Does faster ram make a big difference?

  Dell Latitude 19:33 30 Jul 2006

Does faster ram make a big difference?

For example is there a big difference between pc2100 and pc4000.

How would it be different?

  Gongoozler 20:10 30 Jul 2006

As there aren't yet any replies to your question, I'll give my - non expert - opinion.

Memory can generally run asynchronously, i.e. it can run a a frequency different from the FSB of the processor. This means that even if your processor FSB is 133M which would normally run PC2100 memory, PC4000 memory can be used and will run faster, however the processor itself will still not be able to use the data faster than it's own clock speed will allow, so there will be little advantage.

Crucial, who make some of the best memory available say this

"DDR memory was designed to be backward compatible so generally speaking, you can safely add faster memory to your computer. For example, you can install a PC3200 DDR module in a computer that calls for PC2700 DDR. However, keep in mind that faster memory will not necessarily make your system faster. You can't speed up your computer by adding faster memory if other components in your computer (your processor or other memory modules) operate at a slower speed.

The right memory for your computer is the kind of memory it was designed to take. Check your system manual or look up your system in the Crucial Memory Advisor to find the memory guaranteed to be 100 percent compatible or your money back." click here

The exception, as I see it to the sentence "The right memory for your computer is the kind of memory it was designed to take." is that as the technology progresses makers just don't make the slower memory so you will probably soon not be able to find the slowest modules such as pc2100.

  DieSse 23:41 30 Jul 2006

Whilst RAM is backward compatible to a degree - many older motherboards are simply not capable of running faster RAM at all, even at a slower speed.

Goongoozler is quite correct when he says that RAM synchronised to the processor speed will generally give the best performance. So much so that in many circumstances, faster RAM set to run at it's faster speed may actually give lower throughput.

So the general message is - it's best to run RAM synchronously with the processor - and it's best to stick to RAM with the correct speed for the motherboard. Unless it's possible, and you know how, to set your system up in a different manner. Even if it's feasible, any performance gains would be slight at best (and as above, iy could be worse).

If however you have a processor and motherboard capable of properly using fast RAM - and for one reason or another (economy?) you're using slower RAM - them you will get a useful performance boost from fitting fsater RAM in some applications where RAM speed makes a difference.

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