • Keeps cool with aluminium heat spreaders
  • Vivid RGB lighting rainbow wave
  • Supports XMP 2.0
  • Limited life time warrenty
Check Price

HyperX Predator Black

Best high-performance RAM

BENEFITS
  • Fast DDR4 RAM
  • 2400 Mhz – 4600 Mhz options
  • Keeps cool with black aluminium heat spreaders
  • Supports XMP 2.0
  • Lifetime warrenty
Check Price

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT

High performance energy efficient RAM

BENEFITS
  • Fast DDR4 RAM
  • 2400 Mhz – 3200 Mhz options
  • Built for gamers and performance enthusiasts
  • Supports XMP 2.0
  • Limited lifetime warrenty
Check Price

Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB

Low clearance, good for builds with large CPU coolers

BENEFITS
  • Fast DDR4 RAM
  • 2400 Mhz – 4600 Mhz options
  • Pure aluminum heat spreader for faster heat dissipation
  • Low profile design ideal for small internal spaces
  • Supports XMP 2.0
  • Limited lifetime warrenty
Check Price

Understanding RAM For Design PC’s

What Is RAM Used For?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is short-term, fast digital storage for data that is currently in use. During computing processes, data is sent to the RAM, and the processor (CPU) accesses that data much quicker than going straight to the hard drive.

What Will RAM Do For My Computer?

RAM gives your computer the ability to handle everyday tasks, such as running applications, browsing the internet, or gaming. It also allows you to quickly jump between tasks while keeping all the data and progress.

Why Is RAM Important For Graphic Design?

Having enough RAM in a Graphic Design computer is critical. You need the ability to run multiple memory-hogging programs smoothly to stay productive.

What Happens If I Don’t Have Enough RAM?

If you don’t have enough RAM you could be dealing with any of the following symptoms:

  • Everyday tasks that seem simple take longer than they should.
  • Programs temporarily stop responding.
  • Words when typing are regularly delayed to show up on the screen.
  • Delays when opening programs.
  • Programs and processes slow down when multitasking.
  • Web pages partially load or fail to load.
  • Programs suddenly crash with no warning.

How Much RAM Do You Need For Photoshop

Trying to determine how much RAM you need for Photoshop can be difficult. Not only do we need to understand roughly how much Photoshop uses, but also how much the rest of the system needs to run smoothly.

If your system is taking up all the RAM, your computer will then start using the hard drive, which is slower than RAM. When this happens, programs won’t be able to function as fast. So how much RAM does a typical computer use?

Graphic Designers will likely have a few programs running, such as Outlook, Windows Explorer, Photos, Chrome with multiple tabs open.

I tested this by capturing my PC’s memory performance stats with the programs I usually have running when designing. Note, my build has 64 GB RAM.

RAM Memory Performance Breakdown

Yes I had a small file in Maya running (only 800 MB used). But this is mostly a realistic example. I had Chrome with a few tabs, Photoshop, Illustrator, Bridge, email and Spotify running.

As you can see, if I only had 16 GB, I would be over. The system would start using page files on the hard drive, which would mean slow downs.

All this action can eat up RAM space quickly. Therefore, if you work with multiple programs, files, and taking into account system usage, 32 GB is preferred.

Intel vs AMD RAM

If you are wondering what RAM will work with my CPU, Intel vs AMD, you’re not alone. There are a couple of points you should know. All of which have been covered in length on various tech sites and forums. I will give you the coles notes.

Overall RAM is RAM. DDR3 and DDR4 RAM should work on both Intel and AMD. The most important factor is knowing what type of RAM your Motherboard supports, DDR3 or DDR4?

How they differentiate usually has to do with which high-performance profile is embedded into the RAM stick’s. In rare cases, you might have to “hand enter” your timings to get a particular RAM to run at full speed if not using a set designated for your platform.

What Is The Difference Between DDR3 and DDR4 RAM

There are a couple of notable differences between DDR (Double Data Rate) versions 3 and 4. First is the way they refresh. With DDR3, auto-refresh and self-refresh are performed in order to refresh content. In DDR4, only self-refresh is used. As a result, DDR4 uses less power.

In terms of clock speed, DDR4 is higher than DDR3. The minimum clock speed of DDR4 RAM is 2133 MHz, with no maximum clock speed defined. DDR3 ranges between 800 MHz to a maximum of 2133 MHz. 

Overall, DDR4 is a newer technology that offers higher data transfer speeds and less power consumption. If you are running a newer CPU, and considering the price difference is negligible, DDR4 RAM is the smart option for your Graphic Design PC build.

What Is RGB RAM?

RGB RAM is simply RAM with RGB (Red, Green, Blue) lights built-in. Often available in an array of customizable colors, RGB RAM was introduced to serve the custom PC building market.

Buying RAM Checklist

Is it the right generation of RAM?
Usually, you are going to see DDR, then a number. Your Motherboard will specify what generation of RAM it supports. It will usually be compatible with DDR4 or DDR3. DDR1 and 2 are simply outdated.

Is my Motherboard compatible with the RAM I want?
To check compatibility, you first need to know what kind of Motherboard you have. You can do this in a couple of ways. 

Option 1 is by going through the start menu and typing in “System Information”. In the System Summary, you will see a model number next to “System Model”. You can take that number and type it into Google to find the Motherboard name.

For option 2, you can download a hand program called CPU-Z, which gathers information about your system.

Do I have enough slots on my Motherboard?
You can open up your case to see how many slots you have. Most Motherboards have 4 slots. However, the number of slots can vary from 2 on compact boards to 8+ on higher performance Motherboards.

Does my motherboard support the amount of RAM that I want to get?
Every Motherboard has a maximum amount of RAM it supports. You can find this easily in the product descriptions online.

Does each RAM module have the same spec?
If you are adding RAM, you want to make sure you buy the exact same RAM stick(s) as what you currently have. If you cannot get the exact same RAM, you should make sure the speed/frequency, capacity, and latency are the same as your current RAM.

Does my CPU cooler leave enough space for my RAM?
Often overlooked and hard to assess is RAM clearance. Large CPU coolers and large RAM modules can sometimes overlap making it impossible to plug-in your RAM. One way to avoid this is to Google search the CPU cooler, motherboard and RAM you are intending to pair, and see if there are any people noting clearance problems.

Am I getting the right size format?
DIMM is for desktops. SODIMM, which stands for Small Outline DIMM, is for Laptops. Full-size DIMM has 168 pins and supports 64-bit transfers. While SODIMM has a smaller 72 pins and supports 32-bit transfers. Some SODIMM RAM comes with 144 pins and 64-bit transfer.

If all of the answers are yes, you have found compatible RAM for your PC build.

Conclusion

If you skimmed the article and want to know the verdict, it is simple. Any of the 5 RAM options we recommend will be great for Graphic Design builds. All are DDR4, build for performance. Looks, however are always subjective. Regardless of what RAM you choose, there are 2 points that I can’t stress enough.

  1. To keep programs running smoothly while multitasking, get as much RAM as your budget allows (32 GB is my recommended minimum).
  2. Does your preferred RAM pass the RAM buying checklist?

If you are building a PC for Graphic Design, and need recommendations on parts, check out our resources here:

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is Arturth's founder. A Senior Graphic Designer from the Pacific Northwest, he has a passion for art, design, and bringing people together through the creative process.

More posts by Camden Taylor