Now, we are seeing 2GB kits (that is a pair of 1GB memory sticks) at $120-$380 depending on quality of the memory, so it is much more affordable. The good news is that for many games it makes a big difference. The chart shows frame rates at 512MB and 2GB for Battlefield 2. I can tell you that for Call of Duty and F.E.A.R, they are simply not playable at 512MB, it takes so long to download and there is hard disk access during the game. 1GB is just fine most of the time, but for the next generation 2GB is the place to go.
So given my OCZ VX has now failed, what to get for the dream machine? Well, "Anandtech":http://anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=2676 has the answers with a test of really fast 2GB kits. These cost a great deal more than the bargains, but they run faster timings so why not. They do show that a 1GB kit is actually faster. The reference OCZ 3200 Platinum R2 1GB Kit is still like lightening and pretty cheap according to "Pricegrabber":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=3762101/sort_type=bottomline at $171 from Newegg.
But the memory to consider are Mushkin 2GB Redline XP4000 which you can get "direct":http://www.mushkin.com/doc/products/memory/extreme_performance.asp for $380 but the main issue there is now is the support as their forums show unhappy people
The other one is the trusty OCZ (I actually use OCZ in half of my machines now) called the melodious OCZ PC4000 2x1024 EB Platinum that "pricegrabber":http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__OCZ_Technology_Platinum_Edition_2GB_PC4000_DDR_DIMM_Dual_Channel_Memory_Kit,__12832407/search=ocz+platinum has for $372 but this is not at newegg or zipzoomfly 🙁
Finally for just a little bit performance, but 40% less is the Corsair TWINX2048-4000PT which use the Samsung UCCC chips instead of the pricer Infineon Cs that OCZ and Mushkin are using so it is just $220 according to "Pricegrabber":http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Corsair_2GB_PC4000_DDR_DIMM_Memory_Kit,__13003373. Also simlar are the OCZ parts are "PC4000 Gold":http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__OCZ_Technology_Gold_Edition_2GB_PC4000_DDR_DIMM_Memory_Kit,__11209027/sort_type=bottomline and "PC4000GX XTC":http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__OCZ_Technology_EL_Gold_GX_XTC_2GB_PC4000_DIMM_Memory_Kit,__14985807/sort_type=bottomline, and they are about the same price as the Corsair kit. We have not tested either OCZ UCCC, but with the same memory chips, performance should be similar so they are good choices if you want to stick to OCZ. These are $230 and $250 respectively and the main difference is seems to be the fancy heatspread on the XTC vs. the generic ons on the Gold.