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Well, if the RAM fits...

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October 19, 2009 9:59:36 PM

Hey everyone! great community here. I frequent this site, but this is my first question.

I'm gearing up for my first "real" build (I've upgraded/rebuilt some old pc's before) and have some questions concerning the Mobo/RAM matchup. Right now I'm just researching (all components are up for change), and I think i'd like to get a i5 system. main uses, besides general surfing & MS office, would be (1)Adobe CS - I'm a designer by trade, (2)Light gaming - WOW for now, maybe more games to come, (3)TV/DVR.

I've chosen the MSI P55-CD53 motherboard. Now i need to pick out some RAM. I've looked around and I think the voltage for RAM on this MOBO is 1.5V, but the specs says it can support DDR3 2000 when OCed. But ram that fast usually needs 1.9v. I read where someone tried to up the Voltage that high, but the RAM got too hot. I want to put 8GB of RAM in the system. Overclocking doesn't scare me much. I have some savvy friends who could aid me.

So, I have these vague/incomplete thoughts & information about RAM. Can someone clarify? I know latency and timing are an issue. So here are the questions:

Should I stick with 1333MHz sticks?
Is 8GB of DDR3 2000 overkill?
If 8GB is too much, would four sticks of 1GB be better than 2 of 2GB?
Will I need a cooler for the RAM?
Would I be better off trying a quad-core?
Should I upgrade the MoBo?
The Mobo advertises an auto-Overclock thing that optimizes my set-up. Should I trust it?

Much thanks for your thoughts.
Sincerely, confused RAMMER

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October 19, 2009 10:05:56 PM

You do NOT want RAM rated at 1.9v for an i5 system. The maximum RAM voltage supported by Intel is 1.65v. Anything above 1.65v may cause damage to your CPU since the RAM controller is on the CPU.

Yes, 8GB of DDR3 2000 RAM is overkill. I suggest some CAS 7 DDR3 1600 RAM rated at 1.65v.

I don't trust any "auto-overclocking". Do it manually, or don't do it at all, IMO. This is what RAM I'd get:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail $94.99

Do you already have the MSI motherboard? If not, you might want to reconsider your choice. I haven't had good long-term reliability luck with MSI. I would stick to either Asus or Gigabyte.
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October 20, 2009 7:03:37 AM

luke_4_mls said:
Hey everyone! great community here. I frequent this site, but this is my first question.

I'm gearing up for my first "real" build (I've upgraded/rebuilt some old pc's before) and have some questions concerning the Mobo/RAM matchup. Right now I'm just researching (all components are up for change), and I think i'd like to get a i5 system. main uses, besides general surfing & MS office, would be (1)Adobe CS - I'm a designer by trade, (2)Light gaming - WOW for now, maybe more games to come, (3)TV/DVR.

I've chosen the MSI P55-CD53 motherboard. Now i need to pick out some RAM. I've looked around and I think the voltage for RAM on this MOBO is 1.5V, but the specs says it can support DDR3 2000 when OCed. But ram that fast usually needs 1.9v. I read where someone tried to up the Voltage that high, but the RAM got too hot. I want to put 8GB of RAM in the system. Overclocking doesn't scare me much. I have some savvy friends who could aid me.

So, I have these vague/incomplete thoughts & information about RAM. Can someone clarify? I know latency and timing are an issue. So here are the questions:

Should I stick with 1333MHz sticks?
Is 8GB of DDR3 2000 overkill?
If 8GB is too much, would four sticks of 1GB be better than 2 of 2GB?
Will I need a cooler for the RAM?
Would I be better off trying a quad-core?
Should I upgrade the MoBo?
The Mobo advertises an auto-Overclock thing that optimizes my set-up. Should I trust it?

Much thanks for your thoughts.
Sincerely, confused RAMMER


If you like overclocking, that's the second-to-last motherboard I'd buy. Check out Tom's Hardware's $100-150 roundup to find out why.

But you don't seem to have kept up with the times at all. 1.65V overclocking RAM has been around since the first generation of i7 processors was introduced. All i5 and i7 processors are rated at 1.65V max. And I have some Kingston DDR3-2133 CAS 8 right here that's rated at 1.65V.

But you don't need 2133. Yes, you should stick to 1333. I've been constantly recommending Crucial's standard 1333 CAS 9 as a great bargain, it overclocks well and handles lower latencies and increased voltages, all the way up to the 1.65V limit of the CPU. I have a set here running DDR3-1880, and the stuff only cost around $80 for 2x2GB. Two of those kits gets you 8GB for $160.
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October 20, 2009 3:12:01 PM

Agree with Shortstuff on all points (well except the auto overclocking, as long as you know what it's doing). Thinking about the problems I've had with MSI boards in the past makes me cringe.
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a b } Memory
October 20, 2009 7:44:05 PM

donpacific2k said:
Agree with Shortstuff on all points (well except the auto overclocking, as long as you know what it's doing). Thinking about the problems I've had with MSI boards in the past makes me cringe.


It was an MSI engineer that told me the company was raising its default voltage to compensate for OCZ's bad programing.
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October 21, 2009 3:27:19 PM

Thanks, everyone. If only I could get this kind of help with my fantasy team...

So how's about this:
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3R - $140
G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB 2000 1.6V CAS 9 - $100

My logic: 4GB of 2000 CAS 9 @ $100 is a greater value than 8GB of 1333 CAS 9 @ $160. I can upgrade to 8GB if I feel crazy later on, and with this MoBo, I won't have to worry about OC'ing. Sound good? Please stop me if something is glaring.

So, that's about $440 on CPU/MoBo/RAM. Think the build could be done with $500 more? I may have to throw out the TV tuner for now. Should I ask those questions in a different thread? Can I post my proposed final build here?

Thanks. You guys are great.
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