Would you know how to choose the best RAM memory taking into account its benefits? We show you how important it is to take into account MTs (latency) and MHz (radio frequency) when choosing RAM for your computer and obtain the best performance.
When choosing the perfect RAM memory for your PC, it is usual to focus on the capacity or the format, forgetting other characteristics that are essential for the good performance of the RAM memory. In this article, we are going to tell you everything about MTs (latency) and MHz (frequency).
Some users only look at the memory being clocked high in the belief that this will give them better performance, but you also have to consider that there are other factors that decisively influence this performance such as the latency of the RAM memory.
Talking about megahertz may seem like a very complex subject, but in reality, it is a fairly simple concept to understand and that will be very useful to choose the best RAM memory for your PC.
What is latency in a RAM memory?
Simplifying the explanation a lot, latency is the time that the processor must wait between when the read or write request is made and a response to that request is obtained.
Therefore, the shorter the waiting times between requests, the more efficient the RAM memory and the more fluid it will bring to the system.
Latency is given by several parameters known generically as Timings, but commercially, most brands only indicate a single latency value known as CAS (Column Access Strobe) latency or simply CL.
It should be noted that the CAS value does not indicate the actual memory latency but is only one of the parameters directly involved, but since all manufacturers use the same, it serves as a reference to determine the performance of RAM modules.
Since this latency value represents the clock pulses that the processor must wait for its response, the lower the number that appears in the CAS latency, the more efficient the memory will be.
That is, with a RAM with CL16 latency, the processor has to wait for 16 clock pulses, while with a RAM with CL14 latency it would only have to wait for 14 clock pulses, which indicates that it is more efficient.
Why is RAM frequency important?
The frequency of the RAM memory is expressed in Megahertz (MHz). This value indicates the speed at which the memory chips integrated into each module work. Therefore, the higher the number of Megahertz, the faster the module will have.
This parameter is important as it defines the speed that the read and write data will be transported. As is logical to think, the faster the RAM, the more it will influence the performance of the computer, since it will be able to solve a greater number of requests per second.
Does that mean that having a RAM memory module with a high frequency would be enough? Well, it is not that simple, but it is an important part to achieve better performance.
Latency and frequency, the secret is in balance
We have already seen that both the latency and the frequency of the RAM are important for the final memory performance. But what is more important when choosing RAM for your PC, latency or frequency?
The truth is that the ideal is to achieve a balance between frequency and latency since betting on one feature over another does not obtain the results that perhaps you expected. We show you some examples:
Take, for example, a RAM that runs at a frequency of 1,866 MHz and a latency of CL8, and we compare it to a second memory with a frequency of 2,133 MHz with a latency of CL10.
At first glance, anyone could say that the second memory is faster so it will be the one that will offer the best performance. However, the reality is quite different since both would obtain similar results.
On the one hand, the second one would take the information faster from the read/write point to the point of delivery of the information but, let’s say, it takes a break time between delivery and delivery since it has a higher latency.
The first memory in the example, on the other hand, is somewhat slower when transporting the data, but it does not take such long pauses between deliveries, so despite the differences in the parameters of both modules, the performance is very similar. It is a bit like the fable of the hare and the tortoise.
There is a simple mathematical formula to approximate the performance of RAM memory modules in nanoseconds, despite having a different frequency and latency parameters.
The formula would be something like this: (Latency / Frequency) x 2 x 1024.
In this way, and returning to the example of the modules we have mentioned, we obtain that: (8 / 1,866) x 2 x 1024 = 8.78 ns, while the second memory, (10 / 2,133) x 2 x 1024 = 9 , 60 ns.
As you can see, it is a minimal difference that, against all odds, gives a certain advantage to the one that seemed to be slower but that, in general terms, offers better performance than the memory of the second example.
Your budget will help you decide between latency and frequency:
Now you know that you should not trust appearances and not get carried away only by the frequency offered by a certain RAM memory.
In fact, when you go to buy RAM for your computer, you may find RAM with higher frequencies, with a cheaper price than others that, a priori, seem to have lower performance.
As you have seen in the previous section, this RAM memory frequency has a trick. Instead of looking only at the frequency to determine if one memory is better for you than another, choose a price range that suits your budget and apply the formula that we have provided.
With it, you will be able to establish a general ranking of the best-performing ones that will help you determine which RAM memory offers you the best price-performance ratio, taking into account the latency and frequency values.