Memory Timing

I have never needed to tweak the memory settings but after a very long ongoing problem (see this link)

I seem to have solved it by changing the memory timing settings, I have no idea what all these setting mean and I am hoping for some advice. The original settings were: 7-7-7-20 I changed them to 8-8-8-21

Nothing bad happened and I can now run full screen video with the system re-booting.

Its worth noting that this problem only became evident when I moved to a 64bit operating system.

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More about memory timing
  1. What was the problem with your original timings.? 7-7-7-20 sounds speedier compared to 8-8-8-21..
  2. Was 7-7-7-20 the recommended timing by the RAM manufacturer?

    I had an intermittent crash/Prime95 Stability issue for the first several months after my new build. Eventually I narrowed it down to the fact that my motherboard's auto setting for my RAM during game playing (and even booting) would cause the issue.

    Eventually I set the timing to 9-9-9-27 (recommended) and now run with no issue (i7 930 with DDR3). Changing any of these number by more than 1 lower causes the issues to start up again. I will be buy new RAM eventually to run faster, but right now this suites my needs.
  3. The recommended defaults setting was 7-7-7-20 after many months trying to figure out the problem (different graphics cards, different processor etc) I finally discovered that if I took out one 2GB memory stick the problem went away, but it didn't matter which 2GB stick I removed or which slot I used, anytime there were 2 x 2GB memory the problem came back.

    Changing the timing was a last desperate attempt - I haven't notice any performance hits I use Flight Sim X a lot and frame rates seem the same.

    I guess my question is which of the four values are likely to be the solution - or is it required that they all match?

  4. Because of timings, two memory modules with the same theoretical maximum transfer rate can achieve different performance levels. Why is this possible if both are running at the same clock rate?

    Timings measure the time the memory chip delays doing something internally. Let’s give you an example. Consider the most famous parameter, which is called CAS Latency (or CL or “access time”) and tells us how many clock cycles the memory module will delay in returning a data requested by the CPU. A memory module with a CL 4 will delay four clock cycles to deliver a requested data, whereas a memory module with a CL 3 will delay three clock cycles to deliver it. While both modules may run at the same clock rate, the second one will be faster, as it will deliver data sooner than the first one. This issue is known as “latency”.

    The memory timings are given through a series of numbers, as, for instance 7-7-7-20. These numbers indicate the amount of clock cycles that it takes the memory to perform a certain operation. The smaller the number, the faster the memory is.

    The operations that these numbers indicate are the following: CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-CMD. To understand them, bear in mind that the memory is internally organized as a matrix, where the data are stored at the intersection of the lines and columns.

    CL: CAS Latency. The time it takes between a command having been sent to the memory and when it begins to reply to it. It is the time it takes between the processor asking for some data from the memory and it returning it.

    tRCD: RAS to CAS Delay. The time it takes between the activation of the line (RAS) and the column (CAS) where the data are stored in the matrix.

    tRP: RAS Precharge. The time it takes between disabling the access to a line of data and the begin of the access the another line of data.

    tRAS: Active to Precharge Delay. How long the memory has to wait until the next access to the memory can be initiated.

    CMD: Command Rate. The time it takes between the memory chip having been activated and when the first command may be sent to the memory. Sometimes this value is not informed. It usually is T1 (1 clock cycle) or T2 (2 clock cycles).
    Usually you have two options.

    To configure your PC to use the memory standard timings – usually by setting memory configuration to “Auto” on the motherboard setup – or to manually configure your PC to use lower memory timings, which may increase the performance of your system.

    When overclocking your memory you may need to increase the memory timings in order to make the system to run stable. Here is where something very interesting happens. Due to the increased timings, the memory may achieve a lower performance, even though it is now configured to run at a higher clock rate, due to the latency that was introduced.

    That is another advantage of memory modules sold specifically for overclocking. The manufacturer, besides guaranteeing you that your memory module will achieve the labeled clock rate, they also guarantee that you will be able to keep the labeled timings up to the labeled clock.
  5. Try running at 7-7-7-20 and if you were at 1T try 2T or vise versa before going to 8-8-8-21.
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