PC Memory: Just the Facts


Jun 14, 2007
I sure can't wait to see how this goes. I think ddr3 is a complete joke with high end ddr2 as low as 55$ after rebate for stuff that runs low timings (4-4-4-12) at 850+MHz. Heck, I love my old DDR PC3200(DDR400) that runs at DDR440 at 2-3-2-5 with 2.65volts. And that is with 1024MBx2!


Aug 15, 2006
Good article although I would have benifited more if the authors discussed the issue of how much memory to use with different hardware and the new operating systems. For example, they say to buy memory in pairs to make use of dual channels. They also say to use a lot of memory if running on Vista home premium or Vista 64. But I read somewhere 3 MB is the practical RAM limit. So how do you order 3MB for use in dual channel mode? This would be the article to discuss that. Btw, I admit to being an amateur (novice consumer who spends a lot of money over the years on desktops and laptops I purchase from ABS or HP direct.) Sorry if my comments missed some important facts.


Jul 6, 2003
Physical Memory Addresses used by RAM, are also used by hardware devices and more importantly Video Cards.

The 32 bit versions of Windows can only address 4GB. So if you have 4GB of RAM, a 512 MB Video card you will only be able access to less than 3.5 GB of RAM.

There is no performance penalty, you are just use the memory to its full capacity.

You can still go with 2x1GB + 2x512 and get dual channel 3GB, or you can just go with 2x2GB and accept the lost capacity.

Or you can switch to a 64 bit version of Windows and deal with all the problems that entails.


BTW I love the .... for the Money concept. I hope Tom's Hardware continues to expand on this idea!

I like to stay current on all the latest hardware developments, but don't have time to read all the reviews.

I would much rather consult an article telling me the best values in each of the price ranges for a given component, narrow my choices down to one or two models, then read the detailed reviews.

I hope other people readers equally interested. That way there can be a best CPU, best Motherboard ... all updated monthly.

It would significantly cut down on the research time needed when building a new system.


Jun 13, 2006
One thing that I would also try to get is, specially on value ram, is what dye is used, it's quality and the probability that it is overclocked. Probably these are very difficult matters to tell, but, because I work with memory manufacturers, are important in distinguishing good suppliers or not. Oh, and the number of layers of the pcb also matters. On the DDR2 side, there is a chance for the use of old TSOP packaging up to 533 (after that it has too much heating), and generally TSOP delivers less performance than BGA.


Sep 2, 2007
Without overclocking considerations. Does DDR2-667 memory fit best with a 1333FSB cpu and 333MHz bus speed?
Is the motherboard FSB specification really only have to do with PCB design/manufacturing quality?


Pretty decent article explaining what to look for in RAM, what matters, etc. I suppose it's good to have something like this to help out newcomers and keep it up-to-date so when DDR3 becomes mainstream they can decide whether it's worth it.

I don't suppose there's any real way to benchmark this. It's great and all to say that DDR3 doesn't offer too much of an advantage over DDR2, but that's only for current CPUs. An we add more cores, maybe we will need 1.8GHz DDR3, and our 1GHz DDR2 would be laughable, even if the timings are in the 7-9 range instead of 4-5.


A small error note, when you said there were bold entries in Table 2 (and maybe the others can't remember), well.... there are none in bold.

A good article nonetheless. Especially useful for those who can't, or don't need to, understand the highly technical stuff regarding memory. Simply stating what is old and what is new, what is good and what is not worth the money, is exactly what most people need.