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Choosing the RAM

RAM quality is a controversial subject. Is it worth spending an extra $150 or more to get lower latency RAM? Will you really notice a difference? Perhaps not on paper, but it might influence the overall "feel" of the stability and responsiveness of your system.

The best way to think of it might be analogous to souping up a hot rod. Is it really worth paying $300 for a modified air intake for you car? Especially if it only gives you a 3 percent boost in horsepower? The answer is a resounding yes—if it helps you win the race. Or even if it increases the "feel" and enjoyment of your acceleration.

For this rig, we are sparing no expense on RAM. Low latency is not the only consideration; quality control and reputation of the manufacturer is important as well. There is nothing worse than a system that becomes unstable at higher temperatures. So we went with twin sticks of 1GB Platinum OCZ RAM from Corsair (Model 1Gx2 D400 OCZ 4002048ELDCPE-K) as shown in Figure 4.

Dividing it into two identical sticks will allow us to take advantage of the dual channel architecture. But do we really need 2GB of RAM? Possibly. If you are using a slightly lower-end graphics card like we are, you might get better performance with 2GB of RAM. And it helps to future-proof the machine. You can read more on the RAM latency controversy on this site.

And you can read about the RAM size controversy on this site.

Be sure to continue on to Part 3, where we finish off our dream machine and tweak it for performance, looks, and noise reduction. Finally, we'll benchmark it.

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