Team Germany: RAM And Graphics
RAM: Kingston KVR800D2N5K2/4G
Both teams went for two 2 GB DDR2-800 DIMMs; while the US system utilizes G.Skill memory, Bert Toepelt in Germany selected Kingston Value RAM. The KVR800D2N5K2/4G isn’t a really fast product given its standard CL5-5-5-20 timings. As we found in several different reviews, though, the performance differences between fast and slow memory is only worth worrying about if you intend to optimize all of your components for maximum performance.
In the case of our systems, we certainly prefer having 4 GB of reasonable memory over 2 GB of high-speed RAM, the extra speed of which would only introduce a small benefit. Clearly, faster processors make a larger difference as long as you have at least 2 GB of memory.
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1 GB
Now we come to a significant difference between the US system and the configuration chosen by our German team. Paul Henningsen went for a Radeon HD 4850 card and 512 MB, which seems to offer a good balance between power consumption (in idle mode and when running 3D graphics) and 3D performance.
The German choice, the Radeon HD 4870, also by Sapphire, offers much more of everything: more 3D performance, and also more power consumption, as you will see in the benchmark section. The shootout now gets exciting, as we’re going to compare a 2.40 GHz quad-core chip paired with a strong Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards against a 3.16 GHz dual-core processor and a Radeon HD 4850 mainstream graphics card.