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Its been a while since I built a computer and it seems everything has changed. When I last built my computer DDR RAM was the new thing replacing SDRAM. It was simple to figure out cuz basically the only thing it had was PC2700 or whatever to determine speed and DDR was the only option. Now theres like 100 different kinds of DDR2 and DDR3 RAM. They all have different options to look at like CAS latency and timing numbers and stuff. What do I need to look at to get good RAM. It used to also be I heard that Corsair and Kingston were the best. Is this still true? I see alot of other brands getting customer choice awards now. in CAS latency is a higher number better? Whats the normal number? How is timing relate? i see like 5-5-5-18. What timing is considered above average? Is it better to be higher numbers or lower? is 5-5-5-15 better than 4-4-4-12? Do I need a heat spreader or fan with them?

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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The first thing you need to consider is what type of RAM your motherboard supports. If your motherboard only supports DDR2 RAM, then it is pointless to look at DDR3 RAM or DDR RAM.

When it comes to latency, lower is better. So, 4-4-4-12 is better than 5-5-5-15. However, the average user won't be able to tell the difference. By the way, latency was around for DDR RAM and SDRAM. Maybe you just weren't paying attention. :)

As far as brands go, Mushkin, Corsiar, Crucial, OCZ, and Patriot are some of the best. (Though Patriot's DDR3 offerings seem to not be so good...)

Most RAM these days, other than very low-end stuff, comes with heat spreaders. Dedicated fans are definitely unnecessary for the average user.
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