More or faster memory?


Aug 22, 2010
I am currently using 4gb (2x2gb) G.SKill DDR2-800 memory with 4-4-4-12-16 T2 timings at 1.8v, which fairly good for DDR2. My friend is building a new PC and has some DDR2-800 (2x1gb) that he willing to sell to me for really cheap ($20 for both). His memory is older (nearly 4 years) Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 running 5-5-5-18-24 which runs at 1.9v.

I am fairly sure that his ram would not be able to down to my timings without me raising the voltage to the 2.0 or higher, which I don't want to do. I can always slow my memory down to match the new sticks, but is it worth slowing my timings for an extra 2gb?
As a general rule, more ram is better than faster ram. Even slow ram is way faster than the swap file on a hard drive. If your applications have to swap to the hard drive due to lack of memory, your performance goes way down. So if you have a 64-bit OS, the extra ram could speed performance because the system would be less likely to 'Swap out'(to the hard drive). o1die is correct about the limits of 32-bit windows though.
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.
Malmental is right, of course.

That being said, I'd rather have 8 GB of the slowest ram as opposed to 1 gb of the fastest ram available. The slowest ram is orders of magnitude faster than the fastest Hard drive(except SSDs). :)


Dec 30, 2010

True. And, $20 for those two is dirt cheap.