DDR3 memory continues to grow in popularity. With higher speeds, lower latencies and more production than ever, we’re now able to get into DDR3 at a reasonable price.
In fact, prices have become so good that for the ultra enthusiasts who do have slightly deeper pockets, 4GB and 8GB configurations are not out of the question anymore.
While Patriot offer a wide range of speeds and latencies, the particular kit we’re looking at today carries with it a default speed of 1,333MHz. The timings on it are 7-7-7-20 and the default voltage is 1.7V. While timings of 7-7-7-20 might not seem all that impressive for high-end DDR2 users, compared to an entry level 1,333MHz kit at 9-9-9-24, the lower latency gives us a slightly better access time while having to only spend slightly more.
The kit we have consists of two modules; each module comes in at 2GB giving us a grand total of 4GB. With the pricing being so good these days, we took the time to add another kit into the mix. So, with four modules in hand, we have 8GB of memory. While this may sound excessive to most, if you’re big on multi-tasking then the extra speed that the 8GB offers is handy. In applications like Photoshop and Illustrator we don’t have any slow down issues when switching between programs or just generally rendering, opening or modifying images.
With that said, the same performance gains aren’t seen everywhere. If you’re a gamer, the extra 4GB of memory offers very little in the way of decreased load times. Your best bet would be to simply buy a 4GB kit and then use the money saved for a faster graphics card which will help you enjoy your gaming experience more than 8GB of memory and a lower spec graphics card.
The one thing that’s worth noting is that if you do want to venture up to 4GB of memory or more, you will have to be running a 64-bit operating system. It seems that Vista and its 64-bit variants have gained some good momentum in the marketplace. What this means is that more companies offer drivers and supporting applications. Most common hardware these days shouldn’t have any issues with a 64-bit version of Windows Vista, but it’s worth checking the specifications before you purchase, just in case. If you are using a 32-bit operating system, Windows will only address up to 3.25GB.
There really isn’t any right time to buy DDR3; over the next 12 months we will continue to see DDR3 drop in price as demand increases with the release of Intel’s new Nehalem processor in quarter four. Users wanting a top of the range SLI based motherboard like the 790i have also been required to go down the DDR3 route, which has seemed to have helped increase demand. The other problem DDR3 had over the past 12 months was that to go to a board that used DDR3 also costs more. Now we see manufacturers like Gigabyte offer the X48 in both DDR2 and DDR3 form for exactly the same price.
A 4GB kit of high-speed DDR2 will set you back above $250. For an extra $100 you can find yourself with a slightly faster set of DDR3 modules which are going to be ready for Nehalem, come quarter four of this year. Patriot have done a good job at offering us some low latencies at 1,333MHz for the mid $300 mark. If you also take the time to do a bit of shopping around, you will find them even closer to $300, making DDR3 a good option for people who want to keep up with today’s technology.