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DDR2 6400 or 8500?

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  • New Build
  • DDR2
  • Systems
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June 9, 2008 2:36:20 PM

The time has come to do a system upgrade. My A8N32-SLi Deluxe/4200+ just isn't cutting it anymore. I am currently conflicted with a memory choice though. I've heard both ways, one says DDR2 6400 is a better choice, another says DDR2 8500 is a good choice. I've also read of problems getting a motherboard to read and utilize the 8500's properly, especially 780i chipsets. However I haven't heard anything about performance boosts. One person said they were pretty much equal, but I'd like to have more than that to go on. If anyone has any suggestions on memory or any warnings with the components I am about to order, it would be greatly appreciated :) 

MB: eVGA 780i. I found it $20 cheaper than the XFX, and either they are stealing each others board pics and specs, or they are exactly the same.

CPU: Q6600 with GO stepping. Haven't heard any complaints with this CPU, and the price is right.

Memory: 4Gig Corsair XMS2 Xtreme Performance 6400. or 4Gig OCZ Reaper HPC 8500(roughly $20 more)

PSU: Corsair 750W, single rail

That's pretty much all I am upgrading right now pending release and until I can see some real benchmarks with the ATI and Nvidia cards. All of my HD's are SATA, and I have a 3 year old DVD Burner that's still doing it's thing. Personally I don't burn DVD's since I stream all of my movies to the Xbox 360 and keep any game or backup files on a 500GB external :) 

More about : ddr2 6400 8500

June 9, 2008 2:56:44 PM

If you are only putting a single graphic card into this system you would be better to go with an Intel Chipset, P35 is cheapest (but still good). Try a gigabyte DS3x series. If you have more money X48 would be the way to go.

The Q6600 is a good processor.

You would see little difference with the faster memory. In terms of matching bus speeds people would probably recommend fast, ie low cas, DDR2 6400. Try OCZ or another major brand memory.

Corsair is a good PSU brand but 750W is overkill. You could get away with 550VX model or one of the HX ones as long as you don't want a massively powerful graphics card.

You are right to wait for the new graphics cards.

Hope this is useful
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June 9, 2008 3:15:51 PM

The feedback is greatly appreciated. I'm certainly going to hunt down a good 6400 kit.

I upgrade my system maybe once every 3 to 4 years. Unfortunately I don't keep up to date with brands in the off season. So brands like G.Skill, eVGA, XFX are all sort of foreign to me. Heck, last time I upgraded a system, eVGA and XFX weren't even an option because I thought it was just cheap vid card companies. Instead I went with Corsair memory, big mistake getting $300 3500LL Pro when one of the modules decided to sacrifice itself. ATI, Asus and AMD were the only brands I trusted at the time as well. It's amazing how the tables turn when you're not paying attention. :) 

I think I want to stick with the Tri SLi($236) because I just never know if I'll need it. Also why I am going with the 750W($100).
June 9, 2008 3:33:17 PM

crdchris said:
The feedback is greatly appreciated. I'm certainly going to hunt down a good 6400 kit.

I upgrade my system maybe once every 3 to 4 years. Unfortunately I don't keep up to date with brands in the off season. So brands like G.Skill, eVGA, XFX are all sort of foreign to me. Heck, last time I upgraded a system, eVGA and XFX weren't even an option because I thought it was just cheap vid card companies. Instead I went with Corsair memory, big mistake getting $300 3500LL Pro when one of the modules decided to sacrifice itself. ATI, Asus and AMD were the only brands I trusted at the time as well. It's amazing how the tables turn when you're not paying attention. :) 

I think I want to stick with the Tri SLi($236) because I just never know if I'll need it. Also why I am going with the 750W($100).



I made the mistake of getting the Corsair 3500LL Pro myself, had a stick eat it, and then Corsair that they had stopped making that type of ram so they sent me a cheap set when I RMA'd the stuff. Anyway, like you said you would do, find some good DDR2-800 ram, and most of the DDR2 1000/1066 is just factory overclocked DDR2-800 and often the faster ram won't run at advertised speed.

I would avoid the Nvidia based 700 series motherboards, as they have a bad reputation for corrupting hard drives. Supposedly a fix is in the works, but who knows how long it will take to get out or if it will really fix the problem. More on that in an article from Anandtech: http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=460
Other than that, too many people get mobos that will run SLI or Crossfire just in case they might go that route (I've done it myself) and then never get a second card, much less do they spend the bucks for a third card. If you want to get multiple video cards, the best route at the moment is to get a X48 and do Crossfire. The new 48xx series cards are due out in a few weeks and so far they look good. We won't know for sure until real benches are done, but the previews look good.
June 9, 2008 3:38:10 PM

I really dont think that you will ever want to go tri sli..... The performance gains of having the 3rd card are really not worthwhile, and i dont think that situation is likely to change quickly. Nvidia are very much concentrating on powerfull single card solutions. If you were to go 3x sli with mid range cards it would be very unlikely to beat 2x sli with top of the line cards.....in both performance and price/performance. (it probably wouldnt much exceed 1x top of the line card)

The only worthwhile use of 3x sli would be with 3 top of the line nvidia cards...ie 9900gtx. In which case you would need to have a very hefty wallet and your own powerplant in your basement. Whats more, if you were willing to spend that kinda cash, then it would be a crime not to pair those 3 cards with an equally good/expensive system. Here we are talking dd3 in any case.
June 9, 2008 4:10:19 PM

You're all probably right, 3 cards would probably never happen...2 is possible. I don't like seeing the Data Corruption article. Never happened to me with Nforce2 or Nforce4 boards, but then again I never heard of it back then. Might not be wise to take the risk.

I'm looking into a couple of different options, I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for an X48 chipset. Basically just need a reliable board that goes well with gaming as well as 3D graphics design(rendering and such). I've never been big on overclocking, yet it is nice to have decent tools available in case.

Although it's probably an older board, I looked at a review of the Asus P5K Deluxe. $180 is just over $50 cheaper than the 780i, and it seems to have a good set of features.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131182&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Motherboards+-+Intel-_-ASUS-_-13131182

I don't really want to go over $250 on a motherboard. Any other recommendations? :) 
June 9, 2008 8:09:37 PM

Order has been placed. Thanks again for the input

I stuck with the 4Gig Corsair XMS2 6400 and Q6600

My original plan with the 780i motherboard was not because of the 3 SLi. It was mainly due to being comfortable with the chipset in the past and I figured it gave better performance boosts overall. But corruption risk ultimately made me lose interest.

I went ahead with the Asus P5E X38. After reading review sites and some user comments, it seemed ideal considering it's Crossfire ready, PCI-e 2.0, 45nm, 1600FSB, and pretty darn close in features and appearance towards it's higher priced counterpart Maximus Formula. The X48 boards, while sexy in nature, didn't blow me away, especially with high priced DDR3.

I changed the PSU as well to an OCZ StealthXStream 600W. I figured it should suffice and hopefully power one of the new cards coming out. I don't run much other than 2 SATA drives and a DVD burner(rarely used) anyway.

CPU: $212
MB: $230
RAM: $90
PSU: $80

=$612 shipped. I consider it a good price. :) 
June 9, 2008 8:17:26 PM

well ur 600w wont handle crossfire crossfire = 4 gpu's.
June 9, 2008 8:27:58 PM

True, but I'm not an extremely hardcore gamer, so it's unlikely I would get 2 cards. In the event I do, buying a new PSU isn't as costly as upgrading the entire rig.
June 9, 2008 10:41:11 PM

crdchris said:
You're all probably right, 3 cards would probably never happen...2 is possible. I don't like seeing the Data Corruption article. Never happened to me with Nforce2 or Nforce4 boards, but then again I never heard of it back then. Might not be wise to take the risk.]

I don't really want to go over $250 on a motherboard. Any other recommendations? :) 


I had Nforce2 and Nforce4 mobos in the past and they were great. The problems Nvidia is having now seems to indicate a great need in the areas of quality control and development. I see that you wrote that you went with a X38 board. That should work pretty good. I got a X48 Rampage Formula using DDR2 ram for my build and its worked out great so far. Forgot that you were getting a Q6600, so it wouldn't need the extra features of the X48 for maximum use, so that X38 is about perfect with what you're doing.
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