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Faster RAM, or more RAM?

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August 22, 2012 2:08:45 PM

I am working on my first laptop build right now as parts trickle in from around the country. The last part of the Laptop I have yet to order is the RAM.

I have the option of going with 16GB on 1600MHz RAM, or 8GB of 1900MHz RAM. Right now I am leaning towards the 8GB option because I don't to too much multi-tasking, but I do a lot of CADing (Solidworkds), as well as gaming which both require speed.

Is it a smart idea to go with 8GB of faster memory?

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a b } Memory
a b D Laptop
August 22, 2012 4:35:07 PM

As you've already more or less figured out, it depends on the kind of tasks you're doing.

Normally if you don't do a lot of multi-tasking, then faster RAM is the way to go, but CAD might be something of an exception. It is not at all inconceivable that you would end up using in excess of 8GB of RAM with CAD functions, and in that case, more RAM of a slower speed would still be almost infinitely faster than the alternative of the swap file.

If you have the time, you might want to try and profile your usage as it is now, and if you're within 75% or so of 8GB of RAM, I would hedge my bets and go with the 16GB option. If you're only using 2-4GB of RAM, then you still have plenty of room to grow and will probably need a new system before you get into the warning area of needing to think about upgrading.
August 22, 2012 5:18:45 PM

I was looking at the specs of the CPU I ordered (A Core 17-3820QM).
The specifications say:
Quote:
Memory Types - DDR3/L/-RS 1333/1600

does that mean that 1900MHz ram will only run at 1600MHz with this CPU? I find it hard to believe that intel CPUs only support up to 1600MHz RAM.
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a b } Memory
August 22, 2012 6:01:26 PM

faster ram=more power used and since it's a mobile chip, they probably limit the ram speed to conserve battery life. Yes, the ram will run at whatever speed the mobo and/or processor is rated
a c 346 } Memory
August 22, 2012 6:29:04 PM

Very few Notebooks (some gaming NB) allow any form of OC'ing and the BIOS has items like 'DRAM Frequency' locked-out. So any RAM faster than the CPU's defaults will be 'down-clocked' to the CPU's maximum defaults which in this case is DDR3-1600.

Now as far as 8GB vs 16GB and SolidWorks 3D CAD more is much (MUCH) better than faster. The only cavete is if you use Hibernation or Hybrid Sleep the time to wake & sleep gets a lot longer with more RAM. I'd suggest 16GB and a Workstation Notebook e.g. HP EliteBook.
August 29, 2012 12:06:38 AM

jaquith said:
Now as far as 8GB vs 16GB and SolidWorks 3D CAD more is much (MUCH) better than faster. The only cavete is if you use Hibernation or Hybrid Sleep the time to wake & sleep gets a lot longer with more RAM. I'd suggest 16GB and a Workstation Notebook e.g. HP EliteBook.


I ended up going with 32gb of Kingston HyperX it's 1600MHz, but it has a latency of 9. And yes, my laptop is a sager. I think it will do OK with CAD. The only part of my laptop that might not be exceptional for CAD is the gaming GPU. But I think it should be fine for CAD and great for everything else.
a b } Memory
August 29, 2012 1:05:30 AM

You won't need to lose sleep over picking 1600 instead of 1900 RAM since the real-world performance difference in most cases would be in the neighborhood of 1%.
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