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What memory for gaming?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by Triggaaar, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I need a new PC, and am considering making it suitable for games. I see that the type of memory affects the price as much as the size. Which is more important? e.g.
    - 1 Gb (2*512) Corsair Value, DDR , PC3200 = £107
    - 512Mb (2*256) Corsair Value, DDR2, PC4200 = £88
    - 1 Gb (2*512) Corsair Value, DDR2, PC4200 = £170
    - 1 Gb Corsair XMS, DDR, PC3200 = £234

    Now it may be fair to assume that the latter, being more expensive, is better, but when you can choose between 512Mb of fast memory, or 1Gb of value, at a simillar price, which is better?

    Thanks

    Note - haven't bought any of the system yet (ie motherboard)
     
  2. Garrett

    Garrett
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    What CPU are you thinking of getting?
     
  3. AML

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    once you decide on the CPU you have to choose the right memory. But I suggest at least 1 gig of PC 3200 or higher.

    Most games will use more and more from now on so you will need it!
     
  4. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Although the Athlon's are popular here, I'm thinking of P4 3.0 or 3.2

    What does the PC 3200 bit mean? So the 1 Gb (2*512) Corsair Value, DDR , PC3200, at £107 could be good enough.

    Obviously the law of diminishing returns applies to high end systems, so I guess what I'm wanting to know, is where you start getting a lot less for each £. You could spend £107 for 1Gb, or £234 for 1Gb - is the latter that much better, or would you only notice with future games?

    Thanks for advice
     
  5. texasboy

    texasboy
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    I'm sure there is plenty of people out there who will try to contradict me or say I am wrong but buy the best memory you can afford and get a gig.

    The PC4200 stuff is great and will give you more headroom if you want to overclock and push up the FSB, but the latency (timings) of this will be not as quick as a good 3200 albeit with slightly lower overclocking potential.

    (DDR2 and DDR are not backwards compatible by the way so check your mobo)

    If you are not planning to overclock I would get the best 3200 you can find with the most agressive timings you find(the lower the CAS the better)

    www.overclockers.co.uk is a good site if you are not already familiar with it, lots of good memory from Corsair, GeiL and OCZ, they are 3 of the better brands.

    HTH

    Tex
     
  6. DEANO-B

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    512MB ram should cost around £60. The difference in speed between cheap memory and expensive branded memory is almost impossible to differentiate. The best option for gaming is to put as much cheap memory in as you can, as I can assure you 1GB (£120 of cheap memory) will run games better than 512MB of expensive memory which would also cost around £120!
     
  7. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    Not if he's buying a P4 ......

    Athlon / A64 ( especially ) -------> lowest latency ram money can buy
    AMD chips and overclocking benifit from low latency - with A64 chips 3200 / 3500 at low latency is far superior to PC 4000 with higher cas


    P4 ---------> sod the latency, go for the fastest ram ( PC rateing )

    These processors overclock well - and don't care about latency - faster MHZ ram the better
     
  8. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Blimey, I had no idea it was so complicated.

    I was hoping it'd be that simple - and I had thought more cheap mem would be better than less exp mem.

    I don't have to get a P4. I knew of some compatability issues between anti virus software, broadband servers and non pentium chips, but that's hardly a survey, so I just started with a P4 at the top of my list.

    But in summary
    P4 - go for fast RAM (high PC number), and overclock (I'll check the website)
    Athlon - go for low latency PC3200 or 3500 (how is latency described in mem descriptions?)
    And - more cheap is better than a little expensive

    I can see myself with a new thread asking for a complete PC to be specified for me. I'm definitely about to buy a new PC, but haven't decided if I want to pay the extra for it to be suitable for games. I certainly don't want to pay for a bleeding edge machine.

    Thanks
     
  9. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    Myth - there are no compatability issues with using AMD or Pentium chips.
    Certainly a cpu is NOT going to have an affect on a broadband server ;)
    Its fairy stories I'm afraid.

    The more cheap / less expensive is down to making sure you have enough ram to avoid your operating system and applications pageing to memory - 1Gig is ideal for XP + games on top - but 512 will do. ( I would go for a Gig )
    1Gig of quality fast ram is BETTER than 2gig of cheap ram - unless u are running massive DB applications etc and cacheing them.
     
  10. DEANO-B

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    Completely agree! Sorry in my thread earlier I should have really stated (as stated above) thats it's all about HDD access, and with only 512MB of ram there would be quite a bit HDD access going on. If you go to http://www.futuremark.com they have an amazing graphic benchmarking system, and you can review test results on different configurations of machines.
     
  11. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Makes perfect sense, thanks.

    The 'as much/as good as you can afford' advice can't really work IMO. You need a balanced system - no point in having the most/best memory in the world, if you CPU, graphics card, etc are all struggling. I just wasn't sure what makes a balanced system these days.
     
  12. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    The 'balanced' system is dependant on your requirements:

    If you want an average value for money system that handles games in a very playable format - just not at the top resolutions .....

    A System that will run all todays games very well ( half way between midrange and top of the range ):

    Corsair 1GB DDR XMS3200C2PT TwinX (2x512MB) CAS2
    £152.69

    AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Winchester 90nm (Socket 939) - Retail (CP-096-AM) (CP-096-AM)
    £111.57

    MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum (Socket 939) Motherboard
    £90.42

    Connect3D ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB DDR TV-Out/DVI
    £140.94

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Plus 160GB ATA-100 8MB Cache
    £63.39

    Pioneer DVR-108 16x DVD±RW Dual Layer ReWriter
    £50.76

    CoolerMaster Centurion 2 - Silver
    £39.29

    Akasa Ultra Quiet 400W Paxmate Version 2 Power Supply
    £47.00

    1715 17" LCD Monitor
    £173.31

    Sennheiser PC150 Binaural Headset
    £45.77

    Logitech Media Keyboard
    £17.04

    Logitech MX510 Performance Optical Mouse
    £29.61

    Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition - OEM
    £57.52
    =====================
    £1019.31

    ^ Example of the cost and requirements for a full operational PC

    There are reasons for everything I chose - CPU can be direct swapped for a AMD64 FX 55 when they drop in price - dvd writer is one of the best - mouse is one of the best gameing mice --- and the whole rig is reasonably portable.
    You can make a decent PC on far less money ..... but don't expect to be able to be as portable ( CRT monitor ) - have the grafix capability etc
    PS - no floppy as I don't use them .... but they are less than a fiver.
     
  13. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    My current rig:

    AMD64 3500+ winchester - 1Gig CAS 2 ram - x800pro(XT soft mod ) - 21" Iiyama - DSP 300 headset, logitec mx1000 laser optical mouse -- my vapo chill case is not in use atm as I am getting ready to set up for a lan.
    Thats another £1000 or so ontop of the above mid range PC quoted above ....... Its down to how daft you are in trying to get those extra frames per second ;)

    Note: I'm toying with the idea of SLi'ing next year ..... so thats getting rid of the x800 card and putting in 2 x 6800Ultras = another £1000 for the cards and board...... but we'll have to wait and see if I can control myself and remain sane enough to not do it :)

    ...... and then theres the 20" TFT and added water cooling for the GFX, HD and ram .......... you can tell I have no life outside PC's ........
     
  14. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Sweet, thanks for that. When can I pick it up?

    It's not actually that far of what I'd like. This is quite frustrating - I spent over a year choosing my HC system, and I'm really happy with what I chose. Choosing a PC looks just as complicated, but I don't have the time to research every little bit, and I want it now. So thanks for all advice.

    Looking at the games available that I can't get on my xbox, I've decided I'll get something that can play the latest games.

    My PC needs are:
    1) Music server for several rooms - uncompressed music streamed to slimp3 style boxes.
    2) Recording things off sky+ then archiving to DVD
    3) Games - at the same time as music in another room (I know Games won't want to share, but I'm hoping the music doesn't require much power)
    I don't need it to be portable - it's staying under the stairs.
    The Athlon 64 could be useful with a beta version of XP on dual boot - a friend using it says its a few times faster at downloading.
    Graphics - I guess its either the Radeon 9800 or nVidea 6600 ish. Should I be looking at AGP or PCI express in this price range?
    Hard drive - I want between 4&500 Gb. Doesn't have to be silent, but not noisy.
    DVD writer - what makes one better than another? Are some less reliable at producing faultless copies?
    Is there any need for a seperate DVD player? - I notice some systems include both player and recorder.
    Case - it's going under the stairs, so as long as it's not an oven, and easy to get to things + bits
    PSU - what I've read suggests I'll need a fair bit of power. I'd like to be able to play games while music is playing elsewhere.
    Monitor - I'll stick with old 19" crt until flats are cheaper
    Keyb/Mouse - I'd like a 10m range radio & mouse, but I have no idea if they're suitable for games.

    Thanks

    Quite funny I asked about memory, when I need to know about every bit of the system.

    And I'm not planning on spending a huge amount extra to get those few frames per second.
     
  15. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Oh, and while I realise hand picking components and self building is useful if you're after the best, as I'm after a mid-high end as you've described, would I get better value by choosing the components on offer on a site like scan, and letting them build it (eg 3XS system)?
     
  16. lynx

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    Keep an eye on PC World. I got 512mb DDR400 for £40.
     
  17. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thats pretty cheap
     
  18. lynx

    lynx
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    2 X 256 ddr400 - £22 each less discount £40 delivered.
     

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