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RAM Thinking


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Hello friends,


A couple days ago my gpu upgrade arrived (r9 380, purchased on a large discount) and since I had bought something anyway, I figured I might upgrade from 8 to 16gb of RAM since I had two empty ports.


Unfortunately, it turned out that my mobo can run two sticks at 2133, but can only run 4 at 1600. I have my own thoughts on this, but I thought I'd ask if anyone else had opinions.


Simple question, and give a why, too: for ordinary use, would you rather have 16gb/1600 or 8gb/2133? Thanks.

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8GB is becoming uncapable of handling loads in newest games very slowly, 16gigs for most future proofness. The differance between 2133 and 1600 does not really matter at all aswell

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..The differance between 2133 and 1600 does not really matter at all aswell

Yeah, that's more or less what I was thinking. Either way it's a really really minor concern, but very few things actually use 16gb ram at the moment, which means I'm probably losing a tiny.. tiny... tiiiiny amount of performance compared to what I had before.


Oh well, probably not worth the hassle of opening the case.

Edited by bearmans
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  • 1 month later...

When it comes to RAM speed, the only times where it would be inclusively important is with overclocked CPUs.  The standard non-OCed RAM at 2133Mhz for DDR4 and 1333MHz for DDR3 is plenty for a chipset and board which is locked and doesn't support overclocking.  However if you overclock a CPU on an OC board there comes a time where you may need to increase the clock speed of your RAM so the CPU doesn't get bottlenecked.  Of course this is only applicable above the optimum speed threshold for CPU/RAM I/O transfer.  Exceeding this means you're wasting RAM potential or possibly paying more money than you really need to for RAM and not meeting it means the CPU can't run as effectively with active data.


Sorry if the following may seem patronising ...

The RAM is in effect anything and everything you see on screen and have access to.  Like what Eren stated, as applications, programs and games take up larger portions of memory once in use, it requires you to have more RAM to prevent your PC slowing down or the OS temp allocating space on the HDD/SDD to hold data when the RAM becomes overloaded.


But how much RAM you need and what speed you have your RAM at ultimately falls down to how you use your PC, much like other components.  Built and pick in accordance to what you plan to do with your machine, don't pick what is a beastly build or what you think is the best for longevity as that is almost always a waste of money.  I see so many video game systems with stupidly powerful CPUs in them, but in turn only have a single graphics card.  

All that CPU which would cost almost half the amount of the card, or even almost as much as the card in some cases, will only add 10 additional frames to the framerate in turbo boosting the performance of the GPU for example.  A waste of money, the only times you'll need a high end CPU is if you need more channels in the PCI-express lanes to support more expansion cards, such as multiple graphics cards, without restricting their bandwidth to the north bridge and calculation channels to the CPU.  Or if you're using programs that benefit from multithreading, such as video encoding, compiling, baking real time particle emitters and CPU dependent rendering.  Often these days an additional $100 reduces 50% of the time it takes to do this, this degree of time to cost is still at a point where it is more of a gimmick than a benefit and the only usefulness it retains and the only reason you'd want to get one is in case you do live broadcasting from your computer or you run multiple CPU intensive programs at the same time.  Such as for example, streaming playing video games.


Sorry for going slightly off topic, but I'm getting to a point ...


The same distinction is applied to RAM.  


Ask yourself two questions:  

How many programs do I like to run at the same time?  How many of those do I run idle in the background (as in the CPU is not being used to do calculations, they are just stored native in memory/loaded into the system tray).  


Do I want to put my computer in Sleep mode, rather than shut it down after use?  When you put a PC in sleep mode, everything but the motherboard, RAM and the PSU are shut down.  a small amount of power is kept to keep the RAM loaded with what you did last session.


If the answer to the first question is: a lot.  Then you would best benefit from having a lot of RAM, you should get the amount relative to the number of programs you use at the same time, this also includes background programs loaded into the system tray, such as Skype, OC controllers, system monitoring and operating system systems (yes that's what they are called.  :S).


If you don't have enough RAM this can actually cause your computer to dramatically slow down.


If your answer to second is "all the time" .  Then you'd want to get fast and highly reliable RAM, as in high quality RAM which is fast.   It means that when you exit sleep mode the PC will boot up faster than it would on a lower speed RAM, also you'd want high quality RAM which is long lived which can handle being in constant use.  The first things to die in your system if you put it in sleep all the time would be two things, the Capacitors and the RAM.  Which is why it's important to have really good caps on the board and in the PSU and really good RAM.


Alternatively you can just shut down your PC all the time, but the strain of the process will reduce your PC's life each time you do it.  Computers don't last forever and will eventually brake down after 10+ years or so.  So, it's your call really.

Edited by Psyctooth
My hubris is the size of a 2 by 4 nailed to the side of a YF-12 jet barrel rolling into a volcano piloted by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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  • 2 weeks later...

RAM is not one of those things where more is better. If you have enough RAM, adding more does nothing for you. It's very important to have enough RAM, but not at all important to have any more than that.


How much is enough? Depends on your usage patterns. Either you're hearing your hard drive thrash and watching your system crawl as memory gets swapped into the page file, or you're not. If not then you have enough RAM for the things you're doing with your PC, and adding more will boost your performance not at all.


If you're really worried about both RAM quantity and speed, scrap all four 4GB sticks and get a pair of 8's. Memory isn't expensive.

Edited by Jihan

Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -


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When it comes to RAM, it depends on the machine and the OS to start with.


Anything over 4GB of RAM is wasted on a 32bit OS (system is not designed to handle anything over that).   Then if you move to 64bit OS it all boils down to what you want to do.


When it comes to speed, only time you worry about the speed is if you OC the CPU and such since it will affect stability (if I am not mistaken, haven't seriously OC'd in about a decade).   So if you are running DDR3 then 1600mhz is just fine.  If you are running DDR4 2133mhz is fine.


The tricky thing is the amount.  Frankly, if you are a gamer only then 32GB is just overkill, but if you are a streamer/content creator then 32GB would be more of blessing.   Right now it seems 16GB is becoming the new norm as their is now a slow power creep when it comes to RAM specs.   I've been building systems close to 20 years and it is bound to happen.

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