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Torin_Darkflight

Recommend Ram Brand

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I'm in the process of ordering and preparing to build my next computer. Here are the core components it will contain:

PSU - Thermaltake 420W

Motherboard - MSI K8N Neo4-F

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice 939

RAM - 512MB Dual-Channel (Has yet to be ordered)

Video - Sapphire Radeon X700 PCI-E (Has yet to be ordered)

Now, I don't do any gaming or video editing, so I have no need to shoot for top-of-the-line (This explains the lower-end MSI board and only 512MB RAM, which more than meets my current needs). Although I have no pressing need to change the physical amount of memory, I am converting to dual-channel on the new system.

This is where I hit a little bit of a brick wall. I have no experience with dual-channel, so I do not know what brands are reliable, as well as compatible with the mobo/CPU I have selected. I've heard lots of good things about Corsair, Geil, Kingston, PQI, so on and so forth. But, I only have active experience with Crucial. Although I've had nothing but wonderful experiences with Crucial, I hesitate to immediately pick them because I have heard the other brands mentioned are just as reliable, as well as less expensive.

Anyway, I can get a 2x256MB PC3200 kit from Crucial for around $75. Searching around on NewEgg and ZipZoomFly does indicate that the other brands are indeed cheaper. But, are they just as reliable as Crucial? This is one question that remains unanswered for me.

I'm shooting for a perfect balance of price and reliability, with $75 or less being the goal price. Although not necessary for my needs, I MIGHT possibly consider an upgrade to 2x512MB, but only if it's a reliable brand that costs less than $90 for the entire kit.

Just thought I'd ask here for some recommendations.

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Crucial, Corsair, Mushkin, OCZ, Kingston (not ValueRAM, with a few exceptions), and Patriot come first to mind.

You might consider a single 512 MB stick instead of 2x256 MB (unless you can save money with 2 sticks). you lose dual channel capability, which is a bit of a performance hit, but it leaves more room to upgrade later.

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if you're not gaming, 1GiB is overkill.

The venice core chips can handle 4 sticks ok (sometimes you have to drop them to 2T command rate), so if you need to go to 4x256 you can.

Any of these

(obviously you'd want two of the single 256MiB sticks).

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Most of what I do is general internet-related stuff, with a little bit of minor photo editing. Perhaps the most power-hungry thing I do is operate several installs of various versions of Windows under VMware. Just because I'm not doing more now doesn't mean I won't be in the future. Thus, my situation isn't "overkill", it's planning for the future.

Something else I am unclear on...while looking around, I see some brands that come with heat spreaders, and others that don't. Are heat spreaders something I absolutely need, or would the normal airflow inside the case be sufficient enough to cool the RAM in the type of setup I'll have?

Edited by Torin_Darkflight

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i use twin 512mb sticks of PQI's cheap stuff running in dual channel. PQI expensive ram or cheap ram is good unless you get the cheap stuff with elixir chips instead of PQI chips. Luckily both of mine are have PQI chips so i'm rockin'. pretty much use twin sticks and put them in the board correctly and you got dual channel.

mine was slot1 stick1 slot2 nothing slot 3 stick2 slot4 nothing

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Something else I am unclear on...while looking around, I see some brands that come with heat spreaders, and others that don't. Are heat spreaders something I absolutely need, or would the normal airflow inside the case be sufficient enough to cool the RAM in the type of setup I'll have?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Heat spreaders on RAM are like spoilers on Toyota Corollas. They are for looks. In addition to not improving performance, they can actually damage performance (for heatspreaders, by interfering in the transfer of heat from chips to air).

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Sorry for bumping such an old thread, but I'm still kind of indecisive regarding what brand/type of RAM I am going to order.

I have decided to extend the length of my new systems life-before-next-upgrade by going with a 2x512MB dual-channel kit. At the moment I am seriously eyeing the OCZ Premier Value 2x512MB kit found here. Now, according to the technical info page on the MSI website, OCZ memory is compatible with my new motherboard. But, is it reliable? If it's of any relevance, I do not plan to do any overclocking at all in my new system.

If you decide to recommend something different, here is some important information. According to the MSI website, these brands of RAM are compatible with my new motherboard:

-Buffalo

-Crucial

-Corsair

-Kingston

-Mushkin

-OCZ Technology

-Princeton Technology

-Super Talent

So, if you recommend something different, I am assuming it must be one of the brands listed above (My guess is the strict list of brands deals with testing and reliability and whatnot, so although other brands might work, they might not work well). Also, just another quick reminder that $90 (Plus or minus about $5), including shipping, is the maximum I am willing to pay for memory. So, any different recommendations must cost the same or less than what I am currently looking at.

Thank you.

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Don't go cheap on the memory. It's too important to the overall success of your build and the PC's performance. I have to assume that you have been too lazy to check out memory so I have included Crucial for you.

Crucial Performance Memory ..... You can check out the other tabs on the page for other suggestions on memory.

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Yes, I started out looking at the 2x256MB kit at Crucial because I've had nothing but good experiences with them. The only reason I didn't immediately jump on buying Crucial is because I keep hearing everywhere about all these other brands being just as reliable at Crucial while also being less expensive (I'm on a very tight budget for this computer). I also looked at a lot of those other brands mentioned in the compatibility list on NewEgg.com. OCZ is the least expensive of them all. None of the reviews are negative for the particular model I am looking at right now.

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Well, I came to the conclusion that I don't need to buy the entire 1GB right now. So, to get me started, I bought a pair of these 256MB Crucial Ballistix modules. 512MB is what I'm using in my current system, and it does meet my current needs. But, sometime in the near future I plan on buying another pair of 256MB modules to upgrade to a full 1GB (I might not need it right now, but who knows what I'll be doing a few months from now).

Now, this being my first ever adventure into dual-channel, this brings up another question: when I do buy the rest of the RAM, will I need to buy the exact same stuff that I just ordered, or can I get something different? In other words, must all four modules I'll eventually end up using be 100% identical all around, or can matched pair "A" be different from matched pair "B"? I ask because, knowing my luck, the exact model of RAM I just ordered won't be around anymore when I go looking to order the rest, which means I would be screwed in the event all four modules must be identical.

Thanks for the help.

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