Buffered VS Unbuffered RAM – What’s the Difference, Really?

When you look to upgrade the memory of your system, you will come across 2 common terms – buffered RAM and unbuffered RAM. The right one for you depends on whether you want to upgrade your system or the server. Understanding the difference between them will make the choosing process much easier. 

RAM is random access memory, we are sure you already know. It requires a continuous power supply to hold data. The RAM’s capacity usually determines the performance of the entire system. It is categorized into various types. DRAM and SRAM are the most popular types. SRAM is the faster of the two. Besides this, there’s another categorization and this is what we will speak about in detail today.

What is Buffered RAM or Memory?

Buffered RAM usually has a register between the memory controller and the DRAM. This is why it is popular as registered RAM as well. It functions to reduce the load on the controller by ensuring that a single system is stable and does not use more memory modules. 

Buffered RAM is suitable for high-end servers. It is not really useful or necessary in laptops and desktops.

What is Unbuffered Memory or RAM?

The underscoring difference between buffered RAM and unbuffered RAM is the register. In unbuffered RAM, you will not see a register between the memory controller and the DRAM. This means that the controller has direct access. It also means that it takes a heavy load.

This kind of memory is ideal for desktops. If you consider buffered vs unbuffered RAM, the biggest difference you will see is that it is affordable when compared to buffered RAM. However, it is not as stable as the latter. So, they both get equal points.

Buffered vs Unbuffered RAM

As aforementioned, it is the presence or absence of the register that determines whether the RAM is buffered or unbuffered. Besides that, here are a few more differences:

  • Buffered RAM is more expensive
  • Buffered RAM is more stable
  • Buffered RAM is more reliable when it comes to data storage
  • Buffered RAM also ensures that the electrical load on the controller is minimal
  • Buffered RAM is used for mission-critical systems whereas unbuffered RAM is used for laptops and desktops

How to Tell if RAM is Buffered or Unbuffered?

We are sure you now have the answer. If you see a register between the DRAM and the memory controller, the RAM is buffered. Otherwise, it isn’t.

Is Buffered RAM Better or Unbuffered?

This purely depends on the application. Buffered RAM is not good or needed for laptops and desktops. On the other hand, for servers and important systems, unbuffered RAM will not suffice. So, it all depends on the requirement.

Is Unbuffered RAM Better for Gaming?

Not really. Buffered or unbuffered RAM has little to no effect on the gaming capabilities of a system.

We hope you now have a clear insight into the world of RAM. The differences are pretty clear and easily identifiable. There’s no competition either, really, because their applications are quite different. 

If you have any more doubts or questions about RAM, please do not hesitate to contact us or comment on our post. We are always happy to help!

Azad Shaikh

Azad Shaikh

Azad Shaikh is an internet geek at heart. From reviews about computer components to playing X-box one games, Azad takes pleasure in writing about anything and everything about computers. He is a computer engineering graduate and certified ethical hacker. In his leisure time, he reads and explores the internet.

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