I'd like 6 gigs of RAM, 3x2G triple channel setup.
I guess my confusion really comes from reading reviews on all the different memory kits I see. It seems that to get the faster speeds you have to overclock your memory. This is a problem for me because:
1. I've never overclocked anything, ever
2. I'm extremely lazy, and generally terrible at things like this.
So is it worth it to buy the higher speeds of RAM that would work with this board (like 2000MHz)? Or am I not going to see a difference between those and say a 1600 or 1333MHz model? Does brand matter if I'm not overclocking?
Oh, and I plan on using this mostly for gaming. I also haven't decided on my video card, but I'm leaning towards a single 5850 or 5870 (depending on how much everything costs when I actually order) and crossfire somewhere down the road when I can afford another, or when I upgrade my monitor.
OP, you're RAM will run at 1333 stock, no matter what, to get them to run at their recommended speed, you have to go into the BIOS and change the memory multiplier. Its technically not overclocking, since the sticks are made to run at that speed.
Of course, if you learn how to go into the BIOS, then you are halfway there to overclocking for real. If you don't want to do that, you can purchase this: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 6GB and save $30 too.
Regradless of your choice, look up the fetaure that gigabyte calls easytune6 - OC for dummies! Here is a link to a pic: EasyTune6
Things have come a long way since your last build. You don't even have to go into the BIOS to get the equivilent speed of an i-965! You don't even need an aftermarket heatsink.
Wow, thanks for all the info everyone. So it sounds like the consensus is to get the faster ram and try to change the settings manually to achieve the faster speeds.
One more question about that: do I run the risk of damaging my RAM and/or motherboard messing with the settings in the BIOS or with the easytune features or is it idiotproof? I'd rather have slower RAM than fry it out of ignorance
down load the motherboard manuals on several boards and read up on there bios set-up and recommended ram. some boards have more options than others and read the independent reviews. not the ones on there site. Always allow plenty of slots for extra memory . sounds like this build is going to be expensive so you want plenty of room to manoeuvre.
The idiot proof overclocking is going to be pretty safe. I doubt you will need the following advice unless you decide to overclock for real: If anything is seriously wrong, the machine either won't start windows, or will fail to post at all. There are simple procedures in your manual to restore everything back to original settings and start over. Do not fear the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), but seek it out to find the limits of your machine.
To saint regarding his question on 1333 RAM instead of 1600: The performance gains with faster RAM are very minor. If you are overclocking and tweaking for maximum performance, then by all means buy the best memory (highest speed/lowest latency combination) you can afford.
As with all the rest of the advice to gaming machine builders: put the money into your GPU. For example, the $30 saved on 1333 vs 1600 is the difference between an HD Radeon 5750 and HD Radeon 5770.