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Beginners Guides: RAM, Memory and Upgrading

Beginners Guides: RAM, Memory and Upgrading - PCSTATS
Abstract: Random Access Memory (RAM) can be thought of as the short-term memory, in the sense that once the power is turned off, all information stored there is not saved.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Memory Aug 14 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > Memory

DDR memory with slow timings

In highly competitive markets, once a major manufacturer releases a new and innovative product, the rest will surely follow close behind. If one manufacturer doesn't follow suit, their products are considered 'old tech'.

As always, everything always boils down to money and that's why we have this dilemma; to run faster memory with slower access times, or run slower memory with faster access times.

There are two trains of thought on this, the first is that high speed DIMM's (like PC4000 DDR) can make up for running slower timings by the amount of bandwidth provide the processor. Specifically, bandwidth is the amount of data that can be moved from one given device to another.

Most DIMM's that run tight timings, such as certain PC3200 & PC3500 modules, have to run the memory at lower MHz than the FSB. However, when overclocking to extreme speeds these DIMM's are bandwidth limiting the processor. What I mean by this, is that when the processor requires a great deal of bandwidth, the CPU will have to wait for another clock cycle before being filled, as the memory is just not fast enough to keep up at the same pace. Having a large pool of bandwidth is great when you're working with applications that process a lot of raw data, such as Photoshop or databases for example.

The other point of view is that CAS2-rated PC3200 & 3500 memory can make up for the lack of bandwidth because the memory has a lower latency that in effect moves data between the CPU and memory faster. Programs that do not require a large amount of bandwidth tend to benefit more from quicker data transfers between the memory and the rest of the computer; such as games or 3D applications.

While bandwidth is still very important to the Intel Pentium 4, it's not as important as it once was in the i845PE days of single channel memory controllers. Thanks to the i865PE/i875P's dual channel memory controller things are much brighter. On average, a system with the memory running at 400 MHz (5:4 memory divider enabled) with aggressive memory timings will perform 2-3% faster than the system using high speed memory with loose timings.

While that may not seem like a lot to most people, it can make a world of a difference to the enthusiast, especially if you're gunning for that high score in a clan match where every FPS counts. Many enthusiasts I know, tend to favour slower memory which allows them to run aggressive timings for just this reason.

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Contents of Article: Memory
 Pg 2.  Beginners Guides: RAM, Memory and Upgrading
 Pg 3.  DDR-SDRAM
 Pg 5.  What type of memory should you use?
 Pg 6.  The Advantage of more memory
 Pg 7.  Memory Bandwidth vs. Latency Timings
 Pg 8.  — DDR memory with slow timings

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