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2 Sticks RAM vs 4 Sticks for Overclocking

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be doing an Ivy Bridge build soon with the ASUS z77-v Deluxe board. I've heard people in the past suggest if you plan on overclocking the RAM, to get a 2 stick configuration instead of 4. Is this still true with the new z77 Ivy Bridge boards? The z77 Deluxe is rated for up to 2800mhz overclock: http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z77V_DELUXE/


So for example look at these two options. I've picked these because they are both 1.5V rated and are low profile, two things that I'd like my RAM to have.


16GB via 2 sticks: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231560
1866Mhz, model: F3-1866C10D-16GAB
w/ coupon code EMCNEHF38 today they cost: $129.99
Voltage: 1.5V
Timing: 10-11-10

vs

16GB via 4 sticks: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231551
1866Mhz, model: F3-1866C9Q-16GAB
Cost: $109.99
Voltage: 1.5V
Timing: 9-10-9



So what are the Pro/Cons for these ram modules when overclocking? I'd like to get the 4 sticks since they cost less AND have better timing. But if that is going to stress the motherboard more with overclocking, then I don't know what is the better choice.
Edited by Italianguy - 5/24/12 at 7:57am
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post #2 of 8
wont make a difference both configurations should give you the same performance
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redhat_ownage View Post

wont make a difference both configurations should give you the same performance
The 4 stick model has better timing specs, so shouldn't its performance be better than the 2 stick model?
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Italianguy View Post

The 4 stick model has better timing specs, so shouldn't its performance be better than the 2 stick model?

Yes that's right, but you're probably not going to notice this. Although tighter timings are always nice, you're going to get very little out of it, especially if the RAM that we're comparing here are of the same frequency speeds. In this case, the difference between slightly lower timings is just not worth justifying $50 more tbh. In benchmarks like 3dmark 11, this is probably one of the only areas where you will see the difference, and it's going to be very small.

Also, with regards to 4 sticks as opposed to 2, it is true that having more modules will put more stress on the CPU when it comes to overclocking, but from what I've read, it's not too substantial - you may need to up some of your voltages as a result though. Because of this, I would personally go for 2 sticks though over 4 anyday if possible.

So here is my recommendation, I would get these instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231554

It's 8GB as opposed to 16GB, but it should be more than enough, assuming you don't do a lot of work like video encoding, rendering, photo editing, etc. Even then, I would still be happy with 8GB, since that's plenty right now for most people. If you only play games, then there is little to no difference between 8GB and 16GB in terms of FPS. Once again, when it comes to OC'ing, it should be easier to OC with only 2 sticks as opposed to 4.

Also, the ones I linked are almost half the price and can do 2133mhz, with potential to do 2400mhz on Ivy due to its improved memory controller smile.gif As mentioned, I wouldn't worry too much about the timings - save the $50-$100.
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post #5 of 8
I would go for this RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147094

You can get 2 or 4 sticks. Whichever you prefer. They are cheaper than most other RAM kits but are better in most cases. You can tighten the timings to 9-9-9 from the start and they are 1.35V. Plus most people can easy OC them to 1866 and higher. If you look around OCN, a lot of people have seen these. I'm sure someone could back me up. Plus they are also low profile.

EDIT: They also have them in 2 x 4GB packs but they are almost always sold out.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147096
Edited by Shion314 - 5/29/12 at 9:22am
post #6 of 8
In general many people have found that (2) DIMMs are easier to OC higher than (4) DIMMs but there is no guarantee. Some mobos restrict OC'ing of the RAM when all DIMM slots are filled. Thus if you have a choice and the price is similar (2) DIMMs tend to have better "potential" for OC'ing.

As far as performance is concerned, objective, scientific testing has shown that DDR3 RAM @ ~1333 MHz. is not a system bottleneck for typical desktop PCs so don't expect any significant gains from OC'ing the RAM as the thread below shows. Synthetic benches always look impressive but the results rarely show up the same in real applications. Also keep in mind that as the RAM frequency increases the real time per clock cycle decreases, so a latency change has less and less impact as the frequency increase.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1237178/is-o-cing-my-ram-worth-the-trouble/10#post_16866022

I always recommend buying ONE matched, tested RAM kit instead of mixing (2) RAM kits as mixed RAM even of the same part number is NOT guaranteed to run at the advertised latencies and frequency of a single RAM kit.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darco19 View Post

Yes that's right, but you're probably not going to notice this. Although tighter timings are always nice, you're going to get very little out of it, especially if the RAM that we're comparing here are of the same frequency speeds. In this case, the difference between slightly lower timings is just not worth justifying $50 more tbh. In benchmarks like 3dmark 11, this is probably one of the only areas where you will see the difference, and it's going to be very small.
Also, with regards to 4 sticks as opposed to 2, it is true that having more modules will put more stress on the CPU when it comes to overclocking, but from what I've read, it's not too substantial - you may need to up some of your voltages as a result though. Because of this, I would personally go for 2 sticks though over 4 anyday if possible.
So here is my recommendation, I would get these instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231554
It's 8GB as opposed to 16GB, but it should be more than enough, assuming you don't do a lot of work like video encoding, rendering, photo editing, etc. Even then, I would still be happy with 8GB, since that's plenty right now for most people. If you only play games, then there is little to no difference between 8GB and 16GB in terms of FPS. Once again, when it comes to OC'ing, it should be easier to OC with only 2 sticks as opposed to 4.
Also, the ones I linked are almost half the price and can do 2133mhz, with potential to do 2400mhz on Ivy due to its improved memory controller smile.gif As mentioned, I wouldn't worry too much about the timings - save the $50-$100.
Thanks for the information!

I do like the ram you've suggested except that it runs at 1.65v. I'd like to stay with 1.5v if possible since I'm trying to save as much power as I can with this build. smile.gif

The current pricing of the ram doesn't matter so much because I'm not going to be making my purchase for another 4-6 weeks, I'm expecting that prices will fall a bit by then. I'll then have to re-evaluate what ram is the better deal once I'm ready to purchase. At the moment I'm mainly trying to determine what's the best direction to go with regarding 2 vs. 4 sticks.


You've mentioned that the 4 sticks with better timing would have a slight advantage benchmark wise over the 2 sticks. But that 2 sticks should be slightly easier to overclock. Now that makes sense for ram that has identical timing. But isn't it quite possible that because the 4 sticks have tighter timing, they would be able to overclock higher than the 2 sticks? At least that's what I've gathered from different guides, better timing means more headroom for overclocking. That makes me wonder what is the bigger and more important factor when pushing an overclock: which one has the better timing or having 2 or 4 sticks?
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post #8 of 8
Well, RAM hardly uses up power, but here's some really good 1.5v ones: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231538

Also, with regards to how many memory sticks should be present for the best possible OC, it is often a rule of thumb that the lesser amount of modules, the less strain on the CPU and its memory controller, which in turn, helps stability for OC'ing since this is less stress on the memory controller. I don't have any precise numbers or anything as to just how significant this is, but it is safe to say that you should try and stick to 2 modules for Ivy Bridge if it's memory of the same sizes. That is not to say you should avoid using 4, but if the timings and frequency speeds are the same, and you're not concerned with the price, then you should just look at just having 2.

As for timings, lower stock timings *may* give the RAM additional headroom in OC'ing, but this is not always guaranteed, because there are other contributing factors that will affect this, such as the motherboard. I wouldn't get too worked up about it, because Ivy Bridge has a much more powerful integrated memory controller which lets it handle much faster RAM with ease, and in this case, up to 2800mhz. For example, I got my 1866mhz sticks to 2400mhz just by changing 2 settings in my Asus P8PZ77-V Deluxe - the memory multiplier and DRAM voltage.

The bottom line is that I wouldn't worry too much about OC'ing memory as a whole anyway, because it is not going to make a huge difference in terms of FPS and general performance - Ivy will be making it all happen smile.gif
Edited by Darco19 - 5/29/12 at 10:01am
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