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Understanding RAM: Speeds, way of measuring it, and it's proforman


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#1
Keavon

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Hello.
I am rather new to computer building, and I am making my first rig... or planning it out, at least, right now.
I am the kind of person who wants a good machine, but has a budget.
I would like to know how RAM (memory) is measured in speed, and if, and if so, how much, impact it has on performance of the actual computer.
Thank you!
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#2
iammykyl

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Hi Keavon, :D

a simple question, and lots of lengthy and involved answers. You will need to do some research for yourself. Here are some articles to get you going.

> http://www.hardwares...-RAM-Timings/26

> http://www.hardwares...com/article/133

Related links at the end of this article.

http://www.tomshardw...tests,1807.html

Here is a series of articles about windows, including memory. Very technical.


Get back to us if you need help with your build.
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#3
Digerati

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how much, impact it has on performance of the actual computer

If bus speeds, CPU and everything else are equal, I would rather have 4Gb of slow RAM than 2Gb of fast RAM. And I recommend 4Gb bare minimum, ideally 6Gb with triple channel memory architecture and 8Gb with dual channel architecture.


but has a budget

You want a decent amount of RAM. If your budget allows for faster (more expensive!) RAM, invest that money in better graphics - you will likely get more bang for your money. If budget was not an issue, then sure, faster RAM will yield better performance. But before faster, you must have enough.

And remember, a good PSU from a reputable maker is a must.

32-bit is history and will hold you back. Go 64-bit - even if getting 4Gb or less of RAM.
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#4
Keavon

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Thank you for the response!
The last link was the best, and the most relevant.
And Digerati, that was a very helpful comment too. I will go for 1600 RAM (but what form of measurement is this, and isn't there also an other way? Or even a third way?).
DDR3, of course.
I will porbably break for 12 or 16 gigs, and I will definitely use x64 bit.
Does $132 shipped, OEM, original legit package, new, sound like a good deal for Windows 7 Professional?
Thanks!
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#5
Keavon

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Ok, so I found that it is measured in GHz and "Cas Latency."
My question is how noticeable, or is it even noticeable at all, is a lower Cas Latency?
Is it worth the money to buy less?
Thank you!

Edit:
Woops, it's MGz, apparently.
And I will actually get 1333 MHz because Sandy Bridge doesn't support higher.

Edited by Keavon, 22 March 2011 - 10:20 PM.

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#6
iammykyl

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Going to wait for Digarati to answer your 2 posts as he has far more technical knowledge than myself.

What would be useful is to know the primary role for the build then some answers can be tailored to suit.

Media centre?
general purpose?
Gaming?
Video and photo encoding and editing?
Workstation?
Server?
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#7
Digerati

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DDR3, of course.

Oh? Whether you use DDR3 or DDR2 is determined by your motherboard and what it supports. They are not interchangeable, or compatible.

You need to check your motherboard manual, motherboard website, or the computer maker's website for that specific computer model to see what RAM your motherboard supports. Then pick compatible RAM. If a custom built system, the motherboard's webpage will have a list of RAM they have tested to be compatible with your board.

Alternatively, you can visit one of the many memory makers websites and run their "wizards".

DDR3-1600 is the same as PC3-12800
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#8
iammykyl

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Woops, it's MHz, apparently.


Typo?

Should be Hz. 1 Hz is equal to or the same as saying 1024MHz (officially 1000MHz),.... so thats all it is. Once CPUs started processing over the 1024 MHz speed, they started with 1.0GHz. 1000khz=1mhz, 1000mhz=1ghz, 100ghz=thz... were not up to terraherts and we probably won't be for a very long time

When talking abut the CPU, speed is actually the clock cycle, >
http://www.wisegeek....tmUnderstanding RAM speed.

This site explains all speeds related to components in a PC,
> http://www.wisegeek....clock-speed.htm

This site is a little dated but worth bookmarking as a reference guide, the principals still apply. The opening page is about RAM.
> http://www.karbosgui...e/module2e1.htm

My question is how noticeable, or is it even noticeable at all, is a lower Cas Latency?
Is it worth the money to buy less?


Lower latency RAM for something like CAD will give better performance but for gaming??? You will need to do more research on a couple of hard core gaming sites.
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#9
Keavon

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Hi. Yes, I will be mainly using it for 3D game development, and I would be using it mainly for running up to these programs at once:
• Unity 3d
• MonoDevelop (this is a high usage scripting program for Unity... it takes a while to start, and bogs down the computer quite a bit. I am not sure if it is memory wise, or CPU wise, or whatever.)
• Photoshop CS5
• Blender
• Dreamweaver CS4
• Firefox
Plus these running in the background:
• Steam
• Google Talk
• Windows Live Messenger (aka MSN)

Yeah.
I also will be doing some gaming. The biggest games I will really be running are Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2. But I want to be able to run everything at max settings (I know this is sounding a lot like this is for video cards, but ignore that. I will also be running Portals at 9 max).
Thank you for your help!
-Keavon
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#10
iammykyl

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Some RAM for you to look at. When going below Cas 6 the sticks are limited and can't find any 2 x 4GB. Whatever RAM you do select you will have to make sure it is compatible with the MOBO.

> http://www.newegg.co...8^20-226-178-TS

Let us know what your build will be.
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