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2GB or 4GB? 800Mhz or 1066Mhz? Matching RAM speed to FSB?

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  • Memory
  • RAM
  • Windows Vista
  • Product
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September 30, 2008 3:52:40 PM

I'm currently building my new computer and had some RAM related questions:

I am planning to get an Intel E5200 processor and run it on stock settings (2.5Ghz/800Mhz/2mb). What would be the best RAM speed to get? 800Mhz, 1066Mz, 1200Mhz? My planned $120 motherboard supports them all.

If I were to switch to an E7200 (2.53/1066/3mb) or E8400 (3.0/1333/6mb), how would this change my RAM speed needs?

For Windows Vista and regular Office tasks, should I get 2GB or 4GB? Will I even notice a difference?

What should I look for when choosing a brand and type of RAM?

I've seen 2GB of 1066Mhz and 4GB of 800Mhz that are roughly the same price. If they were the same brand and everything, which is better?

I read about matching your RAM speed with your FSB speed. What does this mean?

Also, just to clarify, I would need to choose the 64bit version of Vista to use 4GB of RAM.

Thanks for your replies.

More about : 2gb 4gb 800mhz 1066mhz matching ram speed fsb

September 30, 2008 4:06:29 PM

Well since an E5200 runs on 800fsb you only need 200mhz ram (400ddr speed) to run 1:1 ratio. If you're not going to oc I say get the cheapest ram you can and go for 4gb if you plan on keeping this system for a couple of years.
September 30, 2008 4:18:20 PM

Since you might change processor, get DDR2-800. Cheap insurance.

For Vista get 4 GB if you can.

Choose a good brand of memory like Corsair, OCZ, Patriot or Crucial.
You can look for tight timings CL4. CL4 is more expensive than CL5.
Choose overclockable memory if you hear of it.

DDR2-1066 has problems with the P35 chipset. Otherwise it is okay for extreme overclocks or overclocking AMD processors.

Matching FSB/RAM speed means for example if you run the processor at 400, you run your memory at the same speed.

For 4 GB of Ram you can choose the 32-bit Vista. It would limit itself to 3.5-3.7GB of memory or better choose the 64-bit Vista.



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September 30, 2008 4:27:02 PM

Your motherboard BIOS will automatically toon your RAM speed to match your FSB. It's when you start overclocking that you need to worry about that 1:1 ratio changing.
September 30, 2008 4:28:43 PM

Even though your processor uses ddr2-400 just get ddr2-800. Its about the same price, the 800mhz memory will downclock to ddr2-400 and you can use it again if you even upgrade your processor to a 1300FSB or 1600FSB one. It's a win win all around just make sure your mainboard supports it.
September 30, 2008 4:30:21 PM

So, is a 1:1 ratio important to have? Would 800Mhz perform the same as 400Mhz RAM on my E5200? I wouldn't be overclocking.

If I went with the E8400, could I utilize the 800Mhz RAM?

So, I can have 4GB of RAM and run Vista 32bit? Other than only getting 3.5GB of usable RAM, is there any other downsize?
a b } Memory
September 30, 2008 4:36:16 PM

If I were to switch to an E7200 (2.53/1066/3mb) or E8400 (3.0/1333/6mb), how would this change my RAM speed needs? No change required at all

For Windows Vista and regular Office tasks, should I get 2GB or 4GB? Will I even notice a difference? Get the most RAM your budget will allow - but the actual differences between 2 & 4 will not be noticeable in MOST situations.

I've seen 2GB of 1066Mhz and 4GB of 800Mhz that are roughly the same price. for the E5200 4GB 800 is the better option.

I read about matching your RAM speed with your FSB speed. What does this mean? N/A for a "stock settings" system

Also, just to clarify, I would need to choose the 64bit version of Vista to use 4GB of RAM.No - 64bit is not necessary with 4GB of RAM. But 32bit Vista and 4GB of RAM will mean that only about ~3.5GB of RAM (varies depending on video card) is available for programs since the system will reserve some address space in the 4GB range of memory address space of a 32bit OS.

September 30, 2008 4:37:56 PM

Dougx1317 said:
So, is a 1:1 ratio important to have? Would 800Mhz perform the same as 400Mhz RAM on my E5200? I wouldn't be overclocking.

If I went with the E8400, could I utilize the 800Mhz RAM?

So, I can have 4GB of RAM and run Vista 32bit? Other than only getting 3.5GB of usable RAM, is there any other downsize?


You can definitely use the 800mhz RAM but you have a 1333 Mhz FSB to play with. It will bottleneck the system but nothing noticable.
a b } Memory
September 30, 2008 4:39:19 PM

Dougx1317 said:
So, is a 1:1 ratio important to have? Would 800Mhz perform the same as 400Mhz RAM on my E5200? I wouldn't be overclocking.

If I went with the E8400, could I utilize the 800Mhz RAM?

So, I can have 4GB of RAM and run Vista 32bit? Other than only getting 3.5GB of usable RAM, is there any other downsize?
A 1.1 FSB/RAM ratio and a stock E5200 would mean your RAM is running at DDR2 400 speed. Not a good idea.
E8400 and DDR2 800 works fine together. DDR2 works fine with all the CPUs you mentioned.
32bit Vista might have some advantages with older software and hardware.
September 30, 2008 4:44:41 PM


Sticking with mainstream memory you won't overpay, I would consider DDR2-800 and DDR2-1066 to be mainstream. I would not even consider the other options listed.

Get 4GB of RAM.

Don't get bogged down in FSB timings, either the 4GB DDR2-800 or DDR2-1066 will drop in and work fine.

September 30, 2008 5:04:31 PM

So, is there anyway to change the FSB to RAM ratio? I'm just surprised to hear that there is so much RAM being sold to people who can't utilize the speed.

I guess I'll stick to 4GB of 800Mhz RAM for the E5200.

What FSB would I have to have to actually use 1066Mhz or 1200Mhz RAM? If for some reason I got a processor with 1333Mhz FSB, should I get faster RAM?
September 30, 2008 5:49:29 PM

Dougx1317 said:

What FSB would I have to have to actually use 1066Mhz or 1200Mhz RAM? If for some reason I got a processor with 1333Mhz FSB, should I get faster RAM?


The highest FSB processor using socket 775 intel sells is the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 with 1600FSB. To run that processor at 1:1 you will use DDR2-800 ram.
If you use a 1333 FSB processor basically you half that speed (667) and that is the ram speed you use to run at 1:1. People normally use higher speed ram if they want to overclock.
September 30, 2008 9:17:59 PM

So, if I'm not overclocking, I might as well get ddr2 667 RAM. The only reason to get 800Mhz RAM would be if I were planning to get a processor with a 1600Mhz FSB before I get new RAM?

Why the hell do they sell RAM as fast as DDR3 2133Mhz? Who would overclock that much?
September 30, 2008 9:45:17 PM

So, if I want faster RAM I should just look for low Cas Latency?
a c 114 } Memory
September 30, 2008 10:02:40 PM

For a C2D cpu, ram speeds don't matter much to your application(vs. synthetic benchmarks). Perhaps 1-2% at most. Don't worry about latency numbers etc..

4gb never hurts, and is a cheap upgrade.

Get a 4gb kit from a quality vendor in a 2x2gb configuration of DDR2-800 ram. DDR2-800 is often cheaper than 667.

Go to their web site configurator and enter your mobo to get a list of compatible parts.
Corsair, Kingston, patriot, OCz have them, others will too.
September 30, 2008 10:06:26 PM

Dougx1317 said:
So, is there anyway to change the FSB to RAM ratio? I'm just surprised to hear that there is so much RAM being sold to people who can't utilize the speed.

I guess I'll stick to 4GB of 800Mhz RAM for the E5200.

What FSB would I have to have to actually use 1066Mhz or 1200Mhz RAM? If for some reason I got a processor with 1333Mhz FSB, should I get faster RAM?


if you have a processor with a native 1600mhz FSB, then you would need 800mhz ram. but the only processor with a native 1600 fsb is the intel xtreme editions which costs oodles of money.

DDR3 is not needed in the current generation, they will shine when the i7's come out because then memory will be tri-channel instead of dual-channel that we have today, so DDR2 is all you'll need.

if i were you though, i would get the 800 over the 667, price differences is very minimal and just in case you might want to do a slight upgrade later for the CPU.

try finding ram that gives you 4-4-4-12 latencies, those are better timings than 5-5-5-15 and beyond.

and to answer your question, to get a 1:1 ratio of FSB to 1066 ram, you would have to run a FSB of 2132mhz which obviously requires a massive overclock on the CPU. that is to push ddr2 1066 to it's max potential without having to OC the ram. the reason why people buy ddr2 1066 ram is not because they are going OC over 2000fsb, but because they are going over 1600mhz, such as 1700+ which is still reasonable...by then which is over the rated limit of ddr2 800, so they don't have to consider the extra variable of OC-ing their ram as an issue in the overall overclock.

quick overview: minor OC example

Q6600: 333 (fsb clock) (OC) x 9 (multi) = 3.0ghz (cpu frequency)
333 (fsb clock) x 4 (quad pumped) = 1333mhz fsb freq.

Ram needed 333 x 2 (dual channel ram) = 667mhz... so for 400fsb, you would need 800mhz ram to run with it.
October 1, 2008 2:01:25 AM

I ran Open Office all day on a stock e2200 with cheap PNY DDR2-667:

My RAM (I run two sets. Had to buy it locally because the system was dead.) : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My OS's is Ubuntu/XP Pro. Both are 32-bit.

I just upgraded from 2GB to 4GB. To be honest, I can't tell a difference at all considering even with 4 Open Office documents open at once, I never break 512MB even with Media Player running. Do I need 4GB? No, but since I had to replace my failing 2GB of RAM anyway, I went ahead and went the full 4GB mainly to future proof this rig in case I do go to a newer OS soon.

At work, I run a tri-core AMD 2.1Ghz with Vista Business with 4GB of cheap Gateway RAM. Again, can't tell the difference.

At my friend's house, I use his 1Ghz Athlon with 512MB SDRAM running Ubuntu. Again, can't tell the difference.

Overall, for office work, just get the most RAM you can afford, and don't worry about CPU so much. I say go with 4GB of quality DDR-800 since it's so cheap. Don't worry about CL latencies so much because office programs just need the RAM space, not the RAM speed. Also, 32-bit OS's really don't gain performance with more RAM over 2GB UNLESS you are a gamer. So, don't worry about the 3GB limitation with 32-bit OS's with office work.




October 2, 2008 2:51:08 AM

Very confusing thread, all this 1.1 junk, dude just get the processor you want and get 4 gb of ddr-2 1066, and be done with it. You will be glad you have 4 gb of ram if your running visa 32 or 64 bit, vista is very memory hungry system . I disagree with above post, you will see a difference with 4 gb of memory in 32 bit vista even if you dont play games, not huge, but its there, ddr-2 is dirt cheap now, get the 1066 4 gb kit and get it over with, you will be happy.
July 10, 2009 6:31:14 AM

Just Wanted to know something I have 4gigs of ram kingston 2x2 dual ram kit. they operate at 667mhz, And I just got a intel 2 quad Q9650 3.0 GHz processor. on a ASUS P5QPL-VM-EPU motherboard. I don't think I need to overclock it for it is a good processor and I am not into gaming as much other then sims lol would that be good ram for this processor?. please reply thank you
a b } Memory
July 10, 2009 1:21:02 PM

It's fine - Install it and Dont' worry about it.
a c 114 } Memory
July 10, 2009 3:54:56 PM

manny_32 said:
Just Wanted to know something I have 4gigs of ram kingston 2x2 dual ram kit. they operate at 667mhz, And I just got a intel 2 quad Q9650 3.0 GHz processor. on a ASUS P5QPL-VM-EPU motherboard. I don't think I need to overclock it for it is a good processor and I am not into gaming as much other then sims lol would that be good ram for this processor?. please reply thank you

Keep the 667 ram. You will see minimal difference in real application(vs. synthetic benchmarks) performance with faster ram or better timings. Think 1-3%.
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