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DDR3 1866 or 1600

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December 27, 2012 6:01:32 PM

I'm getting ready for my first new build since 2006. I currently have an M2N32SLI Deluxe with a Phenom II X4 in it, running slightly funky.

Anyway... I'm going to get a Z77 mobo and I'm deciding between 1866 and 1600 memory. The price difference is negligible so I'm leaning toward the 1866, but then I'm guessing this is the kind of thing where if I actually noticed the difference, then I have a superpower and should join a circus?

In what situation would I wish I had bought 1866 over 1600, and if none, then why not 1333 or 1066? (as a devil's argument).

BTW... I do a lot of Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Illustrator work and some gaming.

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December 27, 2012 6:16:42 PM

All Intel 3rd Gen I series CPU's default to DDR3 1600MHz. This is the speed in which the memory controller is designed to run, and is the "sweet spot" for standard performance.

In order to run Memory at 1866MHz or faster, you will need to Overclock. Overclocking the memory alone from 1600MHz to 2133MHz gives *maybe* in lucky cases 1-2% of a difference in synthetic benchmarks and NO noticeable difference in real use.

Most DDR3 1600MHz kits run at 9-9-9 timings, which is also what the XMP 1600MHz profile for 1866MHz kits runs at. So there is no difference there.

I would suggest 1600MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings (OR lower if you can find them affordably)

I would choose 1866MHz if I was going with an AMD FX (AM3+ 990FX) system, as the memory controller on those chips defaults to 1866MHz.

If I was planning on OCing my memory I would go for a lot steeper than 1866MHz as that will give absolutely no noticeable difference.
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