Home » Questions » Computers [ Ask a new question ]

What do the memory timings and RAM mean?

What do the memory timings and RAM mean?

On every piece of RAM you'll see the timings like: "2-2-2-5".

Asked by: Guest | Views: 73
Total answers/comments: 1
Guest [Entry]

"There are a lot of detailed explanations about this on overclocking forums as well as hardware review sites.

A very basic answer is that each number represents the number of cycles it takes before the memory can perform a given internal action. Generally, lower is better, however, it's not always true, as the separate numbers have an effect on each other.

You can think of this as basically a measure of how ""quick"" the memory is, as opposed to how ""fast"" it is. It's basically the delay before actions can get started.

Because the numbers measure clock cycles, remember that lower timings don't necessarily mean faster access times. Memory running at 100 MHz with a timing of 2-2-2-5 will have effectively slower timings than memory running at 400 MHz with a timing of 5-5-5-15 for example (even though it takes 5 clocks rather than 2 clocks, it cycles 4x faster).

Overall don't worry about it too much. Frankly, you probably are never going to notice the difference between different timings. The only reason you'd want to worry about it is if you are a benchmarking/overclocking enthusiast.

If you are just looking for a fast PC, and you aren't a big tweaker, you should buy well-reviewed, reliable RAM that comes at a good price. Invest that money you save by not buying low-timing memory in components that will make a bigger speed difference."