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From Love and Limerence
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6,574 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, recently, when I picked up two additional hard drives, I picked up another 4GB of RAM since it's so cheap, and prices on DDR2 RAM will likely only go up as time goes on and things transition to DDR3 RAM. I am aware 32-bit operating systems can't address the full 4GB I have now, let alone 8GB, and I was aware you'd need more voltage for the MCH (Northbridge), and possibly RAM, and I know it's overkill now, but it was for when I get Windows 7 64-bit more than anything. RAM has always been something you could never have too much of, well, maybe until now.

Here's my experience and conclusion. It's not worth 8GB right now except for a very few people.

First of all, I had to lower my overclock (I was pretty much aware I'd have to, but was hoping I wouldn't have to).

With 4GB, I am able to run my RAM at 900MHz at 5-5-5-18 and 2.0V, with the Northbridge at 1.39V. The CPU, therefore, runs at 4.5GHz. Besides the fact that the timings could be better, all was well.

With 8GB, I can't go higher than 800MHz, need the same 5-5-5-18 timings, but I need 2.1V on the RAM, and 1.45V on the Northbridge (am not willing to give it more since it's passively cooled and runs pretty warm as it is). The CPU, therefore, runs at 4.0GHz. Since I upgraded to this CPU for the extra speed, that would be a waste.

According to Corsair, to use 8GB, at least in a configuration of four modules of 2GB each, it's recommended to use 2.1V for the RAM, +.2V for the MCH (which would be the 1.45V I used, since it's 1.25V stock), and set the speed to 667MHz. 667MHz!? Well, wow, it's rated for 800MHz at 1.9V. Some RAM will do 800MHz with four modules like that (luckily, mine did), but too much higher or with better timings with 4x 2GB seems hard to do. I'm not even fully sure it was 100% stable (though it passed MemTest86+ and general use).

Not only that, but what needs 8GB? Even with a 64-bit operating system, most programs are still 32-bit.

Anyway, this is just my experience. You'll notice I'm back to 4GB in the signature. It's no loss. Even though the 32-bit operating system can only see ~3.25GB of it, since 64-bit software has a bigger footprint, there's no real waste using 4GB on a 32-bit operating system or real advantage switching to a 64-bit operating system with 4GB. You'd do that with 6GB or more.

Therefore, I think 4GB is the way to go now, and even 2GB is honestly probably fine enough for most people.

Anywho's that's my feedback. I pretty much knew all of this, but I was sort of hoping I'd be able to keep the 4.5GHz overclock with the 8GB if I added some voltage (since I had headroom), even if I had to loosten timings, but now that I have to choose between the overclock and the RAM, since the RAM gives far less extra anything, unless I do get both working together, I'll probably sell the extra RAM to my brother or something, since I know he's been saying he's been wanting to buy some. By time I need 8GB and the software world is more situated to make the gains show more across the board (read as, actually show at all), I'll probably be on a new system with DDR3 anyway. With them making Windows 7 available in 32-bit (why!? oh, because the Pentium 4 and Athlon XP are still mainstream enough probably), I only see the software transitioning to full and primarily 64-bit even slower.

For those looking at going with Core i7 with triple channel, you're overkill as it is with 6GB, so rest easy and don't even worry about 12GB. It's massive waste you'll never see. I'd probably go with 6GB over 3GB though, unless the price difference is large enough.
 

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From Love and Limerence
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6,574 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's not so much the amount being overkill (overkill on RAM is almost always good) as it is the 32-bit limits making it completely useless anyway. That's precisely why there's so few programs that take advantage of it. Most programs don't even use over 2GB. Still, with cheaper prices of RAM, and Windows 7 coming (which should make for a larger 64-bit operating system user base), I think we'll, hopefully, see the start of programs putting more focus on 64-bit versions. It just looks like it may happen slowly.
 

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The Hunter
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15,879 Posts
Nice read Zedeck :) I already got a feeling that you ran into the problems about the 4 modules. It's also what makes me wonder if buying another set of 2x1GB will be a wise idea to get 4GB in total for msyelf. Probably by the time I'll really need it 2x2 is rather affordable anyway, and I can perhaps use these as a spare for a build that doesn't rely on OC that much.
 

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From Love and Limerence
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6,574 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, it'd likely be better for you, since 4GB of addresses is less space to keep track of than 8GB, but still, it does seem to hold up that two modules is always easier than four on both the MCH and even the RAM itself.

I'd also wager your chipset wouldn't run as hot or perhaps even need as much voltage.

Since that appears to be decent RAM you have, whether or not you ditch it for 4GB or just add 2GB more is really up to you. If it was cheaper stuff, it'd be easier to just be willing to replace it all, but if your CPU needs the FSB is has now for it's overclock, and/or you like those timings and RAM speed, you might not get guaranteed results with four modules though.

4GB is useful for some things, like Vista, Crysis (loading only) Photoshop, and heavy multi-tasking, but 2GB is still very sufficient for the majority of things.
 

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Final Fantasy XXX
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2,413 Posts
With 8gb Core i7 would make better use of it, especially in games and other memory intensive applications. 6gb is the sweet spot.
 

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Your resident reaper...
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6,031 Posts
I got 8Gigs cause it was on sale and pretty much dirt cheap.

Doesn't hurt to have 8GB. If a stick or two goes bad, no worries, you still have 4 or 6GB :D

But yeah, I've noticed no difference from 2 to 8GB. Then again, I only went 8 GB with Windows 7.
 

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From Love and Limerence
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6,574 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
aren't you limited to how much memory a 32-bit program can use, even if you are running it under a 64-bit operating system?
Yes, and as I mentioned, that's precisely the problem. Most programs can't see more than 2GB, and for the ones that can see more, they're still limited to about 3GB-3.5GB. Only 64 bit applications will be able to use more than 4GB of RAM.

I got 8Gigs cause it was on sale and pretty much dirt cheap.

Doesn't hurt to have 8GB. If a stick or two goes bad, no worries, you still have 4 or 6GB :D

But yeah, I've noticed no difference from 2 to 8GB. Then again, I only went 8 GB with Windows 7.
No question about it. All else being equal, yes, I'd opt for 8GB over 4GB as well, but since I'd have to lower my overclock, and the 8GB offers no real improvements over 4GB (it does over 2GB though), I see no need to go with it now. I hardly ever maximize my RAM use.
 

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Professional OC'er
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1,391 Posts
Christ!!! 8 GB???

I'm only using 2 of the Dominator Ram 1066 at times and am going to likely be sharing the stick set with another build I'm working on....this summer...
I find even two is more than it needs...

Then again I only do overclocking and benchmark testing.... not really into games and multimedia stuff......

I can get 4 GB of 1066 nowadays with the 5-5-5-15 Timings and high performance for only 40.00,,,, and even 2 for only 25.00 with the same 1066 and 5-5-5-15.....

This **** really is cheap.....

Know what I mean/?????
PS: incase you forgot, here's my old chip


I'm not hi-jacking, I just though you folks need ed a reminder to be grateful for what you have....


Remember, it could be this bad.....:(:(:(
 
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