Basic RAM Questions


A

Annon

I recently ventured out to upgrade my ram and finally complete my
monster rig. I was planning on doubling my ram by buying another pair
of the exact same ram I have now. Apparently CompUSA doesn't carry
kingston ram. I asked the register monkey for an equivilant, and he
brought up the topic of dual channel ram. I'm now running on 2x 512
single sticks and 2x 512 dual sticks.

That's the backstory, anyway.
Will running a pair of duals and a pair of singles hurt preformance?
Just how much better is paired dual ram?

BTW, I bought a gig of Centon Gemini Dual Channel pc3200 (DDR400), and
started off with a gig of kingston valueram.
 
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T

Tim

It probably depends on the motherboard and bios more than anything else.
With the Intel 865 and 875 motherbaords, early on, there were a lot of
issues getting any kind of stability out of RAM due to the lack of standards
for PC3200 when the chipsets were released.

IMHO, for dual channel not to work, you would have to have bad luck.

Essentially, there is no electronic design or implementation difference
between 'singles' and 'duals' in that the only difference is supposedly that
the Paired memory has been tested so has the assurance that the performance
of both sticks is close enough to each other to not be a likely cause of
failure for the ram to go into Dual channel mode. Thats it. You can get 2 x
singles and if they are not way off spec they will work. If they do have
different timings then obviously there is a greatly reduced chance that they
will. It is not impossible for 2 x singles of different makes to work as
dual - it depends on how well they 'mate' timing wise.

Some motherboards will not work as well with a second pair installed - even
if it is Dual. This depends on the motherboard, bios and chipset. For a
definitive answer check your motherboard manual.

If you find it does not work, check your bios version. If it is well out of
date (and particularly if it is Intel 865 or 875 based motherboard)
*consider* upgrading the bios. Do not upgrade the bios if you are happy with
the performance or you can't fix the situation another way (IE swapping the
RAM for dual tested after checking the manual).

- Tim
 
T

Tim

My comments above should be read with the understanding that I am referring
to 'singles' that are PC3200, have the same rated performance, the same
number of chips on each side IE are architecturally and by specification (IE
'CL' timings as well) the same regardless of manufacturer...
 
S

Sparda

Annon said:
I recently ventured out to upgrade my ram and finally complete my
monster rig. I was planning on doubling my ram by buying another pair
of the exact same ram I have now. Apparently CompUSA doesn’t
carry
kingston ram. I asked the register monkey for an equivilant, and he
brought up the topic of dual channel ram. I’m now running on 2x
512
single sticks and 2x 512 dual sticks.

That’s the backstory, anyway.
Will running a pair of duals and a pair of singles hurt preformance?
Just how much better is paired dual ram?

BTW, I bought a gig of Centon Gemini Dual Channel pc3200 (DDR400), and
started off with a gig of kingston valueram.

what do you mean by "I’m now running on 2x 512 single sticks and 2x
512 dual sticks" do you mean 2 of your ram sticks have 8 chips, and
the other 2 have 16 chips?

Anyway, what you need to look for to see if your RAM speed is limited
is when your computer is booting, you need to look for some thing
along the lines of "RAM Speed" or "memory speed and any variants,
if memory servs me well, the 3 posible speeds that could be given are
266MHz, 366MHz or 400MHz, 400 = as fast as fast can be, 266 = slower
then microsoft at realesing a patch for a critical problem in there OS
(about 2 months)
 
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T

Tim

The message depends on the bios writer.
Normally it says clearly that it is running in "Dual Channel Mode".

OP: Before all else, make sure your system is stable. Run memtest86 to check
the ram is functioning correctly.
Use Prime95 to perform a system stability test.

Then, and only then worry about Dual Channel. I believe that Everest and
CPUID will tell you whats going on with your RAM.
 
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