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Memory Speed vs. Latency – Clearing up the Confusion

Posted June 17, 2015 by Jake in RAM


Speed and latency are key factors in memory performance that are often confused, so let’s clear up the confusion once and for all.
by Jake
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We love speed as much as the next performance seeker, and many of us spend great sums of money and loads of time trying to optimize our systems, find the best parts for a new build, and squeezing every bit out of components.

Admittedly, some components are easier to overclock or extract maximum performance, some are more difficult, and some are, well, just plain misunderstood. It’s probably a fair and reasonable statement to say that memory performance is one component typically found in the last category. The crux of the issue often comes down to how we perceive and “rate” memory performance, and the two most critical factors which influence that performance: speed and latency.

There seems to be some significant misinformation and misunderstanding, and we see it often in the forums, in review comments, and elsewhere. So we decided to go straight to the experts to find out how these two factors influence memory performance: we talked with Crucial.

Crucial is a global brand of Micron Technology, one of the world’s foremost leaders in memory design and manufacturing. They not only produce their own performance products and memory lineups (as well as SSDs, flash drives, and all other things related to memory), but they are also OEM suppliers to some of the biggest names in the industry. Needless to say, Crucial knows memory.

We briefly spoke with Jeremy Mortenson, who is the Worldwide Memory Product Marketing Manager at Crucial, and asked him to set the record straight by helping us (and you) to understand the significance of Speed vs Latency in terms of memory performance. Yes, yes, we know……he’s a marketing guy. We thought the same thing until we realized not only does he know his stuff and have access to some of the finest product development minds in the industry, but Jeremy also has a knack for explaining complex technical issues in a way that anyone can understand.

Let’s jump in and find out Crucial’s take on this contentious subject.



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