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Timings and CAS latency: lower numbers better or worse ?

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February 18, 2011 10:49:40 PM

I scoured and read in here and cant seem to find my answers. Could anyone lead me in the right direction to find the basic truths? I need to upgrade memory now that prices of memory came back to earth and there are plenty of options as memory makers are competing once again by lowering their prices.
Thank you.
a b } Memory
February 19, 2011 12:15:28 AM

Technically, lower RAM timings are better (example: 8-8-8-21 is better than 9-9-9-24). However, with modern processors the performance increase isn't really worth the cost unless you absolutely must squeeze that last percentage point out of your system. Get the less expensive CL9 RAM and spend the extra on something that matters (for a gamer, that would be a better video card or processor).

Higher RAM speeds are better (example: 1600 is better than 1333). However, that's true only up to a point. Once you get up to 1866 or so, the timings have to be so loose (so much higher) that there's very little performance improvement.

Right now, I usually recommend 8GB of DDR3-1600 CL9 RAM for dual-channel systems. If you're getting triple-channel, then I recommend 6GB of DDR3-1600 CL9 as a minimum.
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February 25, 2011 6:15:57 AM

Right now, I usually recommend 8GB of DDR3-1600 CL9 RAM for dual-channel systems. If you're getting triple-channel, then I recommend 6GB of DDR3-1600 CL9 as a minimum.


In my case i own a Dell Studio 540 desktop that came with 4 memory slots total capacity. It came with 2 x 1GB each of DDR2 dual channel 800Mhtz 6400 non interlaced 240 Pins at 1.8 Volt the total maximum RAM i could use is 8 GB., as i am running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS. I got a deal for same type of memory 2 x 2 GB with 1.9 Volt specifications which is running without any problem. The 1.9 voltage is an overkill but i paid less for a better memory banks than what the 1.8 would have cost me at the time. So currently i have 6 GB of RAM memory installed with all 4 banks used. SO to max out at 8 GB i would have to waste the existing 2 x 1 GB units to install 2 x 2GB instead.

I dont run any games on the computer. My activities are mostly web surfing. I keep at times 40 to 50 web pages open at once. And Chatting and email. Saves TV shows with the Windows Media Center and watch TV as i have a TV TUNER card on the PC. I also have NVIDIA GEFORCE GTS 240 1 GB Video Ram.
Would upgrading from 6 to 8 max GB ram make sense for the purpose of obtaining a substantial increase in performance? Is it time to upgrade the VIDEO card Do i need more than 1 GB to run even more web pages than the 50 i already open? does it make sense to spend on increasing web surfing capability even more? Or would I be better off replacing the one tuner TV card for 2 or even 3 tuner if they existed, so i could watch one TV show live and record another 1 or 2 at the same time?

What is your overall thought process about this? What would u do if you were me and why?

Thank you for your initial response and for now letting me pick your tech brains
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a b } Memory
February 25, 2011 3:53:36 PM

The extra 2GB of RAM might help you, but it wouldn't be a significant gain in performance. It would make multitasking smoother.

If all you do is web surfing and watching/recording TV shows, there really isn't much to upgrade. A fatter pipe (faster internet service) would help, but that's about it.

You could try looking for a multi-tuner card, but that wouldn't make your system any faster.

Even the new $1300 system upgrade I did a couple of weeks ago wouldn't help you much. What you do is limited by your internet service speed, and by your own multitasking ability. The rest of the hardware doesn't matter much.
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February 26, 2011 10:56:58 AM

Leaps-from-Shadows said:
The extra 2GB of RAM might help you, but it wouldn't be a significant gain in performance. It would make multitasking smoother.

If all you do is web surfing and watching/recording TV shows, there really isn't much to upgrade. A fatter pipe (faster internet service) would help, but that's about it.

You could try looking for a multi-tuner card, but that wouldn't make your system any faster.

Even the new $1300 system upgrade I did a couple of weeks ago wouldn't help you much. What you do is limited by your internet service speed, and by your own multitasking ability. The rest of the hardware doesn't matter much.



Thanks for your input. I will then save my pennies either for a resonably priced SSD when 256 GB come down to about $150(does not seem will happen anytime soon). The Processor of my PC is an Intel Quad Core Q9550 coded Yorkfield... no need to upgrade that is there?
What do u think of installing a small minimal sized SSD just to hold the Win 7 operating system, as an option to boot from. Would that make the computer to run much faster in general, or would it ONLY perform a faster boot?

Thanks again
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