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DDR3 recommendation for Athlon II x4 & future Bulldozer

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June 6, 2011 3:41:16 PM

Hi, this is my first post so bare with me plz :) 
This is gonna be my FIRST SWITCH to AMD since 1995. So I really need your help to decide what RAM modules to pick.

I'm building an Athlon II x4 & I'll be upgrading once Bulldozer CPUs hold their horses in the market & become natively supported by Linux distros

Uses:
-Absolutely NOT a gaming rig (but maybe very little when I'm in the mood)
-Occasional Heavy Video work (a good GPU is considered): Editing/Rendering/Converting...bla bla bla
-Occasional multitasking
-24/7 Torrenting
-HTPC mainly for HD contents
-Daily web browsing & multi-tab YouTubing
-This PC will be my main back up & will be Rsync to my Home NAS as a 2nd back up
-Not overclocking any soon until my stomach digests the OC concept very well

Note: Please don't suggest any PII x4s OR PII x6s since I'm tottaly conviced by the Athlon II x4 for my needs (for now) cuz I really don't like the TDP of those other PIIs. I kinda live in an area that feels like an oven, so heat is a real issue :D 

Motherboard:Asus M5A99X EVO (AM3+)
OS: Linux (mainly ubuntu) & maybe other distros 32 or 64 (depends on my question)

The question: I need a suitable DDR3 RAM for this build that can be recognizd, fully utilized by the Athlon II x4 on that MoBo & also can be used in the near future for BD CPU. I'm tottally lost which RAM I should pick since I'm not completely aware of what RAM speed (natively without OCing) a PII can utilize. Also, I'm leaning toward 8 gigs 2x4GB sticks (If I'll go the 64 route) but picking the right stuff really drives me nuts. :pfff: 

If 2x4GB is overkill for my needs, please recommend whatever you guys see perfect for me.(please don't forget to mention the speed 1066mhz-1866mhz)

Thanks in advance, and sorry about my crappy English
Ahmed
June 6, 2011 4:33:08 PM

Ah yes, the Bulldozer. Do Want.

the memory you will be wanting, is going to be quite standard. Since you are going to be multitasking more than gaming, you're better off with higher amounts of RAM, instead of smaller amounts of Low Latency.

Get a copy of Windows Whatever 64-bit edition, because 32 bits do not recognize more than 3.5 gb of ram, which sucks.

the recommended frequency for your ram would be 1333mhz or 1600 mhz. Patriot is really reliable, and Corsair. I would lean to those brands for sticks.
June 6, 2011 5:08:49 PM

Thanks for your input Stupiditystrikes,

Quote:
Get a copy of Windows Whatever 64-bit edition, because 32 bits do not recognize more than 3.5 gb of ram, which sucks.

I stopped using Windows since 2008, only Mac/Linux

Quote:
the recommended frequency for your ram would be 1333mhz or 1600 mhz. Patriot is really reliable, and Corsair. I would lean to those brands for sticks.

Well, what if I pick the 1866 mhz ones as the MoBo supports them; do you think they will work ? and the Athlon II x4 will recognize them without a hiccup !!! I dunno :heink: 



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June 6, 2011 10:23:24 PM

If the Mobo Manual has a qualified Vendor's list. You should find the ones that are considered "Qualified." they are bound to work. Most DDR3 Will be recognized without problems, because they are made for the mobos, however you should change the freq in the bios etc. If it's not on the Qualified Vendor's list, don't fret too much. It's not like they have all the time in the world to test every stick of ram out there.

1866mhz should work pretty well.
June 7, 2011 1:44:26 AM

That's one heck of a motherboard for a backup :) 

1866MHz is the way to go, but until Asus releases their QVL no real way to know which kits will play nicely with both the PhII x2/x4/x6 and the BD x8/x6/x4. Specific GSkill 1866MHz kits supported on all four DIMM slots are on the Crosshair QVLs and would look to be your best shot prior to the official QVL coming out.

As far as your over-clocking, the speed of all primary components (the CPU, HT Links, IMC/NB and RAMs) is controlled by multipliers/dividers and the system clock. With a general understanding of their function/limits, and their relationship to the system clock, you should not have any problems -- especially with that motherboard (and that is part of the problem - LOL)

That motherboard should be a monster - easily capable of handling a substantial increase in the system clock. Increasing the system clock will help you take pressure off the CPU, from simply raising the multiplier, which in combination will take you much higher in your OC'ing.

This is a good thing :lol:  but it does take a bit of planning on your part. Here's why:

There are 'sweet spots' with your RAMs and the system clock. In order to keep your RAMs in *spec* when raising your system clock, you simply reduce your memory divider. As an example with DDR3 1333MHz:

200MHz (stock system clock) x 6(.)67 divider = 1333MHz
250MHz x 5(.)33 divider = 1333MHz

Simple enough. With DDR3 1600:

200MHz (stock system clock) x 8(.)00 divider = 1600MHz
240MHz x 6(.)67 divider = 1600MHz

At 1866MHz you will have two sweet spots -- a 233MHz system clock and a 280MHz system clock. The first will be child's play, and the second should present no real difficulty for you.


June 7, 2011 10:44:46 AM

Just get the cheapest branded ddr3 sticks you can find. Seriously. There will negligible benefits from buying faster RAM. It makes no difference in real life. So kingston/corsair value ram modules or whatever is cheap. I think gskill ripjaws are cheap at newegg. Get those. Also for your current uses a single 4GB stick is plenty. IF you want to spend money then buy 2x4GB. Avoid 2GB sticks and don't worry about dual/single channel nonsense.

I use openSUSE myself and I can tell you that 64bit is the way to go. 4GB and up RAM *requires* 64bit OS. The only thing is that flash on 64bit is a bit problematic. But if it doesn't work out you can always install a 32bit distro. Linux being free we always have that option.
June 7, 2011 11:19:44 AM

Quote:
If the Mobo Manual has a qualified Vendor's list. You should find the ones that are considered "Qualified." they are bound to work. Most DDR3 Will be recognized without problems, because they are made for the mobos, however you should change the freq in the bios etc. If it's not on the Qualified Vendor's list, don't fret too much. It's not like they have all the time in the world to test every stick of ram out there.

Their QVL for that particular MoBo hasn't been issued yet. So I may just bite the bullet & pick sticks prior to the QVL
Quote:
1866mhz should work pretty well.

I'll comment to this with wisecracker's input as I've changed my mind & getting an Athlon II x4 due to a dude's recommendation for more cores been more utilized for video work ;) 

June 7, 2011 11:35:37 AM

@wisecracker, thanks a million for your feedback, and thx a billion for your easy math explanatory ;) 
Quote:
That's one heck of a motherboard for a backup :) 

This is NOT just gonna be a back up, but it will have my all other work as well. My other back up (plan B) will be my 4-bay*3TB RAID5 home NAS Rsynced to this machine :kaola: 
Quote:
1866MHz is the way to go, but until Asus releases their QVL no real way to know which kits will play nicely with both the PhII x2/x4/x6 and the BD x8/x6/x4. Specific GSkill 1866MHz kits supported on all four DIMM slots are on the Crosshair QVLs and would look to be your best shot prior to the official QVL coming out.

Now here's a little problem (not quite sure if it's a real problem or not)
I changed my mind now & I'm absolutely getting an Athlon II x4 for my heavy video work & multitasking
Reasons:
1.big bang for da buck
2.More cores for heavy video stuff: editing/rendering/converting

But some other guy freaked me out when he said:
Quote:
You might have some stability problems above 1600MHz with Denab X4 or Athlon II X4 chips.
The C3 revision has an approved IMC (over the older C2), but special tweaking may be required.
2x4GB is certainly the way to go (less stress on the IMC) versus with all dimms populated.
Now the Thuban X6 CPU's can easily run 2000MHz+, even with all dimms populated.

Is that true... dunno :heink: 
June 7, 2011 11:59:37 AM

@Abdussamad: Thanks mate,
Quote:
Just get the cheapest branded ddr3 sticks you can find. Seriously. There will negligible benefits from buying faster RAM. It makes no difference in real life. So kingston/corsair value ram modules or whatever is cheap. I think gskill ripjaws are cheap at newegg. Get those.

I really don't mind buying cheap RAM, but don't want to regret because I always read: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Honestly, I don't mind spending extra bucks for buying a real stable stuff that come from good reputable vendor.
Quote:
Also for your current uses a single 4GB stick is plenty. IF you want to spend money then buy 2x4GB. Avoid 2GB sticks and don't worry about dual/single channel nonsense

hmmm, I think I'll just stick to the 8 gigs 2x4GB. It's the way to go dude, especially for multitasking :kaola: 
Quote:
I use openSUSE myself and I can tell you that 64bit is the way to go. 4GB and up RAM *requires* 64bit OS. The only thing is that flash on 64bit is a bit problematic. But if it doesn't work out you can always install a 32bit distro. Linux being free we always have that option.

yah, that's why I love most of linux distro, it's the real shiznet :lol: 


June 7, 2011 3:58:14 PM

Hamatto said:
@wisecracker, thanks a million for your feedback, and thx a billion for your easy math explanatory ;) 
Quote:
That's one heck of a motherboard for a backup :) 

This is NOT just gonna be a back up, but it will have my all other work as well. My other back up (plan B) will be my 4-bay*3TB RAID5 home NAS Rsynced to this machine :kaola: 
Quote:
1866MHz is the way to go, but until Asus releases their QVL no real way to know which kits will play nicely with both the PhII x2/x4/x6 and the BD x8/x6/x4. Specific GSkill 1866MHz kits supported on all four DIMM slots are on the Crosshair QVLs and would look to be your best shot prior to the official QVL coming out.

Now here's a little problem (not quite sure if it's a real problem or not)
I changed my mind now & I'm absolutely getting an Athlon II x4 for my heavy video work & multitasking
Reasons:
1.big bang for da buck
2.More cores for heavy video stuff: editing/rendering/converting

But some other guy freaked me out when he said:
Quote:
You might have some stability problems above 1600MHz with Denab X4 or Athlon II X4 chips.
The C3 revision has an approved IMC (over the older C2), but special tweaking may be required.
2x4GB is certainly the way to go (less stress on the IMC) versus with all dimms populated.
Now the Thuban X6 CPU's can easily run 2000MHz+, even with all dimms populated.

Is that true... dunno :heink: 


No worries :D 

The bottom-line issue still persists, though -- without the 'QVL' it is an educated guess as to what will work best for you now, and in the future. I tend to go with DDR3 1333 as the ratio works best for me at 250MHz, but I also tend not to purchase motherboards like the Asus M5A99X which should blow past 300MHz without breaking a sweat. I would not worry too much about it if you compare the other high-end Asus motherboards, and look at their qualified RAMs as a guide to what may work best for you.

The guessing only really comes into play with BD. As you noted, the best practice is to buy good dependable stuff -- preferably on the QVL :lol:  -- that should play nicely with either a PhII or Athlon quad.

The same 'sweet spots' from above work with the Propus Quads -- even better as a matter of fact because the lack of L3 means less heat / better over-clocking, AND ...

For each 10% you increase the IMC/NB speed, memory bandwidth is increased 3-4%, and latency is reduced 3-4%. The A-II Quads tend to be on the high-end here as compared to the PhIIs, especially the latency.

Upping the IMC/NB to 2400-2500MHz is just about guaranteed with maybe an additional +0.125v on the NB volts. 'Enthusiasts' are now blowing past 3000MHz on the IMC/NB.

The performance gain that is realized generally parallels, and is in addition to, that of over-clocking the CPU; a double-pump of sorts in memory-intensive apps and gaming.
June 8, 2011 7:20:37 PM

Thank you very much guys for you help & feedback
Until that mobo (Asus M5A99X EVO) hits the market, I'll just prepare the other components & absolutely getting either 1600MHz or 1866MHz
Thanks again
!