how to determine ram timing and size

monste4321

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Ok im building another computer, and havent really done so in a while so im behind the times in certain settings. Im looking at ram right now and have a few questions.

First of all Im leaning towards going for 4 gigs, im going to be doing some gaming on it, so it seems like the suitable amount. Next I cant decide between going with 4x1 sticks or 2x2 sticks, is there a difference between the two and which one is "better". (ill be using DDR2 800 pc2-6400)

Next im looking at timing of the ram, i know what each of the numbers means, but i dont know whats a good amount for each number, i.e. is 444-16 better or worse then lets say, 555-12. also which is better 1t or 2t.

Also I refuse to use Windows Vista, so ill be using XP pro x64 sp2, will anything differ between the two for ram setting wise.

Thanks for all the help

One last question does it really matter if i get sli or crossfire ready ram (ill be using two ati crossfire vid cards) Ive seen companies like OCZ that have sli and crossfire ready ram.
 

cisco

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Probably 4x1gig would be better, it will give you more options and brands to choose from. I would go with the lowest timings I can get and 444 will be faster than any 555 and 1t is faster than 2t. 1t is definitely the way to go there. Also check your motherboard website to make sure whatever brand you choose has been tested with that board, it will save you a lot of headaches. I would probably go with Vista 64bit if I were to go with a 64bit OS. I think you will find better driver and application support for Vista, neither will be very good in that regard. Ideally it would be best to go with either XP or 32bit Vista, but I have been contemplating going to Vista 64bit to utilize the 4gigs of ram. SLI ready will make a difference with Nvidia 680i and I believe 650i chipset mobo, it will automatically run the ram at aggressive timings.
 

monste4321

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ok, then 444 timing is what ill do for that, but whats the last number in the series, such as 444-16, whats the 16 mean in that case, and i heard somewhere that having 4x1 causes the ram to not correctly run in dual channel is that true, and I know way to much about vista to ever want to use it on my computer if Im going to be gaming, and I want 64 bit to fully utilize my processor and ram, thanks for the info though
 

jedimasterben

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Don't be a bigot. Seriously. Gets old fast.

Vista is just fine. There are more/better drivers for Vista x64 than XP x64.

2x2GB is what you would want, as latencies don't hold too much ground, and it also leaves you an upgrade path to 8GB.
 

monste4321

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well just for clarification i would still like to know the meaning and "good number range" of the last number in the ram timing series... and could you possible go a little bit more indepth about why 2x2 is superior to 4x1

and lastly are you calling me a bigot? cause if you are you are seriously way out of line and if you knew my situation, you would be smart to retract that statement

one reason i dont like vista is becuase when it first came out( which is when i read about it) it would preload operations and use close to 100% capacity at all times, thus makes things such as games, have to fight for ram, now im not really sure if its changed at all, and ive heard that their now haveing a sp1 for it, but that was my impression on it
 

billyc

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Those that know will quickly put me in my place if I'm wrong, but I believe the main problem with 4x1 ram is that it is harder to oc 4 sticks of ram than 2. Also, some MB's don't handle 4 sticks very well, especially older models. Secondary pluses for 2x2 ram is the upgrade to 8 meg path.
 

monste4321

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i also heard that if you use 2 sticks you get a 1t cycle verses a t2 cycle with 4x1 ram does this make a big difference and is this even true
 

jedimasterben

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You did happen to realize that when Vista preloads an application, and you don't launch that certain application, and launch, say a game, it unloads the other app. No applications have to fight for the RAM, as Vista just unloads it in favor of the application you actually launched. It's algorithms are tuned for this, so it knows just how to react.

Trust me, I've used Vista since Beta 2, and I've found this to be very helpful (as in no loading screens during games).

The 1T 2T cycle time is dependent solely on the RAM. Most DDR2 will run at 2T no matter what. If 4 sticks are inserted, usually 2T is automatically enabled, as it helps with stability. It doesn't make a difference, really. Maybe .5 frames per second will be added to games. *shrugs*

Sorry for calling you a bigot, but when you just up and say that because of what other people say about Vista, you're never going to use it? That makes no sense.

Don't knock it 'til you try it. Just give it a shot, what have you got to lose?
 

monste4321

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a $150 bucks for the program ;)

alright but i also heard u cant play downloaded movies on it which *cough*I do*cough*

and does how much does a lower ram timing really do,

and if you are looking at timing, does the first three numbers make more of a difference or does the last one
 

jedimasterben

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Yes, you can play downloaded movies on it. *cough*Me too*cough*

Lower RAM timings help with VERY few programs. I have G.Skill's ultra low latency RAM, at 4-4-3-5-2T, and I saw no difference between those timings and 5-5-5-15-2T that my motherboard automatically set for it.

I'm not too awful sure about which cycle latency makes the most difference. I can imagine that only one by itself doesn't make a difference, but a combination of the four will.
 

The_OGS

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I cant decide between going with 4x1 sticks or 2x2 sticks
Received a reply of:
Probably 4x1gig would be better, it will give you more options and brands to choose from
LoL, you're right - but there are already too many brands!
Clearly (from a hardware point of view) 2 x 2GB is the best way to have 4GB memory.
Your timings will basically be the same except 2T command rate with 4 x 1GB (an extra tick).
monste4321 you have WinXP 64? This is very unusual and surely you do not need Vista.
Most would upgrade from WinXP 32 to Vista 64, but you're already half-way there, y'know?
2 x 2GB running at 4-4-4-12 or whatever will be fine. Pushing timings doesn't do much - but neither does very high memory speed (beyond the bandwidth of the CPU).
Regards
 

The_OGS

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Wow - that's a good deal.
(Much less than DDR memory too, btw :ouch: )
You get your standard 5-5-5-15 @ 1.8v, but then maybe you can improve to 4-4-4-12 @ ~2.0 or 2.1v.
@ jedimasterben
Double-check those timings in your sig, it looks like a typo...?
Regards
 

saintones

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I heard the problem using 64bit is tracking down all the drivers. Thinking about building soon myself, and wanted to go 64bit, anyone find this to be true??
 

jedimasterben

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EVERY RAM manufacturer ships dead sticks. I had one, but that doesn't mean that the company sells bad products.

With computers becoming more and more complex, the chances of getting something DOA are increasing, so ordering any product/brand you'll have that chance.

@saintones:
64-bit drivers are everywhere. I had no problems getting them for my system. Even back in Beta 2 days, I still had working drivers for everything except some weird thing on an Asus motherboard.
 

jedimasterben

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SLI is a a special profile that lets the motherboard automatically set the RAM voltage and timings.

It doesn't require an SLI board to work, however, but sometimes the board won't automatically set the timings and such.

Just ignore the SLI ready RAM, as it doesn't do anything other than save 10 seconds in initial setup of the BIOS.
 

monste4321

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alright well i found a set of ocz platinum 4x2 and 4x1 there the same price, and close to same timings, ill prob end up going with the 4x2 but thanks for the info
for the 4x2 ram it is the following
Cas Latency 5
Timing 5-4-4-18
Voltage 2.1V

does that sound like its in order, and does that leave any room for a little overclocking in ram, thanks
 

jedimasterben

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I poked around on Google to see if any major tech sites had a review of those, but I couldn't' find any. But going to several stores and reading reviews there, people have generally had good luck when overclocking and lower the timings. I think one said something like 4-4-4-12-1T. But a lot of people said that you still have to manually set the timings and voltage on it. (I would go ahead and set the voltage to 2.2v to allow you some headroom to work with overclocking. This allowed me to keep my RAM timings at 4-4-3-5 at 950MHz instead of 800)

But I've heard many good things about OCZ, so if you're sure about it, then go for it. $150 and then a $35 rebate right now.
 

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