The ever present DDR3 vs DDR2 choice - which is the best today?

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Shaitan00 Posted: Sun, Aug 3 2008 11:13 PM

 I'm looking to build myself a new system (confirmed profile listed below) and one thing that suprised me is the amount of feedback I am still getting between DDR2 and DDR3 platforms... I would have imagined that DDR3 was absolutly the way to go given the CPU I am getting and the fact that the difference in price is simply around $125 (which is a lot - but not immense as it was back in April 2008).

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The feedback has been so obvious that I wanted to post on this specific topic to help gather some expert opinions on the matter, the following are the two systems I am considering (atm)
DDR3: Asus Rampage Extreme X48 DDR3 (assume around $400, it isn't out yet in North America)
 OCZ DDR3 2x 2G Reaper or Platinum ($270)
 Total = $670 CDN

DDR2: Asus Rampage Forumula X48 DDR2 ($299)
 OCZ DDR2 2x 2G Reaper or Platinum ($150)
 Total = $450 CDN

Difference is only about $220, which is a nice sum of $ but not so much as to make me go DDR2 based solely on price...
If it really isn't worth the $200 then fine - but if there is a difference ...

Now on the other hand DDR3 seemed like the better choice because:
a) it is fasted (1600 DDR3 vs 1066 DDR2)
b) my CPU Q9450 is FSB 1333 so getting 1066 DDR2 would slow me down no?
c) the DDR3 motherboards seem better then DDR2 (newer), for example check out the Asus Rampage Extreme (DDR3) vs Asus Rampage Formula (DDR2), what a nice board.
[The Rampage Extreme looks like such a killer amazing motherboard - almost makes it worth it right there no?]

What is the general opinion, for the price difference and performance of course... What do you generally recommend?
Price isn't a big deal but I also don't want to waste any $.
And I don't plan on changing PC's for anther 3-5 years (hopefully).

Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.
Of course I am all ears for any suggestions...

Thanks,

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 Well I don't know what to tell you as that I havent actually played with the two memories, but from what I've seen through benchmarks and all. It's probably not really going to matter all that much. The 1066 memory is probably plenty of bandwidth for that Quad as that your still limited by the FSB. If you go to DDR3 your going to take a latency penalty which isn't going to probably do anything as that either way both of the memory chips are going to be running faster than the main FSB is anyway. The biggest difference is how much data will be ready for transmit when the CPU is ready and of course DDR3 with its 8 bit buffer is the winner, but again your limited by the main FSB. I really only think your going to see a big performance gain with DDR3 when the nehalem hits this month - there already showing pretty big increases with the new design (Honestly id urge you to wait for this chip as that its true quad and has an integrated memory controller). But I'd say if your planning on going with this chip and upgrading/overclocking go with DDR3 so you don't have to worry about it later, but if your going to never do anything else to it then DDR2 would be okay.

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Aug 4 2008 9:45 AM

I somewhat agree with the last post, however you can get higher bandwidth ddr3. They have it up to 2000 now with ddr3 1800 being the middle. I personally prefer OCZ ram so I'd say the platinum as far as your choices go. Either way it's a very good question as I have been wondering somewhat the same thing, Basically from what I've seen review wise there's not really much if any difference, unless you step up to the top end ddr3 and even then it's minimal. I was going to build a new system myself but have kind of changed my mind. This system still works ok. But I have been looking at laptops and there's a few ddr3 laptops out now which is a definite huge step up from ddr2 667. They're even selling them at reasonable prices Bestbuy has one for $1339.00 right now although a bit funky looking I don't buy comps totally for the looks anyway, but for there computational power (well I build my own but same same). However an upgrade from that made by gateway and sold at the same loc has been leaked I'll probably shoot for that. Anyway when you want to be covered for the future even minimally it is a question many people including me have on this issue.

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Aug 4 2008 1:00 PM

Since you asked what the genearl opinion is for the price difference and performance, this is what I think. In your comparison, the difference is $220. That is pretty big and you are only comparing withing OCZ and their Reaper/Platinum series. There are 2x2GB DDR2 kits that can be bought for less. Thus futher increasing the price gap between the two. With the money "saved" (depending on the buyer), it can either be pocketed or used to upgrade or buy another video card which would greatly increase the performance (in games) more so than RAM. Like rapid1 has said, the difference is minimal. But that is because it is RAM and games are graphically intensive. So I think the general opinion is that the money saved can be used towards something else like the gpu or cpu, because it offers them (the general pc builder) more bang for the buck. Especially since most people are on a lower budget.

 

To try and answer your questions:

a) Sure, it is faster in terms of speed, but DDR2 and DDR3 have different timings with DDR3 having higher/looser timings.

b) Just because you have DDR2-1066, it doesn't mean the FSB will drop to accomodate the RAM. You can either overclock the RAM or set a mulitiplier (FSB:DRAM). For example, I slightly overclocked my pc. My FSB is 1400 and my RAM is 900MHz, so my mulitplier is 7:9. Just unlink the ratio so that it is not running in 1:1.

c) No comment as there isn't a review for the Rampage Extreme.

 

I agree with rapid1, get a Nehalem processor which means go with DDR3.

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