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Core2 E8400 Asustek P5K 8GB DDR2 Dual channel.

I write software on the machine all day (compiler can effectively use 8 cores), and if I can spend money to make the machine go faster, I want to. I was thinking:

Core i7 930 (just because it seems to be the fastest thing right now)

and am trying to find out what memory/motherboard make sense. I care about stuff "just working", and I don't care much about money (within reason).

What should I be looking for in memory? Tripple channel? Quad channel? Any spec i need to watch out for that I get or dont get?

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There are way too many variables that need to be accounted for. – Russell Dias Jun 25 '10 at 0:46
up vote 0 down vote accepted

If you aren't overclocking (and I hope you aren't doing serious work on an overclocked machine) the only spec relevant to you is the volume. The best price/performance right now is the 3x2 GB and you won't be able to fill these anyway except with some very specific applications most people don't use (creating big 3D models, or some serious video editing). 4 GB modules are too expensive anyway.

If money is no objection, get memory from a known brand, as I've known people who had stability problems with no-name RAM.

My personal experience: I have the Core i7 930 with 3x2. Because I went SSD only, I pushed /tmp into RAM and have no swap. I've never run out of memory, typical usage is about 1.5 GB with 10+ applications running.

Another thing: most shops will sell you a machine of this class with 1600er RAM although the 930 only supports 1066 per spec. There is no trouble with that, as the price is about the same, you don't need extra cooling, it runs as stable as at 1066, and the warranty is still OK. On the other hand, the speed of RAM is rarely a bottleneck, so you don't gain much performance. Just take whatever speed they offer you, there isn't much difference.

You'll probably also see listings of memory giving latency numbers. They're only interesting for overclockers, just disregard them.

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This is really a tough question as it highly depends on your budget and what board you are getting.

Personally, I would get (if triple channel) 3x 2GB or 4x2GB (for dual channel) of the fastest low latency memory... This advise is purely based on cost and what I would do.

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