How to Check RAM Speed and How To Boost It

Velina Nenova
Velina Nenova

Updated · Oct 16, 2022

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The average computer user most likely doesn’t know much about the technicalities of how their device works. You may be puzzled as to why your laptop suddenly slows down, and you’re overwhelmed by the seemingly simple fixes online. Our guide will help you understand your computer’s random access memory and how to check RAM speed.

What Is RAM Speed?

Random access memory (RAM) is a type of short-term computer memory that your processor needs to store data. Although RAM doesn’t process data, its capacity and speed significantly affect your device’s performance.

Capacity determines how many programs you can open at once. Naturally, 8GB of RAM will allow your computer to perform much better than 2 to 4GB. Therefore, having more RAM is, for example, essential for gaming.

RAM is measured in megahertz (MHz), reflecting the time it takes to receive requests from the processorwhich needs to process data as you use your device.

How to Check RAM Speed?

There are several ways to measure RAM speed in your Windows operating system and macOS.

  • Windows

If you notice your system slowing down, you can conduct a RAM speed test in three ways.

  • Task Manager

Follow these steps to check for RAM speed via Task Manager.

  1. Click the Start menu at the bottom left corner and search for Task Manager or press Ctrl + Shift + Esc simultaneously to open it;
  2. Click the Performance tab and note the memory section showing RAM in use, availability, MHz speed, and a few other parameters.

Performance tab showing RAM on Task Manager clicked

  • CMD Prompt

A Windows RAM test can also be conducted via a command prompt. 

  1. Click the Start menu and search for Command Prompt;
  2. Right-click the program and run it as ‘administrator’;
  3. Type in the following command: wmic computersystem get totalphysicalmemory, where you see your PC’s total amount of RAM.

Command for seeing PC’s total amount of RAM typed

  • Third-Party Software

You can also do a RAM speed test on a Windows PC using such third-party software as CPU-Z or Driver Easy—free to download and easy to use. 

CPU-Z shows RAM speed by the following steps.

  1. Visit CPU-Z’s website and download the software for Windows and install it;
  2. Run the program and click the Memory tab, where you can check RAM type, size, frequency, etc.

Running CPU-Z program

Driver Easy is another viable option. 

  1. Visit Driver Easy’s website and click the Free Trial button to download. (You don’t need to upgrade to check for RAM speed.);
  2. Click the Hardware Info tab;
  3. Go to the Memory tab, where you can find all the information about your device’s memory.

Memory Tab open

macOS

You can also check your computer RAM on a Mac by taking the following measures. 

  • About This Mac

About This Mac contains your PC’s stats. You can check for RAM speed with the following simple steps.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. A drop-down menu will appear. Click About This Mac, where you’ll find your computer’s memory.

If your RAM speed or device is slow, you may benefit from installing cleaning software for Mac computers.

  • Activity Monitor

You can also take the following steps from the Activity Monitor app to find your RAM speed

  1. Navigate to Applications and click Utilities to find the Activity Monitor;
  2. Click Memory and notice the Memory Pressure graph, indicating whether your computer is using its RAM efficiently.
  • Third-Party Software

Just like Windows, macOS also supports third-party memory testers, including, for example, Memtest86+ and Rember.

To use Memtest86+:

  1. Visit their official website to download the tool;
  2.  Run it to test your RAM and other memory components

To use Rember:

  1. Visit their site to get the application;
  2. Utilize their easy-to-use testing console.

How Important Is RAM Speed?

Your device will likely lag if it cannot process your programs quickly enough. Therefore, RAM speed is essential for your laptop or PC to run smoothly. Over 2,400 MHz is good RAM speed for average users and gamers.

Faster RAM affects the overall system performance of your device, but so does capacity and other components, such as the CPU and motherboard.

Increasing your memory may help, but a mismatch between an increase and what your PC can support could halve the speed. Moreover, overclocking RAM may cause crashes and freezes.

How to Increase RAM Speed

The following methods can increase your computer’s RAM speed.

  • Optimize Background Processes: Closing programs, apps, and browser tabs you’re not using optimize RAM speed. Use Task Manager’s Processes tab to end tasks in Windows or Activity Monitor’s Memory tab to quit apps and background processes on a Mac.
  • Clean Your Computer: Deleting old files, uninstalling unnecessary apps, and defragmenting will boost your PC’s RAM speed, which can be tedious. So consider using such tools as CCleaner for automatic cleanup.
  • Add More RAM: After you check your computer RAM, you’ll know how much you’ve already installed. Be sure to check how much your motherboard and operating system can support. Then, purchase RAM modules and install them into your computer.
  • Change RAM Speed in BIOS: Enter the BIOS by starting your PC and pressing the correct keys—determined by your device’s manufacturer. Next, enter the Extreme Memory Profile (XMP), activate it, and maximize RAM speed. Lastly, save your settings and exit the BIOS.
  • Overclock RAM Manually: Overclocking can be risky. In addition to causing instability, changing RAM clock speed can damage your processor and other components. Enter the BIOS and select Manual settings. Increase memory voltages in small increments to reduce the risk of system instability. Save the changes and exit the BIOS.

Wrap Up

RAM helps your processor store data as you open and use various programs. Its capacity is measured in gigabytes (GBs), and its speed in megahertz (MHz). You can check memory speed via Task Manager or CMD Prompt in Windows. Alternatively, look for About This Mac or Activity Monitor on your macOS. You can also use third-party RAM-checking software on both operating systems.

By understanding what RAM is and its speed, you can boost your computer to better performance by optimizing background processes, cleaning your PC/laptop, adding RAM, or overclocking via XMP or custom settings.

FAQ.


How can I know my RAM speed?

Ways of checking your RAM speed depend on your operating system. On Windows, use Task Manager or CMD Prompt. You can check About This Mac or use the Activity Monitor app if you have a Mac. Both operating systems support third-party programs for checking RAM and other stats of your computer.

How do I find my RAM specs in CMD?

Find the Command Prompt in the Start menu to check RAM speed in CMD. Right-click and run it as ‘administrator’. The CMD command showing you RAM specs is ‘wmic computersystem get totalphysicalmemory’.

Is higher MHz better for RAM?

While RAM undoubtedly affects the speed of your PC, the CPU, motherboard, and other components also affect your system’s performance. Memory capacity also plays a significant role in how smoothly your device operates. Therefore, faster speed helps RAM do its job better, but it doesn’t automatically speed up your computer on its own.

Does RAM speed affect FPS?

Once you understand how to check RAM speed, you may wonder if it can improve your gaming experience. Depending on the game and system, faster RAM could affect FPS, but not typically. 

Upgrading the processor or graphics card usually improves FPS drastically. Most apps show no notable difference in performance when RAM speed is increased. Some games, however, are greatly affected when paired with higher memory speed.

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Velina Nenova

Velina Nenova

Velina describes herself as passionate media savvy and a versatile individual with numerous different interests, most a result of her Media & Communications BA. She has also developed a keen interest in Digital Marketing and Advertising. Her never-ending desire to constantly learn new things and enrich herself and her ultimate dream to go around the globe before 45 are her driving forces.

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