HOME Technology 2004
Memory upgrade speeds recall
Ramping up RAM for rapid graphics
While the first thing most computer users think of when assessing the performance of a PC is central processor (CPU) speed, a RAM upgrade can make a major difference.

While Microsoft’s XP operating system runs quite happily on 128Mb the sweet spot at the moment is 512Mb RAM, and for more intense graphical use it pays to examine the type of RAM (random access memory) being used and even ramp up to 1Gb.

Keith Hamilton, Kingston marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand, says dual channel memory can be used in about 70 per cent of current computers and gives a 23 per cent performance increment over single channel memory.

"Dual allows you to double your memory peak bandwidth but you have to match the second modules for it to operate."

He says gamers in particular are prepared to pay up to a 25-30 per cent premium for Kingston’s 1Gb-2B HyperX memory chips which have optimal thermal diffusion. "They’re looking for maximum performance by squeezing everything they can out of their systems."

And Kingston which designs and manufactures memory for major brands and enthusiasts who build up their own machines is betting DDR2 memory will represent over 50 per cent of sales during 2005.

The existing DDR (double data rate) modules read the clock cycle of the CPU twice at 400MHz speeds as opposed to synchronous DRAM which only reads once. Now DDR2 gets past the limitations to run at 675MHz. Its optimised for new CPU chipsets such as the Intel 915G and 925x and the Athalon 64 processor.

DDR2 goes further toward supporting high speeds at low latencies resulting in faster processing, and quicker refreshing for highly graphical applications such as video editing, graphics and games.

Kingston’s website (www.kingston.com under tools ) provides a quick guide about what RAM is best for which PC configuration.

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