memory and the different types

  Craig-289433 11:17 28 May 2003

The new motherboard that I am getting can handle PC3200/PC2700/PC2100/PC1600, what I am wanting to know is what is the main difference between these types of memory.

Is it the higher the number the faster the speed or is it better to match it to the processor in some way.

  davidg_richmond 11:38 28 May 2003

Yes, the higher the number the faster the speed. But it all depends on the processor you have, as the Front Side Bus (FSB) of the processor can differ, and also to the motherboard you have as there is a Memory Bus speed too (these are the speeds you have mentioned).

PC1600 is 200Mhz, PC2100 is 266Mhz, PC2700 is 333Mhz, PC3200 is 400Mhz

Look for the memory that best suits your processor, i.e. an Athlon 2200+ uses a 266Mhz FSB, so get PC2100. A P4 2.53Mhz CPU runs at 533Mhz, so buy the fastest memory you can get (PC3200) for the best performance.

  Craig-289433 12:26 28 May 2003

The processor I am getting is going to have a 333mhz fsb, but in the future would hope to move upto 400mhz fsb, so would it be better getting PC2700 to go with the current processor, or getting PC3200 for future upgrades, is there any problems getting memory faster than your processor.

  davidg_richmond 12:48 28 May 2003

There are no problems in getting faster memory for the processor, there is just no increase in performance as the processor can only handle 333Mhz.

It all depends on how long you will leave it before upgrading, as 400Mhz memory may be a lot cheaper in a year or two, and you may even find that the technologies have moved on and go for an even faster board/processor/memory.

There is only a difference of about £10 between 512Mb PC2700 and PC3200, not much if you will upgrade your processor in a year or so.

  Craig-289433 13:39 28 May 2003

So of course if I bought 333fsb memory now and then upgraded to a 400fsb Processor then having the slower memory in place would slow down the system.

Given that 400fsb Athlon Processors have only just appeared, it might be a while before I do upgrade as I would wait for the price to come down a bit.

  Craig-289433 14:53 28 May 2003

So what are the differences between Non-Parity, Unbuffered and ECC memory and is any one better than the other.

  davidg_richmond 21:34 28 May 2003

Basically ECC memory performs error checking on the memory, and increases stability if there are errors. It does slow the memory down slightly though, and memory errors are quite rare. Most people use non-parity (non-ECC), while corporate servers tend to use ECC to ensure stability. Some motherboards do not support ECC either. I would suggest you do not bother with ECC.

Registered, as I understand it, slows the throughput of data from the chips slightly to avoid timing issues. This reduces your machine's performance, and again is not particularly necessary. The opposite of registered is unbuffered.

Another performance indicator of RAM is the CL, or 'Column Address Select(CAS) Latency'. This is another timing issue, RAM that supports a lower CL will deliver better performance.

As you say, 400Mhz Athlons are only new and are quite expensive and difficult to get hold of. So if you intend to upgrade later when it's cheaper, go for the PC3200 memory.

  powerless 21:37 28 May 2003

400MHz FSB starts @ the 3200XP, so if your motherboard can support this then get the PC3200 now or then again later on when it's cheaper.

  davidg_richmond 22:41 28 May 2003

Starbar, what motherboard are you buying? You need to verify that it will handle (as Powerless points out) a 400Mhz FSB processor. A lack of lateral thinking has led me to overlook this point!

  Craig-289433 22:48 28 May 2003

I know my new motherboard will support 400fsb the Asus A7N8X Deluxe or it will when the company send me the right revision, but as the new 400fsb Athlon's are fairly new the haven't been subjected to the price decreases, so that is an option for a future upgrade. I have been stung like that before, buying a motherboard, then finding out that if I had waited a couple of months for a different revision to come out I could have just replaced the processor, rather than the whole setup, memory, motherboard and processor.

  Deemun76 07:08 04 Jun 2003

I've been unable, so far, to determine what kind of memory I've got as regards CL and whether it's EEC, or non-parity or what....


How do I find out?

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