RAM Sizes & Price Fluctuations

OMGLAZERS

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For overclocking and better performance in general, is it a better idea to get a 1 Gig RAM stick or two 512 MB ram sticks?

I ask this because to me, it's not immediately apparent. Both have pros and cons i'm sure, but i'd like the board's opinion on the matter.

Thanks everyone for your help!

*Edit* : Also, anyone who minds to answer, does $200 for 2 GB ( 2 x 1 Gb) of RAM (800 Mhz, corsair or OCZ) seem like a bad price? I know that RAM can jump up or down, but does anyone expect the price to drop suddenly any time soon, or is my investment solid at this point? Thanks.
 

OMGLAZERS

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6400 C2D
Gigabyte D3 Mobo
7900 GS Videocard
and of course, the RAM.

It's going to be 1 GB to start (build not yet done at all), and later upgraded. The board has four slots, so 4x512 is fine by me.

This is more of a performance or reliabillity issue. Will overclocking a 1 GB versus 2x512 be more strenuous, or is it the other way around? Will I save energy for the PS if I go the one stick route?

I've never heard it discussed before so I figured i'd ask before I buy.
 

choirbass

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IMO, if youre only maxing out at 1GB, and not considering purchasing any more memory, 2x512MB might be the way to go, you then get dual channel, and lower latencies typically

if, however, youre planning on purchasing more than just 2*512MB modules (or already have memory youve purchased, that youre considering adding this to), i would say to go for 1*1GB module, that way you dont run out of dimm slots on your motherboard... ...you may lose dual channel capability (if youre running an odd number of modules, or even nonmatched modules), and you may have slower timings... but for the long run, its a more practical investment, as memory requirements will increase (vista needs 2GB just to run smoothly, where as XP only need 512MB to run smoothly)

so, i would only go for the 2*512 modules, if youre on a tighter budget, otherwise, just go for 1*1GB module, and possibly add another later
 

caamsa

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I agree. Or if he has the money just get a 2 gig dual channel kit. Memory prices are high but hopefully they will drop after the new year. I got 2 gigs of memory this summer for $150.00 and now 2 gigs is around $200.00.
 

OMGLAZERS

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Well looking at OCZ/Corsair memory:

OCZ Gold 2x512: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227126 or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227082

Corsair XMS 2x512: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145566

Compared to a OCZ Gold 1x1 Gb: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227123

The price is pretty much the same (unless their's something i'm missing. Does the timing matter? I don't really even GET what the timing thing is).

So yes, I planned to expand so I knew 1 Gb was a better choice; but I did not know if in a PERFORMANCE aspect the 512s would do better! You know, like, the load is distributed across multiple RAMs so they heat less? I don't know, had to ask :)

I'm planning on adding later as soon as I have another $100 to burn since I know 1 GB isn't cutting it as badass anymore.

*Edit* : Also, anyone who minds to answer, does $200 for 2 GB ( 2 x 1 Gb) of RAM (800 Mhz, corsair or OCZ) seem like a bad price? I know that RAM can jump up or down, but does anyone expect the price to drop suddenly any time soon, or is my investment solid at this point? Thanks.
 

caamsa

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I don't know all the technical details of the memory timing but am certain someone on here will explain it to you or give you a link that explains it.
 

OMGLAZERS

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I don't know all the technical details of the memory timing but am certain someone on here will explain it to you or give you a link that explains it.

As far as I can tell, the higher the numbers, the better it is; that is, it shows rate and information about the RAM and having them all similar and higher is a good thing. Although I could be totally wrong.
 

choirbass

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2*512MB will be faster than a single 1*1GB, if your motherboard offers dual channel (cant see that it wouldnt)... its akin to adding more lanes to a freeway, so more cars can travel the same way at the same time... the cars dont travel any faster, theres just more that can travel in parallel... same applies to handling data

timings are basically waiting periods (in nanoseconds, as far as i know)... the lower the latency timer, the shorter the waiting period, before getting to 'send data' again, similar to overclocking... lower is always better, or in this case a CAS latency of 2 for DDR (CAS 4 for DDR2) is about as fast as youll get... CAS latency is the most important latency, next to the T timings, 1T and 2T (i think theyre 2T and 3T for DDR2, not sure)

but, hope that helps somewhat
 

OMGLAZERS

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2*512MB will be faster than a single 1*1GB, if your motherboard offers dual channel (cant see that it wouldnt)... its akin to adding more lanes to a freeway, so more cars can travel the same way at the same time... the cars dont travel any faster, theres just more that can travel in parallel... same applies to handling data

timings are basically waiting periods (in nanoseconds, as far as i know)... the lower the latency timer, the shorter the waiting period, before getting to 'send data' again, similar to overclocking... lower is always better, or in this case a CAS latency of 2 for DDR (CAS 4 for DDR2) is about as fast as youll get... CAS latency is the most important latency, next to the T timings, 1T and 2T (i think theyre 2T and 3T for DDR2, not sure)

but, hope that helps somewhat

That explained it beuatifuly, THANK you! :)
 

choirbass

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:) welcome, not 100% sure on timing specifics myself though, lol... such as just how important the other latency timings are in relation to each other... but, the two i pointed out, do have the most noticable impact on performance... but, the same can also be said for 2*1GB modules, if you have 2, that would be the way to go (instead of 2*512MB), as youll have dual channel still
 

KTev

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Choirbass got all of the important things down.

lower timings are better (but they are in mutiples of clocks, not in nanoseconds)
Timings hence factor with clock speed of ram. So, good timings on slower ram can equate to higher timings on faster ram. This is the reason why ddr and ddr2 give similar performance.

If you want to know what each timing means you should google it but to give you an idea CAS stands for column address strobe and is the time, in cycles, for the ram to start sending data. Depending on where the data is and the current read point in the ram other timings may or may not become a factor.

To a point you will see a bigger diffecernce in performance on an AMD system depending on timings. It has to do with the memory controller and size of on die memory.

Dual chanel will give double the bandwith (always a good thing)

If you don't plan on doing an upgrade anytime soon go with the 2x512. You don't need one of the matched pair sets to get dual chanel working but your best be is to get two sticks with the same part number.

If you plan on upgrading to 2gb soon I would recomend to either buy 2 1gb sticks or wait until you can.

For price as you heard the prices are a little high right now. If you aren't in a rush keep you eyes out and prices seem to run on a 3-6 month cycle.
 

OMGLAZERS

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Well, I decided to just bite the bullet and buy $200 for 2 gb (2x1's) since I want the DDR feature, and I know ill get it eventually and really don't care to wait or such.

Thanks for all the advice