Overclocking via the multiplier puts the strain on the processor itself, allowing for a nice overclock without the use/need for high speed RAM. Sure, you get a higher overall clock speed, but your memory remains at the default speed, thus retaining the same memory bandwidth as at stock clock speed.
Overclocking via the FSB (which is what we are limited to these days) requires that you have quality, high speed RAM that can run over 200 MHz (400 MHz DDR). Overclocking via this method puts the strain on the RAM and memory controller. With FSB overclocking, as you increase the operating frequency of the RAM, the memory bandwidth increases accordingly, giving an even higher overall performance boost. FSB overclocking is the most efficient, but many other factors can limit your overclock as opposed to the multiplier method of overclocking.
With that said, it is very important to choose quality RAM for your system. There are a few things to be said here as well. Through trial-and-error and a lot of research, I learned that the average FSB limit for the Socket 754 board/processor was right around 230 @ 1:1 ratio. At 230 FSB, it would seem that PC3700 (233 FSB) would be the memory of choice, but this is often not so. High quality PC3200 (200 FSB) memory can usually hit 230 FSB with little effort. The key here is high quality RAM. Much like the AMD OEM heatsink, cheap generic RAM will get you nowhere fast when overclocking.
And finally, while this is a personal preference, I find it important enough to cover here. Over the past few years, 512MB of RAM was seen as the enthusiast standard. I too used 512MB of RAM for the longest time and was very happy with it. That is, until I experienced a GiG of RAM. My system was much more smooth and fluid at a GiG instead of the 512MB I had been accustomed to. Perhaps the biggest difference I noticed was when exiting a game. Before, it would take 5-10 seconds for the desktop icons to reload and the system was pretty sluggish for the next few minutes while Windows memory management slowly did its job. At a GiG, when I come out of a game, the system is instantly ready to roll; no slow reloading of icons, no sluggish system. So yeah, the moral of my story: In my eyes, the new standard for enthusiasts should be bumped up to a GiG. Trust me, you will not regret it.
What RAM will I be using for this article? Continue ahead to find out...