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RAM characteristics (for gaming purposes)

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April 26, 2011 9:57:26 AM

Capacity? Frequency? Timings? Obviously it has to do with the combination of all these also...but what is the order in which one should examine RAM?

I've read quite some reviews of many Brands and RAM models..and topics about timings, frequency and capacity...but i don't have that much in-depth knowledge to distinguish the characteristics on an importance basis. I've seen a lot of people saying that "most CPU's only take advantage of a maximum of 1600 MHz from RAM..." , how true is that? Also i've seen debate on wether one should prefer tighter timings over higher frequency and via versa...i understand (and also read about) the fact that it works good with either combination (of lower timings with lower frequency + higher timings with faster frequency).

P.S. My rig's spec will be i5-2500K + ASUS P8P67 PRO (B3 revised version) by the way.
April 26, 2011 3:55:58 PM

Capacity is important - get 4GB minimum, 6-8GB if you can.

The difference in performance you'll see in real world usage between value RAM and high performance RAM is minimal.
a b } Memory
April 26, 2011 4:14:08 PM

For Sandy Bridge, get 8GB (2x4GB) of 1600 CL9 1.5v RAM. Corsair Vengeance or G.Skill Ripjaws X kits work well. You can spend more on CL8 or even CL7 RAM, but there's only a few percentage points difference in performance.

Order of importance:
1. Capacity.
2. Speed.
3. Timings.
Related resources
April 26, 2011 4:41:21 PM

By the way...now that u mention the Volts...i've read the QVL (Qualified Vendor's List) of Rams for my Motherboard (ASUS P8P67 PRO B3 Revised version // link: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8P6...) and it lists tons of 1.65v and even some 1.7v and 1.9v RAM kits...so is the 1.5v kit that important after all? i mean isn't ASUS' official QVL trustworthy?
a b } Memory
April 26, 2011 5:00:28 PM

According to Intel's specifications for Sandy Bridge, any RAM voltage over 1.575v is bad and can damage the CPU. Intel's engineers have given the "wink and a nod" that you should be able to use 1.65v RAM despite what the specs say. I choose to heed the specifications and recommend 1.5v RAM to anyone who is getting a Sandy Bridge system.

And the manufacturers' QVLs mean only that they have tested the RAM and it worked. They don't guarantee that there won't be long-term damage or anything. If your CPU fails and you call Intel for an RMA, telling them you used 1.65v RAM (or if they find out via testing) will instantly void your warranty and you'll have to buy a new CPU.

Besides, it's not like 1.5v RAM is more expensive.
April 26, 2011 5:18:39 PM

I see...well the thing is that while searching all those brands and models of RAM...i wasn't looking at the Voltage since i figured the mobos would handle them. So now i m trying to find a, CL 7 of 2x4GB and at least 1600 MHz AND at 1.5v, RAM kit...Any suggestions?
April 26, 2011 5:25:20 PM

1.lower frequency means higher performance.

2.there is simply no difference between a ddr3 1333 or a 1600 model, only you can overclock your ram but by default,most of the mobo detects 1333mhz.

3.And yes,higher voltage can really damage the cpu,
Between, gskill has a very ecobuddy ram series
G.SKILL ECo. which has a voltage of 1.35.

4.And for gaming,4gb is a must,8 gb would be awesome.
Good Luck!
April 26, 2011 6:11:08 PM

This is still quite foggy though to be honest... i mean...although Leaps-from-Shadows mentioned the order of importance...manu11 says that:
Quote:
2.there is simply no difference between a ddr3 1333 or a 1600 model, only you can overclock your ram but by default,most of the mobo detects 1333mhz.

I mean where lies the basis of that anyway...why do major companies engineer tons and tons of new RAMs with frequencies at 2600 MHz even...? (my point is higher than the 1600 MHz) And why does that "...no more than 1600..." is oftenly mentioned and seriously now...how TRUE is that actually and more importantly why? as i want to emphasize again..where is that based on? That's a major question i'd like to have a pretty well elaborated answer if possible :) 

Also about the other thing you mention manu11:
Quote:
1.lower frequency means higher performance.
I really don't think that can be true...higher frequency considering the timings remain the same..will certainly mean better / faster performance..
a b } Memory
April 26, 2011 6:14:49 PM

TNTee said:
I see...well the thing is that while searching all those brands and models of RAM...i wasn't looking at the Voltage since i figured the mobos would handle them. So now i m trying to find a, CL 7 of 2x4GB and at least 1600 MHz AND at 1.5v, RAM kit...Any suggestions?

I'd go with CL8 instead, as I found no CL7 1.5v kits on NewEgg.

G.Skill Ripjaws X 1600 CL8 1.5v ($5 cheaper to begin with, plus has a 25% off promo code good until 4/28.)
Corsair Vengeance 1600 CL8 1.5v

Edit:
manu probably meant "lower timings means higher performance"

And there is a performance difference between 1333 and 1600 RAM, as I have personally tested on my Sandy Bridge system. I took my 1600 9-9-9-24 and down-clocked it to 1333 while improving the timings to 7-7-7-18. Performance went down in every game and benchmark I tried. Would I have noticed the FPS difference if I wasn't paying attention? No, because I was mostly above 60FPS anyway.
April 26, 2011 6:38:13 PM

TNTee said:
This is still quite foggy though to be honest... i mean...although Leaps-from-Shadows mentioned the order of importance...manu11 says that:
Quote:
2.there is simply no difference between a ddr3 1333 or a 1600 model, only you can overclock your ram but by default,most of the mobo detects 1333mhz.

I mean where lies the basis of that anyway...why do major companies engineer tons and tons of new RAMs with frequencies at 2600 MHz even...? (my point is higher than the 1600 MHz) And why does that "...no more than 1600..." is oftenly mentioned and seriously now...how TRUE is that actually and more importantly why? as i want to emphasize again..where is that based on? That's a major question i'd like to have a pretty well elaborated answer if possible :) 

Also about the other thing you mention manu11:
Quote:
1.lower frequency means higher performance.
I really don't think that can be true...higher frequency considering the timings remain the same..will certainly mean better / faster performance..


sorry,i was in a hurry to go somewhere and messed some things up,yeah
fore my first thought,there is a correction.
1.lower latency means higher performance and higher frequency means high performance.
a b } Memory
April 26, 2011 6:48:41 PM

You can get higher than 1600 speed for Sandy Bridge, and it does indeed perform better ... but it's generally not worth the extra expense. 1600 CL9 is the price/performance sweet spot. Get 1600 CL8 if you want to splurge a bit.
!