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Get 16GB of Crucial DDR5 RAM for £34

That's it, that's the deal.

DDR5 RAM used to be expensive - but fast forward a year or two and now it's possible to pick up 16GB for a little more than three of your British tenners. That's right, you can now get a single 16GB stick of DDR5-4800 for £34, or two for £68 - quick maths.

This is by far the best choice when it comes to raw price versus performance, and allows you to build out a DDR5 Intel or AMD system at the absolute minimum cost while still getting a healthy 32GB.

Of course, it is worth noting up front that you definitely don't want a single stick of DDR5, as this comes with a stiff performance penalty - consider two the minimum!

So once you've settled on a dual-stick kit, what about the question of RAM speed? I've done some investigations on DDR5 performance for my day job at Eurogamer stroke Digital Foundry (mirroring similar research here at RPS!), and generally we see noticeable improvements only in a few circumstances, most notably in a few modern AAA games that need to load a lot of data into memory, think your Cyberpunks 2077 and your Flight Simulators 2020.

This is largely only noticeable at 1080p, as you're likely to be more GPU-limited at 1440p and 4K, and faster DDR5 also doesn't seem to affect productivity tasks like 3D rendering or video transcoding. So the actual number of situations that you see a benefit is fairly small at this stage - and the actual frame-rate increase at 1080p is typically in the five to 10 percent range if it's noticeable at all - and the vast majority of gaming scenarios it makes no difference.

So getting the base spec is actually pretty darn smart, even if the DDR5-4800 CL40 spec doesn't look that impressive. Pair it with a new, good-performance CPU, like that of AMD's Ryzen 7000 lineup or Intel's 12th or 13th-gen processors, and you'll get much better performance maximising your spend on your CPU and GPU than if you dedicate more of that money to RAM.

I think this all should make sense, but I'm curious to see what you think! Let me know in the comments below.

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