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Guest John H.

RAM Recommendations

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This is my first post. I have spent the last couple of months trying to get back up to speed on components since my last computer was purchased six years ago (Dell 8200). I am preparing to build a new system (my first build), mostly for FS9 and FSX, with the following parts and would like recommendations for a set of 2X2GB RAM:$ 150 GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R $ 160 E8400 OEM(bought)$ 30 Coolermaster Hyper TX2 HSF$ 85 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB OEM$ 27 SAMSUNG DVD Burner SH-S203N OEM$ 190 MSI 4850 GPU$ 135 Antec P180 case (bought)$ 100 Corsair vx550W PSU (bought)$ 180 Vista Home Prem Retail$1050I had a budget of about $1000-1100 which I already busted by picking up a second E8400 for same price (both came with a free ECS P35 board) that I will use to upgrade a secondary PC for a second internet connection for my wife. I will busting my secondary budget of $1200 (doing my part to stimulate the economy)but need to stay about $100 for RAM.I have looked at RAM recommendations on GB site for the MB, but few 2GB officially supported, and have seen a couple of systems on the few reviews that listed the specific RAM, but was hoping for some suggestions and discussion. Leaning toward OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 800 (2x2GB)at $92 (+$35 MIR) but not sure if some 1066 would be worth extra cost. I am going to try my hand at some light OCng, hoping for 3.6, maybe a little more if I don't have to increase the voltages much.If anyone has any comments on any of the components I haven't already purchased, all would be appreciated. FYI, I chose the Mobo because at $150, it has 2 PCIe 2.0 that will run 2 cards in CF at 8x (which I understand will not bottleneck the cards)in case I feel the need to boost my graphics with the purchase of a second 4850 at a lower price later. I know the HSF is budget but have read good reviews for its price/performance compared to both the TT Ultra 120 and Artic Freezer Pro, only slightly behind both at a lower price.Thanks,John

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That's a DDR2 mobo. Good choice. The E8400's multiplier is 9X. That means a 400Mhz FSB times the 9X multiplier will net a CPU running at 3.6Ghz. A 400Mhz FSB will drive Any ram you care to install at 800Mhz (DDR mean Double the Data Rate of the FSB). That means ram rated to run at 800Mhz is the correct choice. That ram is called DDR2-800. You might consider getting DDR2-800 with a CAS of 4 (for instance 4-4-4-12. CAS is the first "4"). CAS 4 ram means it can run a bit faster that its guaranteed rating of 800Mhz. You may need this if you want to push the CPU a bit further by increasing the FSB speed. For instance, that E8400 will likely run at 4.0Ghz. To get that speed, you will need 450mhz (FSB) x 9 = 4.0Ghz. The ram will be driven to 450 x 2 = 900Mhz. This will be the very top end for CAS 4 DDR2-800 ram. Your other choice will be to buy the next speed rating, DDR2-1066. This would be the ONLY reason to buy the faster rated ram. If you are going to be staying at a 400Mhz FSB, faster rated ram will provide no utility - at all - . Consider too though, the P35/45 chipset is rated at a FSB of 400Mhz. 450Mhz is pushing it. If you are going to stay at 400Mhz, get the cheapest CAS 5, lifetime guaranteed DDR2-800 you can find and don't waste that buck. Also consider 2 x 2G sticks and run Vista 64. This will let the system use all 4Gs and keep the user away from those pesky OOM events to which 32bit operating system are susceptible.

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Thanks for the reply. I was wondering if it might be worth going to DDR2 1066 on the chance that I might get brave enough to up the voltages a little to try and reach 450. I wasn't sure how far I could go with DDR2 800.How much performance benefit will I likely see at 4.0 over 3.6? I did want to get 2X2's and try Vista 64, but i'm concerned that there aren't many 2GB sticks on the official supported list for this motherboard. How likely is it that I will have compatibility issues if I pick one of the top tier RAM manufacturer like OCZ Corsair, GEIL, Mushkin, etc even if they aren't on the supported list.I know it would not improve framerates much, but would I see any visual difference in FSX by adding a second 4850 in CF? Also, am I correct in assuming that the X8/X8 CF configuration with PCIe 2.0 will not create a bandwidth bottleneck for even 2 4870's since it is equivalent to X16/X16 with PCIe 1.1?

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If you really want that 4.0, I'd agree the 1066 stuff would be a safer bet. FS performance is about 1:1 with CPU clock. At high sliders, the default airplanes can maintain a usable 20FPS with a quad at 3.6. The 4.0 will bump this to 22FPS. Can't say I'd want to spend money to run a less stable system for an additional 2FPS. But hey. That's just me!If you are using an Intel chipset (P35/et al), the official supported list means nothing. It's paid-for marketing by the ram mfgs. Any DDR2 ram will run on Intel mobos. With Nvidia's mobos, all bets are off. Those things tend to have all kinds of weird problems with everything.CF/SLI will not help FS with anything. I'll just cut and paste from a previous post here:"The P35's 4x by 16x PCIe-v1 crossfire configurations does not limit crossfire's capability at all. The Asus 8x by 8x was simply a marketing stunt to try to dissuade a lay audience away from the 16x by 16x SLI offered by Nvidia's 6X0is.16x is Sooo overkill that 4x provides plenty of "pipeline" for modern Vcards, now and into the future. There's no need to have the 16 v 8 v 4 as a factor in one's building decision. Daily, the P35 (group) is proving PCI-e v1.1 at 4x is allowing full Vcard functionality with the CF usin' community.For FS, SLI/CF does not help. Notice the GTX280s didn't make a bit of difference in FS performance. For instance, I use a second Vcard, but only to drive 2 extra monitors. Works fine and does not affect FS performance.Upgrading a this-gen mobo (P35/et al) from a $180 Q6600 can only net a 10% increase. The Q6600 goes to 3.6. The soon to be cheaper QX-super-doopers go to 4.0. Not much of an upgrage. In other words, there is really NO upgrade path from a cheapo Core2 CPU with any current-gen mobo. One might consider this build will - Not - make economic sense to upgrade. Again, beyond an 8800GT, additional Vcard horsepower will Not help FS.In 4 years, Vcards Might start needing PCI-e v2.0 bandwidth. Remember, we don't even need AGP-8X speeds yet. AGP-8 and PCI-e v1.1 at 4X provide approximately the same bandwidth. Consider: That second CF card runs at Full Speed on an AGP-8X equivalent "PCI-e v1 at 4X" buss. We are - four times - away from even needing PCI-e v1.1's 16X. We are even - Further Years - away from needing PCI-e v2.0 at all.Don't worry about all that for this build. You will easily have 4 years . . . unless they physically change the socket . . . like they did with that equally useless DDR3!A 4 year upgrade path needs to look at a 10X (1000%) increase over this current build for about the same cost. The 10X will come in the form of more cores. In 4 years, we will (with out a doubt) have 40 core CPUs as the norm. We will still be having this same discussion about upgrade paths from a $180, 40 core to latest-and-greatest 44 cores, and it will sound like an equally big deal. It won't be then, as 3.6Ghz to 4.0Ghz is not now."It really is a magic time to be building a computer . . . and it's only gonna get better into the next decade.

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>A 4 year upgrade path needs to look at a 10X (1000%) increase>over this current build for about the same cost. The 10X will>come in the form of more cores. In 4 years, we will (with out>a doubt) have 40 core CPUs as the norm. We will still be>having this same discussion about upgrade paths from a $180,>40 core to latest-and-greatest 44 cores, and it will sound>like an equally big deal. It won't be then, as 3.6Ghz to>4.0Ghz is not now.">How much can much more cores really do? For example as I understand it only one core at the time can use the RAM and the other cores would be limited by that with work nor requiring RAM access. Also when loading textures it will be about transferring data from the harddrive to the videocard. How can a lot of cores help here? Won't we have many cores waiting to be able to continue the task?

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I agree the current state of the (software) industry is pretty limited. This upgrade path assumes that the software guys will figure out how to use multiple cores effectively. I'd bet the farm they will.

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>I agree the current state of the (software) industry is>pretty limited. This upgrade path assumes that the software>guys will figure out how to use multiple cores effectively.>I'd bet the farm they will. I rather suspect that the limitation is more hardwarerelated than software at least if we talk about a lot of cores. What about ten cores instead of forty and a lot more cachememory for each core? Or maybe more than one RAM memory in a system? A core limited to itself and its cache memory will be very limited to what work it can do. I would rather hope for the hardwareindustry to find solutions to use multiple cores effectively.

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Corsair 1066.... 2x1 or 4x1....It likes the 8400

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