Intel’s ‘Comet lake‘ refresh of their CPUs has brought new features and capability to the Core i5 designation. In response to AMD’s dominant Zen 2 Ryzen 3000 CPUs Intel has made the i5 a 6-core part with multithreading and raised the clock speeds. These enhancements make the new i5 an excellent choice for gamers as well as those needing high single-core speeds for tasks such as iterative modelling or CAD work.
In this article, we’ll make a number of RAM recommendations for a variety of common scenarios with the i5-10600K. Using the RAM kits we’ve selected will ensure that you’re maximising the potential of this CPU without overspending or running into compatibility issues.
Memory for the i5-10600K – Speeds and features
Whilst the CPU memory controller is rated at 2666MHz this is the base frequency. A Z490 motherboard allows overclocking of both CPU and RAM speeds and we strongly advise that any build using the ‘K’ suffix unlocked CPUs also includes a Z490 chipset motherboard. Otherwise, the CPU cannot fulfil its potential meaning you’ve paid for performance you can’t access. RAM speeds are less critical for Intel CPUs than for AMD’s Ryzen products in which the infinity fabric speed dictates the overall performance of the CPU. For the Comet Lake i5, there’s less incentive to buy the fastest RAM and we can choose more freely from some better value offerings without negatively impacting CPU performance. Therefore when choosing RAM we can look at a starting point of 3000Mhz clock speeds and CL16 or lower timings for optimal performance. In all cases, we select a kit of matched memory modules to ensure operation in dual channel mode. This gives a marked improvement in performance over single-channel memory access.
Here are our recommendations for the best RAM to pair with your Comet Lake i5-10600K CPU:
Best RAM for Intel Core i5-10600K Builds – Our Recommendations
Best RAM for i5-10600K Esports Builds
G.Skill Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 Memory F4 – SKU 3600C16D-16GVKC
If you’re into Esports then the i5-10600K is an excellent choice. The high clock speeds will let you obtain high frame rates, especially when overclocked. This RAM, the G.Skill Ripjaws V, compliments that with 3600Mhz speeds and tight 16-19-19-39 timings. The true latency of this RAM is under 9ns making it a bargain at around $80! For a one-click solution, you can use the embedded XMP profile in BIOS for a guaranteed RAM overclock but if you wish to dig deeper you can extract even more performance by tweaking primary and secondary timings manually. It appears on the Qualified Vendor Lists (QVL) for the popular entry-level MSI and Gigabyte Z490 Motherboards guaranteeing compatibility at the rated speeds. Using Samsung memory chips, this high performance but low-cost RAM should be at the top of your shopping list for an esports PC.
Best Gaming RAM for i5-10600K Builds
Crucial Ballistix 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory – SKU BL2K8G32C16U4B
For a cost-effective i5-10600K gaming build, 16Gb of RAM is adequate for almost all current games. This 2x8Gb Crucial Ballistix kit operates at 3200MHz and CL16 via an XMP profile so it’s very easy to set up for good performance. The discreet black heat spreader design fits well with the aesthetic on a number of the mid-range Z490 motherboards and at around $75 this kit is easy on the wallet as well as the eye.
Best RGB RAM for i5-10600K Builds
Kingston HyperX Fury RGB 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory – SKU HX432C16FB3AK2/16
If you want to add some visual flair to your gaming build then this Kingston HyperX Fury RGB RAM kit is a great option. The memory itself is rated at 3200mhz CL16 and uses Hynix manufactured RAM chips.
The RGB can be synced with the software from all the major motherboard manufacturers making this RAM easy to integrate into your build without using additional RGB control software. Kingston has recently refreshed the heat spreader design of their Hyper X RAM kits giving this RAM a clean modern aesthetic that is consistent with motherboard heatsinks. This RAM kit offers an attractive balance of price, performance and RGB features that enhances your PC without diverting budget from other important components.
Best 32GB RAM for i5-10600K Productivity Builds
G.Skill Aegis 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory – SKU F4-3200C16D-32GIS
For productivity tasks such as photo editing or CAD work 32Gb is a sensible memory capacity for i5-10600K productivity builds. You may also find this beneficial for demanding sim titles like Cities: Skylines or the upcoming Microsoft Flight release. The Aegis line is the entry-level RAM from G.Skill offering maximum value for money by cutting down on frills. The core of this kit is well up to the task with 3200MHz speed and tight CL16-18-18-38 primary timings available via a one-click XMP profile. Using 2 16Gb sticks initially makes a future move to 64Gb painless, and the Aegis line is well established which will make finding matching sticks in future much easier if you do need more RAM. It has a lifetime warranty for peace of mind and is widely featured on motherboard QVL lists for maximum compatibility irrespective of the motherboard you choose.
Best Overclocking RAM for i5-10600K
Team T-Force Xtreem DDR4 4133Mhz CL18 – SKU TXKD416G4133HC18FDC01
If you’re looking to wring maximum performance out of your i5-10600K and don’t mind tinkering with settings we recommend this high-performance 16Gb RAM kit from Team group. The T-Force Xtreem 4133Mhz kit has exceptionally low latency and has been verified to run at 4133Mhz on compatible motherboards. The fast XMP Profile is just the beginning with Team group boasting of multiple records in the hands of talented memory overclockers – so if you want to try your hand at improving things further this RAM has the capacity to respond well to manual adjustment of speeds and timings. Nevertheless, if you just want high memory speeds in a click-and-forget profile this RAM has you covered too. Whilst higher speed kits are on the market the cost increases exponentially and actual performance gains in use are minimal. That’s why paired with an i5-10600K this memory kit is an excellent choice for overclockers and memory tweakers.