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Is Upgrading Beyond 32GB of RAM Worth It? (Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 64GB DDR5-6000MHz)

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Category:
Hardware 0

PC hardware moves ever forward on a never-ending march toward bigger numbers: faster speeds and higher capacities. Only a few years ago, 16GB was considered “enough”. Today, that number is 32GB, but the demands of modern games keep increasing. Does it make sense to jump to 64GB — and what about if you do more than just gaming, like streaming or video editing? That’s what we’re out to find out, using the Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 2x34GB DDR5-6000MHz kit.

Specifications

  • Current Price: 
  • Memory Series DOMINATOR RGB DDR5
  • Memory Type DDR5
  • PMIC Type Overclock PMIC
  • Memory Size 64GB (2 x 32GB)
  • Tested Latency 40-40-40-77
  • Tested Voltage 1.35V
  • Tested Speed 6000
  • Fan Included: No
  • Memory Color BLACK
  • LED Lighting RGB
  • Single Zone / Multi-Zone Lighting Dynamic Multi-Zone
  • SPD Latency 40-40-40-77
  • SPD Speed 4800MHz
  • SPD Voltage 1.1V
  • Speed Rating PC5-48000 (DDR5-6000)
  • Compatibility Intel 600 Series,Intel 700 Series
  • Heat Spreader Aluminum
  • Package Memory Format DIMM
  • Performance Profile XMP 3.0
  • Package Memory Pin 288

Is It Time to Upgrade?

The PC hardware train rolls ever on. Over the last five years, we’ve seen generations of graphics cards come and go. Multiple CPUs have come and gone. We’ve jumped a full generation in computer memory and have seen higher speeds, higher capacities — which has also been the case with SSD technology. We’ve also seen games come along that gobble up memory like nobody's business, sometimes even reporting using more memory than they actually are. 

With so many things changing and improving, it’s enough to make you wonder whether 32GB is still the best choice when you’re building or upgrading a PC. After all, going for double the capacity often means saving money versus replacing the whole kit later or adding more sticks (which you shouldn’t do — always use a matched kit when upgrading your PC). This Vengeance kit from Corsair, for example, allows you to double your capacity for only 83% more money, and similar deals can be found from competing brands. 64GB of DDR5 memory is also more affordable than it has been in a long time, adding even more incentive to upgrade now.

If you already have a PC, one of the first steps to deciding whether you need more RAM is to find out how much your system is currently using. Outside of games, one of the easiest ways to do this is by opening the Task Manager and seeing how much of your existing memory you’re currently using. Do this by right clicking on the Task Bar and selecting “Task Manager.” From there, click on the Performance tab and select Memory. There you will find a real time graph of how much memory your system is currently using, as well as read-outs of your current memory usage and total capacity.

Visiting this window as you go through your day will give you a good idea of how much memory you use during general use. Be sure to keep an eye on the graph for spikes and dips so you can see how much is being utilized at the highest point. 

Task Manager is the easiest tool to use, but it isn’t the best, especially since you’ll want to know how much RAM you’re using while actually gaming. Instead, I recommend MSI Afterburner. This tool is often associated with graphics cards, but it monitors much more than your GPU temperature. It’s actually a whole system monitor, including RAM usage, and has a few useful tools that make it a much better fit for getting an accurate eye on your memory across everything you might use with your PC.

The biggest benefit is that Afterburner allows you to turn on an on-screen display (OSD) that appears as an overlay inside your games. This means you can keep an eye on your RAM usage while you’re performing your most intensive tasks, including simultaneous gaming and streaming with multiple web browsers in the background. 

Afterburner also displays a longer tail on its real time graph and allows you to save its results as a text file. If you’re planning on editing together gameplay clips and don’t want to worry about constantly switching back and forth to check the monitor. 

For the best results, I would recommend going into the settings and enabling the Classic Skin, Big Edition. This gives you a nice set of real time graphs on the right side of the overclocking panel (which you can ignore for this guide). By going into the settings menu and clicking on the Monitoring tab, you can find RAM usage and drag it right to the top, so its monitor appears right on the top of your graphs and OSD. 

The Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Kit (2x32GB, DDR5-6000MHz) - What Makes It Special

To explore this topic, we’re using a set of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB memory sticks. Our test kit consists of two 32GB DDR5 modules clocked to 6000MHz. We opted for this speed in particular because the test rig I used utilized a Ryzen 9 7950X CPU, so that speed falls right into the sweet spot for the Ryzen 7000 series, maximizing performance. Latency on our test kit is CL40, which is not the fastest in the Dominator line-up, but is a good balance of affordability.

It’s important to note, however, that the Dominator line is at the top of Corsair’s memory catalog, so is more expensive than other kits you may find. That premium comes from a long history, however, and some of the best performance and reliability you can find.

In fact, it’s no stretch to say that the Corsair Dominator memory line-up is one of the most respected and highly recommended among PC builders due to their speed and reliability. They’re hand sorted and thoroughly tested, which means that overclocking is on the table in a way that cheaper kits are likely to fall apart with. 

Their overclocking potential comes from more than just hand-sorting. Each stick is also built with on-board voltage control that is customizable within Corsair’s iCUE software suite. High watts demand effective cooling, so each DIMM also includes a heatspreader that directly dissipates heat from the ICs and the ground plane of the PCB itself.

And though it’s only cosmetic, these sticks also look very nice. The metal heatspreader is sleek. On top are 12 ultra-bright Capellix LEDs that can be individually controlled within iCUE. If you also happen to be running other Corsair components, sync’ing everything is as easy as a couple of clicks. There are also plentiful presets to make sure your new RAM looks great within the least possible time. 

Do You Need More Than 32GB? 

With that out of the way, we come to the big question: do you actually need more than 32GB? For pure gaming, the answer is no and it looks likely to remain that way for some time. In fact, if all you’re doing is playing games and aren’t running anything in the background, you can skate by with 16GB with many titles. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider going big, because there are definite reasons why opting for 64GB could still be a good idea. 

When it comes to in-game performance, very few if any games demand a full 32GB currently. That means increasing capacity alone isn’t going to yield any performance benefits. But, and this is a big one, if you’re doing other things at the same time, that dynamic can change. If you’re also streaming and running multiple Chrome tabs, or if you like to leave other programs open in the background (including quiet resource eaters like Wallpaper Engine on Ultra graphics), you could certainly find yourself closing in on 32GB. 

And it’s when you’re getting close to capacity that things start to get dicey. If you’re using 30GB or 31GB of system memory and Windows kicks on a background process like Windows Update, you could begin to see stuttering and frame drops. You don’t want to operate at the wall of what your system can do — and going out on a limb here, I’m going to guess that if you spent big bucks on upgrading or building a new gaming PC, you probably don’t want to be limited in what you can actually do with it. That’s where 64GB makes sense. For power users and people who want to run whatever they want, whenever they want, as God intended.

Opting for higher capacity makes the most sense if you’re also a content creator. If you’re editing 4K video, or even 1080p with transitions and effects, 32GB gets eaten up more more quickly than you would imagine. But you don’t just have to be editing video. Adobe Photoshop can also burn through 32GB of RAM quickly, especially if you’re editing multiple photos and leaving those tabs open as you go (something I am very, very guilty of). Blender, Maya, and other creative apps are all the same. If you’re creating content, investing in 64GB or even more memory is investing in the smoothness and efficiency of your workflow.

For gaming, instead of pure capacity, what you should look for is speed and latency. Faster frequencies and lower latencies provide direct benefits to in-game frame rates. That’s where investing in a more expensive memory kit also begins to make sense. Two kits can run at the same speed but the DIMMs with lower CAS latencies will offer better performance, and thus they cost more. 

Another consideration is the platform you’re using. Ryzen CPUs utilize a system called Infinity Fabric, tying CPU performance to DRAM frequency. It’s a complicated topic, but to keep things simple, Ryzen 5000 CPUs benefited from 3600MHz DRAM while Ryzen 7000 performs best with 6000MHz. With such top “limits” (in quotes because you can technically run higher speed kits, though for less benefit than Intel), latency becomes the primary differentiating factor. 

And that’s where kits like the Dominator Platinum RGB come in. By ensuring that you’re receiving top shelf chips, you have the option of either spending extra to purchase DIMMs with the lowest latency out of the box or have the potential to play with voltages and dial in custom timings of your own. The silicon lottery is still very much a thing, but when you start with pre-binned parts, you have a much higher likelihood of being able to push them to their full potential and achieve that higher performance. 

Final Thoughts

For pure gaming, 64GB may not be necessary, but when you expand beyond games and into cascading browser tabs, streaming, content creation, and application freedom, spending extra can be a very good choice. Since installing these DIMMs in my system, I simply haven’t had to worry about what’s running in the background. I can leave Premiere Pro running and load up Diablo 4. It removes memory management entirely from the equation — right up to the point of truly intense content creation tasks. 

Whether you’re opting for 32GB or 64GB, the Corsair Dominator kits are a great choice if you’re looking for high speed, reliability, and overclocking potential. If you don’t need that added surety, the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro are a great alternative that cost substantially less and offer even more RGB bling atop the heat spreader. For gaming, look at frequency and latency. For everything else, opting to slightly overshoot the capacity you actually need is a good safeguard to ensure your PC runs well long into the future.


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight