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Tell me what RAM you'd buy?

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May 12, 2010 8:41:04 PM

I've followed some recommendations in other threads here, and haven't been disappointed yet, and there are some posters whose opinion I really value. Anyway, I'm looking to buy 4Gb (2x2) DDR3 1600 to go in an AM3 board, the Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P which has a Phenom 965 125w BE chip in it. Don't worry about price, I'll whittle it down later. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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May 12, 2010 9:13:42 PM

Mainly look for the best timings at the lowest voltage in the price range that you can afford -- the better the RAM module is the tighter the timings will be at a certain voltage when compared to other modules -- and in actuality several of the modules from a certain company will use the same exact chips just set to different timings and voltages to keep them stable at the rated speed.

For example I have 2GB (2x1GB kit) of Crucial Ballistix that are rated DDR3 1800 Cas8 1.9v but I run them at DDR3 1600 Cas8 1.7v and have also run them at DDR3 1333 Cas7 1.65v and they remain stable since they are pretty much the same exact chips that are being sold by Crucial at those speeds, voltages, and timings for different prices - I bought this set because at the time of purchase they were on sale for the cheapest price compared to modules with the various other ratings. Also the actual memory performance at all 3 of those setting is only marginally different when running benchmarks and is not noticeable in actual usage.

So if you know you want DDR3 1600 then just look at the various sets rated at that speed and get the best priced with the lowest voltage and timings as they will be the best deal. (figure lower quality RAM needs either higher timings or higher voltage to run at the same speed compared to better quality RAM.)
May 12, 2010 9:14:58 PM

Gskill Eco series are a great pick for a new kit, they are as fast as the Ripjaws, with lower voltages to allow for massive OCing and they arent much more than your average 2x2 kit either.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I have a kit of lower end gskill ram in my rig, their high end stuff wasnt available when i was getting parts.
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May 12, 2010 10:08:21 PM

RAM Selection considerations.....

1. Figure out what speed you need for your overclock, note the label guarantees a speed .... doesn't mean that you can't find a cheaper set with a lower rating on the label but that will perform at the speed you desire ... see THG's builds and RAM tests for clues into what modules perform better than their labels would otherwise indicate.

2. Look for the lowest CAS timings you can afford. Consider that most recommendations on boards like this will list the cheapest module in the category ... say "DDR3-1600, CAS 7 recommend this ...." you may not necessarily want the brand that is the cheapest. Personally, I limit my brand choices to Mushkin, Corsair and OCZ.

3. If your are over clocking, that generally means a big CPU cooler and very often that means interference between the memory modules and your CPU heat sink. I'd recommend that you avoid the tall heat sink spreaders found for example on most Dominator and Ripjaws.... if you search THG articles you'll find that most of these big heat sinks serve no other purpose other than eye candy and can actually can reduce performance. Don't necessarily disregard all heat sinks ... for example, I have never had interference problems, never need auxillary RAM cooling when using the liquid based Ascent coolers such as are found on the Mushkin 998692's.....nothing has topped their performance yet either.

4. Make sure voltage is correct and that you match your module sets to the MoBo .... for example, don't buy a 3 x 2GB set for an 1156 board which is looking for 2 x 2Gb or 4 x 2GB.
May 12, 2010 10:57:45 PM

Note that some heat spreaders work. My old 4GB kit of DDR2 800 MHz Black PI CAS 4 memory, at 950 MHz CAS4 2.2v, ran cooler than my Mushkin Extreme DDR2 800 MHz from what I could tell.

G.Skill, Msuhkin, and Crucial are my preferred brands. I find Corsair to be overpriced, OCZ to be horrible with compatibility and quality control, and any other brand is just not worth it comparatively.

I also must disagree with Jack. I find 1333 or 1600 MHz RAM just plenty for overclocking. Put your CPU to 4.0 GHz and you can run those kits at 1200 MHz, 1400 MHz, or 1600 MHz. I choose to go with 1200 MHz CAS 5, because it performs great at those speeds. Note I use Crucial RAM that does not have any heat spreaders, so there is a good bit of truth to what Jack says, but it can help with high voltages. Never be afraid to underclock a little and crank down those CAS settings, the latency is most important for gaming not the clocks.
May 13, 2010 2:24:05 AM

JDFan said:
Mainly look for the best timings at the lowest voltage in the price range that you can afford -- the better the RAM module is the tighter the timings will be at a certain voltage when compared to other modules -- and in actuality several of the modules from a certain company will use the same exact chips just set to different timings and voltages to keep them stable at the rated speed.

For example I have 2GB (2x1GB kit) of Crucial Ballistix that are rated DDR3 1800 Cas8 1.9v but I run them at DDR3 1600 Cas8 1.7v and have also run them at DDR3 1333 Cas7 1.65v and they remain stable since they are pretty much the same exact chips that are being sold by Crucial at those speeds, voltages, and timings for different prices - I bought this set because at the time of purchase they were on sale for the cheapest price compared to modules with the various other ratings. Also the actual memory performance at all 3 of those setting is only marginally different when running benchmarks and is not noticeable in actual usage.

So if you know you want DDR3 1600 then just look at the various sets rated at that speed and get the best priced with the lowest voltage and timings as they will be the best deal. (figure lower quality RAM needs either higher timings or higher voltage to run at the same speed compared to better quality RAM.)



Agree here. This is exactly the same thing I would say, only probably explained a whole lot better. +1
May 13, 2010 12:11:15 PM

Thanks to everyone who replied.

I should have pointed out that I won't be overclocking as all my efforts to do so thus far have failed miserably.

@Hunter: The G.Skill RAM you linked says built for Intel CPU's. Does that matter? If so can you recommend AMD compatible G.Skill RAM?

Can anyone give me a reason not to buy this:
www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_ddr3_pc3_1280...
If so, what would you buy instead?
May 13, 2010 1:48:33 PM

The OCZ gold editions are good modules and will be fine -- just be sure to get the ones you linked and not the 1.9V CAS8 which are also under the same brand instead of the 1.65v CAS8 ones that you linked (since they are both pretty much the same price but the 1.65v will run cooler since they are using less power.)

In fact right now the better modules are $5 less at newegg than the 1.9v version (but it includes an iron man DVD ! - ( See Here )
May 13, 2010 2:53:59 PM

RAM is RAM, AMD CPUs will with any RAM, however the new Intel CPUs cant use RAM that require over 1.65V so many RAM kits were marked intel compatible but AMD has no restrictions on the memory.

OCZ recently had some quality control issues with lots of dead kits turning up, it may be resolved now but they arent on my recommendation list when GSkill sets are less expensive
May 13, 2010 3:03:46 PM

I know they weren't popular, and still somewhat aren't, but the Patriot Viper II Sector 5 series is really, really good. I'm running my 1600 CL8 set at 1750 CL9 1.65V. They have faster and slower rated RAM but you should go for 1600mhz as that is super fast.

GSkill is pretty good and well recommended but it's only available from newegg. That's fine but you can go to a local retailer and get equally good RAM today and not pay for shipping.
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