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Difference between DDR3-1600 and DDR3-2XXX

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  • Memory
  • DDR3
  • Tom's Hardware
  • Product
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November 2, 2012 7:11:43 PM

Dear highly regarded and respected community of Tom's Hardware,

I'm making some final decisions on my final gaming PC build and I'm stuck on RAM, because I don't know what the difference is between DDR3-1600 and DDR3-2000 or higher (highest being DDR3-2400).

It's obvious that the higher the number after "DDR3- ", the faster/more memory/better the module is, but I want to know the reason behind this, so that I can work out whether it's worth shelling out an extra $150+ for an additional memory of 800 units (I'm referring to the difference between DDR3-1600 and DDR3-2400)

Thanks a lot for your time, you guys are the real pros I love Tom's Hardware!

More about : difference ddr3 1600 ddr3 2xxx

a b } Memory
November 2, 2012 7:18:44 PM

It is essentially the speed at which the RAM moves its data in and out, and is relevant in some applications but does not have much effect on gaming. I would recommend simply buying a set of DDR3-1600, it is much better cost-to-performance wise to buy more RAM as opposed to faster RAM.
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November 2, 2012 7:22:18 PM

Yes, it will be faster be cause of the higher number, but only if a number of different factors line up. A lot of motherboard/CPU combinations wont be able to use those speeds without overclocking. For instance, my Phenom ii and motherboard would downclock high end ram from it's listed settings, and I had to manually overclock different pieces.

Is it worth it? not really. It's hit and miss which games will have noticeable performance increases, and the extra cost on top of that makes it even less of a reason to buy. But if you have the money budgeted, go for it, and you'll never have to feel like maybe you could be getting more from your rig.

1600 MHz is generally considered the sweet spot for price/performance, and you'll have fewer compatibility/downclocking issues. Again, it's always different depending on the parts.
a b } Memory
November 2, 2012 7:24:39 PM

Also, faster ram does not always equal faster ram, odd as that seems.

1600MHz with CAS 7 will be faster than 2133 with CAS 10, for example.
November 2, 2012 7:41:54 PM

Ah okay, so I've gathered it's just better to stick to 1600, for less compatibility issues and stuff.

This kinda brings me onto my next question; for my end goal of 16Gb RAM, is it better to get a 1x16, 2x8 or 4x4Gb combo - considering I have the following motherboard:
Asus P8Z77-V PRO ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

Also with that motherboard, I'm guessing a DDR3-1600 240-pin RAM Module is fine/compatible?
a b } Memory
November 2, 2012 7:46:55 PM

Um, I think I have read that having more sticks is better, but it depends on what you want to do in the future. The performance difference will be negligible, if you think that you might require 32gb of RAM before you upgrade other PC components (as far as gaming goes, 16gb will be good for quite a while), then you might want to get 2x8. Good MOBO choice BTW, I love mine, and yes, it is compatible, but check out the QVL available on ASUS' website (qualified vendor list, pick one off their for the greatest likelihood of compatibility).

Heres the QVL listing: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z7...

Its under Memory/Device support.
November 2, 2012 7:57:40 PM

Wow so that link's interesting, it seems that (form looking at the QVL) the RAM Module that I was about to purchase for myself (CORSAIR Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB)) isnt compatible !

I glanced through the list and found that the maximum memory stick size is 4Gb, so the highest possible module memory that is compatible with my MoBo is 16Gb (4x4Gb). Is that QVL outdated then? Or am I missing something completely

Thanks for your time btw, very interesting and helpful
a b } Memory
November 2, 2012 8:24:45 PM

It's not that it is not compatible, I did not want to mislead you, this is just a list of RAM specifically tested to operate on the board. If you see the same or similar kit on there, there is a high likelihood that it will work, and in some cases, they only test one size of a kit, that set may be on there but listed as 4x8gb or 2x4gb. It's just recommended to pick something off that list or very similar if only to reduce the chance of future headaches.

So for your example, it shows that 4x4gb set but it is pretty likely that if you buy the exact same set but at 8gb capacity (so 4x8gb) it will work. There are just far too many sets of RAM to test all of them.
November 2, 2012 8:44:14 PM

chugot9218 said:
So for your example, it shows that 4x4gb set but it is pretty likely that if you buy the exact same set but at 8gb capacity (so 4x8gb) it will work. There are just far too many sets of RAM to test all of them.


Awesome, I am happy now, I will settle for Corsair DDR3-1600 2x8Gb module for now, I am confident if not certain it is compatible with my MoBo, and in the future I may upgrade to 2 extra 8Gb for a grand total of 32Gb, who knows. Anyways, thanks a lot for your help, you have been very kind, helpful and fast, just made me love Tom's Hardware forums that much more, I am never disappointed here, props to people like you on this forum for keeping it awesome.

I leave now, happy.
a b } Memory
November 2, 2012 8:44:34 PM

Good, hope everything goes well and enjoy your build!
!