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Thread: Miscelaneous RAM questions!




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Default Miscelaneous RAM questions!

    Hey guys, this is my first post here and I'm praying that you'll be able to help me. I've tried googling info on RAM but couldn't find anything to answer my questions (though the most informative articles were here lol).

    If you have any links you go point me too as well, or if any of these questions have been previously answered somewhere else, please just point me in the right direction. :).

    Well here it goes...

    My specs:

    Pentium 4 3.0ghz HT 512kb l2 Cache
    Intel motherboard D865GBF (http://intel.com/design/motherbd/bf/index.htm)
    Radeon x850 Platinum Edition 256mb (oc'ed)
    512mb 333mhz (320mhz) Kingstom RAM 184 PIN

    My situation:

    I play the latest games and do some mapping with Half-Life 2's Hammer (with the game running in the background). I often have a dozen browser (tabs) windows opens, WinAmp running, etc. I'm slowly upgrading my computer, started with the video card, going to add some RAM now, and by the end of this summer I want to replace my mobo and CPU and go AMD when dual-core has been made widely available.

    My questions:

    How much RAM do I need, and to what extent will adding more boost performance?
    What exactly is RAM latency and RAM bandwith?
    What are the benefits of dual-channel RAM, and does my motherboard support it?
    What kind of RAM do you recommend? (fancy Kingston dual-channel HyperX DDR 400 vs cheap Elixir, etc)
    What are the benefits to overclocking RAM?


    Bonus question:
    What is AGP aperture size? Mine is currently set at 64mb, does it mean my video card can only use 64mb of its 256mb?


    Thank you for your time! Much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Minnesota, United States
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    Default Re: Miscelaneous RAM questions!

    I wouldn't bother upgrading the RAM on that. The motherboard and processor won't take advantage of anything faster. When you upgrade the motherboard and processor, then you could get more RAM. Or, you could get one stick now and one stick later so you can simply have more RAM (which will help, but the RAM won't run at nearly its capacity). That will drastically improve loading times for all sorts of programs, particularly games, especially given your current multitasking environment.

    Without getting into a long explanation, suffice it to say that RAM of higher speed (measured in MHz) is faster, as is RAM of lower latencies. The advantage of overclocking is increased performance from having the RAM run faster. The specific platform, speeds of everything, and application in question will determine how much performance is improved by overclocking. Say you get a DFI socket 939 nForce 4 motherboard and OCZ VX RAM. That will mean as much as 50% increase in the RAM's speed when overclocked, which would likely mean anywhere from 10-50% performance increase, depending on the application on how far other components are overclocked. BTW that's the motherboard and RAM I'd recommend when you upgrade, except for one problem: You currently have an AGP video card, which won't work in a PCI-E board. So that means you couldn't upgrade to that motherboard, and you couldn't use that RAM to its potential, making it a waste of money (if it isn't already).

    So, if your situation doesn't change, I'd recommend you just get a 512MB stick of CAS 2.5 PC3200 from a reliable company. It won't even run at its full speed, but it will help in that you will simly have a lot more RAM. However, I'd recommend you change your situation. Upgrading to an AGP motherboard and dual-core would be kind of silly at this point, but it would be the only option unless you wanted to get rid of a video card that expensive... So figure a way around that, if you can. I'd go as far as to return the card, or at least to return it and get a PCI-E version when I upgraded, if possible.

    AGP arpeture is how much system RAM is set aside for use by the video card in-game. It has no effect on the cards onboard RAM. I doubt you can't change it on that motherboard, though, do don't worry about it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Australia
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    Default Re: Miscelaneous RAM questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yawgm0th
    I wouldn't bother upgrading the RAM on that. The motherboard and processor won't take advantage of anything faster. When you upgrade the motherboard and processor, then you could get more RAM. Or, you could get one stick now and one stick later so you can simply have more RAM (which will help, but the RAM won't run at nearly its capacity). That will drastically improve loading times for all sorts of programs, particularly games, especially given your current multitasking environment.
    What in the hell are you on or are you just asleep?

    Any i865 chipset based mainboard and a P4 3.0C or 3.0E will get a very good boost going from one stick of 512MB PC2700 single channel mode to 2x 256MB PC3200 sticks in dual channel mode as most know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Creep
    Bonus question:
    What is AGP aperture size? Mine is currently set at 64mb, does it mean my video card can only use 64mb of its 256mb?
    128MB is the most used setting now (64MB use to be several years back with older hardware) though you can try and benchtest the 256MB setting to see if that gives any performance advantage over 128MB after your memory upgrade.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Default Re: Miscelaneous RAM questions!

    Yeah... Forgot about how much performance is improved by dual channel in that case.

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