Does RAM Speed Really Matter? How to Check Whether it Does

RAM speed is one aspect of computer performance that remains a mystery for users with average computer knowledge. It goes without saying that more RAM memory and a higher processor speed mean a lot in terms of performance, but RAM speed is also an important factor to consider.

What does RAM speed affect?

When it comes to a computer’s visual performance, RAM speed is important to users with specific needs; for example, gamers, programmers, and designers.. For them, any factor that affects the performance of their device matters.

Professional software applications that architects and designers use, for example, require computers with high performance in all aspects. The same goes for other experts who need to use demanding software on a daily basis, or who provide advanced technologies that are massively accessed from numerous points (e.g. internet providers). To them, any issue with speed in general, be it hardware or software, can cost time and money.

It’s often difficult to determine the actual RAM speed due to numerous factors that affect it, both software and hardware. Another problem is the difference in nomenclature, with different speeds being labeled in different abbreviations and units across manufacturers (e.g. byte VS bit).

On the other hand, an average user can benefit from higher RAM speed in terms of visual performance. Often, regular users find themselves looking into RAM speed when experiencing performance issues for which they’re unable to find the root cause.

3 Methods for checking RAM speed

If you want to know how to check RAM speed on your computer, here are a couple ways to find it out.

Look into the “Memory” tab

Step 1: Download the CPU-Z

Step 2: Open the “Memory” tab

Step 3: Look into the memory speed. Depending on whether your RAM is a dual or triple channel, multiplying the memory speed by 2 or 3 will reveal the actual RAM speed on your computer. Please note that abbreviations like DDR2 and DDR3 don’t determine whether your channel is dual or triple.

This method will help to check RAM speed on both Windows 7 and Windows 10.

Open Command Prompt as admin

Step 1:  Open Command Prompt as an admin

Step 2: Type the code: start>cmd> right click > run as admin

Or you can skip to the:

Step 3: Enter the code: wmic memorychip get speed

The speed of the RAM chip installed in your computer will be displayed. This method is useful if you want to check RAM speed on both Windows 7 and 10, but don’t be fazed if the first code doesn’t work. If you are already logged in as an admin, you can go ahead and enter the second code, which can also show you the RAM speed.

The Control Panel

Step 1: Open Control Panel from the Start Menu

Step 2: Go to the “System and Security” section

Step 3: Under “System”, click on “View amount of RAM and processor speed”

This method will work for both Windows 7 and Windows 10, and it is the easiest way to check RAM speed on your computer.

This option will also show you which Windows edition is installed on your computer, amount of installed memory (RAM), the processor type, as well as the system type. To check your RAM speed, you will have to download the CPU-Z.

This section will also display a rating for your Windows Experience Index with a score ranging from 1.0 to 7.9. You can use this score as an indicator of the computer’s performance, which should help you decide whether to take it to a professional to check for bigger issues.

To calculate this score, Windows takes into account the number of calculations/sec that your computer can manage, the number of memory operations/sec based on the RAM, disk data transfer rate, performance of the computer’s gaming graphics, and the Windows Aero desktop performance. It is a useful number to look into if you want to assess your computer’s performance but you shouldn’t read into it too much if you’re a regular user. 

Is a higher RAM speed worth buying a more expensive RAM?

The RAM frequency is the best measure when it comes to determining its speed. Notably, it also affects the price of the RAM. Expressed in MHz, the frequency determines the number/volume of data transferred per second. But does this speed affect your computer significantly?

What RAM speed does for your computer is to mainly transfer data across the hard drive, other subsystems, to and from the CPU, USB controller, sound & graphics card, etc. As such, RAM speed itself doesn’t impact the overall system performance enough for the average user to notice. While professional users could benefit from splurging on a high-frequency RAM, it remains irrelevant for the majority of regular users.