I can tell you from personal experience that Vista 64 with 2GB of ram at 1066 is enough to play most current games. There are some exceptions, and moving forward we can all expect to need more RAM. Still, 8 GB is clearly going to be overkill unless you are doing some pretty serious video editing and have 64 bit compatible editing software...
That leaves you with the 4GB options.
Technically, most 1066 RAM is 800 stuff that's overclockable. And not a lot of Mobos can drive 4GB to 1066 in a stable fashion. More commonly, the added number of DIMMS will force you to underclock a step (back to 800 in this case). So this is the first thing I would check on before putting more money into your system than you have to. People with the same board should have specifics - Check if your maker has a support forum, or eMail them to ask.
What processor do you have? I had excellent results by dropping my CPU multiplier to 8 (down 1 from 9), running my Front Side Bus at 400 Mhz (way up from 266), and then running my memory at DDR2 800 (down from 1066) . In the case of an Intel E or Q 6600, that nets 3.2Ghz at the processor, and can often be done on stock or near stock voltages and timings.
As far as two gigs on vista 64 i had 2 gigs in xp and yeah to each his own i guess..
using 2 gigs on a 64 bit OS to me is a total waste just get 32 bit unless you need teh 64 bit for your applications or games.. I personaly have 8 gigs in my vista 64 system and i wouldnt trade it for anything.
It depends on what your cpu is and the bus speed your running at? It is my understanding that synchronizing the bus speed between the ram/cpu will enchance your performance and any difference in the other will act as a bottleneck to your system. That mobo supports a bus speed of 1066Mhz so it would be beneficial to use a cpu and ram that both operate at the frequency. As for quantity/brand of ram, lower timings and more of it ftw.
i would shoot for two sticks of 2GB myself, totalling 4GB. that is, if you're only looking to do a little OCing and a lot of gaming. by the time games need 8GB, DDR3 will be worth it and mainstream, and DDR2 will be relegated to obsolescense.
i mean, you could say it's future proofing, but again, by the time you need 8GB, your system will possibly also need a quad or 8 core processor standard. and it'll only run DDR3 or DDR4 ram. and it'll only use PCIe 2.0 or 3.0, you know what i mean? so your 8GB of ram will be paired with a slower system that it won't be able to migrate from.
personally, i'll shoot for 8GB, but i also intend to have a quad core processor, and i'll be planning on running a virtual machine or two, and doing high-end video and video game production work.
Most quality DDR2-800 should easily be able to hit 1066Mhz speeds anyway, which lets you have an FSB speed of up to 533Mhz for an overall clock speed of 4.797Ghz on a Q6600. It will not be stable at those speeds anyway. DDR2-800 at 800Mhz allows for FSB of up to 400Mhz at 1:1, providing a Q6600 at speeds of 3.6Ghz which is probably more then you could need and will probably be above or close to the limit of air cooling.
What about the 8 GB idea? Could those who recommend 8 GB please say why? I'm very very curious what the heck can make a gaming machine choke if it only has 4 GB. Seriously, I don't mean to flame, I'm curious.
I have 4 GB myself, and room for 4 more, and prices for DDR2-800 are very low, so give me a good reason and I might upgrade myself.
What if one argues that 4GB is a nice amount, though there are times when perhaps 5GB would truly make games run more flush. Why not get 8GB now and have that extra 1-2GB, and then an extra 2GB for the future already installed. Plus, future savings if he is choosing between 4 sticks = 4GB, or 4 sticks = 8GB
I have 8 gigs of ram the sucky thing is 32 bit games wont use the upper reagion i actualy run out of memory playing world in conflict. However windows operations will not take up those 4 gigs down there along with any 64 bit apps you have. but hell i would love to cache my game in memory. Im hoping they will release a 64 bit version of it.
Small penalty yes but the more ram would greatly offset. Basicly you only have to figure out how much you need. Then chose whats best then.
Though most the time i would agree you really cant tell somebody that they might believe you.. Perhaps they do something that would use it? But since you generalised it instead of asking well what is it you use your comp for? browsing sites or some heavy gaming or editing? for most people yest 8 gigs is overkill but that is NOT always true and you post is missleading for those people.
"Basically, I'm looking for something that will give me exceptional performance in gaming"
For most games running at 1680x1050 on vista, you'll find the ram usage b/n 1.5 - 3gig, and for xp 1 - 2.5 gig (depending on other factors).
Unless you have a VM running at the same time you are gaming or some other mem intense app, you will rarely ever get to use the full 4gig. But it feels good to have the room juuuuuuuust incase.
And so 4gig is great for gaming!
I use 8gig, but only because I'm a developer and running mem crazy "developer programs" or VM's.....
I also do not have the option of shutting down the VM's that are running while i game, and so i need all the mem i can get.
I doubt this is the situation you're in.
4gb ddr2-1066 is a waaaay better deal when your only worry is gaming.
8gig wud be overkill. By the time games need that much RAM your processor, graphics card etc will also be outdated.
You'll prolly want a whole new system altogether, even DD3 might be outdated by then...so don't worry bout that....
When it comes to pc shopping, unfortunately, its doesn't help to think thaaaaat long term. 18months max is my rule.