Kingston FURY Overclocking RAM modules

How to Choose the Best RAM for Overclocking

Selecting the right memory for overclocking your system can be tricky, even for the seasoned professional builder. With so many options it can be overwhelming. There’s so much to decide: price versus speed versus capacity, the potential limitations of motherboards and processors, not to mention RGB versus non-RGB!

The following process outlines the steps our experts take when recommending Kingston FURY memory.

What is Kingston FURY?

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First, a quick review of the Kingston FURY memory portfolio and methods for overclocking.

For the DIMM form factor, used primarily in desktop PCs, there are two performance categories: Beast and Renegade.

Beast is the entry-level family, featuring both Plug N Play technology and profiles (XMP) to engage the memory overclock. This is the best value for performance family, with good speeds and latencies for every budget. Plug N Play featured parts add the convenience of automatically overclocking out of the box on most systems, which is an ideal solution for systems that block overclock profiles, or for those that are not yet confident tinkering with the BIOS.

Renegade is the high-end family, using only profiles (XMP) to engage the overclock for our fastest speeds and lowest timings.

For the SODIMM form factor, Impact is used in laptops and small form factor PCs. It uses Plug N Play technology to automatically engage overclocking, but also features the same speed and timings under a profile, just in case the auto-overclock doesn’t lock in.

There are two categories of computer systems on the market:

  • OEM, which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, refers to the big brand PC/laptop manufacturers and their gaming brands (ex: Dell/Alienware, HPI/Omen, Lenovo/Legion, Acer/Predator).
  • Build-your-own or buy a whitebox. This would entail buying the various components (motherboard, CPU, RAM, graphics card, case, power supply) and assembling the system yourself. Major suppliers for motherboards would be ASRock®, ASUS®, Gigabyte™ and MSI®. Alternatively, you can buy a pre-built system using the same off-the-shelf components from smaller PC/laptop brands.

If you have an OEM system, your aftermarket upgrade options for memory may be rather limited. Most of the OEMs prevent you from using off-the-shelf overclock RAM kits by blocking the ability to engage a profile. Fortunately, Kingston FURY is a featured memory supplier for all four of the major PC/laptop manufacturers, with custom version memory kits available exclusively through your OEM brand. But what if they don’t feature an upgrade for your model? Then Beast and Impact kits featuring Plug N Play may be a viable option. Since this method doesn’t require a profile be set and automatically overclocks, this is an easy way to get around the blocks they may have placed.

If you’re building your own PC, or have a whitebox with an off-the-shelf motherboard model, then selecting a kit becomes much easier.

Memory search field

Start by using our memory finder and typing in your motherboard make and model into the Search by System/Device field and hit Search to see what options we list. When you find your model, you’ll want to start from the top and review the basic specs of your motherboard, such as number of memory sockets and the maximum memory capacity supported. Then, read through the Configuration Notes as important installation instructions can be found there. You’ll likely find notes specific to your motherboard.

As you scroll down, you’ll find three product tabs under Compatible Upgrades for Your System.

  • The first tab is Kingston FURY memory. The parts listed there are hand-selected by Kingston’s engineers as verified compatible based on internal lab testing, Intel XMP or AMD Ryzen certification, and/or the motherboard’s QVL (Qualified Supplier List). The QVL can be found on the support page for your motherboard on their website and lists all the compatible memory parts they’ve tested.
  • The next tab is ValueRAM, our non-overclocking industry standard (JEDEC spec compliant) product line. Go this route if you just want basic compatible memory at a good price.
  • The third tab features our SSD storage drives.
Memory filter section showing Total Kit Capacity

Next, you’ll want to prioritize whether speed or capacity is your top priority. While not mutually exclusive, higher capacity modules and kits are generally only offered up to mid-range speeds for DDR4.

Capacity

Decide how much memory you need for your system. Keep in mind memory must be installed in pairs or groups according to the motherboard’s memory architecture. Most AMD and Intel PCs and laptops feature a dual channel memory architecture, where a pair of identical memory modules are required to provide the best performance. Some high-end systems feature a quad channel architecture, where a group of four identical modules is required. It is not recommended to only install one module, even if the motherboard manual says it will work, as dual and quad channel systems are designed to pair or group modules together, aggregating memory bandwidth. Buying one module now and adding another one later may also cause performance degradation or instability, as the chips featured on each may be different, even if it’s the same specification or part number.

Use the filters on the left side of the page to narrow the options.

Speed

After you settle on a target capacity for your system, you’ll want to see what speed options are available. The filters on the left side will help narrow your choices. You may also work in reverse order if speed is your number one priority over capacity.

For thrill seekers, on Dual Channel based systems the best speed options will be found in (K2) kits. A single K2 kit installed in 1DPC (one DIMM per channel) is the most viable configuration for locking in extreme, yet stable performance. Lower capacity kits, those using two 4GB, 8GB and 16GB Single Rank (1R) modules are generally better at hitting high speeds (over 4000MT/s DDR4 on Intel and AMD chipsets from 2019+). This is because timing is everything at extreme speeds. When not overclocking, Dual Rank (2R) modules are the performance choice, as they interleave memory accesses and outperform Single Rank (1R) versions by up to 15%. But at extreme speeds, most motherboards cannot handle the interleaving ranks and maintain high frequencies at low latencies. The same logic applies for Quad Channel based systems, with K4 kits using 4GB, 8GB and 16GB Single Rank (1R) modules providing the best options for extreme speeds in 1DPC.

It’s important to note that for Dual Channel systems we do not recommend installing two K2 kits unless it’s a verified configuration listed on our website, or on the motherboard QVL. If a K4 kit is listed on our website for your Dual Channel motherboard, it means we or the motherboard manufacturer have tested this configuration as stable. If you’re debating whether to buy a single K2 kit now and maybe another one later, we recommend buying the K4 kit now, as all the modules in the kit will be identical. While it’s unlikely to occur, if two K2 kits with different memory components are mixed, the overclock might not engage or it might become unstable.

Generally, when overclocking, adding memory modules to the second bank of sockets of both Dual and Quad Channel systems places a heavy burden for the processor to handle, specifically at high speeds and low latencies.

FURY CTRL software screenshot

RGB

If bling is your thing, then we highly recommend RGB options. Both the Beast and Renegade product lines feature RGB enhanced modules, configurable using our Windows-based FURY CTRL RGB software application. All our RGB memory modules feature our patented technology called IR Sync, which keeps the patterns in perfect unison, even if there is a gap between the modules. Of course, if you want to customize your look and un-sync them in the app, that is an option. Kingston FURY RGB modules can also be controlled by native motherboard apps if you want to sync them with other components.

A Happy Medium or Living on the Edge?

Most users will find a happy medium between price, speed, capacity, features and style with the product families we offer. But if you’re looking to live on the edge and get the absolute most out of your system, Kingston can meet your needs too!

Reach out to a Kingston rep if you’re still unsure which memory solution is best for you. Our teams are standing by.

#KingstonIsWithYou #KingstonFURY

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