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I'm buying a new computer. Couple ignorant questions.

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June 29, 2006 3:25:40 AM

Due to my budget I have the option of buying one of these two combinations of memory and a video card. I don't know if it would be better to get the better video card or the faster memory. I would appreciate any advice. Here are the two options.

Option #1
Memory
2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 4 DIMMs
Video Card
256MB nVidia GeForce 7900 GS

Option #2
Memory
2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 2 DIMMs
512MB ATI Radeon X1900 XTX

1 more question. With the memory, what is a DIMM and is it better to have 2 or 4 DIMM's and why?

I appreciate your help.
a c 102 à CPUs
June 29, 2006 3:45:13 AM

What processor and chipset is this for? If it is for an 800 FSB Intel Pentium D or Pentium 4, the 2x1GB DDR2-533 is more than enough and you can run 2x1GB sticks at a lower latency than you can 4x512MB sticks. If it's for a socket AM2 Athlon 64 or especially an X2, it's a much tougher question. If that's the case, I'd suggest waiting for prices to drop so that you can put 2 sticks of DDR2-667 in a single-core Athlon 64 or 2 sticks of DDR2-800 in an X2 (The A64 and Semprons support up to DDR2-667, X2s support up to DDR2-800.)

2 1GB sticks is better than 4 512MB ones as the memory controllers have an easier time controlling 2 sticks than 4, especially the Athlon 64's integrated memory controller. A DIMM is a Dual Inline Memory Module, which means that there are memory chips on both sides of the memory stick's PCB board. (There didn't use to be chips on both sides; they were called SIMMs.)
June 29, 2006 3:49:08 AM

in any case go for the second option as that is the most dominant graphics card out right now, WAY better than the 7900GS, so go with second option
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June 29, 2006 3:51:56 AM

DIMMS you only need 1 stick of memory to function, SIMMS you had to have 2 matching sticks for it to work.
June 29, 2006 3:55:16 AM

AFAIK the 7900GS is a GPU meant for laptops, why are you comparing that to the X1900XTX flagship from ATI ?

How much are you willing to spend and where do you intend to buy this stuff from ?
a c 102 à CPUs
June 29, 2006 3:58:01 AM

Not in a 386 or 486 you don't :lol:  Only in a Pentium with its 64-bit memory interface.
June 29, 2006 3:58:05 AM

Case closed: Option 2 all the way.
June 29, 2006 4:01:13 AM

Thanks. Couple more questions though just to make sure I understand you because I'm pretty ignorant about all this.

First: It's a an Intel Pentium® D Processor 930 with Dual Core Technology (3GHz, 800FSB)

Okay, the 2GB 667 mhz memory can be either 2 or 4 DIMM's at the same price. Unless I misunderstood you(and that's very likely), what you were telling me is that the 2 DIMM 533 mhz would be better than the 4 DIMM 667 mhz memory. Well what if the 667 can be 2 DIMM??? Would it be better to get that with the lesser video card or get that 533 mhz with the better video card. Also, I was looking, and I noticed something else. If I get the 533 mhz memory, I can afford 4 GB of it. So, in that case, would 4GB of 533 be better than 2 GB of 667?

I hope that makes sense. I probably just totally misunderstood your answer and I apologize if that's the case. Thanks for your help.
June 29, 2006 4:03:48 AM

Quote:
Thanks. Couple more questions though just to make sure I understand you because I'm pretty ignorant about all this.

First: It's a an Intel Pentium® D Processor 930 with Dual Core Technology (3GHz, 800FSB)

Okay, the 2GB 667 mhz memory can be either 2 or 4 DIMM's at the same price. Unless I misunderstood you(and that's very likely), what you were telling me is that the 2 DIMM 533 mhz would be better than the 4 DIMM 667 mhz memory. Well what if the 667 can be 2 DIMM??? Would it be better to get that with the lesser video card or get that 533 mhz with the better video card. Also, I was looking, and I noticed something else. If I get the 533 mhz memory, I can afford 4 GB of it. So, in that case, would 4GB of 533 be better than 2 GB of 667?

I hope that makes sense. I probably just totally misunderstood your answer and I apologize if that's the case. Thanks for your help.


What are using the setup for? If its for games, still go for option 2.
June 29, 2006 4:03:54 AM

Sorry, that last reply was before I saw all the other replies. Thanks for the input guys.
a c 102 à CPUs
June 29, 2006 4:08:19 AM

Okay, so we're dealing with a PD 930 with a shared 800 MHz FSB. All of Intel's currently shipping chipsets *officially* support only DDR2-667, although some have been tweaked to run on DDR2-800. If you are now talking 2x1GB DDR2-667 or 4x1GB DDR2-533, I'd say get the 2x1GB DDR2-667 as unless you run a 64-bit OS, you will run into stability problems as 32-bit OSes need 1GB of the total 4GB addressing space to be left over for the PCI bus and etc. stuff. When you have 4GB RAM in there, it can foul up the works. You will also not really be able to use 4GB anyway unless you are doing some very serious work on your machine.

So in short, get the 2 1GB sticks of DDR2-667.
June 29, 2006 4:14:46 AM

Okay that only leaves me with one more question. 2x1GB of the 533 mhz memory and the 512 MB video card or 2x1GB of the 667 mhz memory but with the 256mb video card???
a c 102 à CPUs
June 29, 2006 4:17:30 AM

Well, either would work well. I'd compare the two cards in Tom's VGA Card Database and then pick the RAM that you can afford with the card you can afford. Anything above DDR2-400 is lost on the Pentium D 930, so either the 533 or 667 would work similarly, save for maybe the timings.
June 29, 2006 4:19:22 AM

Okay, thanks for your help MU.
June 29, 2006 10:27:18 PM

just get the x1900xt its amazing and the best
a b U Graphics card
June 29, 2006 11:00:04 PM

Quote:
A DIMM is a Dual Inline Memory Module, which means that there are memory chips on both sides of the memory stick's PCB board. (There didn't use to be chips on both sides; they were called SIMMs.)


Actually there are DIMMs that have chips only on one side of the board. DIMMs can be used singly to complete the memory circuit, unlike the really old SIMMs that needed to be installed in pairs.

Quote:
AFAIK the 7900GS is a GPU meant for laptops, why are you comparing that to the X1900XTX flagship from ATI ?


There are 7900GS desktop parts. It's actually the fastest card for AGP right now. They are pretty good, but no match for an X1900XTX by any stretch.
June 29, 2006 11:20:58 PM

Not sure if the 7900GS is AGP (I know the 7800GS is), but I did find that Dell has a system that has the 7900GS intergrated:

Dell XPS 700

It does have 2 PCI Express x16 slots, so I would assume that the 7900GS is not AGP.
June 30, 2006 12:24:54 AM

Good Sir,

Considering all things that you mentioned about your machine.

1) Take the ATI 1900XT Video Card(Save $100 bucks off XTX, not worth extra $100)
2)Get 2X1GB DDR2 RAM, if you can afford it get the 667.

If you can get a comp with an AMD Athlon 64 AM2 CPU you will have an even faster machine.

Enjoy!!
a b U Graphics card
June 30, 2006 9:02:04 PM

Quote:
Not sure if the 7900GS is AGP (I know the 7800GS is), but I did find that Dell has a system that has the 7900GS intergrated:

Dell XPS 700

It does have 2 PCI Express x16 slots, so I would assume that the 7900GS is not AGP.


Yup, I recalled last night that it was the 7800GS that's the best and last of the AGP cards.
!