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What is the right amount of RAM for this system? 2GB or 4GB?

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  • RAM
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November 10, 2006 2:54:52 PM

Hey,

Im new to this forum so bear with me:) 

Im currently planning to buy a high end system with:

Dell 30" display
Nvidia 8800 GTX
Nforce 680i sli motherboard
Intel core 2 duo E6400 or better (gonna overclock it)
WD raptor 150GB

Im wondering what is the best amount of RAM since Ive seen many high end showcase computers with just 2GB of RAM. Is that enough or should I go for 4GB.

Since im spending alot of money on the screen and graphic card Im not really into spending a small fortune on the memory to squeeze out another 2-5% more performance. My first goal is to buy right amount and with the right timings/clockrate.

Im considering EPP memory to make the overclocking easier since Ive never done it.

What about the processor is that a good choise or is that gonna be a bottleneck?

Im gonna use it for gaming with Vista (prolly 32bit one since there is no real benefit to use 64bit Vista) as you probably already guessed :) 

Thanks for your replies in advance!

Ive read all Tomshardware articles but havent really found an answer directly to my problem.

More about : amount ram system 2gb 4gb

November 10, 2006 3:54:51 PM

Quote:
Hey,

Im new to this forum so bear with me:) 

Im currently planning to buy a high end system with:

Dell 30" display
Nvidia 8800 GTX
Nforce 680i sli motherboard
Intel core 2 duo E6400 or better (gonna overclock it)
WD raptor 150GB

Im wondering what is the best amount of RAM since Ive seen many high end showcase computers with just 2GB of RAM. Is that enough or should I go for 4GB.

Since im spending alot of money on the screen and graphic card Im not really into spending a small fortune on the memory to squeeze out another 2-5% more performance. My first goal is to buy right amount and with the right timings/clockrate.

Im considering EPP memory to make the overclocking easier since Ive never done it.

What about the processor is that a good choise or is that gonna be a bottleneck?

Im gonna use it for gaming with Vista (prolly 32bit one since there is no real benefit to use 64bit Vista) as you probably already guessed :) 

Thanks for your replies in advance!

Ive read all Tomshardware articles but havent really found an answer directly to my problem.


2GB of DDR2-800 will get you the most performance for your money. simple as that. as long as timings aren't insanely high they wont effect actual game performance at all.
November 10, 2006 6:30:12 PM

From what I've read/heard, 4GB is overkill. Dunno about under Vista though.

If you're not wanting to spend a fortune on memory, drop the Raptor HDD and get the Seagate (I think their the ones) with the perpindicular recording. More HDD space, faster access times than your standard HDD, and cheaper than the Raptor. Use the extra cash for your memory. May can get your 4GB just to be on the safe side. Don't think current windows platforms can even use 4GB. Again, Vista may. I'm avoiding it till it's been out at least 6 months.
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November 10, 2006 7:43:54 PM

Thanks for your replys

I already bought the Raptor drive (Raptor X to be accurate, using it for modding)
I also got the case and PSU.

Anyone knows if its wise to get 4GB for Vista? Does it matter if its 32bit or 64bit?

What about clockspeed/latencies? Should I go for the normal 800mhz or higher?
November 10, 2006 7:56:38 PM

Vista will a much larger ressource hog than XP. If you're planning for a high end gaming PC, it would be unwise to switch to Vista over XP (at least for now, in my opinion). WIth an XP (32bit or 64bit version) you will be very well off with 2Gigs. I dont think there is any game on hte market, currently or coming within a year that will take advantage of anything over 2 Gigs.

Cheers

p.s. It seems Core2Duo works best with memory that's synchronous with the FSB (or half the FSB). If you are really considering top of the line components, consider 1066Mhz ddr2. I think Corsair offers these with pretty tight timings (4-4-4 I think).
November 10, 2006 7:58:26 PM

Quote:
From what I've read/heard, 4GB is overkill. Dunno about under Vista though.

If you're not wanting to spend a fortune on memory, drop the Raptor HDD and get the Seagate (I think their the ones) with the perpindicular recording. More HDD space, faster access times than your standard HDD, and cheaper than the Raptor. Use the extra cash for your memory. May can get your 4GB just to be on the safe side. Don't think current windows platforms can even use 4GB. Again, Vista may. I'm avoiding it till it's been out at least 6 months.


Thats baloney. 2GB is plenty enough right now and the biggest bottlneck in a PC is the HD by a long way so thats where you should spend the money for perfomance.
November 10, 2006 8:02:26 PM

I don't think XP will recognize over 3Gb will it?

Also, if you plan to goto Vista RIGHT away like, right after release date, get 4Gb. If you're gonna wait awhile (like most of us)...Wait on the 4gb and just get it when you go Vista...PLus RAM prices might be lower then.
November 10, 2006 8:26:56 PM

What about buying 2x1GB package now and then another later on?

is 4x1GB better than 2x2GB?

If 4x1GB is a good option then ill prolly go for the 2x1GB now and then add more later when ill make a transition to Vista.

Im gonna OC the processor so I guess I have to change the FSB and if Ill buy 1066mzh memory I suppose Ill have to OC that also. How much can you OC RAM BTW?

Thanks for your replys guys. Youve been really helpful!
November 10, 2006 8:36:02 PM

Get 2 GB now, upgrade once (if) you instal Vista 64-bit. With 32 bit you iwll only recognize a little over 3 GB so theres one advantage right off the bat, a higher limit on the addressable space. There are other advantages that will come, you might as well install the 64-bit edition if you can as there pretty much isn't a down side compared ot the 32 bit version.
November 10, 2006 8:50:29 PM

I'd get 2x1GB sticks for now, then get another 2GB when Vista comes out.
November 10, 2006 8:58:17 PM

For 32 bit Vista, you should get 2 gigs of RAM for now. While 32 bit Vista can use nearly 4 gigs of RAM in theory, in practice you won't use more than 2 gigs with existing 32 bit software.

However, there is a likelihood that over the years you will need more RAM as a result of increasing requirements of software, more background processes etc, which is what happened with WinXP. So, you might want to keep two DIMMs empty now so that you can add 2 more gigs later, when RAM gets faster and cheaper. Vista can use USB memory keys for extra memory, but I am not sure how fast and reliable they will prove to be.

For 64 bit Vista, you should usually get 4 gigs of RAM immediately.

Fuzzy
November 10, 2006 9:02:02 PM

Unless you have specific tasks you KNOW will exceed (roughly) 1.5GB of memory (last 512MB reserved for disk caching), you should stick with 2GB and tight timings.

Your system is imbalanced though, one Raptor is not a good choice, you should have a minimum of two drives for reasonable performance. Raptor's fast seeks cannot offset simultaneous access gains from multiple physical discs. I'm not suggesting to replace the Raptor for OS use, rather supplimented by another drive for performance, not storage space issues. I do not mean RAID0, if you use RAID0 then you need a minimum of one more physical drive designated as a separate logical volume to once again gain independant access benefits.

That is, unless the only criteria is gaming performance/FPS, in that case don't worry about a 2nd drive/volume. If you also care about game level reloads, as much as FPS, then 4GB begins to make sense again as with an increased OS filecache setting you drastically decrease disk (re)reads. We don't know how long this system needs to last you though, larger new and future games will benefit more.
November 10, 2006 9:12:15 PM

2gigs should be fine unless your running alot programs that use loits of ram like Photoshop or Cad. If your just going to be doing the basics with your PC such as gaming, music, movies web...etc 2gigs should be plenty. I would also stick with XP until Vista is out for a while and games are optimized for DX10 and Vista, right now current games will most likely run faster under XP than Vista. Anyone else here not all that excited about Vista?? I wont be upgrading to Vista for quite a while, it seems to be to much of a resource hog and a bit bloated, I really dont need all the eye candy id rather have better performance than better looks any day!!
November 11, 2006 6:02:29 AM

Ok 2 GB it is then and maybe 2 GB later on.

Any idea if 2x2GB is faster then 4x1GB?

Yeah Ive noticed that games in Vista RC1 (even though its in my Raptor drive) run much slower than in XP (I got to old IDE Seagates)

Does Vista come with 32bit and 64bit versions in the same package or do I have to purchase separately (which I dont obviously gonna do if thats the case)

Now that its prolly gonna be 2GB I can afford to buy better RAM.

Is it worth to buy Corsair high end RAM like 1066 or even higher with as low timings as possible?
November 11, 2006 7:55:11 AM

Vista 32 bit will be quite happy with 2GB ram... Crysis dx10 version may not, but that's a bit of time off.

Writing this to you now I'm using ~ 760 MB. Max I've seen is 860 MB, but I can't vouch for doom 3 or SH3, as I can't get task manager to run 'on top' when I run them.

Vista x64 uses less ram... Surprised me.
November 11, 2006 8:21:38 AM

You will be ok with 2Gb :D  for now,and if you think that is not enough you could upgrade 8)
November 11, 2006 8:34:17 AM

Quote:
From what I've read/heard, 4GB is overkill. Dunno about under Vista though.

If you're not wanting to spend a fortune on memory, drop the Raptor HDD and get the Seagate (I think their the ones) with the perpindicular recording. More HDD space, faster access times than your standard HDD, and cheaper than the Raptor. Use the extra cash for your memory. May can get your 4GB just to be on the safe side. Don't think current windows platforms can even use 4GB. Again, Vista may. I'm avoiding it till it's been out at least 6 months.


Thats baloney. 2GB is plenty enough right now and the biggest bottlneck in a PC is the HD by a long way so thats where you should spend the money for perfomance.

hugh? It depends on what your using your computer for. A faster HD has no impact on gaming besides making the game load up a bit faster initially, or loading maps/levels faster. A faster HD is not gonna get you any more frames per second.

In fact, the situation is exactly the opposite from what you present! Adding more memory will keep the HD from being the bottleneck by removing/reducing the need for virtual memory and increasing memory based I/O buffering (the page cache in linux, not sure what it is called in windows).

On the other hand I personally would get the raptor just to make XP (or Vista) load faster.

@k77316

I image 2x2GB would be better than 4x1GB for OC simply because you can get more airflow??? Not sure about this, I'm a newb when it comes to overclocking.
November 11, 2006 10:14:48 AM

Quote:

I image 2x2GB would be better than 4x1GB for OC simply because you can get more airflow??? Not sure about this, I'm a newb when it comes to overclocking.


Airflow??? :-)

Regarding high performance tunning, 1T configuration (2x2GB) is better than 2T(4x1GB). If the memory already has low latencies than you can focus on capacity and don't worry about if it's 2x or 4x.

IMO Vista will run well with 2GB. If you can afford 3GB or 4GB than it's always a good investment and will reflect on better system stability and performance.

In my personal case, i have currently 2x512MB PC3200 and i'll buy 2x1GB to get a total of 3GB.

Ditto.
November 11, 2006 3:13:10 PM

I think he meant that in general his programs run faster under XP than Vista even though XP has the high performance drive.
November 11, 2006 3:39:35 PM

Only thing I'm concerned with is PC Builders are saying they recommend 2 gigs of ram for Vista. Little bells and whistles go off when something that extreme comes to mind.
November 11, 2006 3:50:50 PM

Quote:
Thanks for your replys



Anyone knows if its wise to get 4GB for Vista? Does it matter if its 32bit or 64bit?

?



With Vista, you here basic, home premium, buisness, ultimate.
Do they all have 32 or 64 bit versions. Is everyone who gets a conroe,
kentsfield, and is going the vista route - getting the 64 bit version?
will the 64 bit version still play oblivion? will the 32 bit version of vista see
4 gigs? I've been doing some research, and I get conflicting answers.
Even the microsoft website, gives minumum - but not maximum.
November 11, 2006 4:16:40 PM

Well, for one, your going to have compatibility issues up the wazoo when it goes retail. Use their system diagnostic tool and see what will work and what wont.. I have a slew of stuff I can no longer use when i upgrade.

The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/upgradea...
November 11, 2006 4:36:18 PM

Quote:
Well, for one, your going to have compatibility issues up the wazoo when it goes retail. Use their system diagnostic tool and see what will work and what wont.. I have a slew of stuff I can no longer use when i upgrade.

The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/upgradea...


I'm doing this to a system that's getting built in Dec/Jan. I may wait until
VISTA gets release- so I don't do the upgrade path. I don't have a whole
lot of stuff. I'm having a system built by overdrivePC - from there -
I'll upgrade it as it gets older. Love to build my own system - water cooling seems cool, overclocking - even cooler. But, I got to many things going on in my life.
November 16, 2006 4:11:43 PM

In Win XP few people manage to use more than 2BG, so there is only some potential advantage to going higher. With Vista that could change - it's bigger before any apps are loaded.

The big issue is 32-bit vs 64-bit. All 32-bit OS's (XP or Vista, same thing) can only address up to 4GB of memory space, and some of that addressing capability (not the physical RAM) MUST be reserved for OS functions. In XP most people find that is close to 1MB of reserved, so no matter how much physical RAM you put in you cannot "see" or use more than about 3GB. A Vista 32-bit version will have the same problem. (Maybe even worse? if Vista uses more reserved space.) So if you plan to go to 32-bit Vista for sure, go with 2GB of RAM now and decide later if you can use more by switching to a 64-bit version and adding more RAM.

Intermediate route: since you can use up to 3GB, buy a matched pair of 1 x 1GB modules, and another pair of 1 x 512MB modules, and fill the four RAM slots. Risk is that, if you actually decide later to go 64-bit OS and more RAM, you will have to remove and replace the 512MB modules. Also check the detail about whether you mobo would try to run the RAM slower just because you have filled all four slots.
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