RAM (Random Access Memory) is also called memory module, main memory, or primary memory. That is one of the most essential and fundamental computer hardware without which a computer system can never work. RAM stores your games and apps when they are running and the data before and after processing.
This article will discuss whether RAM (Random Access Memory) depends on the computer system motherboard or CPU (central processing unit). Not only that, but also the relationship between RAM, motherboard, and CPU. Let’s start our topic with the most essential answer about the dependence on RAM.
Does RAM Depend on Motherboard or CPU?
There are three main things that a RAM depends on. The first two are the hardware, the motherboard, and the CPU, while the third is the software, known as the operating system, such as Windows 10/11, MacOS, Linux, etc. If either of these three things is less powerful, your RAM will never work correctly and efficiently.
The motherboard is a big square printed circuit board (PCB) with electronic components soldered on. All your computer system hardware or devices, such as CPU, RAM, GPU, keyboard, mouse, etc., are connected to the motherboard. Every motherboard has its limitations for installing and operating RAMs or memory modules.
RAM depends on the motherboard not only in terms of speed but also in terms of number and capacity. Every motherboard has a limited frequency, and RAM higher than that cannot be installed. Simply put, a motherboard that supports DDR3 RAM slots can not install and run DDR4 memory modules.
- RAM Slots
Similarly, every computer motherboard is limited to allowing a certain number of RAMs. Some motherboards have only three to four RAM slots because they cannot provide power to more RAMs. On the other hand, some motherboards have eight slots for installing memory modules or RAM.
- Processor (CPU)
A CPU is a small intelligent IC chip fixed in a motherboard socket to make a computer system functional. CPU is like a brain, and RAM also depends on a CPU. If your CPU is very high frequency and your RAM is of a very low speed, then bottlenecks will occur. This condition will make your PC work slowly.
- Capacity of RAM
The third aspect of the motherboard is its capacity to install RAM. Some motherboards do not allow you to install more than 64 GB RAM. Similarly, some motherboards will enable you to install 256 GB RAM without problems. The more the RAM size, the higher the speed of your PC.
- Operating System
The operating system matters a lot because when you open multiple apps or games, all of them are stored in the RAM. It is the responsibility of your operating system to assign them locations in the memory and switch between the apps, so all should look as if they are running simultaneously without any delay.
The older 32-bit Windows operating system on a 32-bit computer could manage only 4 GB RAM. On the other hand, depending on its type, the latest 64-bit Windows operating system can manage from 128 GB to 6 TB (6000 GB) RAM. Hence, RAM relies on your operating system, which is responsible for making it useful.
Does CPU control RAM?
No doubt, the CPU controls the RAM when some operating system, such as Windows 10/11, is installed. The apps and games we open are stored in the RAM so the central processing unit (CPU) can execute them. It performs different logical and arithmetic operations to run those apps and games.
After performing arithmetic and logical operations, a CPU fetches the instructions from RAM and stores the results back to the RAM. During this, it controls the RAM for reading the data from a particular address and writing the result on a specific address. CPU uses RAM when you copy and paste data from a USB drive to an SSD.
Because of these reasons, we recommend the RAM to you with fast speed or frequency and a data transfer rate. It is because the central processing unit (CPU) is hardware with a high-speed frequency or speed. If the installed RAM it controls also has fast speed, your computer system will perform well.
What Happens If RAM is Faster Than Motherboard?
The property of a RAM of being fast is nothing but its frequency. Each type of RAM has a specific limit on its operating frequency, also known as RAM speed. The higher the frequency means, the faster the RAM is. RAMs such as DDR4 and DDR5 are faster than most of the older motherboards used today.
The first problem if you install RAM faster than the motherboard will be the booting issue. The boot is a mechanism that loads your operating system, such as Windows 10/11, in the RAM. As a result of the booting issue, your operating system will not load and run properly, as your motherboard won’t be compatible with RAM.
The second problem you will face after installing the RAM faster than your motherboard will be the instability of your computer system or laptop. As a result, not only will you experience annoying app and game crashes, but you may also experience BSOD (blue screen of death) saying “page fault in non-paged area.”
How Do I Match My CPU, Motherboard, and RAM?
It is essential to match your CPU, motherboard, and RAM to make your computer system’s performance better and maximum. If either hardware is mismatched, you can experience crashes and BSOD (blue screen of death) with irritating reboots. Let’s discuss how you can match them all.
Check your computer system’s CPU and motherboard before matching your RAM with the other hardware. Usually, PCs have a compatible CPU installed in their motherboards when we buy them. But either of them may be backward compatible, causing the performance to degrade.
Press the Windows Key + Pause/Break combination to match the CPU and motherboard. On this, a window will appear named “Settings.” On your right-hand side of the UI, you will see a section called “Device Specifications,” where you need to note down the name of your CPU in front of the title “Processor.”
After that, you need to do web research on the internet to find the best motherboard for your CPU or processor. Write down the name of that motherboard and take its photo because now you will have to shut down your PC and unplug it completely. Now, open the casing and see which motherboard you have.
Suppose you have the same motherboard suggested on some official website, then congratulations! You do not need to upgrade your motherboard. Otherwise, either you will need a new motherboard, or you will have to upgrade your CPU. You can find the best-supported RAM using the same described method.
We suppose you already know which motherboard you have because you have followed the procedure mentioned above. Now, you must search for the maximum RAM supported by your motherboard. In the end, install a free software named CPU-Z. Run it and go to the tab called “Memory.”
You must see your RAM’s “Type” and “Frequency.” If your motherboard supports DDR4 RAM and the type of your RAM is DDR3, then you need to upgrade your RAM because this RAM will create bottlenecks when under your CPU. Your CPU hardly supports RAM that your motherboard rejects.
Can CPU Run without a RAM?
A CPU can never run without a RAM or memory module. The main thing that makes your CPU work properly is the operating system, such as Windows 10/11. When your computer starts, it loads the OS in the RAM. That is why you need to install at least one RAM to run your computer system to make it work.
Not only does the operating system stay in the RAM until we shut down our computer or laptop, but the CPU also depends on RAM for opening and running the games and apps installed on your PC. It is because the games and apps have instructions and functions written in different languages that only the CPU can execute or call.
In addition to this, there are specific interrupt commands and subroutines that only the CPU can understand and execute. CPUs can only respond to them once loaded in the RAM, so a processor can access them. For example, it happens when you select the “Restart” option from the “Power” menu.
What Controls RAM Speed?
RAM comes with a predefined speed, also known as frequency, which the RAM manufacturers define. The first and foremost thing that controls the RAM speed is overclocking. Most hardware manufacturers have placed this function in their hardware, using which you can control the speed of your RAM.
The second factor responsible for controlling your RAM speed is the type and frequency of RAM. If you have installed RAMs for different kinds and frequencies, those with slow speeds will affect faster RAMs. In the presence of three DDR3 RAMs, one DDR4 RAM will work like them.
What Happens When 100% of RAM is Used?
It is possible that your RAM overclocking is enabled, and 100% of RAM is being used. It is also possible that background apps are running or updating that have made your RAM usage 100%. In both cases, this much RAM usage is not good at all. We recommend you open fewer apps or install one more RAM on your PC or laptop.
Disable overclocking when using your computer system or laptop for regular use. Because when 100% of RAM is used, its IC chips generate more heat than usual. As a result, your RAM not only loses its performance, especially when the ventilation system is a bit poor, but it can also burn out.
Can Motherboard Destroy RAM?
A motherboard can destroy RAM for different reasons. The first reason is undervolting. In this case, the power provided to your memory module is insufficient. As a result of it, your motherboard can be damaged or burned out. It can be a faulty motherboard, PSU (power supply unit), or dusty RAM slots.
The second reason behind a motherboard destroying RAM is overvoltage. Unlike the previous situation, in this case, your RAM has more power than it is manufactured to operate on. Some users increase the operating voltage of their RAM. Hence, the motherboard provides that power, destroying the memory module(s).
A CPU can never run without RAM. You need to see the type and frequency of your RAM before upgrading or buying one. The speed of your RAM is controlled by overclocking and the types and frequencies you have installed. Using 100% RAM is unsuitable for its performance, leading to overheating and power loss issues.
Hey, I’m Hammad. I write for this website to help you with the IT advice about PC, RAM, CPU, Motherboard, PSU, and other PC components.
I will provide detailed guides with images, and explain step by step so you can understand the process. Check all my articles here.