Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 1: PC Components

More RAM!

Which RAM should you buy? Most users certainly know that there are different types of main memory for your computer. Technologies have evolved over many years, with Page Mode DRAM giving way to EDO (Enhanced Data Output). Quickly, SDRAM (synchronous operation) became popular. Double-Data-Rate (DDR) memory was introduced to transfer twice the data during a clock cycle and since then, memory speeds have been steadily increased (up to 400 MHz today) and technology advanced as well (DDR2). There are still many systems around that require DDR266 to DDR400 memory, but most of today's solutions are based on DDR2 memory, which is available in speeds between DDR2-533 and DDR2-800.

Clock speed isn't the only factor impacting memory, of course; performance also depends on the memory settings, which are referred to as timings. The faster the memory clock speed, the more difficult it is to maintain quick timings, which makes high-end memory very expensive. We recommend that all enthusiasts pay attention to memory timings, even though average users will never notice the difference between a DDR2-800 CL5-5-5-15 and a CL3-4-4-8 part.

Anyway, there is special memory available that will either help to satisfy your performance ambitions, or to improve the visuals of your modded and tweaked PC!

High-Performance: Mushkin Redline XP2-8000

Redline is Mushkin's high-end DDR2 memory product for Socket AM2 (Athlon 64) or Socket 775 (Intel Pentium D, Core 2 Duo). We received a dual-channel memory kit with two 1 GB DIMMs each, which means that the memory has been tested together at the rated parameter specification. This is a latency setting of CL4-5-4-11 at DDR2-1000 speeds, and headroom to overclock to DDR2-1100 easily. Unfortunately, the memory is not exactly a bargain, as it is priced at over $400 for the 2 GB kit.

Highly Individual: OCZ PC2-6400 Special Ops Urban Edition

Memory vendor OCZ has something neat for users who intend to mod their systems to the extreme, but don't want to give up performance. The PC2-6400 Special Ops Urban Edition is available in dual channel kits and comes with a nice, military-style coating on the head spreader. It is rated at CL4-4-3-15 at DDR2-800 speeds, but should have some room for overclocking.

Read on: Holiday Buyer's Guide, Part 2: Networking
or go back to the Holiday Buyer's Guide index page.

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Seagate 750 GB Barracuda Enters The Big League
Summer 2006 Memory Stick Fashion Show
The P4-560's Heat Can Crash and Kill
The Pentium D: Intel's Dual Core Silver Bullet Previewed
VGA Heat-Pipe Cooler Roundup 2006
Six New AMD Coolers: Cold Enough For You?
Tom's Socket AM2 Motherboard Summer Slam

Read on: Part 2: Networking

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