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4GB Gets Cheap: 9 Dual-Channel Kits Compared

4GB Gets Cheap: 9 Dual-Channel Kits Compared
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DDR2 SDRAM prices began dropping significantly last summer as the world prepared for DDR3-only Core i7 platforms, culminating in today’s ultra-low-priced, four-gigabyte dual-channel kits. For as little as $25, users of this older technology can step up to memory levels that had been reserved for only the upper echelon of last-year’s buyers.

Who needs 4.0 GB RAM? At these prices, does it really matter? Most systems eventually get clogged up with rarely used programs such as second or third instant messengers, redundant spyware blockers, and other once-useful tools that have become parasites while users, still mindful of the program’s former effectiveness, often don’t want to bother removing. The accumulation of junk can affect any operating system.

Windows Vista users will see an even greater benefit by adding RAM, since the OS dynamically increases the number of cached files as RAM is increased, in order to make programs launch faster. And users of memory-intense processes such as video encoding and high-resolution photo editing should already be familiar with the benefits of increasing the amount of work they can store in RAM…while decreasing the amount that must be cached to a slower temporary file on the hard drive.

But today’s review isn’t aimed at showing anyone why he or she necessarily needs more memory, as we’ve already covered all the basics and even a few specifics in several articles. Instead we’ll consider which budget kit is most appropriate for value-seekers, overclockers, and most importantly, value-seeking performance enthusiasts.

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  • 10 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 1, 2008 8:08 AM
    Stop using rebates as qualifiers. I was taught in consumer math that if you purchase something with the cost of a rebate figured in, you had better be prepared to pay full price. I think a lot of us here IGNORE rebate pricing, and won't even support it by buying rebated items. Rebates are CRAP, no consumer likes them. They aren't a "discount" they are a marketing ploy to rip people off.
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , December 1, 2008 7:26 AM
    Good to see G.Skill finally decided to send some samples.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 1, 2008 8:04 AM
    You can increase how much ram is used for prefetch in XP as well, so that hardly says that Vista is faster than XP once you use more RAM. I for one have skipped the Vista era and am happily awaiting Windows 7. I guess I prefer to keep my $100 in my wallet for awhile instead of giving it to M$ investors.
  • 3 Hide
    V3NOM , December 1, 2008 8:08 AM
    i rofl'd that my cheap Team Elite owned all of them except the ballistix...
  • 10 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 1, 2008 8:08 AM
    Stop using rebates as qualifiers. I was taught in consumer math that if you purchase something with the cost of a rebate figured in, you had better be prepared to pay full price. I think a lot of us here IGNORE rebate pricing, and won't even support it by buying rebated items. Rebates are CRAP, no consumer likes them. They aren't a "discount" they are a marketing ploy to rip people off.
  • 2 Hide
    raider37 , December 1, 2008 8:09 AM
    I'm pretty darn happy with my 4GB of XMS2 DDR2-800 RAM from Corsair, all my components are overclocked and work extremely well, plus here in Pakistan only 2 memory companies are widely available (Kingston and corsair) and we all know kingston is overpriced and their modules do not perform as well as Corsairs.
  • -9 Hide
    johnbilicki , December 1, 2008 8:39 AM
    As a regular I feel insulted that my fellow readers and I are expected to except an introduction suggesting that we are mindless consumers no different than the people who trampled and killed a worker at Walmart this past Friday.

    My dual core socket 939 with 2GB of RAM running XP Pro might not get as much FPS as my friend running a quad with 4GB and Vista but my system runs smooth on almost all the same games without dealing with all the constant freezing, errors, glitches, and horrendous boot times plus I don't have to run a page file. A real enthusiast would turn in their grave if they saw qttask in the task manager. Real pride is knowing your rig's software too and mindlessly burning money instead doing a few simple Google queries is what an amateur would do.

    I expect better than this. It does really matter.
  • 7 Hide
    Crashman , December 1, 2008 9:22 AM
    johnbilickiAs a regular I feel insulted that my fellow readers and I are expected to except an introduction suggesting that we are mindless consumers no different than the people who trampled and killed a worker at Walmart this past Friday.


    That sounds like the voice of experience...you were at that Wal Mart? Because it appears that everyone else automatically knew that the introduction was meant to cover the widest range of potential buyers, and not each one of them specifically. Yet you mindlessly trampled into that rant?
  • -5 Hide
    johnbilicki , December 1, 2008 9:31 AM
    CrashmanThat sounds like the voice of experience...you were at that Wal Mart? Because it appears that everyone else automatically knew that the introduction was meant to cover the widest range of potential buyers, and not each one of them specifically. Yet you mindlessly trampled into that rant?


    The introduction slaps everyone in the face by suggesting money is the only solution. Even less experienced people know how to do a Google query.

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it." - George Bernard Shaw
  • 6 Hide
    Crashman , December 1, 2008 9:50 AM
    johnbilickiThe introduction slaps everyone in the face by suggesting money is the only solution. Even less experienced people know how to do a Google query."The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it." - George Bernard Shaw


    It suggests that very little money can be a very easy solution to multiple performance issues.

    And you're using a quote to emphasise your cynicism concerning my observation? Thanks!
  • -6 Hide
    johnbilicki , December 1, 2008 10:19 AM
    CrashmanIt suggests that very little money can be a very easy solution to multiple performance issues.And you're using a quote to emphasise your cynicism concerning my observation? Thanks!


    ...and entirely avoids the point of optimizing a system's software just as you have! It's an informal fallacy to suggest you have made some unique observation as I have when all you have done is avoid my point in the simple interest to convince people to spend money instead of simply preventing junk from being loaded in to their existing memory.
  • -3 Hide
    Tjik , December 1, 2008 11:27 AM
    OK, so this is one of those articles that has no value at all outside of the US. In my view it's kind of pointless to make such a twisted calculation that puts everything upside down, with conclusions that might be worth zero tomorrow. If it's true that G.Skill hasn'tbeen very keen on sending some RAM for testing I think this article won't make them more willing to.

    Offer easy to understand figures and don't promote any rebate schemes. A consumer isn't more stupid than that he's able to figure out that it might be a good idea to check what special offers are available at the day of the buy. Or is this article to be updated on a regular basis until the next big round-up? Rebates aren't some kind of fixed market value.
  • 6 Hide
    Unolocogringo , December 1, 2008 11:40 AM
    Who pissed in your cereal this morning????
    This article is for the masses. The same ones who trampled the walmart employee.The same ones who have no idea what mscon*** or services.*** are.That is aproximately 99% of the readers of this site.
  • 3 Hide
    zodiacfml , December 1, 2008 11:47 AM
    i think the article and crashman still has a point, though not for us enthusiast who knows a lot of how things work in a pc,device, or machine.
    there are a lot of solutions improving performance but for some people it will be easier for them to spend than spend time learn anything. not really a good attitude but that is just a lot of people do today, probably the reason why super expensive gaming systems and products exist. ignorance is bliss.

  • 5 Hide
    Pei-chen , December 1, 2008 11:59 AM
    As a mindless drone, I prefer the “throw more resources at it” approach. The 8GB OCZ PC2-6400 RAM in my Vista x64 computer only cost $50 and I never need to buy more RAM as long as keep this PC (next rebuild Q1 2011)

    I am surprised OCZ didn’t send anything for review; they usually have the cheapest kits.

    BTW johnbilicki, what would happen to your setup if windows tries to run a program that requires more than 2GB of physical RAM?
  • 1 Hide
    malveaux , December 1, 2008 12:33 PM
    I have 8gigs of the XMS2 Corsair in my Vista64 machine. I can't feel any difference from 2gigs that I had. But after turning off the page file. I hear my disc less often. Woo....

    =/
  • 0 Hide
    98silvz71 , December 1, 2008 1:00 PM
    My 4 GB Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 Ram runs at 5-5-5-15 at 1000Mhz with 2.2v. I only payed around 70 dollars for all 4GB. Something is not right with the results that you got for your sets.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 1, 2008 1:42 PM
    The point of this article was to help outline price changes in the DDR2 market, and how a relatively small amount of cash might help the majority of users (How many people who repair friends' computers see all that crap they have on their machine. Sure you can fix it, but they're just going to accumulate more crap. You can't fix it forever). I remember when I made a build for my family a few years ago. A pair of 1GB Dual channel OCZ 667 was the most expensive part in the build... a number of months after I bought it, I was surprised at how cheap it was. It is seriously 90% cheaper than what I bought then, and higher performance also. 90% off is a huge deal.
  • 2 Hide
    Huttfuzz , December 1, 2008 2:19 PM
    Love the article. Thanks Crashman.
  • 2 Hide
    ooo , December 1, 2008 2:40 PM
    Great article man thks for the information ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , December 1, 2008 3:12 PM
    Thanks for the write up. The Corsair XMS2 went on sale for as low as $15 after a $35 MIR on Black Friday.

    What was the best speeds you were able to obtain on the XMS2 at the rated 1.9v? I have a pair of sticks in the mail and look forward to fine tuning these :) 
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