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Choosing RAM Speed: 2666 MHz vs. 3200 MHz – Know the Gap

Choosing RAM Speed: 2666 MHz vs. 3200 MHz – Know the Gap

RAM (Random Access Memory) is the hardware in a computer, which is bound to store different application programs and operating systems. It contains all the data that the user uses. It is a storage device that helps the user access all the data whenever they want. It is known as the primary memory of a computer.

It reads and writes data much faster than other types of storage, such as a hard disc drive (HDD), solid-state drive (SSD), or optical drive. RAM has various storage capacities, such as 3200 and 2666 MHZ. They differ in their usage in our daily lives and other technological services.

In this blog, we’ll discuss 3200 and 266 MHZ RAM individually and compare them. You’ll get to know about all of them in detail.

Let’s get started.

Is 3200 RAM Faster Than 2666 RAM?

Yes, 3200 RAM is faster than 2666 RAM. However, this depends on the motherboard you purchase. A motherboard with XMP allows you to run your RAM at full speed.

Without XMP, you can only use the CPU’s RAM speed or less, depending on your RAM.

For example, if your CPU is an i5–9400 with RAM support up to 2666 and you use an XMP motherboard (i.e., Z390) with 3200 rams, you’ll get 3200 speed.

On the other hand, if you use a motherboard such as the h310/b360/h370 (no XMP), you’ll only get a maximum speed of 2666; in this case, if you change the CPU to one that supports 2933, you’ll get 2933.

Yes, there is a significant difference in performance because 3200 MHZ is a new speed variant of RAM faster than 2666 MHZ. It’ll suffice; you won’t need 16GB because games rarely require more than 8GB of RAM.

If you have a Ryzen PC, use the Ryzen DRAM Calculator tool to calculate better timings to enter into the BIOS and get a free performance boost. It’s extremely simple to use.

It would be worthwhile for any Ryzen-based CPU, but especially for APUs. It’s only worthwhile if you have a Ryzen 7 or higher processor.

3200 Vs. 2666- How Can You Differentiate Between Them?

2666 is composed of 133MHz SDR and 100MHz SDR combinations. Now that we’re on DD4, the memory speed and multiplier are determining factors. 133Mhz has different timing properties than 3, which is the same as 3 cycles.

3200Mhz RAM can be used wherever 2666 is specified, but not vice versa. You should be familiar with how RAM works. A clock pulse arrives and instructs a location to output its data.

That data must be stable and error-free for a short period, measured in nanoseconds. Then, another clock pulse is received and read.

In general, the higher the MHz count, the faster the RAM. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it is generally accepted.

Most people may not notice the difference in normal workloads such as word processing or email. Still, fast RAM is very useful for RAM-intensive tasks such as video rendering, building 3D models, or playing certain games.

2666MHZ illustrated against a white background.

Should I get 8GB of 3200 MHz RAM or 16GB of 2666 MHz RAM?

Dual-channel always wins over single-channel. A 2x8GB RAM running at 2666MHz outperforms a 1x8GB RAM running at 3200MHz every time.

16GB of RAM at 3200MHz vs. 2666MHz results in a performance boost of 0.1 to 0.5 percent. If you normally get 100 frames per second in a video game at 2666MHz, you’ll get around 101 or 102 at 3200MHz.

2666/3200 is nothing until you start using RAM rated at 4000MHz or 5000MHz. You don’t say what CPU or how many slots are on the board; if it’s a non-K’ Intel CPU (i5 9400 on a cheap board, for example), get a cheap 2666 x 16GB; it doesn’t matter.

If it is an A.M.D. b450 board, get 2666 rams but get crucial or skill, the lowest caps latency you can afford. With some tweaking, it’ll likely get closer to 3000 than 2800, which is “enough” for a 2xxx Ryzen chip.

Too many people believe that a Ryzen 2XXX with 3200+ MHz RAM gains the same amount as a Ryzen 3XXX with 3200+ MHz RAM, and they simply do not. In case you’re on a tight budget, you’re talking about a 60 or 75-hertz gaming rig with an RXRX 580 or similar.

Key specifications
3000MHz RAMImproved performance FSP has been improved. Boosting your gaming FPS with
2666MHz RAM
Less expensive, Excellent for CPU-intensive games.
Easily accessible
Key specifications of 3000MHZ and 2666MHZ

Can You Tell The Difference In Gaming Between 2666 MHz And 3200 MHz RAM?

It’ll not be noticeable unless the rest of your hardware is struggling. It’s heavily dependent on the other components you have to work with. For example, Intel CPUs do not benefit from a difference in RAM speed; however, AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are worth considering because AMD’s ‘Infinity Fabric’ subsystem runs at a 1:1 ratio with memory speed.

Disappearing return occurs around 3600 MHz Double-Data-Rate, so anything above that is pointless and wasteful. The variation between 2666 MHz and 3200 MHz could be almost 8fps. It’s insignificant, mostly.

Then maybe another 5 frames per second between 3200 and 3600. RAM speed is one of the most important factors to consider when playing games; the faster the RAM, the more FPS you’ll have, but there are some exceptions, such as AAA releases that have a large open-world experience. For editing video, it’ll certainly render faster.

The difference between 2666MHz and 3000MHz isn’t significant, but if you run it dual channel, it’ll be more than 668MHz, which is about 10–20FPS if you play AAA games; indie games will have no difference.

An image showing a power supply unit held by a man.
Power supply units are also one of the most important parts of a computer.

Why Is My Computer Running At 2666 MHz When It Has 3200 MHz RAM?

Many people are unaware that 3200MHz RAM is always set to 2666MHz by default (technically 2667). This is because some older CPUs can’t handle high speeds and don’t want to cause a crash while you’re building your PC.

You must manually set it to the advertised speed in the BIOS by enabling XMP (though different motherboard manufacturers may refer to it differently). So, yes, you can and don’t have to do anything to make it happen.

If you use an Intel CPU with a non-Z/X chipset, the maximum speed you can run your RAM is the CPU’s rated speed. The maximum DDR4 speed of the 8th and 9th generation Intel CPUs is 2666MHz, while earlier CPUs have a lower maximum DDR4 speed (2133MHz).

If you have an AMD CPU, such as the Ryzen series, your RAM may not be stable at 3200MHz, but it’ll most likely run at 2133MHz by default.

Can I Combine 2666MHz And 3200MHz RAM?

Both 2666 and 3200 may be supported by the motherboard, but not simultaneously. As previously stated, mixing speeds will not damage your motherboard, but it’ll cause issues.

It should work, but both sticks will run at 2666 MHz rather than 3200 MHz. Purchasing two sticks of varying capacities (8+16 GB) will also disable dual-channel, further degrading performance. You must decide for yourself whether you should. 

3200MHz CL14 RAM is “better” than 3600MHz CL16 RAM. While Ryzen has fast RAM, it only goes so far. At 3200MHz, the speed gain will most likely be insufficient to justify the increase in latency.

A hard disk and a mother board.
M2 technology can develop the speed of reading and writing information up to 3500 lbs.

Is It Possible To Mix 2666 And 3200 RAM?

Both 2666 and 3200 may be supported by the motherboard, but not simultaneously. As previously stated, mixing speeds will not damage your motherboard, but it will cause issues.

They must be matched pairs to use the dual-channel, which these are not. The motherboard is most likely throttling them for stability. Look at the difference in the timing table; the modules are struggling to function, and if they worked at a higher speed (1333Mhz), Windows would most likely crash all the time.

To use a dual-channel, you must match a pair of memory modules. Now, you know whether you can mix the two types of RAMS or not. Right?

What If My RAM Is Too Quick For My Motherboard?

The memory will only run as fast as the CPU’s memory controller allows. Overclocking (running the memory controller in the CPU at higher speeds) can damage the chip. 

Like a racecar in traffic, the RAM will happily run at a slower speed. 

If you’re having problems, reset the memory clock. It’s highly dependent on the motherboard; B150 and H170 motherboards typically support only 2133MHz. Some cheaper boards only support up to 3000MHz, while most support 3200MHz. 

However, looking at the motherboard specifications, you’ll notice that any RAM 2400 or higher has (oc) next to it. This, in my opinion, has two meanings.

To begin, your RAM will be set to 2133MHz by default, and you’ll need to create an XMP profile for the higher frequency, effectively overclocking the RAM with a factory-set OC. Second, because the memory controller is built into newer Intel CPUs,

Check out this video to learn more about 2666MHZ and 3200 MHZ RAM.

Final Thoughts

  • RAM (Random Access Memory) is essential in a computer. It serves as the primary storage for data and applications. It makes it crucial for quick access. 
  • RAM comes in various speeds, including 3200 MHz and 2666 MHz. Each has different applications and uses.
  • 3200 MHz RAM is faster than 2666 MHz RAM, offering improved performance.
  • The motherboard and CPU compatibility influences the speed of RAM. XMP support allows RAM to run at its full speed. 
  • RAM speed impacts performance in gaming, video rendering, and other memory-intensive applications.
  • When choosing between 8GB of 3200 MHz RAM and 16GB of 2666 MHz RAM, keeping one thing in mind is crucial. The dual-channel configurations often provide better performance.
  • Depending on the overall system configuration, the difference between 2666 MHz and 3200 MHz RAM in gaming may be insignificant.
  • Mixing 2666 MHz and 3200 MHz RAM is possible. Both sticks will run at a lower speed, which may affect dual-channel performance.
  • The choice between 2666 MHz and 3200 MHz RAM depends on your computer usage. Faster RAM benefits memory-intensive tasks more than gaming.

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