The RAM speed determines how fast or slow your device is, especially when multitasking. Thus, knowing exactly how much RAM you have can help you better understand your computer’s resources and limitations so you should always know how to check ram speed on your computer or laptop.
Do you know how to check RAM speed? Well, there are several ways to do it depending on whether you have a Windows PC or Mac computer.
You can access your PC’s settings, use Windows Task Manager, command prompt, or download a piece of software to analyze your RAM. On Mac computers, this is even easier to do.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you all you need to know about how to check RAM speed, and how to improve it if you wish so. Let’s get started!
What Is RAM?
Random Access Memory, or RAM, for short, is one of the most crucial components of a computer. It’s responsible for storing all running programs, files, and their data for quick access. Whenever you open a file or start running a program on your computer, they’re instantly moved to the RAM.
The higher your RAM capacity, the faster your computer will perform and the more you can do at the same time. When you run a program, and the system slows down or gives you a “low memory” error, it means you need a bigger RAM. To decide exactly how much you need, you have to consider what you will use your computer for. For example, hardcore gaming, 4K video edition, or running virtual machines all require a lot of RAM.
What’s the difference between RAM Speed and RAM Capacity?
RAM speed, also called data rate, indicates how quickly the memory can transfer data to and from the CPU. It’s measured in MHz (megahertz), and the number tells you how many times per second the memory of your RAM can be accessed to process a request from the CPU, and then read or write data. For example, a memory of 3,200MHz can be accessed 3,2 billion times per second.
Thus, the faster the speed, the quicker the processor retrieves data. If the RAM speed is slow, the processor will keep waiting for the RAM to respond, and the performance of your computer will be reduced. This can be an issue when you’re running processor-intensive software that uses high cache.
RAM capacity, on the other hand, indicates how much data can be stored in the memory. It also plays an essential role in helping your software run quicker and smoother. It’s expressed in gigabytes (GB), and the larger the number, the more efficient the performance of your computer is when multitasking.
How to Check RAM Speed and Capacity on Windows
There are several ways to check RAM speed on Windows, and here are some easy ones you can try.
Access Your PC’s Settings
Checking how much RAM you have by accessing your PC’s settings is the quickest and easiest method. However, if you need more information, you should skip this one and go for one of the other options.
All you have to do is the following:
- Press “Win + I” to access your PC’s Settings.
- Click on “System.”
- Scroll down to the bottom and click on “About” on the left-hand side. You’ll be able to view your RAM capacity on the right.
Use Windows Task Manager
This method to check RAM speed works for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11. The Task Manager present in older versions of the operating systems doesn’t show this information.
- Right-click on your Windows taskbar, then click on the Task Manager option. You can also just press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to boot up the Task Manager.
- If you’ve never opened the Task Manager before, click on “View more” or “More details” to expand the version of the Task Manager to a more detailed one. If Task Manager is already expanded, you’ll see “Fewer Details” instead.
- Click on the Performance tab. It’ll show you some metrics on your CPU, RAM, and GPU usage.
- Lastly, click on “Memory” to see the available information about your RAM. You’ll see a graph that occupies most of the window, but below, you’ll be able to see the memory’s speed and some other information such as slots occupied on your motherboard, how much RAM is reserved for the system, and so on.
Use Command Prompt or PowerShell
Command prompt and PowerShell are pretty similar, so much so that you could say they’re basically the same thing. Command prompt, or cmd, is the default Windows application that allows you to interact with any objects in the system.
PowerShell, on the other hand, is a more advanced version of cmd. It’s both an interface like cmd, and a scripting language that can be used for administrative purposes.
Here’s how to check RAM using command prompt:
- Go to the Start Menu, and type “cmd” in the search box.
- Click on “Command Prompt” in the list. (You might be required to grant Admin Privileges.)
- Copy the following code, and paste it into the command prompt. Then, press enter: wmic MEMORYCHIP get BankLabel, Capacity, DeviceLocator, MemoryType, TypeDetail, Speed (We’ll tell you how to read the results below.)
- To know the total amount of RAM available on your system, copy and paste this: systeminfo | findstr /C:”Total Physical Memory”
- Finally, for information about how much RAM out of the Total Physical Memory is available, copy and paste this: systeminfo |find “Available Physical Memory”
This section will help you read the results of the prompt on Step 3:
BankLabel: assigns a physical label to your RAM in the form of a number that will depend on the number of RAMs you have on your PC.
Capacity: shows the capacity of your RAM that’s available on your PC. The result will be shown in bytes.
DeviceLocator: shows the slot or channel in which your RAM is installed.
MemoryType: outputs a number value corresponding to the RAM type on your system.
- 0 = Unknown
- 1 = Other
- 2 = DRAM
- 3 = Synchronous DRAM
- 4 = Cache DRAM
- 5 = EDO
- 6 = EDRAM
- 7 = VRAM
- 8 = SRAM
- 9 = RAM
- 10 = ROM
- 11 = Flash
- 12 = EEPROM
- 13 = FEPROM
- 14 = EPROM
- 15 = CDRAM
- 16 = 3DRAM
- 17 = SDRAM
- 18 = SGRAM
- 19 = RDRAM
- 20 = DDR
- 21 = DDR2
- 22 = DDR2 FB-DIMM
- 24 = DDR3
- 25 = FBD2
Speed: shows the speed of your RAM in MHz.
TypeDetail: shows a value output for the type of physical memory installed on your system.
- 1 = Reserved
- 2 = Other
- 4 = Unknown
- 8 = Fast-paged
- 16 = Static column
- 32 = Pseudo-static
- 64 = RAMBUS
- 128 = Synchronous
- 256 = CMOS
- 512 = EDO
- 1024 = Window DRAM
- 2048 = Cache DRAM
- 4096 = Non-volatile
If you prefer using PowerShell, this is how to check RAM speed:
- Go to the Start Menu, and type “Powershell” in the search box.
- Tap on PowerShell. You won’t need to grant Admin Priviledges.
- Copy and paste the following code into Powershell: Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_PhysicalMemory | Format-Table Capacity, Manufacturer, MemoryType, FormFactor, Name, Configuredclockspeed, Speed, Devicelocator, Serialnumber -AutoSize
If the command prompt technique sounds too complex for you, then we recommend that you try this alternative. CPU-Z is a freeware that allows you to see several pieces of data about some of the main components of your computer, including, of course, the RAM.
While there are other pieces of software that can serve the same purpose, we’ve found that CPU-Z is reliable, lightweight, and highly compatible with most computers and Windows versions. In fact, CPU-Z is a good option for older versions of Windows.
Here’s how to use CPU-Z to check RAM speed:
- First, download the latest version of CPU-Z and run the executable to install the program.
- Open it, and click on the “Memory” tab.
You’ll get data regarding how many slots your PC has, the memory type (DDR, DDR2, and so on), and the RAM size (GB). If you need it, you’ll also be able to see real-time information about the RAM’s running frequency and a detailed breakdown of latency and clock speeds.
CPU-Z will list your RAM’s Uncore Frequency. So, if your RAM is supposed to be double data rate (like any of the DDRs are), simply multiply that single data rate frequency by two. For instance, if CPU-Z lists 1799.6 MHz as your uncore frequency, multiply it by two, and you’ll get 3600MHz.
How to Get More RAM on Windows
If your findings as regards RAM speed don’t satisfy you, here are some things you can do about it:
Buy more RAM
While this is certainly not the cheapest option, it’s the best and most straightforward one. Upgrade your computer’s RAM, and get as much memory as your daily tasks require. You might want to consider future-proofing your device by going for more than you actually need.
Uninstall unused programs and apps
Programs you no longer use waste resources, and, even worse, they might run in the background and slow down your computer. Thus, removing or uninstalling whatever you don’t need anymore is the simplest way to free up RAM. All you have to do is go to Settings, select Apps, and uninstall any programs that you don’t use.
How to Check RAM Speed on macOS
It’s almost impossible to upgrade the RAM in Apple computers, as the components are soldered onto the motherboard. However, it’s quite easy to check how much RAM your Mac has.
- Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your Mac’s display.
- Select the “About This Mac” option from the drop-down context menu.
- Look at the “Memory” heading to see an overview of your Mac’s specs, including how much RAM you have, the type of memory, and the capacity.
How to Get More RAM on Mac
If the RAM speed or capacity on your Mac have left you disappointed, or if you’re experiencing any lagging, then the most obvious solution is to upgrade your RAM. However, not every Apple machine allows you to do that, so here are some ways you can lighten the load on your device’s resources to help your RAM work better.
Shut down any background processes and startup items
There are apps that run in the background without you starting or even actively using them. To kill these resource-hogs and free up RAM capacity, open Finder on your Mac, then select “Applications” in the sidebar. Open the Utilities folder and double-click Activity Monitor to open it.
You’ll see a list of processes with a % CPU column. If you want to check which ones use the most processing power, click on the % CPU header to sort all the processes.
To check which ones are using up the most RAM, click the Memory tab at the top of the window instead. Tap on the Memory header in the list of processes to sort them all by RAM usage.
Double-click the process you wish to shut down and click on the “Quit” button that will appear in the popup window. It’ll prompt you to confirm the action by clicking Quit again.
Clean up your hard drive
While RAM storage and disk storage are two different things, when you’re low on RAM, your OS will be forced to move some working processes into long-term storage.
Whenever you switch back and forth between a lot of processes, your operative system will be forced to resort to something called “paging” or “swapping.” This involves retrieving the necessary data from your hard disk and putting it back into your RAM, something which obviously wastes a lot of time.
Thus, having some space available on your hard drive will help everything run smoother. Free up space by removing bloatware (pre-installed software that reduces your computer’s performance), large apps you no longer use, and other junk files.
How to Change RAM Speed in BIOS
While we don’t recommend manually changing the advanced settings in the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) if you’re not an expert, it’s possible to achieve faster speeds by overclocking the RAM. The BIOS is in charge of controlling all communications between the input and output devices in your computer’s system.
Not all computers allow you to get into BIOS, especially laptops, but if you want to change RAM speed in BIOS, this is what you have to do:
- Check your RAM’s current speed using any of the methods we’ve mentioned before. If the RAM is sunning at a slower rate than what the manufacturer states it should, then you should be able to optimize it.
- Restarting your computer, and press and hold DEL, F2 or F1 just before it starts up again. The key you should press varies depending on the model of your computer, so you might want to go online to find out what that is.
- Release the key when the BIOS or UEFI screen appears. “UEFI” stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, and while it’s not technically the same as the BIOS, it works for our purposes.
- Look for an XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) button. This will allow you to select a profile for your memory to change its timings.
- Click on the button so that it reads “Enabled”.
- Press the keys that the BIOS lists to save and exit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need to know how much RAM my computer has?
In most cases, you’ll need to know how much RAM your computer has to ensure a game or application runs smoothly, or if you’re looking to upgrade your system. It’s important to be familiar with your system’s capabilities to make sure all of your components are compatible and prevent a costly mistake.
What’s the Difference Between MHz and GHz?
RAM speed is typically measured in MHz (megahertz), but, sometimes, you might find it indicated in GHz (gigahertz) in diagnostics and reports.
1 GHz is equal to 1,000 MHz. Thus, you might come across a RAM speed of 1,867MHz that’s rounded up and displayed as 1.9GHz. Just like how GB is sometimes used instead MB when indicating storage or file size, GHz are used to make large numbers easier for the users to understand.
How can I check RAM on Windows 7?
Open the Task Manager by right-clicking on your Windows taskbar, then clicking on the Task Manager option. For quicker access, you can simply press Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Navigate to the Performance tab, and you’ll be able to see how much RAM you have in total, available, and free in the “Physical Memory” section.
Knowing how fast your RAM is important if you’re upgrading your computer, or looking to install new software. While it’s not difficult to check RAM speed, it might be hard to understand the results.
Luckily, we’ve presented several options for you to discover just how fast your RAM is, and described how to read the results. Hopefully you can now find out everything you need to know about your RAM and even optimize it if you wish.