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how to determine ram timing and size

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November 24, 2007 10:10:26 PM

Ok im building another computer, and havent really done so in a while so im behind the times in certain settings. Im looking at ram right now and have a few questions.

First of all Im leaning towards going for 4 gigs, im going to be doing some gaming on it, so it seems like the suitable amount. Next I cant decide between going with 4x1 sticks or 2x2 sticks, is there a difference between the two and which one is "better". (ill be using DDR2 800 pc2-6400)

Next im looking at timing of the ram, i know what each of the numbers means, but i dont know whats a good amount for each number, i.e. is 444-16 better or worse then lets say, 555-12. also which is better 1t or 2t.

Also I refuse to use Windows Vista, so ill be using XP pro x64 sp2, will anything differ between the two for ram setting wise.

Thanks for all the help

One last question does it really matter if i get sli or crossfire ready ram (ill be using two ati crossfire vid cards) Ive seen companies like OCZ that have sli and crossfire ready ram.
November 24, 2007 11:32:51 PM

Probably 4x1gig would be better, it will give you more options and brands to choose from. I would go with the lowest timings I can get and 444 will be faster than any 555 and 1t is faster than 2t. 1t is definitely the way to go there. Also check your motherboard website to make sure whatever brand you choose has been tested with that board, it will save you a lot of headaches. I would probably go with Vista 64bit if I were to go with a 64bit OS. I think you will find better driver and application support for Vista, neither will be very good in that regard. Ideally it would be best to go with either XP or 32bit Vista, but I have been contemplating going to Vista 64bit to utilize the 4gigs of ram. SLI ready will make a difference with Nvidia 680i and I believe 650i chipset mobo, it will automatically run the ram at aggressive timings.
November 25, 2007 1:32:15 AM

ok, then 444 timing is what ill do for that, but whats the last number in the series, such as 444-16, whats the 16 mean in that case, and i heard somewhere that having 4x1 causes the ram to not correctly run in dual channel is that true, and I know way to much about vista to ever want to use it on my computer if Im going to be gaming, and I want 64 bit to fully utilize my processor and ram, thanks for the info though
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November 25, 2007 2:20:39 AM

Don't be a bigot. Seriously. Gets old fast.

Vista is just fine. There are more/better drivers for Vista x64 than XP x64.

2x2GB is what you would want, as latencies don't hold too much ground, and it also leaves you an upgrade path to 8GB.
November 25, 2007 3:56:03 AM

well just for clarification i would still like to know the meaning and "good number range" of the last number in the ram timing series... and could you possible go a little bit more indepth about why 2x2 is superior to 4x1

and lastly are you calling me a bigot? cause if you are you are seriously way out of line and if you knew my situation, you would be smart to retract that statement

one reason i dont like vista is becuase when it first came out( which is when i read about it) it would preload operations and use close to 100% capacity at all times, thus makes things such as games, have to fight for ram, now im not really sure if its changed at all, and ive heard that their now haveing a sp1 for it, but that was my impression on it
November 25, 2007 5:22:03 AM

Those that know will quickly put me in my place if I'm wrong, but I believe the main problem with 4x1 ram is that it is harder to oc 4 sticks of ram than 2. Also, some MB's don't handle 4 sticks very well, especially older models. Secondary pluses for 2x2 ram is the upgrade to 8 meg path.
November 25, 2007 3:16:38 PM

i also heard that if you use 2 sticks you get a 1t cycle verses a t2 cycle with 4x1 ram does this make a big difference and is this even true
November 25, 2007 3:58:01 PM

You did happen to realize that when Vista preloads an application, and you don't launch that certain application, and launch, say a game, it unloads the other app. No applications have to fight for the RAM, as Vista just unloads it in favor of the application you actually launched. It's algorithms are tuned for this, so it knows just how to react.

Trust me, I've used Vista since Beta 2, and I've found this to be very helpful (as in no loading screens during games).

The 1T 2T cycle time is dependent solely on the RAM. Most DDR2 will run at 2T no matter what. If 4 sticks are inserted, usually 2T is automatically enabled, as it helps with stability. It doesn't make a difference, really. Maybe .5 frames per second will be added to games. *shrugs*

Sorry for calling you a bigot, but when you just up and say that because of what other people say about Vista, you're never going to use it? That makes no sense.

Don't knock it 'til you try it. Just give it a shot, what have you got to lose?
November 25, 2007 4:06:20 PM

a $150 bucks for the program ;) 

alright but i also heard u cant play downloaded movies on it which *cough*I do*cough*

and does how much does a lower ram timing really do,

and if you are looking at timing, does the first three numbers make more of a difference or does the last one
November 25, 2007 4:16:11 PM

Yes, you can play downloaded movies on it. *cough*Me too*cough*

Lower RAM timings help with VERY few programs. I have G.Skill's ultra low latency RAM, at 4-4-3-5-2T, and I saw no difference between those timings and 5-5-5-15-2T that my motherboard automatically set for it.

I'm not too awful sure about which cycle latency makes the most difference. I can imagine that only one by itself doesn't make a difference, but a combination of the four will.
November 25, 2007 4:39:45 PM

Quote:
I cant decide between going with 4x1 sticks or 2x2 sticks

Received a reply of:
Quote:
Probably 4x1gig would be better, it will give you more options and brands to choose from

LoL, you're right - but there are already too many brands!
Clearly (from a hardware point of view) 2 x 2GB is the best way to have 4GB memory.
Your timings will basically be the same except 2T command rate with 4 x 1GB (an extra tick).
monste4321 you have WinXP 64? This is very unusual and surely you do not need Vista.
Most would upgrade from WinXP 32 to Vista 64, but you're already half-way there, y'know?
2 x 2GB running at 4-4-4-12 or whatever will be fine. Pushing timings doesn't do much - but neither does very high memory speed (beyond the bandwidth of the CPU).
Regards
November 25, 2007 4:50:32 PM

alright, but then is geil a good brand ive never really heard to much about them
November 25, 2007 4:56:53 PM

I've personally never used Geil. I have used G.Skill, however, and will not be using anything else from now on.

Plus, Newegg is having a sale on G.Skill 2x2Gb kit, for $120, and it has a $40 MIR.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This will be the kit I'm buying whenever I get my next paycheck.
November 25, 2007 5:15:11 PM

jedimasterben said:
I've personally never used Geil. I have used G.Skill, however, and will not be using anything else from now on.

Plus, Newegg is having a sale on G.Skill 2x2Gb kit, for $120, and it has a $40 MIR.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This will be the kit I'm buying whenever I get my next paycheck.

Wow - that's a good deal.
(Much less than DDR memory too, btw :ouch:  )
You get your standard 5-5-5-15 @ 1.8v, but then maybe you can improve to 4-4-4-12 @ ~2.0 or 2.1v.
@ jedimasterben
Double-check those timings in your sig, it looks like a typo...?
Regards
November 25, 2007 5:46:42 PM

g.skill has quite a few complaints about DOA ram and i absolutly hate rma's

anyone here have any probs with their ram
November 25, 2007 6:26:43 PM

I heard the problem using 64bit is tracking down all the drivers. Thinking about building soon myself, and wanted to go 64bit, anyone find this to be true??
November 25, 2007 6:31:48 PM

EVERY RAM manufacturer ships dead sticks. I had one, but that doesn't mean that the company sells bad products.

With computers becoming more and more complex, the chances of getting something DOA are increasing, so ordering any product/brand you'll have that chance.

@saintones:
64-bit drivers are everywhere. I had no problems getting them for my system. Even back in Beta 2 days, I still had working drivers for everything except some weird thing on an Asus motherboard.
November 25, 2007 7:35:07 PM

alright, well then my next question is what does sli ready ram do for u if u have an sli board
November 25, 2007 8:16:13 PM

SLI is a a special profile that lets the motherboard automatically set the RAM voltage and timings.

It doesn't require an SLI board to work, however, but sometimes the board won't automatically set the timings and such.

Just ignore the SLI ready RAM, as it doesn't do anything other than save 10 seconds in initial setup of the BIOS.
November 25, 2007 10:14:11 PM

hmm alright, plus the ocz sli ram looks pretty
November 26, 2007 2:52:56 AM

Thanks for the info jedimaster... GL on your build monster I'll be joining you soon
November 26, 2007 3:48:51 AM

alright well i found a set of ocz platinum 4x2 and 4x1 there the same price, and close to same timings, ill prob end up going with the 4x2 but thanks for the info
for the 4x2 ram it is the following
Cas Latency 5
Timing 5-4-4-18
Voltage 2.1V

does that sound like its in order, and does that leave any room for a little overclocking in ram, thanks
November 26, 2007 12:13:48 PM

I poked around on Google to see if any major tech sites had a review of those, but I couldn't' find any. But going to several stores and reading reviews there, people have generally had good luck when overclocking and lower the timings. I think one said something like 4-4-4-12-1T. But a lot of people said that you still have to manually set the timings and voltage on it. (I would go ahead and set the voltage to 2.2v to allow you some headroom to work with overclocking. This allowed me to keep my RAM timings at 4-4-3-5 at 950MHz instead of 800)

But I've heard many good things about OCZ, so if you're sure about it, then go for it. $150 and then a $35 rebate right now.
November 26, 2007 1:23:50 PM

jedimasterben said:
I've personally never used Geil. I have used G.Skill, however, and will not be using anything else from now on.

Plus, Newegg is having a sale on G.Skill 2x2Gb kit, for $120, and it has a $40 MIR.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This will be the kit I'm buying whenever I get my next paycheck.


Today, 11/26 is last day for MIR.
November 26, 2007 1:39:25 PM

billyc said:
Today, 11/26 is last day for MIR.



Nooo!!!!! I don't get paid for another 4 days!!!
November 26, 2007 4:12:18 PM

actually the ram for me from ocz 2x2 would only be 95
and i meant 2x2 for the above post
November 26, 2007 5:10:50 PM

My OCZ PC2-6400 (Platinum Rev.2) quit on me. The 2 x 1GB kit cost big $$ when purchased ~15 months ago.
The OCZ 'honeycomb' heat-spreaders are terrible, and they warp & curl, pulling away from the memchips. They are like tinfoil.
OCZ was very difficult with me regarding lifetime warranty, and making claim as hard as possible.
I will buy Corsair from now on! Only Corsair - the price is good, and you can't go wrong.
Good heat-spreaders too (metal).

(edit)
@ jedimasterben
Those are the strangest DDR2 timings I've ever seen! I would love to see a CPU-Z screenshot of your SPD.
I just read a review (on Neoseeker). They said:
Quote:
About the only negative aspect of these modules was the need to boost the memory voltage to at least 2.2V in order to have them run stable at their rated 800MHz 4-4-3-5 timing. Mind you, this could just as easily be explained if the motherboard was not supplying as much voltage to the modules as is configured in the BIOS; and in reality, there was no significant difference in speed between 4-4-3-5 and 4-4-4-12.

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/gskill_pc6400/

They noted that an AMD memory controller would go crazy for those very low timings! But that Core2 was not hugely impressed (there's that large shared cache again).
GSkill is good too. But I'm down on OCZ,
L8R
November 26, 2007 7:15:33 PM

aww but ocz is so inexpensive, and im going for a computer with some looks here, and gskill ram always is in weird colors, ill check out corsair, but they dont have anything for 2x2 that i can find
November 26, 2007 7:25:22 PM

anyone know if brands patriot, geil, or muskin are reliable, and if you can lower the timeings at all on them safely
November 27, 2007 12:35:15 AM

quick question should you always set cpu bus speeds to your dram frequency setting, even if it means that youll have to change the multiplier on your cpu and making it higher mhz and doesnt higher mhz lower mulitplier make a cpu run hotter?
November 27, 2007 12:52:30 AM

You don't have to set them on a 1:1 ratio. This is usually the most compatible with higher overclocks, but if you have really amazing, expensive RAM that runs at like DDR2-1200 or something, then it would be good to not have the 1:1.

About the multiplier, no it does mean that your CPU will run hotter. The heat output of a CPU is determined by the clock frequency and the amount of voltage applied to it.

So if you had a Core 2 with a FSB of 500, and voltage of 1.6v, lowering the multiplier would result in a lower heat output.


If you were referring to my CPU's multiplier, it had SpeedStep enabled, so it lowers the multiplier to it's lowest value to save energy and produce less heat. (2700MHz is still a lot more than 1860MHz, though haha)
November 27, 2007 12:59:35 AM

The_OGS said:
My OCZ PC2-6400 (Platinum Rev.2) quit on me. The 2 x 1GB kit cost big $$ when purchased ~15 months ago.
The OCZ 'honeycomb' heat-spreaders are terrible, and they warp & curl, pulling away from the memchips. They are like tinfoil.
OCZ was very difficult with me regarding lifetime warranty, and making claim as hard as possible.
I will buy Corsair from now on! Only Corsair - the price is good, and you can't go wrong.
Good heat-spreaders too (metal).

(edit)
@ jedimasterben
Those are the strangest DDR2 timings I've ever seen! I would love to see a CPU-Z screenshot of your SPD.
I just read a review (on Neoseeker). They said:
Quote:
About the only negative aspect of these modules was the need to boost the memory voltage to at least 2.2V in order to have them run stable at their rated 800MHz 4-4-3-5 timing. Mind you, this could just as easily be explained if the motherboard was not supplying as much voltage to the modules as is configured in the BIOS; and in reality, there was no significant difference in speed between 4-4-3-5 and 4-4-4-12.

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/gskill_pc6400/

They noted that an AMD memory controller would go crazy for those very low timings! But that Core2 was not hugely impressed (there's that large shared cache again).
GSkill is good too. But I'm down on OCZ,
L8R



Actually, I've run them at 1.8v with 4-4-3-5 and they passed Memtest, when they're rated at 2.1v. G.Skill really got it right with these modules!! Now if only they could apply the same ingenuity to DDR3! Just think of what DDR31800 at 4-4-3-5 would do!!!!
November 27, 2007 3:25:04 PM

Yes - nice memchips.
It is that unique SPD ext. EPP I wanted to see in CPU-Z, very unusual :o 
And of course SpeedStep still works with even the gnarlyest OC (providing the fullspeed voltage is high enough)...
Yours shows as 1.424v (throttled). Ack! What is the fullspeed voltage!?
L8R
November 27, 2007 4:06:23 PM

The_OGS said:
Yes - nice memchips.
It is that unique SPD ext. EPP I wanted to see in CPU-Z, very unusual :o 
And of course SpeedStep still works with even the gnarlyest OC (providing the fullspeed voltage is high enough)...
Yours shows as 1.424v (throttled). Ack! What is the fullspeed voltage!?
L8R



I can't remember off hand (I'm not on my computer) but the fullspeed voltage is like 1.375 thanks to the voltage droop :( 

I can't get a pencil mod to work, and I don't have a sharp enough soldering iron to do a permanent job.

For some reason, C1E doesn't work for me. Even at stock everything, it never lowers the voltage at all. *shrugs*

It's odd, but I've never heard my CPU fan spin up other than when running Orthos. I have a Thermaltake MaxOrb, and it always stays a constant RPM. (I'm not complaining, because full speed is REALLY loud)
I guess at however fast it is going is enough to keep it plenty cool enough. That big fan on it, in conjuction with the 250mm I have on the side of my case (the Enermax Chakra), must really be doing their jobs!
!