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Thread: RAM: 400MHZ vs 333MHZ on Socket 939. How much of a performance difference?

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    RAM: 400MHZ vs 333MHZ on Socket 939. How much of a performance difference?

    I'm in a bit of a quandry here.

    My motherboard is (will be) an MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum.

    I thought I purchased 2 x 1GB sticks of RAM, but instead I got 4 x 512MB sticks (was Corsair paired memory, advertised as total RAM instead of 2x XXX).

    This would be okay, except that my Mobo is rated at DDR 400, but when all four slots are used it clocks down to DDR 333. So, I have two choices.. either suffer only 1 GB at 400MHZ and return the other set .. or put all four in a slot and have 2 GB at 333MHZ.

    I would prefer to have the 2GB over the 1 (must see my desktop when exiting out of a game.. I hate waiting for it to load), but if it comes at a serious performance hit I can't allow myself to do that.

    I just don't know how much of a performance hit that is.. and am hoping that someone knows a link or has personal experience in this regard. I'm not talking MP3 encoding or DVD writing performance.. I'm only concerned about Gaming performance.

    There of course is the option of getting two 1 gig sticks of equivelant RAM, but doing this would cost $600+ vs the $380 for what I ordered. I'd have to go with a cheaper, higher latency set of RAM, and I will gladly take a performance hit over a stability hit any day.


    Any suggestions as to what route I should take?

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    firstly - sweet mobo, I just got the Neo2 (nf3, 939) version and its pretty cool. I think, and if it really is buggin you, I'd send back the ram and get 2 sticks of 1gig so you can enjoy the 400mhz dual channel...I use 2x512 and it literaly flies so god knows what 2x 1gig will do!...
    despite being 2 full gigs you might get a bump down cause of the lacking mhz...
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    hmmm... a lot of loading problems are caused by the Windows paging executive swapping out native code to the page file, disable it and you should notice a good deal of difference dropping back to the desktop, especially with 1Gb of ram.

    But yea, if you can get 2x1Gb sticks go for it.

    In terms of gaming performance the more the merrier, my friend has 2gb of ram installed on his rig and he can run UT2004 and Prime95 at the same time when hes torchering the thing.

    Newer games especially make heavy use of complex textures instead of more detailed meshes for effects.. so the more textures you can hold in memory the better

    as for video encoding, xvid and divx only work at a few frames at a time, so it doesn't have a huge memory requirement, its more dependent on CPU time and disk i/o. (if you ever get into that sort of thing)

    *edit* windows still has a long way to go in terms of memory effiencey, I'd like to see Microsoft catch up with linux somewhat in this area.
    Last edited by aidanjt; 02-02-2005 at 01:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt
    a lot of loading problems are caused by the Windows paging executive swapping out native code to the page file, disable it and you should notice a good deal of difference dropping back to the desktop
    how do you disable this then?
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    Yet another Reg tweak: MS KB184419: How to Stop the NTExecutive from Paging to Disk

    I havn't got around to using it with my new system yet, i need to return my mobo due to an ACPI glitch, tell me how it goes.

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    Firstly thanks for all replies.

    Looks like I will go 2 GB regardless.

    That leads me to another question.

    Do you think it's worth the extra $240 (4 x 512 = $380, 2 x 1024 = $620 of the same spec RAM), plus a $60 restocking fee, plus the shipping cost (~$10) to return what I bought for the extra 67MHZ in RAM speed?

    If so, then I will have to order some more RAM tonight and overnight express it so that it arrives Friday with the rest of the crap....


    For Reference, this is the RAM that I got: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...tCode=80097-17

    The only 2 x 1024 set of the same thing I can find is here:
    http://www.monarchcomputer.com/Merch...de=REG_Corsair


    On a sidenote, there is a higher latency RAM for $200 cheaper than that (and looks to be the best deal) here:

    http://shop2.outpost.com/product/393...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG


    Now.. is there a major difference in performance between 2-3-3-6 and 3-3-3-8? All I see are numbers.. and the lower the better obviously.. but is it $200 better??? I don't overclock, so I'd imagine not.
    Last edited by Crawdaddy79; 02-02-2005 at 02:12 AM.

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    to be perfectly honest, if those 4 ram sticks are working in 1 pair configureations, and not 2 pairs... then the memory controller (CPU) is the problem here.. is it overheating?.. overclocked, getting saggy vCore voltages etc?.. check this stuff.
    If it still doesn't work then the memory controller is a little on the dud side and you can RMA it.

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    You will have more memory bandwidth than an AMD64 can actually use as it is so I very much doubt that it's worth $300 to move to the 2x1Gb sticks.
    Of course ymmv

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    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt
    to be perfectly honest, if those 4 ram sticks are working in 1 pair configureations, and not 2 pairs... then the memory controller (CPU) is the problem here.. is it overheating?

    Yes it is the memory controller of the CPU. I also think that the nForce 4 chipset is limited to that.

    Here is a chart from the MSI page I posted above (1,2 and 3,4 are pairs.. pay no attention to the colors).



    EDIT: To my knowledge there is no such thing as a 1GB stick of single sided RAM... 512 is hard enough to find.. Corsair doesn't even carry 512MB SS modules.
    Last edited by Crawdaddy79; 02-02-2005 at 02:16 AM.

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    Currently A64 on-chip memory controllers don't support 4 sticks of double sided DDR400 - they force you to downclock to 333. You may be able to force the ram clock to 400 and have it work, but that's not guaranteed till the new version of the A64 hits the shelves. Not sure on the NF4 support, without CPU support it's largely irrelevant anyway.

    In terms of games, anything over 1GB makes almost zero difference. More memory doesn't help textures as they are resisdent on the GFX card during gameplay, buying a GFX card with more memory will help though. It can help level loading by being able to cache more data between loads, but that's all you'll see really.

    General performance won't significantly change unless you often run very memory intensive programs. The only thing that springs to mind is 3d rendering (of the 3dsmax, maya type).

    Given this you're probably better off with 2 512MB sticks of faster ram rather than 4 sticks of slower. But the difference is going to be of the order of 5-10% as most apps are more CPU limited than memory bandwidth. High speed ram upgrades are the least bang for buck in terms of anything on an A64 system.

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    Well, I got this here:

    http://shop4.outpost.com/product/393...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    I went with the higher latency RAM.. ordered it next day delivery so it will likely be in Thursday.

    I will return the 4x512...

    Games not using more than 1GB? Today, for the most part. 1GB vs 2GB is very small. In a year it will not be. Vampire: Bloodlines uses about 1400 megs of RAM if it's available.. true.. it's extremely inefficient.. but it still uses THAT much when it can.

    I had 768 Megs of RAM in my computer three years ago.. at the time I was told anything more than 512 was overkill.

    While I was sitting on 768, everyone around me gradually upgraded to 1 GB because lo and behold 512 was no longer enough. 768 lasted me until UT2004 came out with Onslaught mode. Now it is not enough. Upgrading by just 256MB now seems pretty pointless.


    I wanted to upgrade to 4GB initially, but after finding out that only 3 would be recognized and it would be running at 333MHZ with all slots filled I decided to go against that route.

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    that doesn't sound right. 1.5Gb per channel? never seen a ram stick with a 768mb configuration in my life.

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    I think you are mistaking my current computer from my future one.

    I have 3 sticks of 256 right now (filling up my 3 slots), totalling 768.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawdaddy79
    I wanted to upgrade to 4GB initially, but after finding out that only 3 would be recognized and it would be running at 333MHZ with all slots filled I decided to go against that route.
    aghm...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawdaddy79
    Yes it is the memory controller of the CPU. I also think that the nForce 4 chipset is limited to that.

    Here is a chart from the MSI page I posted above (1,2 and 3,4 are pairs.. pay no attention to the colors).



    EDIT: To my knowledge there is no such thing as a 1GB stick of single sided RAM... 512 is hard enough to find.. Corsair doesn't even carry 512MB SS modules.
    this is the same chart used for the nf3 Neo2 board I have, so its possible, as mentioned, that there isn't support for 4 sticks yet but i'm sure when the right chip comes out it'll be matched with a bios fix and hey-presto; lots of 400mhz...that said nf5 or 6 might be out by then!
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    • Butcher's system
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    Good point about the future, not sure how long till we get into the 2GB realms though. There are certain issues with using more than 2GB in 32-bit mode processes which will probably limit memory usage to around 1.5-1.8G for a given app.

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