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Memory for the i7 - what speed can be taken advantage of?

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December 4, 2009 11:31:24 PM

If one buys an i7 CPU - say, 920 or 975 - what's the top memory speed that the CPU can actually use? Is 1066 the most that is worth anything, or would 2000 also help?

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December 5, 2009 6:43:23 PM

Price versus performance wise, I think 1333 or 1600 is probably the best bet.

And don't waste the money on the i7-975. Get the i7-920 and overclock it instead. Ton cheaper, and will perform the same anyhow.
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December 5, 2009 9:06:34 PM

here is a comment the moderator said to me over at the G.Skill forum:

"...the big thing is if you buy the faster DRAM say 2000/2200 it will normally be stock w/ timings of 9-9-9-24/27 or so, the key here is that the sticks are stronger/more powerful...whatever, as they are designed for the higher speeds, so at a lower speed, say 1600 you can drop the CL and tighten down the timings to 7-7-7-21 or even CL6 range which greatly improves the overall performance at the lower (1600) speed, sometimes even outperforming the RAM at it's base speed of 2000 or whatever. (I know it doesn't really sound like it makes sense, but that's the way it is)"
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December 6, 2009 12:52:40 AM

DDR 1600 seems to be the price / performance sweet spot.

The 920 is the OC'ers dream as it's relatively cheap so if ya fry it, little lost. The "920 is just as good as a 975 cause you can OC a 920 to 975 speeds" argument doesn't fly tho as it ignores the fact that you can OC a 975 higher and easier than you can a 920.

Why 1600 ?

At 133.33 Base Clock (BCLK) and a memory Multiplier of 8, you reach that 1066 number, however....
At 133.33 Base Clock (BCLK) and a memory Multiplier of 12, you reach that 1600.

But that's really not where people are going.

Increasing your BCLK to 160, your CPU speed jumps from 2.67 to 3.2 GHz and w/ a MemMult of 10, hits DDR 1600 level
Increasing your BCLK to 180, your CPU speed jumps from 2.67 to 3.6 GHz and w/ a MemMult of 8, hits DDR 1440 level
Increasing your BCLK to 200, your CPU speed jumps from 2.67 to 4.0 GHz and w/ a MemMult of 8, hits DDR 1600 level

-w/o disabling anything and using a core voltage of 1.200 and DRAM voltage of 1.56, I am doing 3.7 Ghz w/ a BCLK of 176. Memory is at 1408 and Core temps are 66/63/63/63
-w/ speedstep and HT disabled and using a core voltage of 1.300 and DRAM voltage of 1.56, I am doing 4.2 Ghz w/ a BCLK of 200. Memory is at 1600 and Core temps are 74/71/70/70
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December 6, 2009 2:02:24 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
The "920 is just as good as a 975 cause you can OC a 920 to 975 speeds" argument doesn't fly tho as it ignores the fact that you can OC a 975 higher and easier than you can a 920.


Yeah, but you're talking about a $1,000 processor (i7-975) versus a $290 processor (i7-920). I'd be willing to bet most folks would say that over all, based on the performance you get for the money, the i7-920 is a better CPU. With the $710 you'd save, you could build the rest of your computer. And frankly, even if the i7-975 does OC any higher, who cares? The i7-920 will OC to give you more performance than you can really use at this point anyhow.

i7-975 is about the so called "e-peen" folks talk of. The i7-920 is about serious performance, for real people.
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December 6, 2009 2:05:26 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
DDR 1600 seems to be the price / performance sweet spot.


I do however entirely agree with your assessment of DDR3 1600, and your logic/reasoning behind it. :) 
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December 6, 2009 7:22:02 AM

Hey there - Dorfl here, from my friend's PC.

I'm sorry, I don't really know much about overclocking. It's nice to have that option, but I think I'll be running with the default settings. In that case, will there still be an improvement after going with the 1600 instead of the 1066?

Also, what would you say is a good amount of memory? I presume 6GB (triple channel of 2GB sticks - no chance of buying more without just throwing them out if I ever want more) should be more than enough for the next five years?
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December 6, 2009 8:27:00 AM

here is a graph of mine running stock with DDR3-1600 in triple channel using sandra sisoft
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December 7, 2009 1:31:35 AM

With Triple Channel 6GB should be fine for anything you do today, even gaming wise. 5 years from now however, is hard to say. By then you'll probably want more. But 5 years from now, you'll need a new system. ;) 

6GB Should be perfectly fine. (Just don't do 3GB).

However: You won't get the full 6GB of RAM unless you're running a 64bit version of Windows.
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December 7, 2009 9:46:51 AM

Why shouldn't I do 3GB?
Yeah, I'll be running Windows 7, the 64-bit version, I guess. I wish there were benchmarks out there of 64bit OSes versus 32bit OSes, gaming-wise.
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December 7, 2009 8:35:12 PM

3GB is the smallest amount you can do, and it'll work. However, with a dual-channel system there's a good difference between 2GB and 4GB. I think most gamers will tell you 4GB is the new benchmark for RAM totals. In your case, the next step up is 6GB.

Ultimately it comes down to this. The more RAM you have, the less your hard drive works. Ultimately, that means smoother gameplay. 6GB may be a little more than you NEED, but it'll typically mean smoother play than 3GB.

Figure that at desktop, Windows 7 64BIT on my system uses about 1,100MB of RAM, which is about 1GB.
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December 11, 2009 12:12:43 AM

jerreece said:
Yeah, but you're talking about a $1,000 processor (i7-975) versus a $290 processor (i7-920). I'd be willing to bet most folks would say that over all, based on the performance you get for the money, the i7-920 is a better CPU. With the $710 you'd save, you could build the rest of your computer. And frankly, even if the i7-975 does OC any higher, who cares? The i7-920 will OC to give you more performance than you can really use at this point anyhow.

i7-975 is about the so called "e-peen" folks talk of. The i7-920 is about serious performance, for real people.


Same argument could be made for a Porsche and a Camaro. Which one would you rather have in your driveway ? :) 

Same argument could be made between going to McDonalds and a 4 star restaurant.

I find it "sour grapes" to impugn people's judgment just because they have more disposable income to spend.....after all, that's why they call it "disposable income".
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December 12, 2009 2:00:33 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Same argument could be made for a Porsche and a Camaro. Which one would you rather have in your driveway ? :) 

Same argument could be made between going to McDonalds and a 4 star restaurant.

I find it "sour grapes" to impugn people's judgment just because they have more disposable income to spend.....after all, that's why they call it "disposable income".


Actually, I'd much rather have a Camaro than a Porsche. ;)  If I had a Porsche for free, I'd sell it and buy a Camaro and keep the extra cash. I understand what you're trying to say though. But there becomes a point where people spend more just because they can. It's their way to show off, make themselves feel better.
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December 12, 2009 11:41:16 PM

jerreece said:
Actually, I'd much rather have a Camaro than a Porsche. ;)  If I had a Porsche for free, I'd sell it and buy a Camaro and keep the extra cash. I understand what you're trying to say though. But there becomes a point where people spend more just because they can. It's their way to show off, make themselves feel better.


Could say the same that saying a Camaro is as good as a Porsche is a person just rationalizing to make themselves feel better about themselves.

Back in 1984 I was "given" a Corvette as a company car ..... I gave the dog back :)  . Now a 1958 model woulda been my choice but those 80's models were dogs.

It comes down to what do you want the car for....if it's to get to work, then a Yugo works.....but if one gets enjoyment out of the handling and road feel of a car as you drive along a mountain road, then neither the Yugo nor the Camaro is going to give you anything near what the Porsche will. Ya just can't go as far as ya can with a 920 as ya can w/ a 975.

A dude who's never tasted Caviar wonder why the hack anyone would eat fish eggs.....why does anyone buy what they buy ? to make themselves happy......and depending on what your standards are, whether you are below or above what you want will,determine how happy you are.
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December 14, 2009 8:30:44 PM

JackNaylorPE said:

A dude who's never tasted Caviar wonder why the hack anyone would eat fish eggs.....why does anyone buy what they buy ? to make themselves happy......and depending on what your standards are, whether you are below or above what you want will,determine how happy you are.


And another man may tell you that having what you want, has nothing to do with being happy. If you want to know who that man is, you can view below:

Spoiler
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -- Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:19-21)


I'd still rather have a Camaro than a Porsche though. But it's more about personal taste. Just not into Porsche.
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