When building a PC setup, you will always want to link each individual piece of hardware together the same way you’d do a well-built chain, or an artistic puzzle. You want that chain to be strong, and that puzzle be beautiful, the same way you need all your hardware pieces to work together in harmony.
To avoid bottlenecking your PC, you’ll want the specifications of your hardware to maximize the capabilities of your main components. This way, your computer will function in an effortless symphony of maximized output; an optimization of its intended purpose.
The relationship between random access memory (RAM) and your core processor is what enhances the overall performance of your build. RAM is what enables your CPU to properly engage in running software, transferring data, avoid slowdowns, freezes, and crashes.
How much RAM for my 9700K/9900K build?
If you’re looking to purchase Intel’s mid-range i7-9700K, or upper-mid-range i9-9900K, then there will be certain key elements you will need from your RAM, depending on the intended purpose of your computer.
First, let’s speak of RAM size. If you’re looking to make a computer for browsing, low-intensive work-related programs, or even for modern-generation popular online multiplayer gaming, you will want a minimum of 8GB of RAM. This will be sufficient for these low-demanding games, programs such as Microsoft Suite, web-browsing, and so forth. If you’re looking to build a gaming setup, then 16 GB RAM is the way to go. This amount of RAM is more than enough to play even the most demanding of games; and if you’re looking to future-proof your build for the new generation set to appear with the next-gen consoles, it has been announced that both Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X will feature 16GB of RAM, so you will be safe no matter what. Now, if you’re looking to stream, edit raw-file photographs, and render high-resolution videos, then there really is no limit in how much RAM would be best – but 32GB of RAM would a sufficient standard to start. The more RAM you have, the easier (and faster) it will be for your computer to render together multiple stacks of high-resolution videos – and with 8K just around the corner, it would be best to future-proof your PC by buying sufficient amounts of RAM. Of course, you can always upgrade as you go.
What RAM speed for Intel 9700K/9900K?
Next, you will want to choose the speed of the RAM you are to purchase (which is measured in MHz) depending, of course, on your needs. For a budget build, 2400-2666 MHz will work sufficiently, while for gaming speeds of 3000-3200 MHz are best. Anything above these speeds will bring you diminishing returns, and are generally not worth the cost. The same applies for workstations, though if cost is not an issue, the higher the speeds the better.
Best CAS Latency for Intel Core i7-9700K & 9900K builds?
Depending on the speed of the RAM, what is also very important is their inherent latency, measured in CAS (Column Address Strobe/Signal). This latency figure relates to the cycles it takes for the RAM to access data in one of it’s column addresses, in contrast to the speed which refers to how many transfers are conducted per second. The lower the CAS latency, the better. Having high-latency RAM will also bottleneck its speed and overall performance. Let’s take for example two identical G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 RAMs, one with a speed of 3600 MHz and latency of C16, versus the same RAM with a speed of 3200 MHz and latency of C15. The benchmarks between the two sets of RAM show a difference in overall, effective, speed in favor of the 3200 MHz C15 RAM, as opposed to the 3600 MHz C16 RAM. For both gaming and workstation, the CAS measure is highly important.
With all this in mind, we will provide you with the best 2020 RAM options for all three of the aforementioned types of builds – a budget build, a gaming build, and a workstation build.
Best RAM for i7-9700K & i9-9900K Builds – My Recommendations
Best RAM for Budget i7-9700K/i9-9900K Builds
Crucial is just an overall great brand for RAM and ROM alike when shopping on a budget. They make high quality components at just a fraction of the cost of their competitors. Here, too, they’ve made a single-rank 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM card that has respectable speeds of 2666 MHz, and is low-profile enough to fit in cases where the CPU cooler/heatsinks take up considerable amounts of case-relative space. It does have a high latency of 19 CAS, though if you aren’t looking to play demanding (mostly single-player) games, or running hardware-intensive programs, the 2666 MHz speed is more than enough to perform sufficiently for your build.
The best part of this RAM card is its extremely-low current $36 price. Given the fact that the 8GB of RAM comes in a single-rank, means that you will also have available slots in your motherboard for upgrades, so you can buy multiple units of this RAM depending on how your needs evolve with time. Overall, a great investment for its money.
Best RAM for i7-9700K/i9-9900K Gaming Builds
Let’s face it, if you’re going to make a gaming setup, you’re going to want some RGB pizazz – the more the components that have it, the better. Despite the existence of some components where the RGB lighting seems to have a negative effect on the overall performance of the unit (such as for case-fans for example), when it comes to the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro, there is no compromise to be made. These have both style and substance, as they come in high speed, low latency variations, and have top-of-the-line performance to match their looks. These RAM units have dynamic multi-zone RGB lighting that can be controlled via Corsair’s iCue software interface, while also being compatible with MSI, Gigabyte, and ASUS’s different light-syncing software.
We recommend going for the 3000 MHz, C15, 16 GB (2x8GB) option, as this will be optimal for any gaming setup, and is currently selling at a very low price of $90. Of course, there is also the 3200 MHz, C14, option, though the price increases significantly (more than double the cost) for this variation, and is most likely going to be overkill for most gaming setups. For its looks, price, and performance, it’s hard not to recommend this RAM for any type of setup.
Best RAM for i7-9700K & i9-9900K Workstation Builds
The T-Force Dark Pro series are the absolute best RAM units you can buy for their price, in regards to speed and latency. This model is incredible fast, has great heat dissipation, and is optimized for the Intel’s XMP technology. XMP allows you to change multiple memory settings via the use of different profiles, so that you don’t have to worry about changing frequencies, voltages, or timings when you’re overclocking.
To dissipate heat resulting from these overclocking speeds, the T-Force Dark Pro has a five-piece heat sink with a unique trench design and an aluminum heat spreader. In regards to transmitting performance, these use a JEDEC RC 2.0 customized circuit board, which increases the distance between the power and signal layers. The lower the interference between power and signal, the higher the stability when overclocking, and the better the overall performance.
In regards to speed, this model has 3200 MHz, and an ultra-low CL 14-14-14-31 (C14) latencies. Effectively, it can transfer 25.6 GB/s. At its $130 price range for 16GB of memory, and a lifetime warranty, it faces no competition for its price. Buying four 8GB ranks – for an all-together 32GB RAM setup ($262.72 total) – is recommended for most workstations, though depending on the line of work to be produced more RAM may be necessary. The more the RAM the better, and for using the i9-9900K to its maximum overclocking capabilities, the TeamGroup T-Force Dark Pro is the best RAM money can buy.