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Upgrading Memory, Need Advice

Last response: in Memory
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March 2, 2011 3:00:29 AM

Hi everyone, I think this is my second post, though I don't remember even making an account!

Anyways, I've been doing some upgrades to my gaming PC but it's turning into an entire system rebuild. I think I'm a little anxious about some future game releases and want to insure myself against low frame rates. ;) 

My current setup:

ASUS Crosshair IV Formula
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE
AMD Radeon HD 6970
2 X 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3 @ 1333 MHz w/ 6-6-6-20 timings @ 1.8v (high voltages, I know, but runs stable)

I'm ready to go beyond that measly 4GB memory. I understand that denser sticks will, almost without exception, have higher timings, which generally results in slower memory-access times, but that limitation is more than made-up for by the higher availability (please correct me if I'm wrong here).

I'm shooting for 8GB, or even 12GB if the performance gain is significant, but I have a few questions/concerns that I've had trouble getting direct answers to using google.

First of all, I want to know if it would be a better idea to go with a 2 X 4GB setup or a 4 X 2GB setup. I've heard that populating all four memory slots can put a strain on the memory controller (would that be the NB, in my case?) essentially causing the memory to run at lower-than-advertised speeds, so using fewer sticks to achieve the desired total density is the preferred method, as opposed to populating all slots with lower-density sticks. I understand that in either case they will run in dual-channel mode.

Second, the Crosshair IV Formula is advertised as supporting "DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066" - but does the "O.C." refer to having to overclock the NB or CPU? Or does it refer to having to overclock the memory itself? It seems weird that a motherboard advertisement would refer to overclocking memory, so I assume it's referring to NB or CPU OC'ing, but I just don't really get it.

Third, I'm open to any specific suggestions as to what memory I could/should purchase, especially from those of you who might happen to have a similar setup as me. I'm not using *any* aftermarket cooling options, but for what it's worth, I'm using a Cooler Master HAF 942 case.

Thanks in advance! I'm looking for an educational discussion.. :) 
!