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How do I choose memory?

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April 5, 2012 3:26:16 PM

Alright, here's the whole story. About 15 months ago I bought a Biostar TA890FXE mobo. 7 weeks ago it stopped booting. Submitted an RMA, sent the board in. For 3 WEEKS they held on to it without even confirming with me that they had it (I had to assume they had it based on the shipping info, but you never know what might happen). Finally they tell me they tested it, found the BIOS chip was dead, so they replaced the chip. Got my board back 1 week later, has a 990FXE BIOS now. Same 890 board I sent in, new 990 BIOS. Everything seems to be working now, but I want to add some memory to the system. So my question was, what set of specifications for memory do I look to? Admittedly, I haven't ever thought too deeply on this question with past builds. At any rate I fired off this question to Biostar's support people. They sent me back the answer,

"TA990FXE and TA890FXE motherboards support the same memory (RAM). Any DDR3 designed for desktop PCs will work."

Now, the 890's specs indicate DDR3 1600 and 1800 can only be reached by overclocking. The 990 says it can get there without OC, but can OC to DDR3 2000. Of course this is nowhere near the max you can conceivably get in terms of memory. Newegg has DDR3 2600 in a quad channel kit. So, what specs do I look at? The 890FXE original specs? The 990's? Or Biostar's assertion that I can use any DDR3 desktop memory I can find?

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a b } Memory
April 5, 2012 3:31:27 PM

http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/introduction.php?S_...

When in doubt, check the supported RAM page for the specific board (link above).
You'll see options for different speeds in the list. RAM runs at its stock speed by default (whatever speed indicated on package). If it says 1600(OC) in board specs, you probably just have to manually set the clock speed in BIOS.

Here's someone with your board with screenshots of RAM and OC settings, using DDR3 1600.
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=646...
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April 5, 2012 3:50:26 PM

sharkbyte5150 said:
http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/introduction.php?S_...

When in doubt, check the supported RAM page for the specific board.
You'll see options for different speeds in the list. RAM runs at its stock speed by default, so it's not considered OC'ing.

http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/introduction.php?S_...


That's my question. As I said, the board I bought has one list and their support basically said it doesn't matter, buy whatever you want. Neither memory compatability list is exactly robust, let alone complete. They don't even have a single recommendation for a 4GB stick, let alone real options for 8GB DDR3 1600 which I would want. I don't want to spend money on a set of memory just for it to get downclocked automatically or not work because it's not compatible.
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a b } Memory
April 5, 2012 3:51:03 PM

Regarding Biostar's claim that you can use any DDR3 RAM, the supported RAM list for that board is probably not as extensive as it could be, probably just what was tested good but doesn't mean that's ALL the RAM that will work on it.

However, in the RAM specs, the highest speed shown is 1800(OC) and the highest in that list is 1GB of 2000. If you have a copy of the conversation you had when they said you could use any RAM, you should be safe. Have you seen any reports that show a significant performance hike past 1600 RAM that makes you want to risk running RAM that's much higher than spec?
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a b } Memory
April 5, 2012 3:54:40 PM

DRosencraft said:
That's my question. As I said, the board I bought has one list and their support basically said it doesn't matter, buy whatever you want. Neither memory compatability list is exactly robust, let alone complete. They don't even have a single recommendation for a 4GB stick, let alone real options for 8GB DDR3 1600 which I would want. I don't want to spend money on a set of memory just for it to get downclocked automatically or not work because it's not compatible.



You must have replied before I edited my first comment.
I didn't mean to post the RAM list 2x.

If it says 1600(OC) in board specs, you probably just have to manually set the clock speed in BIOS.

Here's someone with your board with screenshots of RAM and OC settings, using DDR3 1600.
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=646...
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April 5, 2012 4:10:56 PM

It's more a price/performance thing. I can get 2133 or 1800 for about the same price as 1600. I can overclock, but like I said, I don't want to if I don't have to. OCing to me is an as-needed deal, so if I can just buy memory at the higher spec why bother with OCing?
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a b } Memory
April 5, 2012 4:36:22 PM

You should use 1600 and just manually set the clock in BIOS.
There are numerous threads quoting tests that prove that there is negligible difference past 1600. You'd do better to fill the RAM slots with 1600 than a couple of 1800 or 2133 that can cause issues. You already will be OC'ing to use that RAM since the highest your board supports without OC'ing is 1333. It's just a question of how far you want to push your board and CPU to get added performance you probably won't even notice.
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April 13, 2012 4:43:47 PM

Well, I got my answer now. My question was how do I know which memory standard to go with given the differing information available (a motherboard with a replaced chipset). I had multiple options of memory to choose from at the same price, so I could either go with DDR3 1333, 1600 or 2133. Even if the performance gain would be neglible, I didn't see the harm in going with the 2133 since it would have been at the same price. At the very least in a few years when computer standards change and programs become more demanding on memory, I wouldn't have to upgrade. Having the best today is one thing, having some future-proofing is another, and that is what I had in mind when first building my system. Not to avoid upgrading forever, but at least have a very good computer for a few years.

I didn't get the exact answer I was looking for, so I thought it over and played the relative safe route. I bought 8 GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance @1600. It's not the future-proofing I wanted, but oh well. I'll just have to buy new memory if I have to, I guess that's all there is to it. I'm really stingy so it'll stick in my craw when I think I've wasted money, but like I said, there's nothing I can do about it now. Anyway, I put the memory in, and... it was automatically clocked to 1333. So I go into the BIOS, manually set the clock to 1600, and all's well. No need to mess with the voltage or anything, both sticks still pulling their rated 1.5v (a little less actually).

So, my best guess is that the 890's specs hold. Good learning experience. Consider this thread closed.
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April 13, 2012 4:44:36 PM

Best answer selected by DRosencraft.
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a b } Memory
April 13, 2012 4:55:40 PM

DRosencraft said:

I didn't get the exact answer I was looking for, so I thought it over and played the relative safe route. I bought 8 GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance @1600. It's not the future-proofing I wanted, but oh well. I'll just have to buy new memory if I have to, I guess that's all there is to it. I'm really stingy so it'll stick in my craw when I think I've wasted money, but like I said, there's nothing I can do about it now. Anyway, I put the memory in, and... it was automatically clocked to 1333. So I go into the BIOS, manually set the clock to 1600, and all's well. No need to mess with the voltage or anything, both sticks still pulling their rated 1.5v (a little less actually).

So, my best guess is that the 890's specs hold. Good learning experience. Consider this thread closed.



Can't help but sense your disappointment in "settling" with 1600 RAM, so I thought I'd share this other thread as it explains exactly what I was talking about, along with the fact that your video card has a lot more to do with gaming performance than the RAM speed. Same CPU, guy looking for RAM.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/295615-31-buying-phen...
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