March 1999 SDRAM Comparisonby Anand Lal Shimpi on March 22, 1999 10:31 PM EST
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There's no feeling like soaking up a bright spring day with the wind blowing in your hair and the smell of fresh flowers and the world around you flowing crisply through your body. However then you reach work, school, or wherever you happen to go on a daily basis and everything is removed from your mind and you are struck by the reality of the situation, you're stuck in a place you'd rather replace with another scene for the next 8 hours. It's days like that which make us all want to get away from the terrors of living a repetitive life, but at the same time it brings us closer to the things we cherish in life the most. Our favorite things. To the tune of the Sound of Music we all find ourselves singing about our favorite things at one time or another, although it may not always be in the same musical fashion as Julie Andrews once graced the stage with, there is no denying that each and every one of us out there takes the time to appreciate those which we cherish and are fond of. Not necessarily in a materialistic sense, but we all have our favorite days, cars, smells, tastes, electronics and feelings. And although the combination of emotions and technology in that analogy may be a bit awkward, to any computer hardware enthusiast, it should feel right at home.
If you've ever known a true hardware enthusiast, or if you happen to be one yourself (chances are, if you're reading AnandTech, you are) you'll know the feeling you get when your benchmarks come out a few percent ahead of the competition, or when you make a wise investment in a product that'll last you a little longer than whatever else is out there. It is because of the extremely competitive nature of most computer hardware enthusiasts and tweakers out there that we find the need to have Message Forums and Newsgroups where hundreds upon thousands of us can get together and chat about the latest hardware, and how to squeeze that extra 3 frames per second out of our gaming rigs or how to improve those compile times by another 30 seconds. From a distance it may look like a sad sickness, however just as any hobbyist would rush to defend their time-gobbler, any computer hardware enthusiast would tell you that the love of the hobby is the drive behind it all, which isn't always the most practical reasoning as computer hardware can grow to be very expensive.
Unfortunately, with everyone out there concentrating on building the fastest overall system, there is very little attention paid to the stability of the system. The stability of any system comes from a number of factors, while we may all talk about using the most stable motherboards with the most efficient cooling systems, very little attention is paid to one of the most important parts of any computer system, the memory. Usually enthusiasts will prefer to get whatever memory modules happen to be available at the most reasonable price, and they'll pick up as much as they can. Because having 192MB of RAM sounds much more powerful than having 64MB of RAM, and it sounds like you'll actually be using your computer for important tasks rather than having a LAN party with your friends or playing multiplayer Unreal with a couple of tough bots, which you'll probably end up doing in the end. The bottom line is that very little attention is given to the quality of SDRAM modules on the market today, and because of this you see an influx of lower quality parts that some poorly educated users may end up falling for when they're constructing their systems. And when you're a student on a budget, or don't have the luxury of "fixing" a poor investment with another, hopefully, more intelligent one you'll have to stick with your first choice for as long as you possibly can before making that next upgrade, so it's wise to make the first choice the best one possible.
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