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question on RAM tweaking


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#1
hoopsman

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i just got my newsletter from newegg, and it had 2 gigs of memory for 30 bucks, so i checked out the customer reviews, and there was something i didnt understand. one person called hartfart(lol) said something about memory timing, and had the numbers that he had his ram in(4-4-4-12) does anybody know what that means? and could i change the timing and see a performance increase? another person also talked about changing the voltage, would that be too risky?
thanks
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#2
Samm

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Hi there

The timings they are referring to are the CAS/RAS latencies. More specifically, the 4 timings refer to (in this order):
CAS latency, RAS to CAS latency, RAS precharge & Act to precharge delay. Without going into massive detail, basically the lower these values are, the better.
The main however is to try and match your current ram timings with any additional ram that you purchase for that system.
Also beware that these latencies often change depending on speed (FSB) that the ram is being run at.

Re. changing the voltage. This is normally only done when overclocking the ram but is not something I would normally recommend.
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#3
hoopsman

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so how would i go about figuring out my CAS/RAS latencies? would it be in the BIOS, or would i need some other program?
and lastly, could i change them to get better performance without sacrificing the memory?
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#4
stettybet0

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These could be changed in the BIOS. In my motherboard (EVGA 680i A1), I find these commands under the "Advanced Memory Tweaking" (or something like that) section.

As for tweaking these, you can safely set them to the timings that they are rated for (should say on memory packaging or Newegg site). You are also going to want to use the recommended voltage if you are using the rated timings (also should say on packaging or Newegg site). Going any lower than the rated timings can cause instability issues which you don't want to have to deal with, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you are an experienced overclocker.
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#5
Samm

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You may be able to find these in the bios. If not, then try Everest :

http://www.majorgeek...tion_d4181.html

Look in the Motherboard -> SPD section to see the memory timings.
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#6
hoopsman

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i looked on the packaging and on the newegg site, and the most i could find is that the CAS timing is 3. so with that, what can i do to go into my bios and change the timings to hopefully get faster performance?
by the way, is it a noticeable performance increase when you change the timings?
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#7
Samm

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To be honest, I'd leave the timings alone if I were you. Any performance increase will be negligible and it's likely to make the system unstable.
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#8
stettybet0

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Setting timings to their rated speed with whilst giving them the recommended voltage should not cause any instability (request an RMA if they cannot run stably like this, as they are faulty). The performance increase by tightening timings can be pretty significant, especially in programs that move data through the RAM very quickly, such as some games and synthetic benchmarks. In fact, with the speed of modern CPUs, RAM latency is one of the largest bottlenecks in modern computers.
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#9
Samm

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To be honest, I'd leave the timings alone if I were you. Any performance increase will be negligible and it's likely to make the system unstable.


I'm referring to overclocking the timings here - obviously setting them to their rated speed, as stettybet0 suggested is fine :)
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#10
hoopsman

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ok, so how do i know what to change the times to knowing only the CAS latency of one stick?
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#11
stettybet0

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You have two (or more) different memory sticks? Well, since the latencies you choose effect all of the memory sticks, you should probably set the timings to the highest supported by all of the sticks. For example if one stick supported 4-4-4-12, and the other supported 5-5-5-16, you should set the timings to 5-5-5-16. If you aren't sure of one of the stick's rated timings, you could go on the manufacturer's website (or Newegg) to find out. If you can't find out, then it would probably be best to just leave everything alone.
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#12
hoopsman

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ok. so i have two sticks of DDR PC-3200 RAM: a 1 gig stick of corsair, and one gig stick of Ultra RAM modules. i went to both of the companys sites and found out the timings. the timings for the corsair were as follows:3-3-3-8
The ultra's sticks' timings were as follows: 3-4-4-8
so with these, do i just go into the BIOS and change it with no problems, and hopefully a significant performance increase?
According to your example, should i set the timings to 3-4-4-8?
to add on to that: i found out that the Ultra stick has a voltage of 2.6v, and the Corsair is at 2.5. so would it be safe to change?

Edited by hoopsman, 24 January 2008 - 06:58 PM.

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#13
stettybet0

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The first step is to see if your BIOS even supports changing memory timings. If you have a commercial PC (one from HP, Dell, Gateway, etc.) then you probably can't. If you do find memory timings in the BIOS, first see what they are currently set to. I would then change the timings to 3-4-4-8 ONLY IF 3-4-4-8 is tighter (lower) than the current timings. Then change the voltage to 2.5V ONLY IF 2.5V is higher than the current setting.
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#14
hoopsman

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well, the voltage was at default, and the only other options were 2.7-2.9 volts, so i left that alone. the CAS latency was 2.5, so i left that alone. now this is where i got kinda confused. it said: MIN RAS# active tcp or somethinig 8T
RES# to CAS# delay (TRCT) 4T
Row precharge time(TRP) 2T
Row to row delay 2T
so it was at 2-2-4-8, is that correct?
so didnt change anything, cause the settings were lower, and you said not to change if the settings were lower than 3-4-4-8
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#15
stettybet0

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The numbers you should be looking for are (in this order):

tCAS
tRCD (RAS to CAS Delay)
tRP (RAS Precharge)
tRAS

Could you please clarify that these were the timings that you were looking at?
If this is so, and the timings are set lower than both of your memory sticks' rated timings, I would suggest making sure that you were looking at the right sticks on the manufacturers' website.
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