Memory RAM Upgrade


K

KillerDesigns

hi,

my motherboard accepts 2 ram sticks, due to some malfunction one of the ram
sticks had to be removed, now the pc works only on one 256mb ram stick.

i am considering installing 1gb of ram. now, is it better to install 1gb
stick of ram or 2 X 512 mb of ram sticks; to take advantage of the dual
channel and from the point of view of WinXP home which option is better?

also, 1gb ram stick is somewhat cheaper than 2x 512mb sticks of ram.

thanks for your reply/s.
 
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S

Shenan Stanley

KillerDesigns said:
my motherboard accepts 2 ram sticks, due to some malfunction one of
the ram sticks had to be removed, now the pc works only on one
256mb ram stick.

i am considering installing 1gb of ram. now, is it better to
install 1gb stick of ram or 2 X 512 mb of ram sticks; to take
advantage of the dual channel and from the point of view of WinXP
home which option is better?

also, 1gb ram stick is somewhat cheaper than 2x 512mb sticks of ram.

Visit:
http://www.crucial.com

Use their "Crucial Memory AdvisorT tool" to figure out what you need.
(You don't have to buy from there. You can buy locally once you know the
specifications or you could use something like www.pricewatch.com to find
the best price on some lifetime warrantied memory.)
 
J

JS

As Shenan mentioned go the Crucial web site and use the
Advisor tool.

If you have decided on 1GB of memory, then go dual channel
(Two 512MB "Matched Pair" made by a quality manufacturer)
You may pay a little more to get a quality product but in the
end it's worth it.

Dual-channel architecture:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual-channel_architecture

Since you will end with two 512MB sticks, if one should
ever fail (one of mine did, but covered under warranty)
removing the defective memory stick with still leave
you with 512MB of memory which is more than
enough for most users.

JS
http://www.pagestart.com
 
K

KillerDesigns

thanks for your advice. and points noted. generally what option is better 1)
to install 1gb ram stick or 2) 2*512mb sticks. from the point of speed and
efficency of data transmission?
 
J

JS

Option #2 - 2*512MB sticks running in dual channel mode.

Easy way to verify that your motherboard supports dual channel
(you indicated it has 4 available slots) is that two slots should be
one color (for example Blue, slots 1 & 3) and the other two
slots (slots 2 & 4) are for example Orange in color.

Double check your manual for supported memory configurations
and types of memory. Generally you will use the first and third
slots (the slots with matching/are the same color) when installing
memory sticks in Dual Channel mode.

If you use the first two slots (For example Blue and Orange)
you will still have 1GB of memory but the memory will not
be operating in Dual Channel mode.

JS
http://www.pagestart.com
 
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J

Jerry

JS said:
Option #2 - 2*512MB sticks running in dual channel mode.

Easy way to verify that your motherboard supports dual channel
(you indicated it has 4 available slots) is that two slots should be
one color (for example Blue, slots 1 & 3) and the other two
slots (slots 2 & 4) are for example Orange in color.

Double check your manual for supported memory configurations
and types of memory. Generally you will use the first and third
slots (the slots with matching/are the same color) when installing
memory sticks in Dual Channel mode.

If you use the first two slots (For example Blue and Orange)
you will still have 1GB of memory but the memory will not
be operating in Dual Channel mode.

JS

He indicated that the motherboard only has 2 slots, not 4. I would
recommend that he go with a single 1gb stick and keep his existing 256mb
stick. It will cost less money, the increase of 1gb will make ample
improvements over what he has and if he ever wants to increase memory again
he can just buy another single stick. I seriously doubt that the average
computer user could tell the difference in performance between a 1gb of
memory versus 1gb of memory running in dual channel mode.
 
J

JS

The second post mislead me to believe he has 4 slots.
Sorry about that.

I still would go with the two 512MB sticks
as most motherboards and or BIOS will drop to
the stick that has the lowest performance specs.

JS
 
K

KillerDesigns

apologies - motherboard has 4 slots and as correctly indicated 1/3 blue and
2/4 orange.
 
K

KillerDesigns

also, assuming i use 2*512mb sticks in 1 and 3 slots, and will the 256mb
existing ram make a difference?

and if i use 1gb in slot 1 and 256gb in slot 3 - will that make a
difference.

regarding speed and efficiency?
 
G

Ghostrider

KillerDesigns said:
apologies - motherboard has 4 slots and as correctly indicated 1/3 blue and
2/4 orange.

In this case, look at the situation this way. Just why is one of the
pair of sockets not working? Or is the problem with just the RAM stick
itself?

With an unused pair of slots and RAM being as cheap as they are, I'd
rather get 2 x 1 GB sticks. If they work in either pair of slots, the
blue or the orange, then there would be 2 GB of RAM in the computer.
That is a significant improvement. OTOH, it would have been awful bad
luck if one slot of either pair were to have failed.
 
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K

KillerDesigns

One of the ram stick (256mb) has packed in. the pc has only 1x256mb stick.
under win xp its sluggish and slow.
 
G

Ghostrider

KillerDesigns said:
One of the ram stick (256mb) has packed in. the pc has only 1x256mb stick.
under win xp its sluggish and slow.

That is why I tossed out the idea of upgrading to 2 GB of RAM in
dual-channel configuration (2 x 1 GB) to you. There is no excuse
not to do it, esp. for Windows XP, unless the computer is being
used for merely pedestrian work. In this instance, definitely not
less than 1 GB.
 
S

Shenan Stanley

KillerDesigns said:
also, assuming i use 2*512mb sticks in 1 and 3 slots, and will the
256mb existing ram make a difference?

and if i use 1gb in slot 1 and 256gb in slot 3 - will that make a
difference.

regarding speed and efficiency?

Short version of what I am about to tell you: Buy 2 matching 512MB sticks
that are compatible with your system, put them in and throw away all the old
memory (since one of the two 256MB sticks are bad.)

Longer version:
Simply put - you want all your ram to be the same speed/type. This ensures
compatibility/maximum performance/etc.

If you are going to buy RAM for your computer given all that I have read
thusfar - I think you should get 1GB in 2x512MB sticks and throw the other
256MB stick in the garbage with the one that died.

You double your original memory, have a matching pair, etc....

First - having the old 256MB stick in there _could_ slow it down - now let
me clarify that you might notice that difference if you are the type that
notices one second of time change over 1000 days of actual time - if that in
the best case scenario. However - you gain nothing really in 99.99% of the
cases having 1.25GB of RAM over 1GB RAM available to you - and in your case
where you have had 512MB all this time and likely been happy until it got
halved or you would have done something by now - you'd be wasting your
time/money (IMHO) to purchase over 1GB total RAM and leaving the old 256MB
stick in there after you purchased the matching pair.

That all assumes - of course - you have not left out some vital bit of
information like the fantastic new high-paying graphics editing job you got
that won't pay you for a year and thus you need to spend as little as
possible now in order to optimize your experience until you get paid. ;-)
 
J

Jerry

KillerDesigns said:
also, assuming i use 2*512mb sticks in 1 and 3 slots, and will the 256mb
existing ram make a difference?

and if i use 1gb in slot 1 and 256gb in slot 3 - will that make a
difference.

regarding speed and efficiency?

I still maintain that your wasting money going with 2 512's to obtain dual
channel mode, you will not notice the difference. Buy a 1gig stick and use
the 256 you already have, see below:
Tom's Hardware found little significant difference between single-channel
and dual-channel configurations in synthetic and gaming benchmarks (using a
"modern" system setup). Dual channel at best might give a 5% speed increase
in memory intensive tasks, not even close to the two times that "dual"
suggests[3].

It should be noted that Tom's Hardware had a discrete graphics comparison.
The difference is significant (~25%) for any 3D apps when using integrated
graphics.
 
J

JS

I would not use the remaining 256MB stick after upgrading
to 2*512MB sticks. As I mentioned before you only stand
the chance of slowing down your memory performance.

Even if all three sticks had the same specifications, an
extra 256MB is not going to be noticeable or work any
wonders increasing your PC performance.

And when your PC had both stick functioning giving
you a total of 512MB of ram did you have any problems
with a specific application running slow, if not and you
were happy with 512MB, then adding more that 1GB
of memory is a waist unless sometime in the future
you plan to upgrade to Vista, then 2GB or more
would be worth it and you still have two slots available
to use if need to add more memory.

JS
http://www.pagestart.com
 
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K

KillerDesigns

thanks, all points noted. also i am not the kind that worries about 1 sec
difference etc.. so, all in all i think 2*512mb sticks will do better, and
if 4*256mb (=1gb) sticks (all same spec) might give the desired outcome or
1gb and 1*256mb (as jerry suggests) does not show any significant
improvement, this might be an option.

i'll see what Crucial suggests and offers.

thanks
 
J

JS

You're welcome.

JS

KillerDesigns said:
thanks, all points noted. also i am not the kind that worries about 1 sec
difference etc.. so, all in all i think 2*512mb sticks will do better,
and
if 4*256mb (=1gb) sticks (all same spec) might give the desired outcome or
1gb and 1*256mb (as jerry suggests) does not show any significant
improvement, this might be an option.

i'll see what Crucial suggests and offers.

thanks
 
P

Paul

KillerDesigns said:
thanks, all points noted. also i am not the kind that worries about 1 sec
difference etc.. so, all in all i think 2*512mb sticks will do better, and
if 4*256mb (=1gb) sticks (all same spec) might give the desired outcome or
1gb and 1*256mb (as jerry suggests) does not show any significant
improvement, this might be an option.

i'll see what Crucial suggests and offers.

thanks

It is easier to give advice, if we know the motherboard. Here
are a few observations.

1) On Athlon64 systems, a four stick configuration usually ends
up with slightly slower memory settings, than a two stick
configuration. Two sticks can run DDR400 Command Rate 1T.
Four sticks run at DDR333 Command Rate 1T or DDR400 Command Rate 2T.
That represents a slight performance loss.

2) Pentium systems also see loading effects from using four sticks,
but that probably doesn't affect operation at stock speeds. The
use of four sticks mainly affects the ability to reach high
overclock speeds on the memory bus. For example, reaching DDR480
is probably easy with two sticks, but perhaps only DDR440 or
DDR460 with four sticks.

3) There is a difference between single channel and dual channel
operation. The difference could be observed while compressing
a file archive with Winrar, and using a stopwatch. Many other
applications are relatively insensitive to memory bandwidth,
which is why when you see comments from people here, the
comments will be based on their particular selection of programs
used.

There are some single channel versus dual channel comparisons in
these Winrar benchmark results. Photoshop is another application
that might benefit from good memory bandwidth. For a lot of other
stuff, it wouldn't matter. If the motherboard has integrated graphics,
and you're using the VGA connector in the I/O area on the back of
the computer, then I recommend a dual channel configuration for
that usage (desktop updates faster).

http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/athlon 64 fx55_10180471040/5071.png

Another thing - if you're interested in 1GB DDR type memory, don't
buy it from Ebay. Go to a reputable source (see the listings on
Newegg for example, to see branded RAM products). The Ebay sellers
are selling high density 1GB DDR modules using x4 width chips, and
the advert will show a "restricted" set of compatible chipsets.
You want to buy memory which can be used in *any* computer. Buying
high density RAM is a mistake. Even on systems where it happens to
work, it may not work properly if you load up all slots with that
type of memory.

I would leave the 256MB stick out of the computer, and only have
the two new sticks present. It is easy to benchmark the various
configurations, and make that decision for yourself.

There are a few cases, where occupying three slots of the four
available will not work. Some of the earlier dual channel boards,
strictly enforce dual channel operation, so two or four stick
configurations are the ones to use in that case. If you left
the 256MB stick in the board, the computer might not complete
POST, or the BIOS may choose to ignore the 256MB stick. Athlon64
processors before Revision E, would be an example not supporting
three sticks.

HTH,
Paul
 
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K

KillerDesigns

the pc is a dell dimension 8400 series (p4 3ghz). i suppose it has its own
motherboard, it has four memory slots and recommends using 2 sticks (in solts
1/3 or 2/4) same spec. i had a problem when a blue screen appreared and on
contacting dell support they said the hdd had packed up (and made me buy a
new hdd); but the problems continued and by trial and error i found (no help
from dell) one of the 256mb ram stick had packed in. so, the question to
replace with ???mb ram stick/s.

memory recommended is: SDRAM DDR2 400/533mhz unbuffered. 128/256/512/1gb
non-ECC, install 2 same spec. in pairs.

examining the m/b its very basic with meagre extras and has much of its own
proprietary stuff; no heavy gaming graphics etc.

i use the pc mainly for voip calls on the internet and ms office xp for
letters, excel spreadsheets etc.

thanks for your help.
 
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