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Newbie RAM questions

Discussion in 'Computing' started by kmetal, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Lowell Massachusetts
    I realize this thread is a bit old. But I've goofed with computer building, over clocking, the whole 9. It may be useful to someone else searching down the road.

    I can't get into what each latency mark means (partially bc I don't recall off the top of my head), but it's not something you need to pay attention to. Not with the amount and speed of ram you have. It's like comparing a Ferrari and a Mclaren, saying one does 210 mph and the other 208mph. Nobody would buy a car like that based solely on that number. That's kind of what comparing theses latencies is like. You would buy the ram based on reliability ratings, speed, and what you can fit/afford.

    I doubt that you would see a difference with those latencies, with any application. Like @DonnyThompson said, it's milliseconds. But also, it's situational. Those numbers are arrived at with a series of tests. We are assuming that those tests will be relevant to real world performance. At the level you are speaking of, the latencies are not distinguishable except with speed tests. Meaning, you aren't going to feel a difference. DDR4 at 2400, that's ridiculously fast already. It would be something I would pay attention to, only if my goal was overclocking, bc I know what latencies I can run.

    For most normal people, you would want to buy based on maximum speed and amount you can afford....then look at the rams reviews. If it's reliable and the max speed you can fit, latencies are not important. Reliability is a much more important factor than those latencies. Ram can be finicky.

    One thing to keep in mind is that some ram is made for overclocking. It's made to run at higher voltages, and with higher heat. As such, it's usually more expensive. Occasionally, you will see ram speeds listed, but it's at 1.5 volts. 1.2 is typically what your computer is feeding it. So if it's rated at 1.5, and you install it at 1.2 (they are usually 1.2 stable) it's not going to run at the speeds listed anyway. You may already know that bc everything I saw listed was 1.2 volts.

    So, overclocking ram is not of any use to people, unless they overclock it. It will be rated as faster than the other ram sticks, but once installed in YOUR computer at 1.2 volts, it's no faster than other ram sticks.

    I've seen quite a few people buy "overclocking" ram, and paying a hefty price, thinking it's better/faster. Unless you go in and change the voltages and latencies, the ram is the same as it's competition. Oc'ing the ram isn't super hard, but it takes a little practice to get it stable. And with the speed of ram these days in general, oc'ing isn't really necessary. Just don't buy that ram thinking that it's faster. At 1.2 volts, it's not. And if one doesn't go in the system to change the voltages and latencies, they just got ripped off on their ram purchase.
     
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  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Jul 21, 2009
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    Boston, Massachusetts
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    Well said. I ended up decding on the 2133 corsair lpx/ripjaws 5 for those two computers. I decided recently to just build a modest i7 for them main daw. It'll be 2133 most likely, or 2400 if the mobo supports it. Likely 2133. 64gb, and 2x m.2 drives.

    Lol since this thread 8mo ago the ram has dropped $75 on average, so I'm glad I waited.
     
  3. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Lowell Massachusetts
    Honest to God K, my reply was too long, so I deleted two things.

    One was about how I probably wouldn't buy the fastest ram you can fit if you are going to max it out. In other words, if you are 32gb, 2400 capable, I would buy 2133. Because ram tech changes so fast, that prices fall quickly. So you might pay through the nose for ram that 6 months down the road is going to be half price. The newest, speediest ram, is usually sold at a premium.

    I also said (and deleted) if I was you (at the time you wrote the thread) I would be looking at 2133 instead of 2400. If you were 64gb ready, and 2666 speeds...that is your max.....I would buy 32gb of 2133 right now for a can of beans, and in a year, get 64gb of 2666. It often costs less in the long run, and at no point would the computer seem slow.

    Anything that has tons of benchmarks, or numbers on/in it, e.g. DDR4 2666, PC 170,000,000...people are often oversold, solely based on the numbers, when it comes to the "newest." It's a marketing tool that works well just bc of how our brains are taught to think.
    "This one has higher numbers, it must be way better." It is better, but usually not justified in price. Just wait for the price to fall.

    It's a stick with a bunch of chips glued to it, there is no need (unless you are oc'ing) to be paying $400-$500 for ram.

    I've used G-skills, Mushkin (quite a bit of Mushkin), Corsair...whatever fits the budget. I just check the ratings first and never had a problem.
     
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  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    I had 16 gig on my system, but one of the 8 gig sticks went bad on me a few months back; and I haven't replaced it yet - other financial priorities - but I'm gonna need to do something soon; working with 8 gig is okay for those basic projects, but I'm starting to get into mixes for clients who are requesting more audio processing and VSTi's than what my PC can handle at the moment ( I'm starting to get the hiccups in some mixes).

    Track-freezing comes in handy for those moments when the DSP is hitting that 95% region, but freezing isn't always convenient.

    On my own stuff, rarely do I tax the DSP on Samplitude any higher than around 50%, but I do have those clients who want more than what I normally use on my own stuff... a good bit of it is with VSTi's; ( "soft synth" samples), which, depending on the sample, can tax my system pretty hard, and some of these newer VSTi's are really great-sounding, but of course with that, the more they are taxing my system.

    Part of me thinks that I should just replace the 8 gig stick... which would get me back up to 16...
    But then I think that maybe I should just bite the bullet and get two 16 gig sticks.... and be done with it...:confused:
     
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    The differnce in price is probably not a whole lot, you'd probably see noticable improvements. But beyond that at least w two new sticks you won't have to worry about the other stick failing anytime soon, in general. Obviously budget is the determining factor.
     
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Most motherboards have a higher performance when the RAM is spread over two sticks (to give 128-bit fetches), even if it's the same total amount as on a single stick.
     
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  7. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Lowell Massachusetts
    You sound very computer savvy, but just in case, make sure the mobo will take two 16gb sticks. A cheaper mobo will sometimes only handle 8 per slot, and since these days 16 is often enough for most people (before 64 bit, we used 3.5!) sometimes the board will only do 16 total. It's also a bit age dependent bc of when 16g sticks became readily (and affordably) available.

    He speaks the truth! And it's not just noticeable with speed tests. It can be noticeable to the user.

    Ideally (I can't think of a single exception) if you were to run 16gb total, and you had two ram slots, you would want two sticks of 8. That is ideal, not absolutely necessary in all cases. If you were in a cash bind and you wanted to run 32gb, again with only two slots, I would 1. make sure the channels will handle 16gb per slot, and 2. make sure that if you only use one channel that everything will still run. This needs to be done bc some two slot mobo's may run with only one stick....it's not "system stopping" but it's "system confusing." In other words, the way to find out if your mobo will handle this is to check with the company. Because putting a stick in there, and the computer running, doesn't necessarily mean all is well. It's not something that would come up a lot, but it's certainly worth checking. But if all that is in order, you could get a 16 stick, and wait to get the next one.

    When building your own PC, most people are aware of how crucial the power supply is. It's easily found on almost every internet site pertaining to building your own pc. But still, I've been handed many a computer to "fix", and the cause of the problem was almost always a crappy psu, IF a crappy PSU was installed, and damage is often permanent. People don't realize that not supplying enough voltage, or if it's not steady, things can burn up.

    Ime, about 1/2 of the time, the damage caused by overclocking is not caused by the individual parts not handling it, it's the power supply not supplying steady voltage in oc situations.

    But I digress. When people do their own build, people often focus on, and purchase the hottest processor they can afford. To do this, they often cheap out on the motherboard, bc, they see specs as specs. But in fact, mobo design, functionality, and reliability, are just as important as anything else in the chain. It's very similar to how I explained ram above. I would give the reliability ratings a lot of weight. But I would take a 2.3 ghz processor with a top tier mobo, than a 2.7 with a mediocre mobo....without hesitation. Bc with a quality psu, I can easily make the processor run at 2.7. I haven't paid close attention to the scene in quite a while, but about a decade ago, many cpu's were the same physically, they had just been clocked to a slower speed and sold at a lower price. With a good mobo and psu (and cooling) I can clock the cpu to whatever I want.

    To get back to this...
    Even if the mobo has 4 channels, it sometimes needs a pair to operate. And the pair often has to be in the correct slots for a "2 stick only" install. (They are usually color coded on the mobo)
    I believe this is part of what is causing some of the slowness in my McTower. Not only is one slot empty, but they are not evenly distributed. One channel has an 8gb stick, and two others have a 4gb stick. So, I should have 16gb of ram. But it only sees 12gb, because that other 4g stick, doesn't have a mate. The stick is perfectly healthy, the mobo design just doesn't complete that "circuit" w/o another stick installed.

    I've never been in this scenario before, to fully grasp how much efficiency is lost. When I build them, I would never build it like that. But for $150, I'll fix it later. That case design is worth $150 to me (these cases are the nuts). I'll keep this tower case for a long time. Someday, I'll just gut it and rebuild it.

    So, I'll run a couple speed tests before I put the proper amount of Ram in....so that I can get a tangible handle on how much of a problem it's causing, or how much speed I'm losing. So, I'll put run some and put the results up here...before/after. But the difference should be significant.

    But there is no scenario that I can think of, or recall, in which an even number of Ram sticks is not superior. Identical size, speed, and model is without a doubt the smartest way to do it. I'll try to post test results to give people an idea of real world effect.

    This was a large build I did, water cooled (what a pita) It ended up being 4 ssd's in a Raid 1 config, one SSD for the system (you can't install the OS on a raid, I learned this build lol) and 3 1tb platter drives. I think the final clock was 4.0 for the cpu, I can't recall the clock for the dual video cards, or ram. The ram was oc'ed a fair bit as well because if you look closely, you can see that they are in the cooling chain. 3 radiators, something like 12 fans. It was a beast.
    comp-10-21_20-01-44_804.jpg comp-10-18_14-29-32_274.jpg comp-10-17_20-44-42_380.jpg comp-10-17_20-45-20_641.jpg comp-10-22_12-24-22_995.jpg

    p.s. 6 sticks of ram. I also had 3 different reservoirs, so it was well over 1 gallon of water in there. It ran ice cold, even clocked to tremendous speed. The only thing that could have made this better was another dual vid card, but the guy was out of money. Two 5770's were overkill for him to begin with. Plus, it would have been a pita to plumb it.

    Edit 2, I also made those Patriot Convoy's removable. They are hot plug capable, so I basically made it so that they were held in only by the resistance of the tight fit. So you pop a door open (like you see in pic 2) and remove the whole box and take it with you to...wherever.

    It was slick. I wish I took more photos or shots of the bios to show the clock speeds. I'm sure I did, but I don't know where I filed them.
     
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Location:
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
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    I have 4 slots available on my MB.
    If I could get back up to 16 I'd be happy; ( I think? LOL)... at that number, all I would need to do is replace the bad 8 gig stick, which would obviously be cheaper than putting four 8 gig sticks in there.

    Honestly, I don't know what type or degree of improvement I would see by going from 16 total to 32 total... I mean, the knee-jerk assumption just based on the numbers, is that I would see an improved stability, and the ability to run more VST's/VSTi's on a project, but the question would then be, how much more improvement? And what kind of improvement?

    Would it be worth maxing-out my potential RAM? Would I see enough of an improvement in my DAW to make it worthwhile - if putting 32 gig in will allow me to run 30 more instances of processing or VSTi's, then yeah, I could see that, but if I'll only get the ability to add another 4 or 5 instances, then I'm not sure I'd care that much.

    Here's my system:

    HP/Quad Core/64x 2.6 Ghz Athlon CPU /32 gig allowable RAM

    Thoughts?


    ;)
     
  9. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Lowell Massachusetts
    I can't speak to DAW performance stuff. I've not experimented enough with ram and PT or Logic. But basically it will be dictated by where your "diminishing returns" point is. The more ram you add, the more likely that the weak link in the chain is now something else (this is where a quality mobo will come in handy)

    If this helps...I think the improvement you are hoping for would be like the jump you would experience going from 8-16gb. That would be noticeable for anyone. But past 16, the improvement is less drastic. Going from 32-64 for many people, there is almost no real world improvement. Like I said, I'm not including you guys, cuz I don't have the experience...but maybe it helps you make up your mind. I've just not had enough time with audio programs and ram adjustments to tell you for sure.

    My guess for your system is that I think your jump from 16-32 would be real world noticeable, but not mind-blowing. If the mobo is only set up for 32...meh, I wish I could give you a more confident guess, but that's all I got.

    Personally, I would be shooting for 32 nonetheless. Imo, these days for anything intensive, 8 is subpar, 16 is adequate, 32 gives you a nice cushion, and 64 is overkill. I'm all for overkill if you can afford it. But imo at this point it time, it's not necessary unless you are doing super intensive stuff (which some of you are, so take it for what it's worth).

    Unfortunately, you are directly in the questionable area of "how much difference will this make"....the jump from 16 to 32. But being that it's "questionable", I tend to lean towards the higher number. In my own rig, the McTower (once I look up the capabilities/capacities) I'll be putting in 32 if possible. And if 64 was possible...I wouldn't.
     
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  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
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    One thing to keep in mind is dual channel memory like to operate in matached pairs. So you'll want to replace it w an identical ram stick as the working one.

    If this isn't possible you could always grab a pair of 8gb sticks, and then use the odd stick in one of the other slots. This gives you 24gb of ram.

    This might be the best compromise of performance and cost.
     
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