As a first-time builder, I have a lot of questions about memory. I'll probably be running a 990x on a X58 motherboard but haven't narrowed it to a specific board yet. Also, I probably won't be overclocking at first but would like to eventually as I become more knowledgeable and gain more confidence (in both the computer and myself).
· 990x is a good CPU choice; overclocking helps Premiere a lot, so do get a good cooler and case so you can OC down the road
So first off, is 1333 MHz the fastest memory can run on this type of system without overclocking? I assume that faster memory will still work, it just won't run at it's full rated speed until it's overclocked. What about XMP profiles – I've read that by selecting an XMP profile in the BIOS, that memory can safely run at higher settings without getting into all the detailed parameters of overclocking. Is that more or less correct?
· Overclocking means turning up the speed past the rated speed, so running RAM within the XMP profiles is not overclocking.
It seems like as the speed rating goes up the latency rating goes down (generally). Which is more important?
· There are pros and cons to faster RAM speed and lower RAM latency, but you don't really need to worry about that too much.
What about mixing modules of the same type? I know it's not good to mix different speeds/brands/etc. But what about something like buying 6x 4GB modules versus a matched 24GB kit? I've heard that's risky and can sometimes work ok but other times not. I found a 4GB module from Corsair (CMX4GX3M1A1600C7) that seems to offer both decent speed (1600 MHz) and low latency (7-8-7-20) but am concerned about running 6 of these unmatched. BTW, I don't understand what all the individual numbers mean but believe that the lower the better (for latencies).
· Don't even think about mixing RAM types on a PC like you are building.
Most of the memory modules I've looked at are rated at either 1.5 or 1.65 volts. What's the difference – is it simply a matter of adjusting the voltage on the board or in the BIOS?
· Regarding RAM voltage, I'd suggest 1.5; the reason is simple, I have a seriously overclocked 24GB system and it is working just great with 1600 MHz, CAS 9/9/9, 1.5 volt RAM (see JES4 on PPBM5)
I heard something a while back about performance issues with more than a certain amount of memory. For example, a system with 24GB actually running slower than a system with 12GB. I find that hard to believe. Has anyone heard of that?
· Having less RAM overhead may allow some things to perform a bit faster so long as you have sufficient RAM to do whatever it is that you are doing without exceeding the memory needs of your installed RAM. In general, running Premiere CS5 works fine for everything I do with 12GB of RAM, except for DVD rendering. And, comparing the speed of DVD rendering using 24GB vs. 12GB, the extra RAM does make a noticeable difference.
Finally, I'm undecided about the need for ECC memory. Contrary to what many people say, it's not just for servers. Most workstations, such as the HP Z800, Dell Precision, Mac Pro, etc. use ECC. Some studies have indicated memory errors are much more likely than is commonly assumed. Building the Perfect PC recommends using ECC memory if you install more than 8GB (I'm going for 24GB). On the other hand, the majority of computers do not use ECC memory. I realize it's a little more expensive, less options available, and possibly incurs a slight performance hit. And you need a Xeon to support it. I go back and forth on whether ECC is important. Does anyone running large memories (>16GB) have problems they could attribute to not using ECC?
· Most motherboard choices let you have either overclocking or ECC, but not both. The beautiful EVGA SR-2 dual Xeon board (can run with a single Xeon too) is the only model that I'm aware of that is shipping right now that allows for both, and unfortunately it is large (special case needs) and expensive (around $600). Bottom line, choose a good Asus or Gigabyte enthusiast motherboard that overclocks well and don't be bothered by the lack of ECC.
In addition to JES remarks, the 990X/X58 combo does not allow ECC memory. Just get good DDR3-1600+ memory with low latencies and you are well off for the future, even when overclocking.
Thanks for your help JEShort01. When you say "Don't even think about mixing RAM types on a PC like you are building", does that include not mixing the same type from different batches as in my example (6x 4GB)?
I looked at the JES4 results and that's pretty amazing for a single 970. That's quite a system disk you have (5 SSDs in RAID0).
You said "choose a good Asus or Gigabyte enthusiast motherboard that overclocks well". I notice JES4 is running a GA-X58A-UD7. What were your reasons for choosing that particular model? The GA-X58A-UDx series is one I'm considering.
Harm, yes I understand 990x/X58 does not allow ECC. I would use another combo if I decide to go ECC. The DDR3-1600/9-9-9-24 Corsair Vengeance is one memory I'm considering.
You're welcome indeed! I've really gotten a lot out of both this hardware forum and the Adobe CS5 one as well.
Regarding RAM, I meant use matched RAM. I used different batches myself, but ordered them all at the same place (Newegg) and on the same order which I've heard at least gets sequential batches and a better chance of a good match. When I ordered my RAM it was quite a premium for the identical sticks but in a 6x4GB pack instead of three 2x4GB packs.
Regarding motherboard choices, there are so many variables even within a particular chipset (i.e. X58) and a particular vendor (i.e. Gigabyte). You asked for my reasons though, so here goes...
- Gigabyte seemed to be getting good press at the overclockers sites, but as I recall, I think that Asus was too.
- I am currently only using 2 PCIe slots on this board, and it has 4, however the video card uses one slot, covers another, the RAID card uses a slot, and that only leaves one more for either a potential 2nd video card or some other hardware device.
- The UD7 includes a water-jacket for the North Bridge and I was building a water cooled rig; the reason for full water cooling was to run very fast, do it very quietly, and do it reliably (keep things cool). Building the H2O rig was a major PITA, but now that is complete, I am extremely pleased with how fast and silent it is.
- My first CPU on this board was a i7-950 which was selling locally (Micro Center) for less than $200, Sandy Bridge CPUs were not shipping yet, and I wanted great CS5 performance for low cost; this system (JES3) really did everything that I could possibly want, and the lowest cost shipping 32nm CPU was the i7-970, and when I did this build those were selling for $900, WAY more that I was interested to spend for the CPU
- Much more recently, I picked up a i7-970 new in box for $500 (eBay), so for the incremental $350 (used i7-950's are eBay'ing for about $150), I felt that moving to the 6-core was a good value, will run more efficiently, and will extend the life of this rig. About a month before I pulled the trigger on the i7-970 upgrade the rumour mill around Intel's X58 replacement seemed to be firming up that they would only have 4 RAM slots; yes, they will be supporting the "new" 8GB sticks, but I'm sure that will be pricy for months after the initial release.
- X58 UD7's are awefully hard to come by now; if you are not going water cooled the UD5 I think is pretty much identical to mine. Also in the Gigabyte line, there are 3 new X58 gamers boards, and a bright orange 58A-OC overclocker's specific board.
- Video editing rigs use a lot of SATA drives and the UD7 came with 10 (6 Intel, 4 Marvel), and possibly one or two more that can be accessed as eSATA ports!
Thanks for the explanation on why you chose your motherboard. I don't intend to use water cooling so the UD5, or possibly even the UD3R would probably suffice. I'm also looking at the Asus Rampage III (probably Formula) and Sabertooth and the Intel DX58SO2. I've heard Intel boards in general are very stable and reliable but some people seem to think the DX58SO2 doesn't have as many overclocking options as the Asus and Gigabyte boards. I'm not really sure what that means because I know the DX58SO2 was designed for overclocking.
The i970 is a greater bang-for-the-buck solution than the 990x but I want all the CPU power I can get because in addition to Premiere I also do a lot of After Effects and 3D animation. Of course, dual Xeons would be nice but the ones similar to the 990x would run about 2.5X as much for the pair.
If anyone else has any input on my other memory questions (ECC, voltages, etc.) I would appreciate hearing your opinions.
Asus boards are very good too. You may not want the Intel board(s) though if you want to OC, since testers report that they make doing so more difficult.
Regarding the cost multiplier to purchase a matched pair of Xeons with the same rated speed of the 990x, I think it is more like 3.4X as much! Plus about $600 for the EVGA SR-2 motherboard, which seems to be the only board to support serioius OC'ing with dual 6-core Xeons.
Oops, you're right. I was thinking roughly $2,500 more for the Xeons but, as you point out, that would be 3.4X the cost plus the difference in cost for the motherboard would make it about 3.7X and then adding more memory for the additional cores could bump the cost up to around 4X. Yikes!
The Intel Board overclocks via the Turbo like the SB boards. It actually is a pretty stable overclocking board. It's just not your standard X58 setup for overclocking and easy to get the settings wrong. The stability though in overclock is very nice.
Thanks Eric. That's good to know. As someone new to overclocking, stability is good but "easy to get the settings wrong" is not. Would you recommend this board for an OC newbie? What other X58 boards might be better?
I would recommend a board that you can find OC settings online easily if you are not sure what settings to change and what to change them to. OC'ing incorrectly is a good way to create headaches that are very difficult to diagnose that can take months to resolve. Otherwise I would not OC or have someone OC for you.