RAM features and performance. Today I am going to tell you the common principles for choosing RAM. Here, we will explain a little more about memory characteristics: its type, frequency, time and performance results in applications real.

RAM technical characteristics and performance

RAM type: DDR, DDR2, DDR3

In general, the motherboard only handles one type of memory and it is the memory controller of the motherboard that decides. This memory controller is built into the motherboard Intel Socket 775, but it's on the AMD processor.

Most motherboards only support one type of RAM, but there have been models with two types of RAM and matching (not simultaneously). The oldest of all is DDR, which is now used to to update an older PC. DDR2 has had its moments of glory for years, but is currently regressing because it corresponds to end-of-life plugs.

As for DDR3, it has become widespread on AMD AM3 and Intel 1366 and 1156 platforms. Physically, the various types of RAM are distinguished by a notch that prevents them from mounting on a motherboard that does not support them.


The frequency

There are many different frequencies for RAM, not counting on what we can get. These frequencies vary from 133 MHz to 2 GHz, but the actual frequency, also called effective, varies from 66.5 MHz to 1 GHz, that is, half of the nominal values. RAM operating frequencies are even lower.

When choosing your memory bar, you should take into account the frequency, preferably choosing the highest one supported by the motherboard. For example, if the motherboard manufacturer's website indicates that it supports DDR3 at 1066/1333/1600 MHz, then you should only put DDR3 at these frequencies, and preferably at a maximum of 1600 MHz.

The intervals for performing an operation

The times determine the intervals in number of clock cycles to perform an operation. Most important is the CAS unit, the access time to a column.

Simply put, the shorter the intervals, the faster the memory will be. For example, ranges 4-4-4-12 will be better than 5-5-5-15 at the same frequency. Comparing memories with different intervals and frequencies becomes more difficult since these two parameters are independent. Keep in mind that comparing RAM frequencies doesn't mean anything if we don't compare CAS too.

What is dual channel technology?

Dual Channel is a technology managed by the memory controller to double the memory bandwidth from a theoretical perspective. But the situation is quite different in practice.

The Dual Channel gain was mainly present in the Pentium 4 era, but in the most current models the gain reaches a maximum of 5%.

How much RAM for which PC

The question is, how much RAM do I need to install to have a working PC?

With Windows XP, 2 Gb was recommended.

With Windows 7, the need increased to 4 Gb of RAM.

However, in Windows 8 and 10, the recommendation is only 1 Gb for the 32-bit version of the operating system and 2 Gb for the version of 64 bits.

How to measure performance

Show them pretty dramatic improvements in memory bandwidth, like Sandra Lite. But these tests do not reflect the reality of everyday life. In software, the profits are much lower.


Like other components of a PC, we can make the most of RAM. Be aware that processor gains carry risks of instability. You will have to enter the BIOS and change the RAM settings. You can also increase the RAM frequency by setting smaller ranges and setting the RAM frequency - it all depends on whether you did it with the CPU or not.

In general, it is better to increase the frequency than to reduce the intervals. Often, you will need to set the voltage value to 1.65V (see your memory instructions), with the default value of 1.50V for DDR3. At the high-end input, low voltage (1.35V) ECO bars are usually best for boosting frequency. In high-end products, the memory easily supports effective 7-7-7-21 at 1 GHz (DDR3 2000MHz).

The memory controller operating frequency is also important but not adjustable on socket 1156, Clarkdale and Lynnfield processor. In socket 1156, it is not advisable to mount beyond 1 GHz effective, as this is the limit of Clarkdales integrated memory controllers. In this case, it is better to reduce the intervals if you want win performance.

Optimizing the settings on your DDR3 memory allows up to 10% improvement in encoding video. It is not as spectacular as a CPU, but it is worth it.


So far the entry on RAM features and performance.