Need new RAM, have searched the net, but v hard to narrow down

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Thanks for taking the time.

OK, I've been searching for a hour or so for some new memory for my PC. But I've yet to find benchmarks that compare the specific, highest tech type of memory my board will run. That is: DDR2-667MHz, dual-channel, non-ECC.

The hardware comparisons I've found largely involve comparing DDR2 to DDR3, or are hopelessly dated, so I don't trust the results. Because it's specific, I decided to ask here.

I've realised that there seems to be very little difference between the performance of lot of these products, and 667MHz RAM is often outpaced by 533MHz alternatives.

On the one hand, I'm looking to run high-end games with it, so I want 2x2GB, and ones that overclock well, and at regular settings, at least beat most of the competition by a marginal level. On the other hand, I don't want some overpriced product with gimmicks like unusual cooling that really makes almost no difference at all, aside from to the price.

I read that ones with micron chips edge their competitors, true? (although the article was dated). Do you think dual channel is a feature worth paying for?

Thanks then.
 
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Caporegime
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In general, the only differences with ddr2 is either how low the latency goes at stock speeds or how fast overclocked the ram runs.

You obviously plan to overclock but to what level? No point buying pc8500 or pc9200 ram if you can't get the ram up to that speed with your mobo/cpu settings.

Consider buying pc6400 ram or greater whether you plan to overclock or not as all pc6400 will run at pc5300 speeds. The advantages are you have a much wider choice of ram available and potentially cheaper as well.

As for cas timings, lower is better of course but higher speeds beats lower latency (within reason)

eg 1000Mhz with 5-5-5-18 will be faster than 800Mhz with 4-4-4-12.

Of course the ideal is to have both like with my blades which will do 1000Mhz at 4-4-4-12.

EDIT: Oh to address your other points, it is better to get 2 x 2gb and for them to be slightly slower than very fast and expensive 2 x 1gb
as your system and games will be faster (super fast 1gb chips are for benchmark records only IMO). And yes, dual channel makes a difference but AFIK is mobo dependant and all matching ram sticks are dual channel so no premium involved.
Let me know your intended speed and I'll recommend some value for money ones.
 
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Ah thanks, will this is an education.

Can you be absolutely certain that my AS Rock SATA-2 board will run 800MHz RAM when the exact specifications, cp'd here are:
'Supports Dual Channel DDRII667 (DDRII x 2 DIMM slots)'

So 800MHz RAM will work, but be limited to 667MHz?

I've just discovered this board can only run a maximum of 2GB DDR2, so at this point, price really isn't an issue at all, I just want to keep this pc ticking over at gaming until I can afford an i7 system. So, assuming this board will run 800MHz memory, shouldn't any dual channel 2x1GB 4-4-4-12 latency memory offer close to the best performance I could get within the bounds of what's compatible?

My CPU is a 2.13Ghz, 6400 core-2 duo. FSB speed 1066MHz. Hopefully the trio of this board/cpu/whatever memory I choose could offer some overclocking potential, although I'm aware this board is quite poor at it, I bought it for it's crossover technology potential.
 
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Caporegime
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Kingston's KHX6400D2LLK2/4G is a kit of two low-latency 256M x 64-bit 2GB (2048MB) DDR2-800 CL4 SDRAM (Synchronous DRAM) memory modules, based on sixteen 128M x 8-bit DDR2 FBGA components per module. Total kit capacity is 4GB (4096MB). Each module pair has been tested to run at DDR2 800MHz at low latency timing of 4-4-4-12 at 1.95V. The SPD is programmed to JEDEC standard latency 667Mhz timing of 5-5-5-15 at 1.8V. Each 240-pin DIMM uses gold contact fingers and requires +1.8V.

Notice the yellow. So in your board by default they will boot at 667Mhz at 5-5-5-15.

Just make sure your board can give the ram 1.8v and your sorted.

Also notice the red text. To get 4-4-4-12 at 800Mhz they will need 1.95v. Ensure your board can supply that and overclocking will be fun.

Yes they are a good buy. They were even better 3 months ago on offer for £35 on this site though ;)

EDIT: What's the mobo full model number and I'll triple confirm it for you.;)
 
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Caporegime
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Another thought. Check the manual. A lot of Asrock hybrid boards only support 1gb ram max per slot......

eg http://www.asrock.com/MB/overview.asp?Model=4CoreDual-SATA2

This only supports max memory of 2gb :(

EDIT: Update. It would appear to "officially" support only 2gb however that was when the manually was written and they hadn't tested 2gb ram chips. Plenty of people on the net have the above board running with 4gb with the latest bios.
 
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Yes, it is indeed only 2GB max, ah well, but knowing that has saved me making a time consuming mistake!

Although I can't find information about voltages to the DIMMs in the manual.

Everest lists a board ID, is that the same as a model number?

I guess the best I could get for this board would be 2x1GB DDR2, latency 4-4-4-12, dual channel RAM, correct? Such as the 'Crucial Ballastix Tracer 2GB 2x1GB DDR2 PC2 6400C4 800MHz Dual Channel Kit'
 
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Caporegime
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Should be. Post it up and let me have a hunt.

Also note that 4gb may indeed still work (depends on exact model of mobo) and you can always return them under the distance selling act if they didn't work.

I'll let you know on the voltages. Alternative,y just go into the bios and look at the manual settings for the ram voltage. That will give you the min/max.
 
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Motherboard ID 63-204-0000010-00101111-093008-VIA$4CDS2204_4COREDUAL-SATA2 BIOS P2.10

I did try going into the BIOS, and there were RAM voltage options for 'auto, low, medium, and high', but no values specified.

Also, Crucials RAM compatability finder gave results that strangely say both this:

'DDR2 SDRAM Frequencies: PC2-4200 and PC2-5300'

And this:
' Each memory slot can hold DDR PC2700,DDR PC3200,DDR2 PC2-5300,DDR2 PC2-6400,DDR2 PC2-8500 with a maximum of 1GB per slot.'

So one part of it's results conclude this board could handle PC2-8500 even!
 
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Caporegime
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In which case it is indeed the board I linked to......

If you google it with 4gb ram you will see that many, many people find 4gb works in the board with ram on low.

And 8500 would indeed work as all ram AFIK have a speed setting built in for 667Mhz. It's not claiming you can run the board at full pc8500 speed though! ;)

If you don't fancy taking the risk with the 4gb ram, the ram you linked to would indeed work. However, ensure that in your bios you can manually set the latencies to 4-4-4-12 as per the other ram, by default they will run at 5-5-5-15 in your board until you manually change them. If your bios doesn't allow you to manually change them you may as well save money and buy 5-5-5-15 ram.
 
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Excellent! I read that two BIOS perimeters need be changed and it should work:

- DRAM frequency = DDR2 667
- DRAM voltage = Low

OK, just to sum-up, I should look for 2x2GB, dual channel, DDR2, 4-4-4-12 latency at pc8500? Which, theoretically, should be the most powerful type of RAM my system could manage?

You've been really helpful.
 
Caporegime
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Excellent! I read that two BIOS perimeters need be changed and it should work:

- DRAM frequency = DDR2 667
- DRAM voltage = Low

OK, just to sum-up, I should look for 2x2GB, dual channel, DDR2, 4-4-4-12 latency at pc8500? Which, theoretically, should be the most powerful type of RAM my system could manage?

You've been really helpful.

You're welcome but don;t waste your money on pc8500 ram. It is very,very unlikely you will overclock your mobo from 667Mhz to 1066Mhz (or whatever pc8500 is, I forget for the minute :o)

Your best bet is that pc6400 you linked to earlier on special offer IMO.
 
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Ah right then, I think I'll commit, having looked around, fantastic price here at oc.

Thanks for all the advice today Greebo!
 
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