I am technically challenged, but I managed to overclock my e8400 to 4.0 (450x9). I'm on an EP45-UD3P motherboard. My current ram is 4096 of Dual DDR2 running at 450 mhz 1:1 (5-6-6-21-58-2t)
Am I right in thinking that better ram will increase system performance? I so, can anyone tell me what ram I should get to best suit my system, and what the appropriate ratio and timings might be?
Well that depends...
It really depends on what you are doing with your computer. What you currently have 450 Mhz is very good speed for DDR2 RAM and in most cases should be more than enough. I am assuming we are talking about DDR2-800 RAM (450x2=900Mhz overclock) otherwise if you have DDR2-400 you have low-end RAM but the following still mostly applies:
If it is big, heavy applications like Adobe Photoshop or video editing, then faster RAM may increase your system performance but the AMOUNT of RAM would go a lot further. Your motherboard has four (4) slots which take up to sixteen (16) gigs of RAM. I would recommend adding some DDR2-800 RAM to your system instead of simply replacing it. Just for your info, if you do end up adding "better" (faster) RAM you will be handcuffed by the slowest RAM you have in the system.
The Four sets of 2x2gb DDR2-800 sets I picked out were priced between ~70 to ~85 dollars shipped. I will list them in my preference from best brand/performance/build-quality/bang-for-buck to lowest, although they are all great! (All prices include shipping as of time this is posted)
CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory $69.99After MIR
Patriot Extreme Performance Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory $69.99After MIR
Many thanks for the detailed response Makwy. I am running flight sims, so every extra frame per second counts. My ram is 4 gigs of DDR2 400. So I guess going to 8 gigs of of 800 is good bang for the buck? I'm assuming my MB can support 800. With regards to timings, do I just put in the numbers printed on the box?
Oh... Ok. Yes, 8gb of DDR2 800 is going to give you an ENORMOUS jump in performance. Your motherboard does support up to DDR2-1066 RAM although in terms of bang-for-buck you are much better at the DDR2 800 speed. In terms of timings I would start out with the standard timings and then fiddle with them later if you want to squeeze just a little bit more out them.
Secondary question, what kind of graphics card do you have? Video RAM will also make an enormous difference!
I think I'm going with 4G of the Crucial as you suggest. Thanks again for the advice. My VC is ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 Graphics 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. I cant justify going to 5 series, as I recently bought this. So no DX11 for me for a while.