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Seeking Expert Advice: DDR2,DDR3 upgrade dilemma

Last response: in Memory
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June 7, 2007 7:58:46 PM

I'm building a new gaming rig. I currently have 2 1-Gig modules (2G Total) of XMS2 6400 (800 MHz) with latency of 5.5.5.12. I'm running Vista and its really slow--the RAM is definitely the cause. I'm about to upgrade RAM, and I've come to 3 options. My question is, which one would be the best decision for me? Please help if you can:

Option 1) Keep same RAM and add 2 additional gigs for a total of 4 gigs. The problem is the speed (is 800 MHz that fast anymore?) and the high latency settings (5.5.5.12).

Option 2) Get 4 Gigs of faster speed DDR2 RAM with lower latency settings.

Option 3) Get 4 gigs of DDR3 and change out MOBO. Problem: DDR3 has high speeds, but models out now also have really high latencies.

So from an expert's perspective, what would be the best choice here? I guess I'm not sure where the performance cutoff is between module speed and latency, (i.e., do higher speed modules with higher latencies perform faster than lower speed modules with low latencies?)
Please help me. I'm going crazy thinking about this.

If anyone is interested in other PC specs, here's what I have:

ASUS LGA775 MOBO with Core 2 Duo 6400 (2MB L2 Cache)
Geforce 7800 GFX
2 Western Digital 200G 7200 SATA Hard Drives
SoundBlaster Audigy 2
Dell Ultrasharp 24" Monitor
:x
June 7, 2007 9:30:44 PM

Quote:
I'm building a new gaming rig. I currently have 2 1-Gig modules (2G Total) of XMS2 6400 (800 MHz) with latency of 5.5.5.12. I'm running Vista and its really slow--the RAM is definitely the cause. ...

I doubt it. What leads you to think this? What specific symptoms are you having?
June 7, 2007 10:08:47 PM

Vista is slow by its nature. The OS is just too big and complicated. I note that you have a 7800 GFX video card. That is the first thing to change for more speed, going to something like a 8800 GTS or 2900 XT minimum.

You didn't specify whether the Vista you're running is 32 bit or 64 bit. From what I'v read, the 32 bit will only use 3 gig of ram, same as XP. Only the 64 bit will use 4 or more gig of ram. Getting faster DDR2 ram might help, but I think that would be minimal compared to the video card.

I think that DDR3 needs some more developement time before it has any advantage over DDR2, as well as motherboard developement. If you were building an all new rig, then DDR3 might be all right, but since you are only doing an update, I'd stick with the DDR2 for now.
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June 7, 2007 10:45:25 PM

Quote:
I'm building a new gaming rig. I currently have 2 1-Gig modules (2G Total) of XMS2 6400 (800 MHz) with latency of 5.5.5.12. I'm running Vista and its really slow--the RAM is definitely the cause. I'm about to upgrade RAM, and I've come to 3 options. My question is, which one would be the best decision for me? Please help if you can:

Option 1) Keep same RAM and add 2 additional gigs for a total of 4 gigs. The problem is the speed (is 800 MHz that fast anymore?) and the high latency settings (5.5.5.12).

Option 2) Get 4 Gigs of faster speed DDR2 RAM with lower latency settings.

Option 3) Get 4 gigs of DDR3 and change out MOBO. Problem: DDR3 has high speeds, but models out now also have really high latencies.

So from an expert's perspective, what would be the best choice here? I guess I'm not sure where the performance cutoff is between module speed and latency, (i.e., do higher speed modules with higher latencies perform faster than lower speed modules with low latencies?)
Please help me. I'm going crazy thinking about this.

If anyone is interested in other PC specs, here's what I have:

ASUS LGA775 MOBO with Core 2 Duo 6400 (2MB L2 Cache)
Geforce 7800 GFX
2 Western Digital 200G 7200 SATA Hard Drives
SoundBlaster Audigy 2
Dell Ultrasharp 24" Monitor
:x


You do NOT have a slow system due to your config.

I have the same RAM, an E4300, P5B deluxe and an X1950XT 512 and my PC is nice and fast in Vista.

Unless there's a faulty component or something you've done wrong it's not your system config that's at fault. Upgrade drivers, new BIOS and if that doesn't sort it reinstall your OS.

Upgrading your RAM would be a real waste of money I can tell you!
a c 105 } Memory
June 7, 2007 11:38:02 PM

Option 1, add 2gb of the same would be the best bang for the buck for memory addition. The ddr2 memory is cheap, and with 32-bit vista you should see about 3.3gb useable. Option 2(add 4gb of faster memory) is obviously better, but core 2 duo processors don't seem to be very sensitive to memory speed; you are looking at 1-3% improvement, and more than double the cost. If you are heavy into overclocking, maybe. Option 3 (ddr3) is a non contender now. The performance is similar to ddr2 and the prices are out of sight, even if you could find some.
The other posters are probably right. A faster vga card for gaming is the best upgrade, and 2gb of memory should not result in a sluggish system. What makes you 90% certain that lack of memory is the problem?
!