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What to pay for your desktop RAM in September 2008

by Tarinder Sandhu on 1 September 2008, 11:19

Tags: Corsair

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We looked at how much you should may for quality system memory back in March and May of this year. The two-month look showed that DDR3's pricing had fallen around 20 per cent, with higher-speed modules becoming slowly, but surely, more readily available.

Now with Intel's upcoming Core i7 (Nehalem) integrating a DDR3 memory controller on the CPU, and performance being such that it will be the only sensible choice for the enthusiast, DDR3 sales should see a nice jolt and, subsequently, lower pricing.

DDR2, though, remains the memory of choice for most chipsets, so let's take a look at how the etail market shapes up in early September.

Bear in mind that the stated memory may not be the cheapest around.

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!

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

Corsair Value Select PC5400 - CL5 - no heatspreaders - £26.32 @ Scan.co.uk

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

Crucial PC2-5300 - 5-5-5-15 latencies - no heatspreaders - £51.69 at Crucial.co.uk

Pricing remains relatively unchanged from late May.

DDR2 - 800MHz (PC6400)

DDR2-800 still represents a worthwhile investment for most readers. It'll run on the vast majority of chipsets and provides 12.8GB/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.

2GB kits (2x 1GB) -

Kingston HyperX - CL4 - integrated heatspreaders - £28.38 @ Ebuyer.co.uk

4GB kits (2x 2GB) -

GeIL Value - 5-5-5-15 latencies - integrated heatspreaders - £46.99 @ Microdirect.co.uk.

DDR2-800MHz pricing has dropped by around 10 per cent in the last three months, and the 4GB GeIL pack offers remarkable value.

DDR2-1,066MHz+ (PC8500)

DDR2 doesn't usually scale much past 1,066MHz and focus for higher speeds has moved on to DDR3

The extra bandwidth that DDR2-1,066 provides 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.

2GB kits (2x 1GB)

OCZ PC2-9200 Reaper HPC - 5-5-5-18 latencies - HPC heatspreaders - £33.60 @ Ebuyer.co.uk.

4GB kits (2x 2GB)

Corsair TwinX DDR2 XMS2 PC2-8500 - 5-5-5-18 latencies - XMS heatspreaders - £75.20 @ Scan.co.uk.

PC8500 DDR2 has also dropped by around 10 per cent. We'd be inclined to forego the extra speed and opt for a sub-£50 pack of PC6400 memory instead.