All of the platforms that we have recommended in this Guide use DDR RAM, which is not surprising. DDR2 is simply not a "budget" product yet. For the AMD socket 754 platform, you'll be best off purchasing a single 512MB DIMM. The AMD socket 939 and Intel platforms on the other hand will be able to run dual-channel RAM for a 5% to 15% performance increase, depending on the task. The best choice for a reasonably future-proof system will be to get 512MB DIMMs, but that is a big price jump if you purchase two DIMMs. If you can scrape together the additional money, we suggest going with 2x512MB on both platforms, and you can run with a single DIMM initially. We will, however, provide a 2x256MB option for dual-channel RAM support.

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RAM Dual-Channel Recommendation: 2x256MB GEIL Ultra Value 2.5-4-4-7
Price: $62 shipped

"Ultra" and "Value" are normally contradictory terms, but GEIL has put both in the product name of their dual-channel RAM package. Overclocking support is rather limited, so consider this a base recommendation. As always, there are many reputable brands that should run CL2.5 timings in a modern Intel or AMD system. Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, and Mushkin are at the top of our list, but PDP, PQI, and Samsung brands are also good.

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RAM Single-Channel Recommendation: 1x512MB PQI POWER Series CL2.5
Price: $51 shipped

Prices on 512MB DIMMs have dropped quite a bit lately, and we can now pick up a single CL2.5 module for under $60. That's down over $10 from the last Budget Guide, which is pretty impressive. PQI is not as well-known of a brand, but they are still decent, and they work with both AMD and Intel systems in our experience.

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RAM Alternatives: 2x512MB PDP/Patriot PC3200 Memory Dual Channel Kit, Model PDC1G3200LLK
Price: $131

With 2-3-2-5 timings and the ability to overclock to 230 MHz to 240 MHz with some tweaking, the PDP DIMMs are a great buy. More importantly, the upgrade to 1GB of RAM will definitely help out in overall system performance for demanding applications like games. PDP has come out with some very good RAM options at incredible prices, as the closest price that we could find for similar RAM was about $30 more. Many of our previous value RAM recommendations have cost about $150 and had 2.5-4-4 timings!

If you want even more stock performance, and especially if you want to try your hand at overclocking (with a 1:1 memory ratio), our recommendation goes to anything with Samsung TCCD blanks. Our experience is that anything with Samsung TCCD chips will have good to great base performance at DDR400 speeds - often with 2-2-2 timings - and overclocking performance usually extends well beyond DDR500. The cheapest brands that we have found with Samsung TCCD blanks are G.Skill, PDP, and PQI. Cost, of course, is quite a bit higher than the basic RAM recommendations above. However, $220 will now get 2x512MB RAM with 2-2-2-5 PC3200 timings. That's about $50 lower than what most 2-2-2 RAM cost in mid-to-late 2004. 2x256MB of TCCD will run about $120, for the curious. The memory is good, but it's definitely a big upgrade from the Budget price range. We'd take the $100 of the 2-3-2 RAM over the lower timings, and PC4000 RAM can be found for about $175 these days.

CPU and Motherboard - Intel Video Cards
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  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 13, 2005 - link

    58 - ??? The Mid-Range to High-End went up a couple weeks ago. Next update in a couple more weeks, I guess. :D
  • SAV602 - Thursday, June 9, 2005 - link

    This month?
  • spartacvs - Saturday, May 14, 2005 - link

  • JarredWalton - Saturday, May 14, 2005 - link

    It's coming soon! :p
  • spartacvs - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    Hey guys, it's time for a new system guide :)
  • TrogdorJW - Friday, March 25, 2005 - link

    Sorry - ignore that last post, but I guess my comments name and pass don't work in the forums. Just wanted to check. :)
  • TrogdorJW - Friday, March 25, 2005 - link

  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 24, 2005 - link

    jwf1776 sent me a reply email which updates the situation. I'll just post the text with links here:
    I don't know why I sent you the link the to enermax site, because the site does make it seem like its atx 2.03 ... but it's all lies...

    The manual I got with the power supply was pretty clear about which models had 24pin rails. They have a 24P on the model number or something.

    Anyways, the maxpoint site (American enermax distributor?) has the correct stats at

    Also here is a review of the part

    Both sites make clear its atx 1.3

    So, there you have it: the Enermax 375 is *not* a 24-pin EPS 12V compliant motherboard. It *does* have dual rails, which may be sufficient, but that's not the same as supporting the ATX 2.0x standard. It looks like Enermax needs to fix their spec pages....
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - link

    jwf1776: I sent this in an email to him as well, but here's my question to you all: is this a case of false advertising by Enermax or not? Here is an image for the alternative PSU:

    It doesn't have a 24-pin connector, per se, but it has a 20 pin with a second 4-pin connector that makes it into a 24-pin. Note that there is *also* a second 4-pin +12V adapter for the standard P4 power connector. Unless someone can confirm that the PSU doesn't include the two 4-pin adapters, I believe it still qualifies as a 24-pin PSU. ATX 12V 2.01 vs. ATX 12V 2.03 - is there really a major difference other than the 24-pin adapter bein in one piece?
  • Jep4444 - Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - link

    48 - the adapter doesn't do very much, it'll work without an adapter

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