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What to pay for your desktop RAM in late May 2008

by Tarinder Sandhu on 26 May 2008, 00:15

Tags: Corsair

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Memory prices in late May 2008.

We took a look at memory pricing just over a couple of months' ago and surmised that whilst the average selling price of DDR3 had dropped, DDR2 was where it was at, especially with respect to 4GiB kits at varying speed-grades.

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. We've also added the percentage increase/drop in pricing since the guide in mid-March. Note, however, that the modules' recommendation may have changed.

The recommendations are based on the quality of the manufacturer and retailer, including warranty, delivery, and after-sales service.

Scan, for example, is offering free delivery on a minimum order value of £20 excluding VAT, covering all modules. Other etailers also tout free delivery on varying orders, so they're worth investigating

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 2GiB in their systems, at the very least.

Crucial PC5300 - CL5 - no heatspreaders - £27.01 @ Crucial.co.uk - down 4%. Includes 1GiB flash drive.

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.

Corsair Value Select - 5-5-5-15 latencies - no heatspreaders - £51.16 at Scan.co.uk - up 5.6%

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) -

Corsair TwinX XMS - 4-4-4-12 latencies - integrated heatspreaders - £34.83 @ Scan.co.uk - up 5.6%

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB) -

Corsair TwinX XMS2 - 5-5-5-18 latencies - integrated heatspreaders - £58.33 @ Scan.co.uk - down 3.2%.

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)

OCZ PC2-8500 SLI-Ready (EPP) - 5-5-5-15 latencies - XTC heatspreaders - £40.54 @ eBuyer.co.uk- down 13.7%

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB)

OCZ Reaper X Enhanced Bandwidth - 5-5-5-18 latencies - OCZ HPC heatspreaders - £80.00 @ eBuyer.co.uk - down 12.7%

We see that prices of PC6400 (800MHz) RAM haven't fluctuated hugely in the last two months, for both 2GiB and 4GiB kits.

Faster DDR2, though, has seen a substantial drop for both capacities.

The pick of the bunch is the 4GiB pack of Corsair TwinX XMS2 PC6400, at £58.33 including delivery.

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