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4GB Gets Cheap: 9 Dual-Channel Kits Compared

Introduction

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.

  • randomizer
    Good to see G.Skill finally decided to send some samples.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough
    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.
    Reply
  • V3NOM
    i rofl'd that my cheap Team Elite owned all of them except the ballistix...
    Reply
  • JonnyDough
    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.
    Reply
  • raider37
    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.
    Reply
  • johnbilicki
    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.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    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?
    Reply
  • johnbilicki
    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
    Reply
  • Crashman
    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!
    Reply
  • johnbilicki
    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.
    Reply