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Old Jan 25, 2008, 09:03 PM   #1
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-n7-
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I think we need a sticky explaining how to calculate what RAM is needed for what overclocks, etc.

Every time i see a thread regarding RAM, it's usually similar questions, & it seems to me the questions stem from a lack of understanding on how to calculate the required frequency for the desired overclock.

First off, you look at the FSB speed of the CPU.

In this case, we have the E8400.
It runs at 9x333 = 3000 MHz.

Ignore the quad pumped rating of 1333 MHz; the FSB runs at an actual speed of 333 MHz.

Now let's say we want to achieve an overclock of 4000 MHz, something quite doable with a good motherboard, good RAM, & a good cooler.

4000 / 9 = 444.44, which equates to DDR2-889.

Keep in mind that RAM runs at exactly half its double data rating, so e.g, DDR2-800 = 400 Mhz.

So back on track, we need RAM capable of at least DDR2-889 to be able to reach 4 GHz with an E8400.

Why do we need that speed?

On the majority of Intel CPU-supporting motherboards, the lowest possible RAM frequency is the same as the FSB, or 1:1.

So for a FSB of 445 MHz, we need the same speed for the RAM (DDR2-890).

Now on the less desirable nForce chipsets, there is often the ability to run at a lower frequency than 1:1, but that's not particularly ideal.

Due to nForce & AMD's ATi chipsets being a lot less common, i won't get into the details of independent asyncronous clocking for RAM, or 1T.

Back on track again, our normal minimum RAM speed is 1:1, or same as FSB.
There are other ratios, common ones being 4:5 (FSB:RAM), 2:3, or 1:2, not to mention many between depending on the motherboard.

It's also pretty simple math:
4:5 = RAM runs 1.25x the speed of the FSB
2:3 = RAM runs 1.5x the speed of the FSB, & so on.


So when it comes to purchasing RAM for an overclocked system, i always prefer to recommend above what's needed so as to ensure the RAM never becomes the limiting factor.

And with the E8400s low multiplier & high potential to clock very well, i'd recommend RAM capable of DDR2-1000 speeds personally.

Hope this helps a little to anyone looking for RAM




And here's the math for AMD systems.

How to calculate RAM dividers with AMD's present architecture:

(CPU multi x 200) / RAM divider (i.e. 166) = ___(always round this up if not whole number)

CPU multi x HTT / result of initial calculation = actual RAM speed

e.g.
OCed CPU clockspeed / result of the first calculation = actual RAM speed

one full example:

12 x 200 / 166.66 = 14.4 rounded up -> 15

12 x 220 / 15 = 176 aka DDR-352



Now that's my old note on it...now we have DDR2 of course, but the same rules apply.

Let's take a Phenom X4 9850, which runs at 12.5x200 by defaults.

Let's say we set the DDR2-800 divider in the bios.

So we have 12.5x200 / 400
2500 / 400 = 6.25 rounded up = 7
2500 / 7 = 357.14 or DDR2-714

With AMD, whenever odd multipliers or half multipliers get involved, memory speeds get funky.

You can technically go as low as DDR2-400, but that's not really ideal obviously, as just like with Intel, you still want better speeds if you can get them.
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Old Jan 26, 2008, 03:32 PM   #2
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unstickied; added to important info thread. thanks, n7.
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Old Jan 26, 2008, 08:46 PM   #3
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Yeah, i don't feel that post was worthy of a sticky really; a lot more info needed to fit that classification.

I'll try to add a bit more info to that post later (when i'm not feeling lazy), particularly regarding calculating AMD's RAM dividers, which actually is somewhat complicated, unlike the simple math with Intel's.
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 12:49 PM   #4
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for someone not overclocking, would it be more beneficial to have a stick with decreased timing or lower voltage?
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 01:00 PM   #5
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beneficial in which way? timings and voltages give different benefits.

for example a stick may run 4-4-4-12 @ 800 / 1.8v, but need 2.1v to get 5-5-5-15 @ 1000. Depending on your case cooling and power requirements, the latter may be hard to sustain stability long term. So even though 5-5-5-15 1000 is benchmarked faster, it's higher power draw and stability requirements mean it my be better to run 4-4-4-12 800.
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 01:02 PM   #6
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How about real-world performance results?

When overclocking, would we really see the benefit of using 1:1 memory ratios over just running the memory async at their default speeds? I have been under the assumption that memory just doesn't seem to have much impact on performance in todays games. Though, I have not been able to do much testing on the new rig yet due to other issues.

It seems silly to me to even bother with spending extra cash on higher clocked RAM, or to even overclock it in the first place if you don't see any gains in gaming.




***There may be other uses besides gaming for having RAM at higher bus speeds, I'm just sticking to what I would use it for. I'm just focused on gaming for now***
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 01:27 PM   #7
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There were some rather inconclusive tests done that showed 1:1 was the 'best' for Core 2 performance; however in my experience the faster the RAM the better, for Intel systems. Personally I think that if are taking the time to OC your proc then find the limits of your RAM as well, get the max out of all of it. Some people think thats a step too far and just buy RAM they know will run within stock speeds for their target OC, which is perfectly acceptable.

My own 4x1Gb DDR2-800 Buffalo Firestix are specced 5-5-5-15 2.1v 800 but I've run them 5-5-5-15 2.0v 1066 without issues. Currently I'm running them at 937 5-5-5-15 2.0v as my FSB is 375 and I need the same amount of voltage to run the same timings at 1:1 (750mhz), so I bumped up the memory multiplier.

As far as performance gains go I see the biggest difference in [email protected], and synthetic benchmarks. Gaming is primarily GPU dependant, so you're biggest gains will be seen investing your money there.
Personally I think a 2x2Gb set of DDR2-1066 for under $90 is a good deal, but not worth getting if you can find a DDR2-800 set for under $60.
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 02:13 PM   #8
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well the only reason i ask is because:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148202

i hope that works...when comparing these two, i see one with lower timings, higher V, so I'm unsure how much weight to give it.

btw, price is not an issue in this comparison

edit: also my god why is OCZ so cheap?! its reliable isnt it?
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 03:07 PM   #9
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Some motherboards allow you to 'unlink' your RAM from your FSB. Some people say this may have a negative impact on performance but it's also a good way to find out the overclocking limits of your CPU without ever having to touch your RAM speed/settings at all (good for people who use generic memory).
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 03:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharshballa View Post
well the only reason i ask is because:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148202

i hope that works...when comparing these two, i see one with lower timings, higher V, so I'm unsure how much weight to give it.

btw, price is not an issue in this comparison

edit: also my god why is OCZ so cheap?! its reliable isnt it?
The difference between the Corsair set and the Crucal Ballistix is more than voltages; the Ballistix is a 'bling' set with LEDs that show memory access and useages while you peer in your case window instead of playing your games. They're good RAM sticks, but I'd get the corsair if that was my choice. Actually I'm looking at a set of 4Gb 800mhz and I'm probably going to go with the OCZ set for ~$50 AR. Nothing wrong with OCZ, though they tend not to OC as high. Not a problem for my use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TIKtak View Post
Some motherboards allow you to 'unlink' your RAM from your FSB. Some people say this may have a negative impact on performance but it's also a good way to find out the overclocking limits of your CPU without ever having to touch your RAM speed/settings at all (good for people who use generic memory).
AFAIK the nVidia chipset boards have seperate clock gens for the memory clock, instead of using the same 'core' clock for FSB and Memory.
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 03:37 PM   #11
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What about memory requirements for AMD?
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 03:40 PM   #12
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What about them? For pre-phenom chips 800 is the fast officially supported by the memory controller AFAIK, and phenom's now support 1066. I've always seen that AMD's are more latency sensistive than bandwidth, so 4-4-4-12 800 is better than 5-5-5-15 1000 is my general rule, but this is from my experimentation from early 07 when I was playing with an X2 4000+ and 4 sticks of RAM. AMD setups run dual dual-channel well, and have nice memory bandwidth benchies compared to intel systems running the same speeds and timings. Course, the main thing for AMD memory tweaking is 1T instead of 2T command rate.
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 05:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharshballa View Post
well the only reason i ask is because:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148202

i hope that works...when comparing these two, i see one with lower timings, higher V, so I'm unsure how much weight to give it.

btw, price is not an issue in this comparison

edit: also my god why is OCZ so cheap?! its reliable isnt it?

I know everyone has their own horror stories, but I'd advise against the Cruicial Ballistix Tracers if you were considering buying them. I've had 2 sets of them, and both failed within a month. Neither set was overclocked or over-volted. I've since switched to OCZ, and so far problem free.
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 05:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
What about them? For pre-phenom chips 800 is the fast officially supported by the memory controller AFAIK, and phenom's now support 1066. I've always seen that AMD's are more latency sensistive than bandwidth, so 4-4-4-12 800 is better than 5-5-5-15 1000 is my general rule, but this is from my experimentation from early 07 when I was playing with an X2 4000+ and 4 sticks of RAM. AMD setups run dual dual-channel well, and have nice memory bandwidth benchies compared to intel systems running the same speeds and timings. Course, the main thing for AMD memory tweaking is 1T instead of 2T command rate.
That doesn't answer my question one single bit. I'm talking about memory requirements. Do you need DDR2-800 for AMD? I don't care what is supported whether it's DDR2-800/1066. I'm asking what is required per the HyperTransport bus clock.

Example: A Core 2 Duo E6400 with a 1066FSB requires no less than DDR2-533.

What are the memory requirements of AMD?
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 05:53 PM   #15
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Your question was ambigious at best, and you attitude in your clarification is questionable. The answer is DDR2-533, as the HyperTransporT bus clock can be decoupled from the memory clock in most motherboards, and so dividers are provided to give maximum compatibilty.
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Old Aug 17, 2008, 10:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Your question was ambigious at best, and you attitude in your clarification is questionable.
If you read n7's OP you'd see exactly what this thread is about.

So for a FSB of 445 MHz, we need the same speed for the RAM (DDR2-890).


Not sure where you pull the memory that AMD processors can support out of that but I guess that's what you get for not reading.
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Old Aug 18, 2008, 11:10 AM   #17
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AMD doesn't have an FSB; they have a direct link referred to as Hyper Transport [Tunnel].


I believe minimum RAM frequency is DDR2-533, but that's only off the top of my head.
They may use DDR2-400; i'd have to double check.
Actually it should be DDR2-400 now that i think on it for a second.

RAM frequency is calculated very differently for AMD.

I'll post how i calculate it later; g2g to work for now, & the .txt file i have isn't on this PC.
You can find online calculators though i'm sure.
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Old Aug 19, 2008, 07:39 AM   #18
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How to calculate RAM dividers with AMD's present architecture:

(CPU multi x 200) / RAM divider (i.e. 166) = ___(always round this up if not whole number)

CPU multi x HTT / result of initial calculation = actual RAM speed

e.g.
OCed CPU clockspeed / result of the first calculation = actual RAM speed

one full example:

12 x 200 / 166.66 = 14.4 rounded up -> 15

12 x 220 / 15 = 176 aka DDR-352



Now that's my old note on it...now we have DDR2 of course, but the same rules apply.

Let's take a Phenom X4 9850, which runs at 12.5x200 by defaults.

Let's say we set the DDR2-800 divider in the bios.

So we have 12.5x200 / 400
2500 / 400 = 6.25 rounded up = 7
2500 / 7 = 357.14 or DDR2-714

With AMD, whenever odd multipliers or half multipliers get involved, memory speeds get funky.

You can technically go as low as DDR2-400, but that's not really ideal obviously, as just like with Intel, you still want better speeds if you can get them.
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Old Aug 19, 2008, 12:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -n7- View Post
AMD doesn't have an FSB; they have a direct link referred to as Hyper Transport [Tunnel].
I know it's not technically a FSB, I have an Opteron 165 which I have overclocked in the past.

But, as you can see here, there is common use of "FSB" when it comes to overclocking an AMD CPU: http://techreport.com/articles.x/9053/4

Back then it was common that DDR400 was the standard since the "FSB" was 200MHz. For overclocking there, the whole HTT multiplier at 5X that you have to adjust, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by -n7- View Post
I believe minimum RAM frequency is DDR2-533, but that's only off the top of my head.
They may use DDR2-400; i'd have to double check.
Actually it should be DDR2-400 now that i think on it for a second.

RAM frequency is calculated very differently for AMD.

I'll post how i calculate it later; g2g to work for now, & the .txt file i have isn't on this PC.
You can find online calculators though i'm sure.
Thanks, as you clearly understood my question without additional comments. I appreciate your efforts to look into this.
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Old Aug 20, 2008, 12:05 AM   #20
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DDR-400 wasn't a minimum at all back in the s939 or s754 DDR days.

You could run DDR-200/266/333, & a number of other dividers depending on chipset/mobo.

But it was somewhat of a "standard" like DDR2-800 is somewhat, true.

Just that with DDR, most people ended up running lower dividers since you could only get most DDR so high.

DDR2-800 is starting with what is essentially 1:2 (DDR2-800) instead of what was essentially 1:1 (with DDR-400).
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 10:44 AM   #21
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Quote:
In this case, we have the E8400.
It runs at 9x333 = 3000 MHz.

Ignore the quad pumped rating of 1333 MHz; the FSB runs at an actual speed of 333 MHz.
could you explain where you got the 1333 from...off the mobo?

also, looking at:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/C...cer_Red/3.html

i thought you wanted timings to be lower for better performance at the lowest possible voltage, am i mistaken?
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 10:53 AM   #22
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E8400 is rated as using 1333FSB by Intel. See the Intel Processor Spec finder.

That techpowerup link also shows that higher speeds result in greater performance and lower latencies than lower speed and lower timings.

Compare 400 4-4-4-12 @ 2.2v with 527 5-5-5-16 @ 1.8v. Better benchmarks in every case. Intel's Core architecture on FSB configuration responds best to high memory bandwidth, hence the drive for DDR2 to 1066 speeds, then DDR3 to 1600 and above, and why nehalem has a triple channel memory controller integrated into it. Moar Bandwidth!
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 11:05 AM   #23
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ah thanks caveman, early in the morning, wasnt thinking.

also, if im not planning on OCing anything, do I have to worry about these ratios at all?

I was just going to purchase the best bang for the buck ram that would run on my future mobo.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 11:10 AM   #24
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If you're not ocing, pick the one that hits your price point. Remember that more ram is always better in actual performance than faster ram, i.e. take 4Gb of DDR2-800 over 2Gb of DDR2-1066.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 11:13 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
If you're not ocing, pick the one that hits your price point. Remember that more ram is always better in actual performance than faster ram, i.e. take 4Gb of DDR2-800 over 2Gb of DDR2-1066.
yeah definitely, im just looking at reviews, man techpowerup is just a database for all the review sites, love it
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 11:21 AM   #26
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yeah, they rule, we drool
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 12:06 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TIKtak View Post
Some motherboards allow you to 'unlink' your RAM from your FSB. Some people say this may have a negative impact on performance but it's also a good way to find out the overclocking limits of your CPU without ever having to touch your RAM speed/settings at all (good for people who use generic memory).
I have done this on my system. The ram is currently unlinked and running at about 790MHz while the CPU is set at 380x10. I'm stillbplaying aroundvwith settings and wanted to see what the CPU could do independently first. What impact on performance do you guys think this has?
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 01:48 PM   #28
PBalla
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hmm as i was thinking about this:

if my mobo is certified 1333/1600 fsb
my cpu can is 1333

are you really getting the benefit out of ddr2-800 since it runs @ 400 MHz...which would mean you need a 1600 fsb, but you cant get 1600fsb since the weakest link is the 1333 from the CPU?
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 02:01 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharshballa View Post
hmm as i was thinking about this:

if my mobo is certified 1333/1600 fsb
my cpu can is 1333

are you really getting the benefit out of ddr2-800 since it runs @ 400 MHz...which would mean you need a 1600 fsb, but you cant get 1600fsb since the weakest link is the 1333 from the CPU?
CPUs not the only thing that can communicate with the ram, Graphics cards can read/write directly to ram over the PCIe bus also.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 02:12 PM   #30
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So, lets say I threw in a single 4870. Isn't it still a waste to get ddr2-800?
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