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Old 08-03-2003, 12:27 AM   #1
Abrucx
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Default RAM question.

I'm piecing together a new computer, and I'm curious as to whether I should get 512 megs or 1 gig of ram. I know 1 gig would be faster, but as it would cost 380$ for 2 512 modules and 200$ for 2 256 modules, I'm trying to see how much of a performance boost it will give.

If anyone could give some feedback about their experiences in upgrading from 512 to 1024, I'd appreciate it. I've had 512 on my computer for the past 2 years, so that is what I am used to and I want to see if the extra 180 is worth it.
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Old 08-03-2003, 01:15 AM   #2
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i only have 512 in each of my machines so im not sure how much of an improvement you will get, but i seem to remember something about eq only accepting up to 512 not matter how much you have, so if you are buying this solely for eq, i wouldnt get more then that, unless of course they fixed that problem since then.
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Old 08-03-2003, 01:18 AM   #3
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I play alot of different games, and will be using this system to play HL2 and Jedi Academy as well.
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Old 08-03-2003, 01:18 AM   #4
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Get a GB.. it's worth it.
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Old 08-03-2003, 01:51 AM   #5
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Ok. I just feel so dirty spending almost 400$ on something other than a video card
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Old 08-03-2003, 04:23 AM   #6
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Unless you're looking for a "matched pair" of dual channel optimized 512mb sticks of the top of the line Corsair or Geil ddr3700 ram - or live in another country where it just costs a lot more - you shouldn't be paying $380 bucks for 1gb of ram.

If you don't have to have "matched" ram you should be able to snag some of the top of the line Corsair/Giel/Kingston/OCZ Tech 512mb sticks for about $100 a pop.
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Old 08-03-2003, 08:34 AM   #7
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512 should be fine for now..its still the recommended spec for most games..could always upgrade later. Outta curiosity..where are you shopping? Those prices are *really* high, is that US $? what kinda RAM are you getting?

If its US..don't spend that kinda money. www.newegg.com is a wonderful thing. 512MB stick of Corsair XMS PC3200 is $128. a 256mb stick is $70
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Old 08-03-2003, 01:06 PM   #8
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Its Mushkin PC3500 ram. I plan on overclocking, and this stuff is guaranteed to work at 2-2-2 settings @ 433mhz. I will be running dual channel as well, thats why I mentioned the 2 sticks.
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Old 08-03-2003, 01:59 PM   #9
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Corsair XMS and Kingston HyperX OC very well..if you wanna spend that much go ahead. These have slightly slower latencies but take a gander..the money saved is prolly worth it, and I doubt you'd take much of a performance hit.

KINGSTON HyperX Series 184-pin 512MB DDR434 (PC3500) DDR RAM modules, Model# KHX3500/512-
Specifications:
Type: Kingston HyperX
Capacity: 512MB
Speed: DDR 434 (PC 3500)
Latency: CAS Latency 2 (2-3-3-7-1T) Model#: KHX3500/512

$141 a stick

KINGSTON HyperX Series 184-pin 256MB DDR433 (PC3500) DDR RAM modules, Model# KHX3500/256- Limited Quantity Offer
Specifications:
Type: Kingston HyperX
Capacity: 256MB
Speed: DDR 434 (PC 3500)
Latency: CAS Latency 2 (2-3-3-7-1T) Model#: KHX3500/256

$75 a stick
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And Corsair..which is a bit more pricier

CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series 512MB 32MX8 PC-3500C2 With Heat Spreader
Specifications:
Speed 434MHz
Organization 64M x 64
CAS Latency 2-3-3-7-T1
Memory type DDR
Part number: CMX512-3500C2 Model#: CMX512-3500C2

$176 a stick

CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series 256MB 32MX8 PC-3500C2 With Heat Spreader
Specifications:
Speed 434MHz
Organization 32M x 64
CAS Latency 2-3-3-7-T1
Memory type DDR

$92 a stick

all at newegg.com .. they don't carry Mushkin past PC3200 so i can't compare prices.
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Old 08-03-2003, 02:21 PM   #10
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Twice as much ram (when you are talking about between 512 and 1 gig) will beat the heck out of the marginal performance of the CAS latencies.
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Old 08-03-2003, 05:32 PM   #11
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Well, I can afford the 380 for the 1 gig of the Mushkin. So, it's not like I'm in a bind or anything.

I was thinking about the Kingston HyperX stuff, but I heard the Winbond BH-5 chips on the Mushkin are really good at handling overclocking.
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Old 08-03-2003, 09:07 PM   #12
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Abrucx,

What are you going to be using the system for mainly? That will determine, more than anything else, where you'd be best to spend your money.

In terms of overclocking: the more expensive RAM tends to be marginally better for that sort of thing, but you'd be better advised to buy 1 GB of cheap, generic memory than 512 MB of ultra-high spec memory for most applications. I'll also go on record as saying that overclocking, these days, is a mugs game: you might manage to squeeze out a few hundred extra MHz out of a system with it, but when that is only a few percentiles difference (Laoke's Rule of Thumb #5: it takes about a 10% difference in performance for it to be noticable without benchmarking, and a difference you don't notice without benchmarking isn't much difference at all) it's a trade off that makes no sense.

Think of it this way: you could spend the extra money on the RAM, and spend a couple of hundred dollars on the cooling solution, and at the end of the day you'd be running slower than you would have been if you'd pumped the same ammount into the CPU and motherboard (and, to a limited extent, the video card).

Here's my recomendation: forget about overclocking. Back in the good old days, where a 300 MHz P2 could run at 450 MHz... that was a 50% increase in clock speed, thats well worth doing. Nowadays... it's like sticking a spoiler on a Subaru Impreza and claiming that you can notice a difference in performance. Spend the cash that you save by going with a stock cooling solution on the CPU. Buy the best motherboard you can afford (trust me on this: motherboards aren't sexy in terms of performance gains, but a good one can be the difference between a reliable system and one that gives you a bleeding ulcer), and get the video card that best suits your needs.

Considering the forum you're posting on, you're likely a gamer. I'd go with 512 MB of memory and pump the money saved on the best video card your budget will afford myself. If you can get the video card of your dreams and grab 1 GB+ of memory, that's even better. Another option would be to get a motherboard with an integrated GPU as a stop gap measure (I'm using my NForce2's integrated GeForce4 MX... a shitty card even compared to my old GeForce 3 but it suffices easily for anything I want to play untill Doom 3 / Halflife 2 hit when I'll grab something spankamatic from my local computer store) and wait on the video card untill it becomes necessary to upgrade.

In terms of the difference between 512 & 1 GB of memory: loading times go down, especially for large-texture games, it doesn't seem to effect performance in game that much however. I use 512 MB in my secondary system, and it plays EQ pretty much as well as the primary system, everything else being equal.

Just my 5 cents. I might even be wrong : ) Of course, if you're dedicated towards building the fastest system you can, then overclocking becomes marginally acceptable.

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Old 08-04-2003, 01:38 AM   #13
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Thanks for the thought out reply.

I'm steering away from the cheap stuff. Mushkin does cost alot, but they have a nice warranty, plus I've heard reviews from people they say they are built with quality, and the heatsink actually works and isn't flimsy :P

I was thinking of getting the 9800 Pro 256 version, but decided against it once I heard ATI was releasing its next gen chipset around Decemeber. So, I figured I'd get the high performance, cheap version card. I want the 9500 Pro now, but as I won't order the computer for another month, I might have to get a 9600 Pro due to the 9500 being discontinued. They both support DX9 and run pretty well, so they will be able to hold me over until the new stuff comes out.

Now, this one month wait may seem bad, but I am kind of glad now because Abit is releasing the IC7-G Max 3 board. Has some pretty appealing features. Although, I've heard a few good things about an upcoming Epox board, the model eludes me however.

As for cooling, I won't be spending too much. Going for a Thermalright SLK-900-U with a 92mm Vantec Tornado on there, and since my case supports 7 fans and comes with three, I'm getting 4 80mm Tornados. I'm thinking maybe a NB cooler, other than stock, since I hear the Abit NB cooler kinda sucks. Have yet to hear about the new ones they are including on the newer boards, though.

I see your point with spending the cash on a faster processor, but as it stands now, I am planning on getting a P4 2.6C (cost: 216$ at newegg) and I will hopefully be able to overclock it to at least 3.5ghz (~275 FSB which lets me run a 5:4 divder and run the RAM at ~433mhz in dual mode). I know this all sounds much too optimistic. But, as I have a month to plan and replan, I will be keeping track of future batches from Intel and see how well the fare with overclocking. I may end up doing what you said, in terms of the processor. Time shall tell!
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Old 08-04-2003, 07:17 AM   #14
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I have built a lot of systems in the last couple years and I agree 100% with Laoke on over clocking. It really isn't worth it any more.

I would* go with a gig of ram but I do some stuff other than gaming with my PC occasionally.

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Old 08-04-2003, 08:37 AM   #15
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holy crap, 4 Tornados..the things gonna sound like a 747 and that OC is probably not unrealistic. People can consistently get the 2.4C to 3.2 Ghz on stock cooling as far as I've seen. As long as you get an aftermarket HSF I imagine 3.5ghz is reachable.
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Old 08-04-2003, 08:47 AM   #16
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My case for the longest time had 4 80mm tornadoes in exhaust, 1 YStech 120x38mm intake and another for exhaust plus 3 40x38mm exhaust plus the 3 PSU fans plus 2 more 80mm intakes plus a 5th tonado mounted on my swiftech MXC4000. I could only stand it for about a day. I tried a rheobus system but that was lame cause if I turned the voltage down on the fans then I couldnt stay stable with my 3.05ghz @ 3.6ghz so I ended up having to put slow and quiet fans on it and settling for 3.2. If there is any way I can persuade you to not put vantec tornadoes in your machine then please dont. They push mean air but they are way way way way too loud.
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Old 08-04-2003, 11:19 AM   #17
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7 Fans?!

You building a damn hovercraft, or a computer?
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Old 08-04-2003, 12:59 PM   #18
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Eh, I don't mind noise. I always have headphones and music on when I game. I hear they kind of sound like a vacuum too, which oddly enough, help me sleep. So, it might be good actually ^_^
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Old 08-04-2003, 02:29 PM   #19
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Originally posted by Abrucx
Eh, I don't mind noise. I always have headphones and music on when I game. I hear they kind of sound like a vacuum too, which oddly enough, help me sleep. So, it might be good actually ^_^
My last overclocked system had 13 fans in it, including a 7000 RPM Delta screamer. It was the sort of system that would draw small children into the vents (which was one reason why I sharpened the fan blades and removed the guards).

Lesse: I had 2 x 80 MM on custom mounts on the side directly over the AGP & PCI buses (god bless my drill press : ), 4 x 60 mm on the front and back intakes, the aforementioned 60mm 7000 RPM Delta on the Heatsink, 2 x 80 MM in the power supply, 2 x 40 MM low profile on the video card & motherboard chipset, and 2 x 40mm tiddlers on the main HDD for cooling.

It was NOISY.

After a couple of years, I disconnected all of them except for the heatsink, the video card, and the motherboard chipset. A couple of months after that, I replaced the 7000 RPM with a stock fan. A couple of months after that, I brought a system with a single 80 MM low speed fan as the only cooling solution needed.

Trust me Abrucx: even if you don't mind a hairdryer on all day every day (and that IS what it'll sound like: my PC could almot pass as an entire server room worth of noise) you'll find that it gets old very, very quickly.

Go with a low noise fan if possible. It's so worth it.

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Old 08-04-2003, 08:22 PM   #20
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Dude just buy a P4 with HT. You get 2 virtual processors and you will definately see a difference. No overlocking. I recommend the 1gig of ram. I saw a serious difference playing SWG which is the level graphics you will be seeing in new games. And of course, a video card with big hairy ones.


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Old 08-06-2003, 12:05 AM   #21
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Default Re: RAM question.

Originally posted by Abrucx
I'm piecing together a new computer, and I'm curious as to whether I should get 512 megs or 1 gig of ram. I know 1 gig would be faster, but as it would cost 380$ for 2 512 modules and 200$ for 2 256 modules, I'm trying to see how much of a performance boost it will give.

If anyone could give some feedback about their experiences in upgrading from 512 to 1024, I'd appreciate it. I've had 512 on my computer for the past 2 years, so that is what I am used to and I want to see if the extra 180 is worth it.

Dunno where your buying it, but your paying too damn much. Even though you was rude to be the other day on the boards. I will give you a tip ...

www.pricewatch.com
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Old 08-06-2003, 02:11 AM   #22
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Thank god none of my RL friends have seen this thread, back when I was heavy into overclocking, I got myself up to 16 fans before I ran out of ways to move air without disrupting the overall flow....

Bais said I could sell heat in the winter and my computer could float anywhere in my room so I didn't even need a desk... smartass...
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Old 08-06-2003, 02:29 AM   #23
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guys, after you pass about 8 fans you are not gonna get many nore out of them. At that point it is time to move your rig into the basement and put it in the AC vents, or just toss a refrigirator coil in a bucket of any non-conductive liquid and away you go.

Hell, if you are gonna make your case loud with fans at least put it in the other room and run longer cables just leaving your cd-rom and such in the room you are in.

OC'ing is not, and will never be, worth not being able to sleep in the same room as the comp.
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Old 08-06-2003, 03:05 AM   #24
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I've been skimming through this post ( I'm at work ) and wondered if anyone had mentioned the operating system.

Unless you're using Windows 2000 or XP your machine won't be able to utilise anything above 512MB RAM.

Secondly I'm looking at your prices and they're too high. We're at a point in the market where RAM is very cheap. Somebody will explain this to me but RAM tends to rise in price at about November and stays that way till about February. From February to April it's cheap again and then it rises till about July. I never understood this.

Most newer games will be better with as much RAM as possible, its the cheapest way to increase system speed. MMORPGs will swallow it like there's no tommorow due to the high amount of textures needed.

Im against clocking memory and fsbs since they give you veyr little difference. I clock my CPU and my graphics card heavily reducing the usage at the same time. The way I look at it these items will be obsolete within 18 months anyway so who cares if I'm reducing the life expectancy of my CPU to 2 years.

Not only that but most graphics cards are rated to a certain clock speed and then they reduce that clock speed to be on the safe side.

As far as cooling goes there is no point in anything more then 2 fans in the case. One should blow air in, the other should suck air out. 2 10cm fans is sufficient to keep air flowing across the board. Try and keep the fans at opposing ends of the case to maximise flow. Luckily you'll find that most newer cases have pre drilled holes for fans on the front casing and above the AGP port.

The only other addition is a PCI slot vent fan placed next to your graphics card.

Anything more then this is a waste. The problem comes in that the air you are blowing over the fan never drops below the ambient temperature of the room. If that's not cool enough for you then look at water cooling. I still have problems with the idea of placing water into an electrical object though.

In short. If you can, get a 1gig of RAM or more.
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Old 08-06-2003, 05:12 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Kerryn
I've been skimming through this post ( I'm at work ) and wondered if anyone had mentioned the operating system.

Unless you're using Windows 2000 or XP your machine won't be able to utilise anything above 512MB RAM.

Secondly I'm looking at your prices and they're too high. We're at a point in the market where RAM is very cheap. Somebody will explain this to me but RAM tends to rise in price at about November and stays that way till about February. From February to April it's cheap again and then it rises till about July. I never understood this.

Most newer games will be better with as much RAM as possible, its the cheapest way to increase system speed. MMORPGs will swallow it like there's no tommorow due to the high amount of textures needed.

Im against clocking memory and fsbs since they give you veyr little difference. I clock my CPU and my graphics card heavily reducing the usage at the same time. The way I look at it these items will be obsolete within 18 months anyway so who cares if I'm reducing the life expectancy of my CPU to 2 years.

Not only that but most graphics cards are rated to a certain clock speed and then they reduce that clock speed to be on the safe side.

As far as cooling goes there is no point in anything more then 2 fans in the case. One should blow air in, the other should suck air out. 2 10cm fans is sufficient to keep air flowing across the board. Try and keep the fans at opposing ends of the case to maximise flow. Luckily you'll find that most newer cases have pre drilled holes for fans on the front casing and above the AGP port.

The only other addition is a PCI slot vent fan placed next to your graphics card.

Anything more then this is a waste. The problem comes in that the air you are blowing over the fan never drops below the ambient temperature of the room. If that's not cool enough for you then look at water cooling. I still have problems with the idea of placing water into an electrical object though.

In short. If you can, get a 1gig of RAM or more.
Its not about more fans making it cooler its about placing the fans strategically to keep there from being any pockets of warm air in the system. If youre gonna overclock your system without water then you wanna make sure there is a steady stream of cool air over your ram, your video, your processor, your northbridge chipset, and your board capacitors and mosfets.
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