Sandy Bridge CPU or 3 channel memory for gaming?

Hello,

This is my first post to these forums. I am looking to upgrade my system as it is past 5 years of age. I am looking at getting an i7 CPU, and was wondering if I would be better off with something like an i7-950 with a 3 channel motherboard, or a i7-2600k (Plan on OC to about 4.5-5 GHz) with a 2 channel memory motherboard. I generally play MMO's (currently RIFT) along with some FPS's (plan on BF3, etc).

I was mainly wondering the impact of a faster CPU with 2 channels of memory, versus a slower CPU with 3 channels of memory. I understand that it is obviously subjective to some part, but I am just looking for opinions.

I am undecided for video cards at the moment.

Thank you ahead of time for your help!
8 answers Last reply
More about sandy bridge channel memory gaming
  1. ^ +1. Some review site did a test on tri-channel vs. dual-channel memory (by removing a bank on a Nehalem system) and found the average difference in performance was around 1-2% for desktop apps, including gaming IIRC.
  2. Get wich ever is cheaper, the extra money is better spent on an SSD so the graphics card can be loaded with its data faster.
  3. Quote:
    There is no reason to even consider a 950 anymore. SB's dual channel perform's as good as 1366's Tri. Get a nice 2500K and the board of your choice and pair it with some 1.5v DDR3 and you'll be set


    You say to get a i7-2500K, but you use a 2600K, is there a reason you use the 2600, but recommend the 2500?

    Also, the 1.5v DDR3, how important is it that it is exactly 1.5v? I found some 1.6V but was not sure if the extra 0.1V makes it not a recommended pairing? (the 1.6V is half the cost of the 1.5V after a coupon)

    Thank you so much for the reply!
  4. You should only get the 2600K if you use the professional-level programs (like Photoshop and A/V codec stuff) that use Hyperthreading. For a gamer, the 2500K is best.

    1.6v memory should be fine, but I wouldn't recommend 1.65v memory. Check the manufacturer's website to make sure it's actually 1.6v rated, as some retailers have errors on their listings.

    By the way, what is the memory you're comparing? List the 1.5v as well as the 1.6v memory.
  5. Leaps-from-Shadows said:
    You should only get the 2600K if you use the professional-level programs (like Photoshop and A/V codec stuff) that use Hyperthreading. For a gamer, the 2500K is best.

    1.6v memory should be fine, but I wouldn't recommend 1.65v memory. Check the manufacturer's website to make sure it's actually 1.6v rated, as some retailers have errors on their listings.

    By the way, what is the memory you're comparing? List the 1.5v as well as the 1.6v memory.


    the 54$ RAM: (1.6V) (after coupon)

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9D-4GBXL

    the 99$ RAM (1.5V):

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X + Turbulence II Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9D-4GBXMD

    I usualy get Corsair Memory, but couldnt look away from the price of the 1.6V RAM

    150$ Corsair: (1.5V)

    CORSAIR DOMINATOR GT 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 Desktop Memory with Airflow Fan Model CMT4GX3M2B2133C9


    As far as uses, I am a computer scientist along with gamer, so I am undecided about getting the 2500 or 2600, the main concern is the RAM as the coupon is only good for a couple days.
  6. cbradsh said:
    Hello,

    This is my first post to these forums. I am looking to upgrade my system as it is past 5 years of age. I am looking at getting an i7 CPU, and was wondering if I would be better off with something like an i7-950 with a 3 channel motherboard, or a i7-2600k (Plan on OC to about 4.5-5 GHz) with a 2 channel memory motherboard. I generally play MMO's (currently RIFT) along with some FPS's (plan on BF3, etc).

    I was mainly wondering the impact of a faster CPU with 2 channels of memory, versus a slower CPU with 3 channels of memory. I understand that it is obviously subjective to some part, but I am just looking for opinions.

    I am undecided for video cards at the moment.

    Thank you ahead of time for your help!



    if you are a gamer, sandy bridge is best for you, i7 2600k runs games better of all i7 cpu, memory is not the main factor to consider when you play games,
    the processor and the gpu is what you should worry about, gaming in i7 2600 (even not overclocked) runs like hell, but if you will be using heavily threaded programs like video editing, image rendering, more ram will be a requirement, a triple channel memory will be much stable in running those programs. i dont see sandy bridge as the superior one, it depends on what you will be doing to your system, i am a professional 3d renderer,i dont play games much, but i do alot of 3d modeling and rendering,
    i use 3d max and photoshop, thats why i prefer a triple channel memory, as for you, game is your mainstream, so i72600/2600k is what you should get.
  7. I5-2500k gets my vote
    On Memory, Realyl good read For a noticable diff in real world need to have >10% performance boost:
    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/memory/2011/01/11/the-best-memory-for-sandy-bridge/5

    I have the Ripjaws DDR3 1600 CL 7,8,7,24 @ 1.6 V(4 x 4 for 16 gigs) Love them
    Less than 1600 CL7 and @ 1.5V is the Ripjaw 1600 @ CL 7 Approx $124.

    On speed vs CL rating pros/cons very dependent on what you do. In may cases there is only about 10 % real world diff between DDR3 1600 CL 9 and DDR3 2133 CL9.

    Quote from above link (Last page)
    If you're the type of person that runs dozens of applications all at once, then a higher memory frequency does help, particularly when you're running demanding software. However, our testing shows that memory rated at over 1,866MHz doesn't give much extra performance. Worse still, in some applications only 1,333MHz memory gives a performance penalty, meaning that 1,600MHz memory is fine.

    If you're doing anything other than heavy multi-tasking - this goes for gamers in particular - then a 1,600MHz or 1,866MHz kit is plenty. You could opt for CL8, as we saw some advantage in the video encoding test, but we wouldn't obsess over this factor, especially if a CL9 kit is much cheaper.

    Great choice DDR3 1600 CL6 @ 1.5 V $80
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231444
    For $55: Great choice DDR3 1600 CL8 @ 1.5 V
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231443
  8. That's a damn good deal on good memory. I have 12GB of Ripjaws X in my machine -- one 2x4GB kit and one 2x2GB kit, both 1600 CL9. Cost me about $125 total when NewEgg had a 15% off sale.

    If you're going to get the deal, I'd recommend two of those kits. 8GB is nice for extra-smooth gaming and multitasking. Programs and games will load faster, and switching between them will be smoother.
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