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What to pay for your desktop RAM in mid-March 2008

by Tarinder Sandhu on 19 March 2008, 11:02

Tags: Corsair

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qambr

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Memory prices in mid-March 2008.

How much should you pay for quality system memory right now?  HEXUS gives you an indication by doing the hard work and trawling through responsible e-tailers' websites and plucking out the best deals.

Put very, very simply, faster memory is always preferable, as it minimises the delay in getting data and instructions sent over to the CPU, increasing performance. Capacity, too, is becoming an important topic with the widespread adoption of Microsoft Vista - now patched up to SP1 - which thrives on 4GiB.

Please note that HEXUS does not receive a kickback from any linked-to memory; we've added pricing to show what's available, today, and in generally in stock.

DDR2 - 667MHz (PC5300/5400)

The bread-and-butter memory that's used in a wide range of budget-to-mid-range systems. Pricing is wonderfully low, so, please, do your PC(s) a favour and fill those slots!

2GiB kits (2x 1GiB sticks) - everyone should have at least 2GiB in their systems, at the very least.

Crucial PC5300 - CL5 - no heatspreaders - £28.19 @ Crucial.co.uk

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB sticks) - perfect for resource-hungry Microsoft Vista, and the minimum that we would recommend to a 'power-user', given the price of current DDR2.

OCZ Value Select - 5-5-5-15 latencies - no heatspreaders - £48.43 at eBuyer.com

DDR2 - 800MHz (PC6400)

DDR2-800 still represents a worthwhile investment for most readers. It'll run on the vast majority of chipsets and provides 12.8GiB/s of potential bandwidth to a system when run in dual-channel mode, constituting two modules placed in the same-coloured slots on a motherboard.

Lower latencies and larger capacities are better, of course, but such is the market price for (relatively high-speed) DDR2-800 chips, at a point where manufacturers are barely turning a profit, it's almost rude not to buy some right now.

2GiB kits (2x 1GiB)

OCZ Platinum - 4-4-4-15 latencies - integrated heatspreaders - £32.99 @ eBuyer.com

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB)

Corsair TwinX XMS2 - 5-5-5-18 latencies - integrated heatspreaders - £60.50 @ Scan.co.uk

DDR2-1,066MHz (PC8500)

DDR2 generally scales not much further than 1,066MHz, which pushes out around 17GiB/s in dual-channel mode. Most multi-GPU-capable chipsets now officially support this speed, including AMD's 790FX and Intel's P35.

The extra bandwidth is of particular benefit when running the host CPU at higher-than-default speeds. DDR2 of this speed will generally require above-JEDEC (1.8V) voltages

2GiB kits (2x 1GiB)

Corsair DOMINATOR - 5-5-5-15 latencies - DOMINATOR heatspreaders - £47.00 (Komplett)

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB)

Corsair DOMINATOR - 5-5-5-18 latencies - DOMINATOR heatspreaders - £91.65 (Scan - pre-order)

We detail the value proposition of DDR3 on the next page.