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When us old-timers say that PC users have never had it so good, we’re not just wallowing in self-pity, it’s because we remember the days when spending a week trying to get your new game and your sound card to work together wasn’t that unusual. That doesn’t mean it’s all roses now though, the flipside to all this bigger, faster, better technology is more choice, and critical choice at that.

Back in the day when PCs were slowly making their transition into people’s homes, there were only really two decisions you needed to make when it came to buying memory. EDO (Extended Data Out) or not, and how much of it can I afford?

The first question was simple enough, if you could afford to pay a little extra you bought EDO, and as for how much, well bear in mind that back in 1996 you could expect to pay £676 for a 32MB stick! That’s why Microsoft’s plans for every desktop PC to one day be equipped with a minimum 32MB of memory seemed so unlikely back then, and why it wasn’t unusual for thieves to break into office complexes, steal the memory and leave the PCs behind. It was, in some cases quite literally, worth its weight in gold.

Fortunately today, as with so much PC-related hardware, prices have fallen to almost unbelievably low levels and to some extent, users have become far less choosy about what memory to put in their machines. Even those prepared to do a little research into which memory to buy find that there are so many makes, styles, speeds, prices and specifications that any worthwhile comparison becomes impractical at best.

Well, that’s where we hope we can help. TrustedReviews sent out an invitation to memory manufacturers to submit 2x 512MB modules of their budget and/or enthusiast level memory for us to compare, and those who bothered to do that have had their memory put through an exhaustive collection of benchmarks and torture tests to try to sort the wheat from the chaff.

The rankings stated in the reviews take only performance into account, while the overall score out of ten for each set of memory also factors value into the equation. All the prices quoted are for two 512MB modules, allowing for a dual chanel configuration.

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