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What to pay for your desktop RAM in mid-March 2008

by Tarinder Sandhu on 19 March 2008, 11:02

Tags: Corsair

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qambr

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DDR3 scales higher than DDR2 and is supported on true enthusiast-oriented, Intel-based chipsets only, including Intel's X38/X48, a few P35s, and, now, NVIDIA's nForce 790i (Ultra) SLI. AMD still has to transition to a DDR3-based memory controller for its Phenom CPUs, though, which will hapen at some point this year.

Whilst it operates at higher frequencies, its higher latencies and significantly higher cost than DDR2 means that DDR3 won't gain widespread traction until 'D3 chip production is ramped up and lower-cost chipsets natively support it. Still, its current pricing is significantly lower than, say, six months' ago.

Even basic DDR3 costs twice as much as high-quality, high-speed DDR2. Price parity is still some way off, and we expect DDR3 to command a significant premium well into H2 2008.

You should consider DDR3 as more of a future-proofing measure right now, but we'd only recommend it to readers who are looking to build base units costing at least £500; it doesn't make sense to specify it (and the accompanying motherboard) on  a shoestring budget, clearly.

The Komplett pricing, detailed below, represents, by far, the best deals on DDR3-1,333.

2GiB kits (2x 1GiB)

Corsair TWIN3X - 9-9-9-24 latencies - XMS heatspreaders - £100.00 (Komplett)

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB)

Corsair TWIN3X - 9-9-9-24 latencies - XMS heatspreaders - £200.00 (Komplett)


The Intel X48 chipset and NVIDIA's nForce 790i Ultra both support DDR3-1,600 memory natively, using pre-programmed SPDs - XMP for Intel and EPP2.0 for NVIDIA - that are activated by a one-click BIOS setting. XMP and EPP2.0 memory is actively marketed as such by vendors.

DDR3 natively operates at 1.5V, but DDR3-1,600 may require 1.8V to function at its rated speed.

Only enthusiasts that want the very best performance should look at DDR3-1,600+.

2GiB kits (2x 1GiB)

OCZ Platinum XTC - 7-7-7-20 latencies - perforated heatspreaders - £146.01 (Komplett - currently sold out)

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB)

Corsair TWIN3X - 9-9-9-24 latencies - DOMINATOR heatspreaders - £217.38 (Scan - pre-order)


The absolute cutting-edge of what's available today. Suitable for using when the very last drop of performance matters. Motherboards are generally qualified by the memory manufacturer and 1,800MHz+ is only achievable with two DIMMs populated the slots.

2GiB kits (2x 1GiB)

Corsair DOMINATOR TWIN3X - XMP - 7-7-7-20 latencies - DOMINATOR heatspreaders - £278.01 (Komplett - pre-order)

4GiB kits (2x 2GiB) - not available yet.


Corsair, OCZ and Crucial have all announced 2,000MHz DDR3 memory which is only suitable for NVIDIA's nForce 790i Ultra chipset (EPP2.0). No word on pricing or general availability at this time, however.

Expect it to be priced at hair-raising levels. Note, too, that only two DIMMs can be used concurrently.

We hope this article has been useful to anyone looking to upgrade their system's memory but doesn't quite appreciate how much they should pay for 2GiB and 4GiB sets today.

HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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Is this based purely on price or… ?

No. We've only listed modules from high-quality manufacturers who have decent after-sales service.

We've also noted down the latencies and scoured the market for, what we believe, is the best price-to-performance ratio at a given speed.

The prices, therefore, are not necessarily the cheapest.
I hoped you would consider 1 GB kits for those of us limited to 1 GB. If I wanted 2 or 4 GB then that would be as part of a new PC.