Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

New Build: RAM Question... How Much?

Last response: in Memory
Share
August 22, 2006 4:13:59 PM

I'm putting together a new system sometime within the next 6 months. Currently, this is the framework (which will probably change before final purchase):

-eVGA S939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
-AMD64 X2 3800+
-eVGA 7900GT
-A-Data 2x 1GB
-WD Raptor 74GB for progs and apps with a 160GB for data

Main question is: Is 2GB of RAM worth the extra $100 in terms of performance? Loaded question I know, but I've never tried 2GB of RAM before - all systems now have been 1GB or less.

Also, anyone familiar with the A-Data brand? Reliable?

Any other comments or advice also welcome.

System will primarily be for games.

More about : build ram question

August 22, 2006 10:06:17 PM

if this system is for gaming, 2GB is best and sorta considered the "standard" these days in enthusiast gaming. it won't increase your frames per second, but it will decrease load times and decrease spawing times. esp. in MMORPG's and games like Battlefield 2.

i have never heard of A-Data. If it were me, I'd stay away from generic branded memory. Your best bets are:

crucial, corsair, kingston, mushkin, patriot, g.skill, geil, and ocz. i think eVGA is making memory too... they're ok.

quick question: why socket 939?
August 23, 2006 8:05:57 PM

Quote:
if this system is for gaming, 2GB is best and sorta considered the "standard" these days in enthusiast gaming. it won't increase your frames per second, but it will decrease load times and decrease spawing times. esp. in MMORPG's and games like Battlefield 2.

i have never heard of A-Data. If it were me, I'd stay away from generic branded memory. Your best bets are:

crucial, corsair, kingston, mushkin, patriot, g.skill, geil, and ocz. i think eVGA is making memory too... they're ok.

Thanks, man. Your thoughts are appreciated.
Quote:
quick question: why socket 939?

Well, that's a good question. I've been somewhat out of the AMD architecture 'know' for awhile now, and didn't realize they released their next gen architecture. Is there a white papers out there somewhere or something of that nature that compares/contrasts between AM2 and S939?
Related resources
August 23, 2006 8:39:54 PM

I read article on Tom's Hardware talking about the new AM2 socket, and it sounds like the most significant change is the support for DDR2. But I also read some less than encouraging things about how with 2 compared AMD systems - one with an AM2 proc and DDR2 memory and the other with a s939 and DDR(1) memory - the older architecture AMD processor actually performs better... what gives? Here's a link compare the s939 AMD64 X2 3800+ to the AM2 AMD64 X2 3800+

Game Performance Benchmark FEAR, s939 vs AM2

Right, the difference is very negligible (AM2: 92fps, s939: 93fps) but you'd expect a performance boost from one architecture to the next, right? Anything, but a decrease even if it is a small, subtle decrease.
August 23, 2006 8:49:19 PM

The difference in performance is negligible and can be offset (or even reversed) by using DDR-800 RAM. socket 939 will not have many (if any) new processors released for it, and new motherboards will probably start to dry up soon as well. Socket 939 is a dead architechture, but the corpse is still warm, if you don't mind not really having an upgrade path by all means go 939. On the other hand, if you want the newest tech which will last the longest AM2 is worth the price premium (IMHO).
August 23, 2006 9:00:33 PM

Quote:
I'm putting together a new system sometime within the next 6 months. Currently, this is the framework (which will probably change before final purchase):

-eVGA S939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
-AMD64 X2 3800+
-eVGA 7900GT
-A-Data 2x 1GB
-WD Raptor 74GB for progs and apps with a 160GB for data

Main question is: Is 2GB of RAM worth the extra $100 in terms of performance? Loaded question I know, but I've never tried 2GB of RAM before - all systems now have been 1GB or less.

Also, anyone familiar with the A-Data brand? Reliable?

Any other comments or advice also welcome.

System will primarily be for games.

2GB's are ideal for the mobo as any less and you may end up needing to replace the RAM. 2GB's fully max's out 2 RAM slots on the 939 means never needing to replace a lower amount at a higher price.

If this was an AM2 mobo then 1GB would be fine as most are 8GB mobo's and would require 4GB to fill any 2 RAM slots.

If you have to go with a 939 your kind of at a sticky point as less now will cost you much more later. The low max expandability of RAM on the 939 means with in the life span of the system the RAM will be the first limiting factor to compatability. You will most likly end up with 4GB of RAM on the system.
August 23, 2006 9:20:57 PM

Quote:
The difference in performance is negligible and can be offset (or even reversed) by using DDR-800 RAM.


Look at the AMD64 X2 3800+ in the F.E.A.R. benchmark. With DDR2 800 (AM2), 92fps; with DDR 400 (s939) 93fps.

There's not one DDR2 800 (AM2) that beat a DDR 400 (s939) in that benchmark (a couple of DDR2 800 that marched DDR 400). Why pay the more up front costs if performance is the same or slightly worse for AM2? The better upgrade path, I can see but I don't see s939 going by the wayside tomorrow, or in the next few months for that matter. I'm kinda looking for you guys to sway my opinion since I know AM2 is the 'latest and greatest' but I just don't see the point yet. I'm thinking go s939 today, and wait for AM3.
August 23, 2006 9:45:11 PM

Quote:
The difference in performance is negligible and can be offset (or even reversed) by using DDR-800 RAM.


Look at the AMD64 X2 3800+ in the F.E.A.R. benchmark. With DDR2 800 (AM2), 92fps; with DDR 400 (s939) 93fps.

There's not one DDR2 800 (AM2) that beat a DDR 400 (s939) in that benchmark (a couple of DDR2 800 that marched DDR 400). Why pay the more up front costs if performance is the same or slightly worse for AM2? The better upgrade path, I can see but I don't see s939 going by the wayside tomorrow, or in the next few months for that matter. I'm kinda looking for you guys to sway my opinion since I know AM2 is the 'latest and greatest' but I just don't see the point yet. I'm thinking go s939 today, and wait for AM3.

If you get the point within that article you posted it is basically saying that the platform change is more of a sideways move than not. What that means is a 3800 will perform basically the same on either platform. (1fps diff is not significant) That is why they both have the same performance rating of 3800... if one performed better then it would be a 4000+, or whatever.

What you are paying for is a platform that has a future. If upgrades a year or two from now are not a concern (processor and ram being the issue) then stay w/ the 939... if you will want to upgrade maybe in a year or so then the am2 only get cheaper... 939 (if it is even still around then) will only get more expensive. ;) 
August 24, 2006 12:42:22 AM

Quote:
but I don't see s939 going by the wayside tomorrow, or in the next few months for that matter.


Depends on how you define "the wayside", if I remember correctly AMD is not going to release faster procs for 939 and if they haven't already they will soon be stopping production of 939 procs. Additionally most top-tier motherboard manufacturers will be focusing on producing new AM2 motherboards since their 939 lines are mature already. What this means is that 939 is viable as a current platform but will soon be more or less unsupported, soon no new top-tier motherboards will be designed and with AMD and Intel both using DDR2 the prices of DDR2 will go down but the prices of DDR will either stay the same or go up.

Like I said, if you don't plan on upgrading then 939 will be fine, but if you want an extensible platform AM2 is the only way to go.

P.S. AMD says that AM3 procs will fit in AM2 motherboards.
August 24, 2006 1:10:33 AM

I just bought an AM2 myself, and I did so mainly because it will have, at least according to AMD, better possibilities of upgrading. One thing to consider is that DDR RAM might eventually become harder to find as architectures are make the shift to DDR2. I'm with sojrner here though: it's more of a sideways move, onto a better upgradeability lane.

P.S: I do understand that for now 2 GB seem like something unlikely to upgrade, but we've been proven wrong so many times by saying there's such a thing as too much RAM!
August 24, 2006 1:24:39 PM

Alright, thanks guys. Explaining it in such a way that the s939 to AM2 transition is more of a sideways/lateral move is a good way of explaining it. Makes sense.

Still undecided tho as to which platform I would want to go since typically my PC buying trend has been put together a PC and use it for 2 years, then sell whole thing to a friend for a couple hundred bucks and put together an entirely new machine so I don't do much upgrading; in fact, in the 12 years I've had a computer I think I may've upgraded once and that was just RAM.

Input you guys provided is much appreciated though. Thanks again.
August 24, 2006 1:54:48 PM

Quote:
Alright, thanks guys. Explaining it in such a way that the s939 to AM2 transition is more of a sideways/lateral move is a good way of explaining it. Makes sense.

Still undecided tho as to which platform I would want to go since typically my PC buying trend has been put together a PC and use it for 2 years, then sell whole thing to a friend for a couple hundred bucks and put together an entirely new machine so I don't do much upgrading; in fact, in the 12 years I've had a computer I think I may've upgraded once and that was just RAM.

Input you guys provided is much appreciated though. Thanks again.


In that case get the 939. It will perform just as well as am2 at this point.
August 24, 2006 2:35:32 PM

for a lot of games,no you don't need two gigs of ram.but for a few like oblivian etc....do require 2gigs of ram.i personaly have two gigs of ram in dual channel mode and i notice a significant increase in performance.my understanding is that more and more games are coming out requiring more and system resources.not to mention that windows vista requires at least 2gigs of ram.so if you upgrade to vista when it comes out you will need 2gigs.i would get two gigs of ram.make sure they are matched sticks because some boards are very finicky on ram when it comes to dual channel.anyways i hope we have helped some.goodluck.

Dahak

EVGA NF4 SLI MB
X2 4400+@2.4 S-939
2X1GIG DDR400 RAMM IN DC MODE
2 7800GT'S IN SLI MODE
WD300GIG HD
520WATT PSU
EXTREME 19IN.CRT MONITOR
August 24, 2006 3:13:16 PM

Alright... My decision's been made to go s939 due to less up front costs and unlikely to upgrade in future... now I just need about $1,500. 8)

Of course I'm also about 3-6 months out from making any purchases. Thanks for input, fellas.
August 24, 2006 3:49:20 PM

Quote:
Alright... My decision's been made to go s939 due to less up front costs and unlikely to upgrade in future... now I just need about $1,500. 8)

Of course I'm also about 3-6 months out from making any purchases. Thanks for input, fellas.

If you're that far out, why are you even doing research now? I'm sure that in 3 months the best bang for the buck will be different than it is today.
August 24, 2006 4:01:26 PM

Well, that's a good question. The original main purpose of this topic was how much RAM (1GB vs 2GB), which I think that question and the answer will still be mostly applicable in 3-6 months time. The AM2 vs s939 argument was a tangent and if AM2 does end up being cheaper after all in 3-6 months time then that'll change my strategy.
!