Articles: Memory

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Rapid drop of memory prices that coincided with the growing popularity of Windows Vista OS and release of multiple resource-hungry applications and computer games made 4GB of system memory an absolutely justified choice even for mainstream platforms. Most users currently equip their systems with this amount of memory. However, you won’t see the same unanimity in other memory subsystem configuration matters. For example, what is preferable: two memory modules 2GB each, or four memory modules 1GB each? Or which memory type, DDR2 or DDR3 would be a better choice today?

In fact, the answer to the first question is quite evident: the advantage of 2GB modules pairs is that it leaves two DIMM slots on the board free. First, it allows to increase the amount of system memory in the platform without replacing the already installed memory modules, and second, it lowers the electrical load on the memory controller thus improving the general system reliability. Of course, four memory module configurations have every right to exist and work problem-free in most cases, but we would still recommend using 2GB modules, especially if you intend to overclock your system.

The second question is much more interesting, despite its seeming simplicity. Of course, the owners of Socket AM2+ and LGA1366 platforms cannot choose the type of memory to be used on their platforms, however, what about those users who focus on extremely popular LGA775 platforms boasting numerous advantages? Intel as well as mainboard makers do not pose any restrictions to the memory types to be used on their platforms: there are both types of mainboards in the market today – for DDR2 as well as DDR3 SDRAM. Nevertheless, buying DDR3 SDRAM was considered an unjustified waste of money a few months ago, because DDR3 SDRAM modules cost several times more than DDR2 ones of the same capacity. The frequency advantages of the new memory type, however, didn’t provide an adequate performance improvement, as we have proven by our tests of previous-generation LGA775 platforms based on “third-series” Intel chipsets.

At first glance, things today are very similar to what they used to be. 4GB DDR3 SDRAM kits are still 2-3 times more expensive as DDR2 SDRAM kits. However, if we regard this difference from absolute rather than relative positions, we will see that the recent price drop made the price difference between 4GB DDR3-1600 SDRAM and high-quality DDR2-800 and DDR2-1067 kits less than $100. And this is a pretty insignificant sum, considering that the price difference between the two top LGA775 processors is often much greater. Therefore, the choice of DDR3 SDRAM is justified not only from the emotional prospective, but also from the economical one, if this memory provides any performance improvement in contemporary systems.

Actually, our today’s article will be devoted to checking out these particular assumptions. We are going to investigate the performance of systems equipped with 4GB DDR3-1600 SDRAM and based on the latest LGA775 chipset – Intel P45.

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