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My claws fix anything
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A note about memory:

AMD uses something called an IMC (Integrated Memory Controller). It helps the AMD chips perform very well in memory related tasks (because now the ram isn't controlled by the motherboard through the FSB) but it also has a few quirks. The IMC doesn't seem to like a lot of stress, and so in general, you wont get as much of an OC out of your ram if you have all of your ram slots populated. So it should be easier to get more performance out of only two sticks of ram.

*Intels Nahelem architecture utilizes this same design, leaving the Core 2 series as the only mainstream processor to still use the FSB design.

Also, the same thing goes for mismatched ram, the IMC just doesn't like it. So if you have ram that is not from the same kit, and are experiencing instability, try taking out the non-matching set, and see if that helps out.

Also, you might have heard about the "timings" of the ram, and how that is important. I have seen a lot of people get confused with that. Let me explain this as simply as I can.

There is memory speed, and then there are memory timings.

Speed is the frequency that the memory operates at (in MHz... and remember that when you are looking in CPU-z that ram is DDR [Double Data Rate], so the frequency that it says will always be half of what it is actually running at). It is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. And remember that the ram speed is tied to the reference clock, and in this way you can easily OC your ram beyond the stock speed. Speed is mostly important for higher bandwidth, as it just means that the ram can move more information.

Timings are different, and should not be confused with the speed. Timings do not effect the speed (in MHz) of the ram at all. Instead, they change how "efficient" the ram is. In other words, the timings affect the "turnaround" of the information. The timings are generally listed something like this: 5-5-5-18. While I wont go into all of the details about what those each mean here, I can give you a basic idea of what the timings mean. Timings change how long the ram will wait to do something. So having ram with looser (numerically higher) timings, means that the ram will "wait" longer in between processes. Using the example of 5-5-5-18 ram, information is copied, it then waits for 5 clock cycles before it moves onto the next step. Ram with 7-7-7-23 timings running at the same speed (in MHz) will move the information there just as quickly, but then will need to wait for 7 cycles between doing things, rather than 5. This is why "performance" ram is in fact faster.

Here is a screenshot of some ram with this information marked, so you can see where to look for this information when you are purchasing it. Notice that I marked the CAS latency as well. CAS latency is the first timing listed, and at times, is the only reference to timings made. If all you can find is information about the CAS latency, you can assume that the other timings are within 1 of the CAS (with the obvious exception of the last one).



Ram with tight (numerically lower) timings, will lower your latencies across the board, and will overall give you better performance.

Computers that still use the FSB usually benefit more from high speed ram, rather than low latency ram. This is because the memory is located outside of the chip, and the latency is already high because of that distance. So having faster memory more is beneficial to those platforms (aka DDR3 based 775 motherboards rather than DDR2).

Hope this helps clear things up for some people out there.
LL
 

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My claws fix anything
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3,246 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I forgot to mention that (has been edited now). I was posting something like 4 interconnecting threads simultaneously, and am glad that's the only thing that I really forgot to say.

Cheers!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by deararis View Post

So..... Should I just lower my RAM timings from 9 to 8? It's that easy?
You can try it. All RAM has limits for how low of latency or how high of frequency it will function at stable.

I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble but with DDR3 RAM there is almost no tangible system performance gain with tighter latencies or high frequencies because the real time is lower as the frequency increases. So while latency was important with DDR and DDR2 this is really not the case with DDR3.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Understanding-RAM-Timings/26

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAS_latency
 
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