There’s no way to magically make your RAM perform better but there are a few things you can do optimize it for better overall system performance.

An image showing a person installing a ram module on the memory slot.

Random-access memory, or RAM, is one of the most crucial components of a desktop computer and other computing devices like smartphones. It’s essentially a short-term storage solution that benefits applications, games, and even the operating system, as they can store important information and files for quick and easy access. Not only is it important to have enough memory installed in your system, but it’s also crucial to optimize RAM to churn every bit of performance out of it for your PC. I’ve highlighted a few tried-and-tested ways to optimize RAM and improve the overall performance of your system.

How to optimize your RAM to improve its performance


Best RAM for gaming in 2024

It’s just as important to make sure you have great RAM for gaming as it is for your GPU.

Enable XMP/EXPO to improve RAM speed

Provided your motherboard and memory support XMP/EXPO

An image showing the highlighted XMP/EXPO profiles on BIOS being displayed on a monitor.

The first step of optimizing your RAM for better performance is ensuring your RAM is running at its claimed clock speed. This is extremely important because most memory kits on the market run at lower clock speeds by default than what you may have paid for. For instance, my TeamGroup T-FORCE Delta DDR5 memory modules that are advertised for 6,000MHz clock speed, only run at 4,000MHz out of the box. In such cases, you have to enable XMP or EXPO profiles for your RAM from BIOS. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Head to your UEFI/BIOS by pressing the designated key on startup. It’s typically one of the function keys or Delete.
  2. Look around and locate your memory’s XMP/EXPO settings within the BIOS. It should ideally be somewhere within the system tuning page. On my Gigabyte motherboard BIOS, for instance, it’s within the Tweaker section.
    A screenshot showing the highlighted XMP profile in Gigabyte motherboard BIOS.
  3. Select the XMP/EXPO profile that you want to use from the dropdown menu, and save the settings.
  4. Restart your PC.

You should now be able to confirm the updated memory speeds via the Task Manager or a third-party application like CPU-Z.

A screenshot showing the highlighted memory speed in Task Manager.
OCPC DDR4 RAM inserted into motherboard


How to check your RAM speed

There are multiple ways to check your RAM speed, all of which are quite easy to do.

Manually overclock the memory

For seasoned veterans

Image of G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-7200

Yes, manual overclocking for RAM is a thing, and it allows you to push your memory modules further than the advertised speeds printed on the DIMMs. Manual overclocking, as you’d expect, is more time-consuming, and it also involves a lot of steps. It’s obviously not for everyone, as things can quickly go wrong if you mess up the steps involved in the process. But if you are up for the task and want to manually push your memory modules to higher speeds for better performance, then here’s how to do that:

  1. Head to your UEFI/BIOS by pressing the designated key on startup. It’s typically one of the function keys or Delete.
  2. Locate the memory settings within the tuning page in your BIOS. The memory settings are within the tuning page on Gigabyte BIOS, but they may vary based on the motherboard.
  3. Manually tweak the memory frequency in small increments, and then save and exit the BOIS.
    A screenshot showing the highlighted memory frequency dropdown in Asus motherboard BIOS.
    Source: Asus
  4. Check the RAM speed to ensure you saved the overclock settings, and run benchmarks to ensure the system is stable with the new settings.
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4 until you run into crashes and errors. Scale back your overclock or try raising the voltage in small increments to see if it helps.

If you are unable to move the needle any further without crashing, then consider it done and save the overclocked settings. It’s recommended that you take it slow and make small increments instead of making drastic changes to DRAM frequency or voltage. Alternatively, you can also use programs like Ryzen Master to overclock RAM without BIOS.

Clean-up unwanted processes

Keep track of memory usage

Keeping your system’s RAM usage in check is one of the best things you can do to ensure your computer is performing well. Thankfully, you don’t have to dig deep into settings or BIOS to track the memory usage and eliminate unnecessary processes to boost your RAM. It’s a fairly simple process that can be handled via the Task Manager on your Windows PC. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click on your system’s Taskbar and select Task Manager.
    A screenshot showing the highlighted Task Manager option shown in Taskbar right click options.
  2. Click the Memory tab to filter the tasks based on how much memory they’re using.
    A screenshot showing the highlighted processes and memory tab in Task Manager.
  3. Select the application which you are not actively using but is taking up a lot of memory, and click End Task.
    A screenshot showing the highlighted end task button in Task Manager.

Doing so will kill the application and free up memory which can be used by other programs and OS functions. You don’t have to clean up the processes very frequently, but it is recommended that you keep an eye on memory usage, and occasionally end any task(s) that seem unnecessary.

Try alternatives for programs you frequently use

Using lighter apps will always help

This isn’t an ideal solution for everyone, but a simple way to optimize the memory usage is by getting rid of applications hogging RAM. Programs like Google Chrome, for instance, are known to hog memory on your system. Similarly, some other applications like Photoshop can make your computer struggle due to high memory usage. If these applications aren’t crucial to your workflow, then it is recommended that you try some of their lighter alternatives. There are plenty of lightweight web browsers out there, like Opera, Vivaldi, etc. that are great alternatives to Chrome. You can also try alternatives for other programs like Photoshop to see if they help keep your RAM usage in check.

Screenshot of Windows 11 running Firefox, Vivaldi, and Brave browsers


Best web browsers for Windows in 2023

There are plenty of options when it comes to web browsers for Windows, but if you’re trying to choose one, here are our top recommendations.

You can atleast consider alternatives for minor workloads if you can’t entirely eliminate them from your workflow. Similarly, you can also close/disable unwanted tabs and extensions on Google Chrome if you can’t ditch the browser entirely. The idea is to keep a tighter leash on the programs running on your PC, so you can avoid the ones that tend to use a lot of memory.

Optimizing RAM for better performance

You may not think of optimizing your RAM while tweaking the system settings for better performance, but it’s one of the most important things you can tweak. Configuring XMP and EXPO profile itself will push the RAM to run at higher frequencies and yield better performance, but you can take things further and try manually overclocking too. You should also track the memory usage and get rid of unwanted programs to ensure there’s enough memory for the applications you truly need.

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