9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 8, 2009 6:04 PM by nados

    Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?

    nados Level 1

      Hi all,

       

      After getting great advise from Harm and Jim, i'm ready to purchase a new diy i7 system (Asus P6T, i7 920). I read a number of articles including one from  the "Tom's Hardware" site and it appears that most DDr3 ram is closely matched given small differences in frequency and timing.

       

      The only questions i still have are:

       

      1. Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?

       

      2. According to Harm's guide, if i have a choice between DDR3-1066 and 1333, i should get DDR3-1333.

       

      3. DDR3-1333 appears to come in three flavors, namely PC3-10600, 10660 and 10666 - what gives?

       

      4. Although i have purchased most things from Newegg, their i7 920 is $279.99 compared to MicroCenter's $199.99. Is there a version difference?

        • 1. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
          Jim_Simon Level 9

          The brand of memory can make a difference in its longevity.  Kingston, Crucial and Corsair are all top names, and the only one's I'll buy.  (They also come with Lifetime guarantees.)  I've heard some people promote OCZ and Patriot, but I just don't have enough trusted resources confirming their quality for me to consider them.

           

          The "PC" speed ratings of memory reflect slightly different overclocking abilities.

           

          As far as I know, there are no version differences for the i7 920.  (Except maybe retail and OEM, where the first includes a fan.)

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
            nados Level 1

            Thanks Harm,

             

            Anyway it appears that there are revisons to the i7 920 (C0 and D0). Revison D0 appears to be about "stepping" - what ever that is.

            • 3. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
              Harm Millaard Level 7

              Actually you replied to Jim.

               

              For the i7-920, make sure that you get the D0 stepping. That is the latest stepping on the market and contains many improvements over the C0/C1 stepping.

               

              Whenever a CPU is brought out, bugs will come to light and further optimizations can be performed. Compare it to CS4 4.0 versus 4.1. A lot of bugs were ironed out, performance optimizations were done. With CPU's it is much more difficult, because you have to make a new master, from which to bake the CPU's, and of course, those already sold cannot be updated. These updates are called steppings.

               

              It could be that the 'attractive' price relates to the C0/C1 stepping, but maybe they just make a great offer with the D0 stepping. I would check that out.

               

              All these brands of memory are quite good. One that Jim did not mention but that is very good as well is GelL. I consider any brand that has 10 years or longer guarantee periods sufficiently safe for use (consider using the same machine in 10 years time). Also keep in mind that the popularity of brands differ between the US and Europe, due to different marketing strategies. Here in Europe for instance WD is more popular than Seagate, in the US it is probably the other way round. Here Kingston HyperX is very popular amongst gamers, who look down on the Value line.

               

              I stick with my earlier suggestion, use DDR3-1333 memory, because it is very economical and it allows overclocking to a very safe and comfortable level of around 3.6 GHz. IF you don't overclock, DDR3-1066 is good enough. When choosing from all the different brands, go for the one with the best affordable timings.

              • 4. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                Maybe you remember from several years ago, when Intel brought out the new generation of P4 chips, there surfaced widely spread complaints about rounding errors when using certain calculations in Excel. The culprit appeared to be a bug in the ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) with floating point operations, that caused these rounding errors. It took Intel a couple of months to make the new stepping and people could exchange their P4 CPU for the one with the new stepping for free.

                • 5. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
                  nados Level 1

                  Sorry Jim, about calling you Harm...

                   

                  In any case, Is there a way to determine which stepping your getting before you buy - by model/serial number?

                   

                   

                  Harm,

                  people could exchange their P4 CPU for the one with the new stepping for free.

                   

                  I'm sure that won't happen with the i7 920.

                  • 6. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
                    Harm Millaard Level 7

                    I assume there is a way to discern them based on serial number, but I'm not sure. I would specifically demand a D0 stepping and if they agree to deliver that, you have a strong case if they only delivered a C0/1 stepping.

                    • 7. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
                      nados Level 1

                      Harm,

                       

                      The spec code "SLBEJ"  on the bar code sticker on outside of the box identifies the D0 stepping revision. In any case, I just got back from MicroCenter with the D0 stepping version of the i7 920 for $199.99 USD.

                       

                      BTW, all of the sales staff had i5 shirts for the promotion of the new i5 processors, but none are happy about it. The few sales staff i talked to think that Intel is making a mistake and could not explain why Intel is doing this.

                       

                      Harm and Jim - Thanks for all your help and support!

                       

                      I'll let you know how it all works out when i get the new system together.

                      • 8. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        That is a great buy!

                         

                        I'm working on an article about these new CPU's. Hopefully I can post it later today.

                        • 9. Re: Does the brand of DDR3 ram really matter?
                          nados Level 1

                          As a side note... i found this on cnet's website about what Intel is saying about the iX and other processors:

                           

                          In a post Wednesday on Intel's Web site, spokesman Bill Calder wrote that the branding will be "simplified into entry-level (Intel Core i3), mid-level (Intel Core i5), and high-level (Intel Core i7)." Calder added that it is "important to note that these are not brands but modifiers to the Intel Core brand that signal different features and benefits."

                           

                          The upcoming Lynnfield chip (desktop) will be available as either Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 depending upon the feature set and capability, Calder wrote. Clarksfield (mobile) will have the Intel Core i7 name. Arrandale (32-nanometer mobile) will appear as the Core i3 but will ultimately span the Core brand to include Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7. Clarkdale (32-nanometer desktop) will be available under the Core i3 and Intel Core i5 brands, Calder said.

                           

                           

                          Others are saying...

                           

                          Intel marketing is just trying to sell off their inventory, by spinning the re-labeling and re-categorizing efforts as “innovation”. It’s quite clear that the corporate directive is just to push as many x86 processors out onto the market. It’s just a way for sales and marketing to fight commoditization and to clear out inventory (and consumer market-space) of their latest products, so that they can support their manufacturing operations on the next technology cycle.