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Help Me Choose Best RAM for My System

Posted on 2014-10-08
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Last Modified: 2014-10-23
Hey Guys -

I know it's a common question, but I've done some research and am looking for opinions, please.  I am looking to upgrade the RAM in my home system from 16gb (4x4gb) to 32gb (4x8gb.)  There are endless choices so hopefully you can help me out.  First, here are my system specs:

System Specs
- CPU: Intel i7 3770K CPU @ 3900Mhz
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H
- RAM: 4 x 4gb (16gb) Kingston HyperX KHX1600C9D3/4GX  - DDR3-1333 DDR3 SDRAM  (9-9-9-24 @ 666 MHz)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660  (2 GB)
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 x64
- x10 Drives
   - C:\ - OS Only - 256 SSD
   - D:\ - Storage - 24.6tb Drive Pool (x1 55gb SSD & 7 SATA disks) using Stablebit DiskPool
   - E:\ - App / Game Installs - 500gb Hybrid drive

What I Use it For
A lot...  
- Gaming (including streaming to my Nvidia Shield)
- Media/File Share (TBs worth of files)
   Most things are shared over SMB to XBMC systems but also run Plex and other similar apps
- Work Apps (SCCM Console, VPN, VMM, etc)
- Virtual Machines

Why I Am Going from 16gb to 32gb
The longer my system stays on, the bigger my Metafile grows due to the amount of folder/files I have.  I experiemented a while back with adjusting Dynamaic Cache, but performance fell.  After 1 day of being on, I can close all visible apps and memory is 50% - 70% used.  On a clean boot, 20% - 30% is used.  I also performed a full OS reinstall 2 weeks ago and moved from 7 to 8.1.  Add in that I use the occasional VM and I need more...

My Options & Budget
I've read that RAM speed doesn't really make a difference for what I do.  I was still thinking of getting something like 2400, but not sure yet.  I don't have a ton to spend, but don't want to get the cheapest solution.  I want what's best for the money.  Here's Gigabyte's Approved Memory List for the motherboard - but - my board is 1-2 years old so options are a little out dated.

One thing I don't know is if I can even use 1.65V on my board as the manual says use 1.5V.  If I do, will it just run it at 1.5V and I'll suffer performance-wise?  

I've spent the last hour + going through NewEgg and comparing sets.  I found that latency and frequency equal each other out, but still don't know what to get which is the best for the $.

Suggestions?  If posting links, please use NewEggs as I get special shipping there. Thanks!
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Question by:BzowK
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40369239
I like Kingston memory myself but RAM is ram and if you are not overclocking there really isn't much of a difference.
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Expert Comment

by:askpcguy909
ID: 40369649
The best place to start is with the Motherboard manufacturer's website for their Qualified Hardware Vendor list for the RAM.  Using that list to narrow down your choices until there are a few.  Optionally  you can look into overclocking the RAM to gain a slight performance increase at a very low risk.

Here's the list link:
http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Memory/mb_memory_ga-z77x-ud5h.pdf

Post back here your short list of RAM and we'll help narrow that down.
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by:
nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 40370070
since you have already used Kingston, you know it works; i would buy the 8 GB sticks
>>  One thing I don't know is if I can even use 1.65V on my board as the manual says use 1.5V   <<  then you could overclock -  if your cooling is adequate for it; if not needed -  i stay away from it, since you don't gain 50 % or such  -but of course, you can test out how far the board  supports it, without locking up

here's what they say about it :  http://www.gigabyte.co.nl/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4139#ov
GIGABYTE Z77 motherboards add special onboard features that assist DIY builders and overclockers in getting the absolute maximum control from their new 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors.

Onboard Power and Reset buttons are accompanied by a LED Debug Display that puts users in the driving seat when experimenting with different hardware configurations.

 Overclockers will appreciate having Onboard Voltage Read Points, which have been added to allow for accurate real-time voltage reading when pushing your processor and memory to absolute extremes. OC-PEG provides two onboard SATA power connectors for more stable PCIe power when using 3-way and 4-way graphics configurations.

your board supports up to  ddr2800 but they don't list any 8Gb ram, so if you buy such, you have to test if they do work

CORSAIR 8GB CMZ32GX3M4X1600C10   is the only 8 GB ram they list in their supported ram list !
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Expert Comment

by:Michael-Best
ID: 40388706
Download the Crucial System Scanner to get exact RAM details for your PC
http://www.crucial.com/
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