DDR4 3200 vs 3600 RAM: What Should I Buy?

RAM is one of the most fundamental components of your computer. If you are building your computer from scratch, updating it, or looking to buy a new one, you should always consider the RAM.

DDR4 technology was launched in 2014 and had a huge impact on performance. But what is the difference between DDR4 3200 MHz and DDR4 3600 MHz? Well, to put it simply, the DDR4 3200 is cheaper than the 3600 but slower. Likewise, the DDR4 3600 is more expensive but faster.

If you did not already know, RAM stands for “random access memory” and it is basically your computer’s short-term memory. It stores temporary data that the system is actively working on. This memory works so fast that it allows you to efficiently multitask or run multiple programs at the same time. Then, when you turn the computer off, it gets erased.

Whether you want a smooth gaming experience, run demanding software for work, or simply multitask with no delays or buffering, then you should definitely consider DDR4 technology.

But price and speed are not all there is to say about RAM modules, and you should know all the details before making a choice. To help you in this, we have created a guide to walk you through the main components of each RAM so that you can choose the right one for your system.

So, keep reading to learn everything there is to know about the difference between DDR4 3200 MHz and DDR4 3600 MHz!

CAS Latency

DDR4 3200 Ram sticks

Let us start with what’s probably the most controversial RAM feature: CAS latency. CAS latency means “Column Access Strobe” and is usually listed as “CL” followed by a series of four numbers, the first of which typically establishes CL.

CAS latency indicates how many clock cycles it takes for the RAM to access the data in one of its columns after receiving a command from the CPU. So, the lower the latency, the better the performance.

DDR4 3200 CL can range between 14 and 16, whereas DDR4 3600 usually has a CL between 15 and 19. Since these ranges overlap at some point, you can find both a DDR4 3200 and a 3600 with the same CAS latency.

However, here is where it gets controversial. To get an accurate indicator of latency, you need to account for the duration of each cycle (clock speeds) as well. A RAM module can have higher CAS latency than another one, but faster clock speeds, which would ultimately give it better overall performance.

For this section, we can conclude that CAS latency alone is not enough of an indicator to decide which RAM is better.

Clock Speeds

Clock speed (commonly known as RAM speed) is one of the most advertised characteristics of RAM modules, together with memory capacity. But what does it really mean? Well, clock speed basically tells you how much time it takes for the RAM to process a request from the CPU, and then read or write data.

The speed is measured in Megahertz (MHz), which indicates how many times per second the memory of your RAM can be accessed. The faster the clock speed, the quicker the processor retrieves data.

The DDR4 3200 has a clock speed of 3.2 billion cycles per second, which is already rather impressive in itself and will vastly improve your system’s performance. This speed is perfect for office work, rendering, designing, or programming because it is enough to provide a smooth experience. Even a little gaming on the side will be effortless.

However, it is a fact that faster speeds will outperform slower competitors, and the DDR4 3600 has a speed of  3.6 billion cycles per second. So, if you are a hardcore gamer who is also upgrading other parts of your computer you will benefit greatly from this module. You will not experience any buffering or lagging, and your gameplay will not see any issues.

Basically, when it comes to speed, the DDR4 3200 will suit most computer needs, but if you are a hardcore gamer then you should go for the DDR4 3600 and upgrade other components as well.

Memory Capacity

DDR4 3600 Ram Stick

When it comes to RAM, size matters, and even more so than speed. Memory capacity is expressed in gigabytes (GB) and it indicates how much data the RAM can store. It also plays an important role in making your software run quicker and smoother.

The recommended capacity for most users is 16 GB, but 8 GB works well for tighter budgets and office work. However, for production work, hardcore gaming, or if you are simply building a high-end PC, it would be better to have 32 GB RAM. Going beyond that is not really necessary as you won’t ever use more than 32 GB.

In this, the DDR4 3200 and the DDR4 3600 are on equal ground: both can store up to 64 GB of data.

Memory capacity is the deciding factor when choosing a RAM module. You should be careful and pay very close attention to the storage space when you are buying one. A larger memory capacity means a more efficient performance when your computer is multitasking.

Since both the DDR4 3200 and 3600 can have the same capacity, you will have to choose from the available options. For example, a DDR4 3200 RAM with a storage capacity of 32 GB would be a better choice in terms of efficiency and performance than a DDR4 3600 with a capacity of 8 GB.

Compatible Chipsets

In most cases, the chipset would be another significant factor to consider when comparing both RAMs because it is what allows the module to be integrated into the motherboard and communicate with other hardware. Compatibility is highly important, otherwise your RAM will not work or if it does, it will not be to its full capacity.

The good news is that both the DDR4 3200 and the DDR4 3600 run the XMP 2.0 chipset, which makes them compatible with AMD and Intel.

So, it’s up to all the other RAM characteristics to turn the tide and decide which DDR4 RAM is better.

Power Voltage

A RAM’s electricity consumption is good to take into account to take advantage of the module’s full potential while avoiding wasting energy.

As with the chipset compatibility, you will not have to worry about comparing power voltages as both the DDR4 3200 and the DDR4 3600 run on of 1.2V to 1.4V.

As opposed to previous generations, these modules are much more power-efficient since they allow your system to use less power to achieve faster clock speeds.

Since once again both the DDR4 3200 and 3600 are on equal ground, the deciding factor will be among the first three characteristics we have mentioned so far.

Pricing

When it comes to deciding factors, pricing will most likely take the lead for most people.

Like we have mentioned at the beginning of this guide, the DDR4 3200 is cheaper than the DDR4 3600 because of their differences in speed. But is the higher price tag justifiable when there are only 400 MHz between one and the other? There are thousands of products available, all with different prices. How should you decide then?

It’s true that 400 MHz separate the DDR4 3200 from the 3600, but there are other RAM features that have an influence on the final cost.

First and foremost is the storage capacity. It is rather simple, the higher the capacity, the more expensive the RAM module will be.

Then there are other characteristics such as quality, the material of the case, whether it includes an RGB lighting system, and so on. You will also see that it’s very common to find RAM kits, which include two RAM sticks of the same capacity that are combined to achieve a higher one. For example, two sticks of 8 GB will provide 16 GB total. However, this option tends to be a bit more expensive than a single 16 GB module sometimes.

To decide how much money you should spend on a RAM module, you have to consider what you’re building or upgrading your computer for. Do you want a smooth and fast experience while working in the office? Then the DDR4 3200 would be enough for you. Going for the 3600 would probably be a waste of money as you will not need that much speed for your daily tasks. However, if you are a passionate gamer, you will need to invest a bit more and get the DDR4 3600.

Recommendations

If you have been browsing the web looking for a DDR4 3200 MHz or 3600 MHz module, then you might have got a bit overwhelmed about how many options there are. To ease your worries a bit, here are two high-quality recommendations:

DDR4 3200 MHz – Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3200 MHz

The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro is an excellent choice if you are seeking solid performance. It comes in a kit that includes two 8 GB sticks that combined offer 16 GB of memory capacity and deliver DDR4 3200 MHz of speed.

Sale
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3600...
  • Illuminate your system with vivid, animated lighting from ten individually addressable, ultra-bright...
  • Choose from dozens of preset lighting profiles, or create your own in CORSAIR iCUE software.
  • Just 44mm tall for wide compatibility with air coolers such as the CORSAIR A500.

It also has some stunning customizable RGB lights that can be synchronized with other components in your PC that have RGB lighting by installing CORSAIR’s iCUE software and choosing one of the many options available. With this software you to control your fans, keyboard, and more.

There is, however, one downside to this kit, and that is the overall size of the cards. They are quite tall (51 mm), so you should make sure that they fit into your PC before buying them.

But all things considered, the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro is one of the best options for value because of the combination of great speed and solid DDR4 performance for a relatively moderate price. Furthermore, you will not have any issues finding this product in stock as it’s widely available.

DDR4 3600 MHz – TEAM XTREEM ARGB 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3600 MHz

For avid gamers who are seeking fast speeds, we recommend the TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB. This DDR4 RAM kit has a memory size of 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) that runs very fast at 3600 MHz and has excellent performance. Usually, high speeds involve some heating but thanks to the aluminum heat spreader of these modules you won’t have to worry about it.

TEAMGROUP T-Force Xtreem ARGB 3600MHz CL14 16GB...
  • A white and flawless morning star, full-screen light penetrating design keeps it colorful and...
  • Premium overclocking 10-layer board
  • Support O.C. Profile for one click overclocking

Another feature that makes the TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB an attractive choice is that it’s plug-and-play ready. This means that overclocking is automatic, and you do not have to manually adjust the BIOS.

These modules include ARGB lighting, which allows you to change the RGB light colors however you want, without being constricted by any preset options. By downloading lighting control software you can control lighting effects and lighting synchronization. Furthermore, this ram card’s full mirror reflection design of this RAM card maximizes the luminous area of the entire module to create even more flashy effects.

The TeamGroup T-Force Xtreem ARGB DDR4 3600 is a pricier option than the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4 3200, but that is to be expected because the former is faster, has the latest ARGB lighting technology.

Conclusion

As you have seen, there isn’t a significant difference between the DDR4 3200 vs the DDR4 3600 other than speed and pricing. They match on chipset compatibility and voltage power, and CAS latency alone does not make much of a difference. And even though a 3600 MHz RAM is obviously faster than a 3200 MHz one, storage capacity triumphs over speed when it comes to improving efficiency and performance.

We have also given you two RAM recommendations, one for each DDR4 speed. You can either choose one of them or take them as a point of departure when browsing for other models.

If you have come this far, you can rest assured that you have learned the most important facts about DDR4 3200 vs DDR4 3600. Now you are ready to make an informed decision and pick the RAM that best suits your needs!

Liam Weissman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.

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