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Two noob questions
08-11-2011, 04:56 AM,
Two noob questions
First of all - I realize that I can find answers to these questions by googling. In fact, I already did that. The problem is, I don't know if I can trust the answers since some of them seem to be written by "enthusiasts" ("maniacs" is a better word) for whom a couple more points in a benchmark justify everything. I love Hardware Revolution because the suggestions here all seem to be based in reality, that's why I'm asking here.

The thing is, I live in Poland and sometimes the components recommended by Mathieu are either not available here or too expensive to be a worthwhile deal (for some reason, computers in general seem to be more expensive here than they are in the US...Dodgy). This means I'll have to look for alternatives and here's where I have two questions:

1. When buying RAM, how important is the brand? Mathieu seems to recommend the cheapest options so if, say, Kingston is too expensive here, can I just find the cheapest alternative and go with it? Will it impact the performance and/or reliability of my gig? "Enthusiasts" seem to care a lot about the latencies of RAM, but if I don't overclock, should I even care about that?

2. Can two motherboards based on the same chipset differ in performance? Again, if I want to buy a different motherboard than the one Mathieu recommends, can I just look for a cheap one with the same chipset and the features I need?

Feel free to just point me in the directions of some trustworthy articles that cover these areas Smile
08-11-2011, 09:46 AM,
RE: Two noob questions
1. The lower the cas latency the better off but it shouldn't matter for your case. I normally don't really care about it whenever i buy ram (personal choice). I won't impact the performance that much. The 1333 or 1600 speed or whatever choice will have a little impact.

2. Two motherboards with the same chipset should offer similar performance if you don't do any tweaking. They might have different power phase, bios options, different ports (USB/USB3/PCIE/etc).

About brand names: People usually prefer the well known ones since they would have better support and more reliability than others. For example, if you compare a diablo tek power supplies vs antec power supplies, the antec ones will always perform better and are more reliable. The only ones that aren't can be easily replaced with their customer service.
Laptop: MacBook Pro 13"
Case: Drawer turned to case CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 CPU Cooler: Stock brah GPU: EVGA GTX 460 HDD: Corsair Nova 32GB Motherboard: GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 Z68 RAM: Ripjaw 8GB 1600 Optical Drive: Don't need PSU: 620W Antec Neo ECO. Operating System: OS X Lion/ Windows 7x64
08-11-2011, 11:09 AM,
RE: Two noob questions
1) I recommend you buy one of these brands: Corsair, G.Skill, Kingston, Mushkin or Crucial (in no particular order)

2) See van13330gg's response.
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08-11-2011, 03:02 PM,
RE: Two noob questions
In general, these days the "sweet spot" for cost/performance ratio rests on a DDR3 1600, CaS9 latency. Performance differences between 1333 and 2000 are actually relatively small, unless you're working on something RAM bandwidth intensive (such as database work or Physics-intense games). Memory speed has incredibly small impact on most 3D gaming, actually (<2% between the fastest and slowest, according to an Anandtech article, for non-physics based gaming). See Anandtech, click on Memory at the top, and as of this posting, it was the second article down: Sandy Bridge Memory Scaling: Choosing the Best DDR3.

Make sure it's rated for 1.5v for best compatibility with LGA1155, per Intel specs. Over volting RAM can shorten lifespan of motherboard and RAM. If you see RAM rated for 1.65, it's technically overvolted, according to Intel. If RAM can perform faster at lower voltage, it's typically higher quality.

As far as brand, what van13330gg said. As far as what Andrew J said, I could offer a number of others that work just fine, and it typically depends less on the brand, and more on the quality of the component. OCZ has made some great RAM as well, but am I willing to pay more for an identical product due to branding? Not usually. Heatsinks for RAM, as a sidenote, are really less useful than you think if you aren't overvolting or overclocking. Sometimes that plain RAM will give you less fuss installing than the $200 performance RAM, simply due to bulk.

Motherboards often have some subtle differences that aren't immediately obvious, such as the power phasing (as mentioned above). Typically, if you leave everything alone, similar boards will have similar performance if everything is stock. The more expensive boards usually are geared more and more towards overclocking, as well as adding additional features, by adding larger heatsinks, or different power distribution.
08-11-2011, 04:39 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-11-2011, 04:39 PM by Andrew J.)
RE: Two noob questions
Just to let you know, OCZ does not make DRAM anymore, and they've had issues in the past.
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08-12-2011, 07:53 AM,
RE: Two noob questions
OCZ RAM was good at one point, but in the last two years, when they used to produce/sell RAM, it was absolute rubbish, with an horrible failure rate.

In reply to the questions:
1. I recommend whichever brand offers good reliable RAM at a low cost. I won't recommend THE cheapest RAM, but rather the cheapest reliable RAM. See Andrew's post for good brands.

2. That was already answered by van13330gg.
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08-13-2011, 11:38 AM,
RE: Two noob questions
Thank you for your answers - that really clears things up Smile

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