How do you figure out which memory to buy?

I should be able to figure this out, but I’m not. How do you figure out the minimum speed of memory to buy? Sure, you could go buy the fastest stuff, but with a specific mobo/processor combo, how dou find the sweet spot?

I usually check the specified memory for the motherboard, consider whether or not I’ll be wanting to overclock (which tells you if you’ll want to buy something that can handle higher FSB speeds than normal), then hit newegg and look at the range of what’s available for that speed range. There’s usually a point at which the available memory gets much more expensive… the sweet spot is often right below that.

Enthusiast sites can be a help too, if you want to see how far your motherboard is capable of being pushed (and with which memory).

If you won’t be overclocking, that makes the search easier since all that really matters is capacity and timing for the specified speed (DDR2/533 etc).

I’ve tested high-speed memory and stuff, and for the most part its benefits are mostly seen in benchmarks.

So when I’m buying RAM, I just go to or buy the cheapest I’ve actually heard of.

I do overclock and I still go for the valueram. Expensive RAM is for suckers.

You are all idiots. You buy the RAM that has the flashy LED lights on them that no one will see when you close your computer case.


Reading sharkyextreme’s articles on BIY value, mid-range, and high-end rigs often provide good info as to what you’re getting for your dollar for memory, as well as everything else.

Hello? Clear side panel.


I can’t bring myself to Dremel into my Antec case, so my LEDs are blinking where no one can see them. Which begs the question, if an LED blinks but there is no one to see it, does it produce any light?


Perhaps I’m thinking too hard about this, but back in the day, you had to make sure the memory speed lined up with the FSB speed.

I’m trying to understand the relationship between FSB speed and memory speed really. What I understand is that the Athon 64/FX processors did in fact change all that, and normally run the memory at 200Mhz, which implies PC3200/DDR400. More needed for overclocking.

I think.

Athlon64s don’t have a frontside bus as the memory controller is on the CPU. They are all specced for ddr1 pc3200. Higher speed ram will let you overclock the RAM more, that’s about it. A64s are high multiplier locked, so you can only reduce the multiplier, which you would think would greatly increase the importance of fast RAM to overclock… but that’s deceptive, because you can run the RAM at various divisors of the CPU speed.

For example, my box is an athlon64 3000+, which normally runs at 1800Mhz with the RAM at CPU/9 (200Mhz). I am currently running it at 2500Mhz with the RAM at CPU/13 (192Mhz) as my RAM doesn’t overclock for shit. My HTT is at 255Mhz but that doesn’t make any difference as I lowered the HTT multiplier to x3 from x5 to keep my hypertransport bus under 1000Mhz. The underclocked RAM and HTT bus didn’t affect performance at all.