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WanderingKnight 2008-03-11 12:25

Stupid RAM clock speed question
 
Okay, so I've decided I've been keeping out of the upgrade curve for too long now. Now, I'm dirty cheap, so since I don't really need the additional horsepower a new CPU would bring me I feel no urge to update my (very old) motherboard (ASUS A7V600). From what I can dig up online (I've lost my manual :uhoh:), the mobo only supports 400 mhz of data transfer max for RAM. Now my question is, is there any compatibility issues when using 667 mhz RAM sticks? I'm asking this because the 400 mhz ones are extremely expensive, and I'd much rather upgrade the whole PC for that money. My instinct says no (what I can remember about RAM incompatibilities has to do with different clock speeds between two different sticks, not with the mobo). At most, I would not be able to take full advantage of the RAM's potential, but I'm not very worried about that.

Anyways, I wanted to check on that. I'm 99% sure there are almost no issues to speak of, but I don't want to go through the issue of opening up my whole box just to find out the thing is not compatible.

demonix 2008-03-11 12:38

Actually you won't be able to use 667Mhz RAM in your current system since the board you have only supports DDR RAM (184 pins) and isn't compatible with DDR2 RAM (240 pins) which is what your thinking of getting, but then you might be able to get some unbranded DDR400 RAM for way less then most of the branded sticks.

WanderingKnight 2008-03-11 12:39

Damn, that brought down my day :(

I guess I'll have to start saving for a new motherboard. No way in hell I'm spending x3 in RAM just for an incompatibility.

Aird 2008-03-11 16:21

If you change your motherboard to support DDR2 memory, you will also need to replace your CPU. I'm pretty sure AMD did not support DDR2 until AM2 socket CPUs.

Edit:
Going to a current motherboard will mean replacing your video card as well unless you get one with onboard video. All motherboards now have pci express slots for video cards instead of agp.

WanderingKnight 2008-03-11 17:30

I know that, and that's exactly why I don't want to upgrade anything. At this point, upgrading means changing my entire PC. But I don't feel like paying three times the amount for a piece of RAM, either.

Ledgem 2008-03-11 19:12

If you don't need the latest and greatest there are occasionally really nice combo deals. I upgraded from an old Athlon system (first-generation 1 GHz) to a Sempron with 64-bit support (Paris core), bundled with a motherboard, and picked up a 1 GB stick of RAM for well under $200 (which isn't cheap cheap, but considering I'd initially priced a higher-end Athlon X2 system at around $700 it felt like big savings). The processor didn't come with a heatsink+fan unit, so I found a stock HSF for the Palermo core Sempron (a step up from the Paris) being sold on eBay for super cheap. I made sure the board was an AGP board so I could reuse my graphics card, but these days you can get a very decent graphics card for the $30 range.

I haven't seen many of those bundle deals recently, though. The other question is whether the retailers I know would offer decent shipping rates to South America.

WanderingKnight 2008-03-11 19:29

I don't think I get that kind of bundle packages here. Still, I'm surprised by how RAM sticks jump from 30 USD for 667 mhz to 70-80 USD for 400 mhz, sometimes even 100 USD (local prices). I mean, shouldn't they be cheaper, considering it's an older technology?

Aaanyways, I guess I'll just have to save up a few bucks and finally get a motherboard and CPU upgrade. I won't go for anything fancy, since I really don't need the horsepower, and my current processor (Athlon XP 1.5 ghz) can handle most 720p videos perfectly fine. I really was considering getting a bit more RAM since GNOME seems to improve in usability quite a bit once you get past the 512 MB range, or so I've heard. Oh, and I could use a few extra SATA ports, just in case I ever need more storage (and that would mean getting a bigger case... *sigh* That's why I hate being right on the edge of the upgrade curve for my motherboard).

On the bright side of things, I can at least get a tax deduction thanks to an acquaintance of mine who runs a business, which normally get tax exemption here when buying certain kinds of productive items.

Ledgem 2008-03-11 19:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by WanderingKnight (Post 1455130)
I don't think I get that kind of bundle packages here. Still, I'm surprised by how RAM sticks jump from 30 USD for 667 mhz to 70-80 USD for 400 mhz, sometimes even 100 USD (local prices). I mean, shouldn't they be cheaper, considering it's an older technology?

RAM is arguably the only technology that doesn't decrease in price with age. While newer, faster RAM does come out, RAM's prices depend on the overall availability. DDR2 RAM is dirt cheap at the moment; for the price of getting another 1 GB stick of DDR RAM for my old desktop I could have bought 2 GB of DDR2 RAM! As DDR3 becomes mainstream and manufacturing of DDR2 cuts back the price of DDR2 will rise as well. I guess it's known that people will still be looking for those old RAM types to upgrade aged machines and the rarity plays a factor in the price.

Quote:

Oh, and I could use a few extra SATA ports, just in case I ever need more storage (and that would mean getting a bigger case... *sigh* That's why I hate being right on the edge of the upgrade curve for my motherboard).
How is the firewire support in Linux? Consider getting an expansion card with firewire. It'll add a bit of cost onto HD purchases since you'll need an enclosure as well, and firewire is obviously not as fast as SATA, but it's pretty fast (faster than ATA133 either way). Another benefit is that you only really need one Firewire port on your computer; all enclosures that I've seen will have (at least) two Firewire ports so that you can daisy chain Firewire devices.

I hated Firewire when I was primarily using Windows because it seemed incredibly flakey compared to USB. My Firewire card may have been to blame. Firewire on Apple systems is quite nice, of course... haven't tried it in Linux.

WanderingKnight 2008-03-11 19:45

Quote:

How is the firewire support in Linux?
Apparently there are firewire cards supported (it doesn't matter how many, as long as there are some, I know I can get those). Thanks for the suggestion, I really haven't thought about getting an external hard drive simply because I hate USB for transferring things. It's nice for plug and play, but as a transfer interface for big files... dear lord. I know it's effective, it's just that it's too slow, and I'd really miss regular hard drive speed. I'll think about getting that.

Oh, and the plus side of building a new machine is the fact that I get an extra one to toy around with... *insert evil laugh here*

BTW, and completely offtopic, who else misses the good ol' JAZ disks? My dad used to use them a lot in the late 90's, when he worked with Macs, and having a whooping rewritable 1 GB in your hand was quite impressive in those times. It's a shame its usage never really got on with the market.

hobbes_fan 2008-03-11 20:18

the reasoning for DDR2 being so cheap AFAIK is Vista 64bit. Apparently retailers and manufacturers expected a lot of people to jump to 64bit therefore flooding the market. This is what I've heard but haven't verified.

At times like this Overclocking is worth considering over a complete overhaul. I'll also have a look if I have a pare stick of ddr around. I don't have a 1gb but I think I have a 256 or 512 lying around.

killmoms 2008-03-13 09:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by WanderingKnight (Post 1455150)
BTW, and completely offtopic, who else misses the good ol' JAZ disks? My dad used to use them a lot in the late 90's, when he worked with Macs, and having a whooping rewritable 1 GB in your hand was quite impressive in those times. It's a shame its usage never really got on with the market.

I know I don't. They might've been convenient, when they worked, but I remember Jaz drives being notoriously unreliable, unlike their smaller Zip cousins which were nearly ubiquitous in the design field for a while.

WanderingKnight 2008-03-13 09:20

Quote:

I know I don't. They might've been convenient, when they worked, but I remember Jaz drives being notoriously unreliable, unlike their smaller Zip cousins which were nearly ubiquitous in the design field for a while.
Ah, the smaller Zip disks. My dad used to use them a lot, too, for smaller things. And yes, my dad is a graphic designer :D

Kurz 2008-03-13 21:25

One last thing I should say before you go off into the world.

Most important to Performance is this.
First CPU
Second GPU (You can interchange this with RAM if you dont game)
Third RAM Space (Note I did not say Ram speed)
Forth Harddrive

The actual performance of the computer is hardly influenced by RAM speed.
Note RAM speed like DDR2667 Means its its highest Rated Speed!
That means its safe to run at 667MHZ without issues.

If I were to buy 1066 Speed ram and my motherboard only runs it at 800.
Then it'll negate the reason i bought the ram in the first place!

You buy RAM for space first, not speed (Unless you overclock Like I do).

WanderingKnight 2008-03-13 21:32

Thanks, I know my way around computers (my current one is the second I've built), I'm just a bit lost right now since I don't tend to follow the hardware market trends too much :p

grey_moon 2008-03-13 21:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by WanderingKnight (Post 1459155)
Thanks, I know my way around computers (my current one is the second I've built), I'm just a bit lost right now since I don't tend to follow the hardware market trends too much :p

Tell me about it, I went and brought 2 sticks of 1GBDDR2 soddim and then found out that a 2GB stick was 3GBP more then a single 1GBstick :twitch:

Kurz 2008-03-13 21:36

Sorry it just seemed your post was more about getting faster ram.
And if your motherboard does not support changing of the RAM speed to FSB ratio.
There is no point in getting higher rated ram.

Though you do have an ASUS motherboard so it might have BIOS options to fiddle around with.

Have you ever considered a slight overclock?
Not talking about too much but just enough to make whatever you are doing faster.

grey_moon 2008-03-13 21:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kurz (Post 1459164)
And if your motherboard does not support changing of the RAM speed to FSB ratio.
There is no point in getting higher rated ram.

Actually there is a reason... If WK decides to upgrade his mobo in the future it is nice if the RAM can be used again too. Its about future proofing.

WanderingKnight 2008-03-13 21:48

Quote:

Actually there is a reason... If WK decides to upgrade his mobo in the future it is nice if the RAM can be used again too. Its about future proofing.
Exactly. Upgrading everything costs more, but there's no way I'm paying three times as much for an old, incompatible technology.

Quote:

Have you ever considered a slight overclock?
Not talking about too much but just enough to make whatever you are doing faster.
The thing is, the most annoying part of my current setup is the limited RAM (512 MB). My processor is fine the way it is, but of course, if I'm upgrading the mobo, I'll have to put in a newer CPU. As I said, I don't have many complaints about my current setup, since 1) I run Linux, which tends to be easier on the hardware, and 2) since I run Linux, I don't play games on my PC, which eases a bit the HW requirements. The most demanding thing I do is probably playing 720p video files, but my processor handles them just fine.

Compiling faster might be a bit nice, though. Perhaps I could get Gentoo installed in less than a day? :heh:

Kurz 2008-03-13 21:52

Future Proofing?
RAM is / one of the cheapest Components in a computer.

Sorry there is no Reason to buy newer ram to future proof.
CPU , GPU, Motherboard, Harddrive, Powersupply(Probably most resistant to changes)
are components I would say are worth buying to future proof. RAM is an after thought.

RAM can be considered like this.
As long as I can get enough Memory and as long its compatible its fine.

If tomorrow his PC were to to bite the bucket the only thing I would save would be the Powersupply considering its age.
And the DVD Drives.

Ledgem 2008-03-13 23:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kurz (Post 1459184)
Future Proofing?
RAM is / one of the cheapest Components in a computer.

This really depends on your timeframe. At this point in time it'd be cheaper for me to upgrade my AGP-based graphics card than to add in another stick of DDR RAM (1 GB - note that it is DDR, not DDR2). The price of the RAM even rivals that of a 500 GB hard drive at this point. Actually, some of the cheaper motherboards even go for the same price. The more I think about it there's a whole lot you can get for $70-90...

Quote:

Sorry there is no Reason to buy newer ram to future proof.
CPU , GPU, Motherboard, Harddrive, Powersupply(Probably most resistant to changes)
are components I would say are worth buying to future proof. RAM is an after thought.
Objection! There's a good reason to buy RAM - it's an investment. What ever happened to the saying that aside from a system overhaul, adding RAM gives you the greatest performance boost? If you have 2 GB in your system right now, going to 4 GB probably won't impact your system performance. Only specialized applications would benefit from that massive boost. But going from 32 MB to 96 MB really blew my old Pentium II away. Going from 128 MB to 768 MB with my old Athlon gave me a pretty big boost. 1 GB is just the standard these days. It's fine for now, but who knows what the future holds?

I also mean "investment" in a monetary sense. RAM prices depend on how much of it is available. DDR production is dropping off, so DDR RAM costs much more than DDR2 (hence WK's dilemma). DDR3 production is slowly ramping up and will eventually push DDR2 prices higher. Let's put it this way, I bought a 2 GB stick of DDR2 RAM for around $70, and about two months later that exact same stick dropped to $36. If you're going to buy, buy it now. I don't think the prices will get much cheaper. RAM prices are extremely volatile, much more so than any other PC component.

The way I consider RAM is to get it if it's cheap for sure (cheap is a relative term, but the $30 range for 2 GB is insanely cheap as of this time period) or if the system will be around for a while. If you don't foresee yourself keeping the same system for more than two years and the RAM prices are a bit too high, and you don't need the RAM, then don't upgrade it since you can't make use of it.

Carry HDs, optical drives, and expansion cards over. PSU can be carried over and used but depending on its rating it may not be usable as a primary power unit for the system. RAM, processor, motherboard are obviously scrapped (or thrown into a secondary system).

I'm a media guy and have a nasty habit of multitasking (plus an added fascination with virtualization, my poor computer...) so RAM is my favorite PC component. RAM is so plentiful these days that people take it for granted. I gained my appreciation for it when I saw how fast my 3D renders started going after boosting from 32 MB to 96 MB on that old Pentium II. It was astonishing.


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