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Memory dilemma

November 3, 2003 10:19:06 PM

I'm doing a system upgrade and I have a bit of a dilemma regarding memory. I'm just replacing the CPU, MB, memory, power supply, and fan. The system in question would be an Athlon XP 2700+ (333FSB) on an nforce2 ultra400 chipset (not necessary for 333Mhz, but it will make future CPU upgrades easier). The base system minus the memory will run $250 total. This is mostly a gaming computer, but I'm not looking for something hardcore to "0wnz3r j00". In fact, I'm trying to budget this upgrade at around $400. And if push comes to shove, I will <i>moderately</i> overclock hardware and/or tweak timings to get a little more bang for my buck.

Enter the memory dilemma. It used to be that memory was dirt cheap. That's still the case if you add a little modifier: <i>s****y</i> memory is dirt cheap. I'm staying way the heck away from certain manufacturers and anything that I even suspect is broker grade or mis-marked memory. All the same, since I've decided to go with two 512MB modules this time around, the difference between an $80 module and a $100 module makes a big impact on my wallet, so I'm trying not to go crazy.

It appears that I have a couple options:
<b>PC2700 CAS2.5</b>
$155-$160 -- Samsung, Micron, Crucial, or Kingston
$175 -- Corsair or GeIL

<b>PC2700 CAS2</b>
$190-195 -- PC2700 CAS2 modules by Corsair or Kingston

<b>PC3200 CAS2.5</b>
$175 -- Samsung, Micron, or GeIL
$200-205 -- Corsair or Kingston

<b>PC3200 CAS2:</b>
$220 -- GeIL
$225 -- Kingston
$230 -- Winbond
$235 -- Corsair

I probably just can't afford to do the high-end PC3200 CAS2 memory ($470 total cost if I use the GeIL), and I doubt it offer any <i>great</i> advantage in a system with a 333MHz FSB anyway. It would be nice for doing future CPU upgrades (especially since I have a nasty habit of not getting around to selling my old hardware), but I just don't see that it's worth the trouble right now.

My other choices bring up a lot of questions: first of all, particularly in this system, I would tend to think that PC2700 CAS2 memory would be more advantageous than PC3200 CAS2.5. This would make a total system cost of $450, which is a possibility, but it's still a <i>bit</i> higher than I had planned. Which brings me to another question - how well do you think the Samsung, Micron, and Crucial PC2700 CAS2.5 modules would "overtime" to CL2? Like I said, I'm not opposed to a little overclocking, and that would drop the system cost pretty significantly to just $405, without really sacrificing anything. Along the same lines, I might be talked into the Samsung, Micron, or GeIL PC3200 CAS2.5 modules for a total of $425, and hope for the best of both worlds.

I'm not sure what the think. I'm sure someone around here must have an opinion :) 

Oh, and as a sidebar, I suppose I should mention that OCSystems has PC2700 CAS2 for $150, PC3200 CAS2.5 for $170, and PC3200 CAS2 for $185. They claim that these are all true-blue modules, but my spidey sense is telling me that these guys are total sheisters and that their memory is probably overclocked, overtimed, broker grade RAM. And the running commentary on their <A HREF="" target="_new">reseller rating</A> is quite entertaining. Has anyone has a <i>positive</i> experience with these guys, or can anyone at least explain exactly what these memory modules they're selling are?

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