Latency or MHZ?


Nov 3, 2010
Hi everyone, can any help with this simple dilemma. I'm thinking of upping my RAM from 8GB of corsair CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 ( two sets of this) up to 16GB of one of these,
either CMX8GX3M2A2000C9 ( two sets) or CMX8GX3M2A1600C9. Both are on the approved list from the corsair website for my ASUS P7P55D motherboard with i5 chip.

The first has 2000mhz the second 1600mhz. The firsts latency is 9-10-9-27 the seconds 9-9-9-24. I dont understand the latency part and what is the bit to look for? lower latency numbers or higher MHZ.

Can anyone help me decide what ones to go for please and why.

Many thanks for reading and if you can help




Nov 3, 2010
I've just been reading some other threads to see if any match my dilemma, without any real luck yet and so i thought I'd add this info just in case it helps with any potential answers i may get. I'm running a lot of CAD stuff with lots of CPU and RAM intensive rendering so the extra RAM will help me. Also the RAM I'm using at the moment I've got running at the full 1600mhz by upping my BCLK clock in the BIOS up to 160. If i get the first set (2000mhz) then i'd probably try the same and up my BCLK to get that running at its full 2000MHZ if it likes it. I found that by turning up the BCLK to 160 it automatically OC'd my i5 from 2.75 up to 3.2 with out any problems.

Lastly my set up is water cooled (only the CPU) and have plenty of airflow so heat has never been a problem yet....

hope this info might help with any potential advice.

thanks again




Jun 28, 2008
If you are interested in overclocking, then MHz would be more important to you.
Generally speaking, there is a trade-off: once you decide to push you MHz, you might need to loose (increase) your timings, all else equal.
For some more or less small frequency increases (depends on the quality of you RAM and luck), you can increase voltage and keep timings tight, but you should be careful not to burn your memory.


Dec 24, 2010
AMD uses something called an IMC (Integrated Memory Controller).
It helps the AMD chips perform very well in memory related tasks (because now the ram isn't controlled by the motherboard through the FSB)
but it also has a few quirks.
The IMC doesn't seem to like a lot of stress, and so in general, you wont get as much of an OC out of your ram if you have all of your ram slots populated.
So it should be easier to get more performance out of only two sticks of ram.

*Intels Nahelem architecture utilizes this same design, leaving the Core 2 series as the only mainstream processor to still use the FSB design.

Also, the same thing goes for mismatched ram, the IMC just doesn't like it.
So if you have ram that is not from the same kit, and are experiencing instability, try taking out the non-matching set, and see if that helps out.

Also, you might have heard about the “timings” of the ram, and how that is important.
I have seen a lot of people get confused with that.
Let me explain this as simply as I can.

There is memory speed, and then there are memory timings.

Speed is the frequency that the memory operates at (in MHz... and remember that when you are looking in CPU-z that ram is DDR [Double Data Rate], so the frequency that it says will always be half of what it is actually running at). It is fairly straightforward and easy to understand.
And remember that the ram speed is tied to the reference clock, and in this way you can easily OC your ram beyond the stock speed.
Speed is mostly important for higher bandwidth, as it just means that the ram can move more information.

Timings are different, and should not be confused with the speed. Timings do not effect the speed (in MHz) of the ram at all.
Instead, they change how “efficient” the ram is. In other words, the timings affect the “turnaround” of the information.
The timings are generally listed something like this: 5-5-5-18. While I wont go into all of the details about what those each mean here,
I can give you a basic idea of what the timings mean. Timings change how long the ram will wait to do something.
So having ram with looser (numerically higher) timings, means that the ram will “wait” longer in between processes.
Using the example of 5-5-5-18 ram, information is copied, it then waits for 5 clock cycles before it moves onto the next step.
Ram with 7-7-7-23 timings running at the same speed (in MHz) will move the information there just as quickly,
but then will need to wait for 7 cycles between doing things, rather than 5.
This is why “performance” ram is in fact faster.
It's a very nice explanation. Simply helpful...

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