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Capacity vs. frequency vs. latency?

Last response: in Memory
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March 25, 2011 11:32:19 AM

I'm putting together a computer for my old man. Having been in the IT business for many years he has developed a knack for asking questions, and he asked me one that I hope you could help answer:

"In terms of overall performance, how important is capacity, frequency and latency respectively?"

Seeing as RAM is as cheap as it is, is it worthwhile to go for high frequency and low latency and if so, at what point does it become bleeding edge?

For reference, here's the setup I'm looking at:

Processor Core i7 I7-2600K 8 MB
Motherboard ASUS P8P67-M B3 Revision
RAM Mushkin Extreme Performance 2x4GB, 1600MHz, CL7-9-8-24 1.65V
Harddisc OCZ Vertex 3 Series Solid State Disk 120 GB
PSU Seasonic X-400 Fanless
Keyboard Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800
Case Antec Performance One Mini P180
Optical drive Samsung Super-WriteMaster SH-S223C (Sort)
Speakers Bose Companion 2 Series II
Cooling Noctua NH-C14, Noctua NF-B9, Noctua NF-P12
a b } Memory
March 25, 2011 3:52:46 PM

First: I would definitely suggest a different RAM kit -- specifically, one rated for 1.5v spec. If your CPU fails and Intel determines the cause to be running RAM at 1.65v (which is out of specification for all Intel CPUs since Nehalem) then the warranty is null and void. You can safely run RAM at 1.35v-1.6v (and still be within warranty) on Sandy Bridge CPUs.

Capacity matters the most, up to a point. Once that point is reached, further capacity makes almost no difference.
Frequency matters more than latency.

For Sandy Bridge and the gamer/overclocker type of user, 8GB of DDR3-1600 CL9 RAM is the sweet spot. If you want a few more points on synthetic benchmarks, go for higher frequency and lower latency ... but you're really wasting money going "better" than 1600 CL9.
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