Memories, memories…

Human beings have long term, and short term memory – and I had problems with the latter… well, where was I? Oh, yes, human beings have long term, and short term memory… 😀 Computers are the same, with HDDs/SSDs for long term memory, and RAM for short term; so, let’s discover what I needed.

First, long term: I had quite some HDDs, full of previous projects, many in various progress from barely started to almost finished; the bigger ones will be used for the new workstation – one 2TB and two 4TB Seagate Barracuda. For the SSD, I got a small S3+ 120GB, and it will be used temporarily to store OS and programs.

Next step will be NVME SSDs: my plan is to use a small one (250 or 500GB) for the OS/programs, and two bigger ones (1TB, maybe even more) in RAID, for cache; the speed will be, yes, ludicrous, and much higher than any lossy codec ever need, but as always, the faster, the better; also, 8K lossless or uncompressed video would need such kind of speed. For the brand I’d choose, for sure Samsung, then WD and HP; the latter is a bit slower than the former, still its prices are quite low in comparison, and, beside that, in RAID0 difference will be not so noticeable.

Now, back to short term… RAM… once upon a time (read: DDR and DDR2), it was quite easy to choose your RAM: just decide how many MBs/GBs you need, pick the right speed, and that’s it! Now, with DDR4, everything is so much difficult! The fact is, today almost any producer release their products with two speeds; slower (2133MHz or 2400MHz) will work in every system, while higher, overclocked (up to 4166MHz IIRC) will work only on selected motherboards/CPUs; then, using other motherboards, you can obtain any speed inbetween, but the main problem is, you can’t know it in advance!

Let’s make an example: you buy a 3200MHz RAM set (base clock 2133MHz); it is not present in the vendor list of your motherboard; you can get ANY speed with it, from 2133MHz (sure) to 3200MHz (unsure); it could also happen that your set is in the vendor list, but the reached speed is lower than the one stated… aargh! So, the best way to decide is to check the vendor list; if that set is listed there, you have HIGH probability (but not 100%) that it will run at overclocked speed; if you are unlucky, it SHOULD always run at a slower speed, still near the top.

And… do not forget the latency – the smaller, the better!!!

For that reason, it is a quite difficult choice. I discovered that Samsung B-die are the best memory chips to be used with AMD ThreadRipper (and Ryzen), so the B-die finder is a nice tool to use:

ThreadRipper love fast RAM, and B-die started from 3000MHz; it seems the better speed is given by 3200MHz CL14, so it will be my choice; so, it leaves me with Corsair, G.Skill and Team Group. Sadly, the tool states that max size is 32GB; enough, I must admit, for most of the task, but, again, wanted to be future proof, so 64GB would be preferable – I almost thought about 128GB… but I could always upgrade to it later, if needed.

It seems the most affordable and easy to find 64GB (4x16GB) DDR-4 3200MHz CL14 are Corsair and G.Skill, so I decided to go for one of them – still undecided on the model; yes, an RGB kit could be nice, but at the end I do not care so much about it, so also a boring model without any light will do!

Last note: I am an old dinosaur, still dealing (sometimes) with optical discs… then, as my old case has 5.25″ external bay, I wanted to grab a BD-R; I still think that Pioneer may be one of the best brand, but I heard good things also about Asus and LG… let’s see!


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