I know this question is dumb, but if I am buying a motherboard with 4 DIMM slots for DDR RAM, and right now I have 1GB (2x512mb) of offbrand RAM (it came with the computer), would it be a bad idea to buy another gigabyte (another 2x512) of, say, Corsair ValueSelect? Or is mixing a bad offbrand RAM with good RAM a bad idea?
I only ask because I'm on a budget and so this would be much cheaper than buying 2GB.
Try to make sure your new ram is the same as your old (eg PC2700 or PC3200). Many motherboards won't support mixing memory types. Also, check if your old memory is Dual-Channel, if so then make sure your new memory and Mobo are.
If you're not overclocking, then I would say your cheap DDR will be fine.
If you are moving to a new CPU also, then the AM2 and Conroe boards need DDR2, which is not the same.
Yeah, I'm going with Socket 939, as I'm not really convinced about the benefits of DDR2 or Socket AM2 over 939 on a price-to-performance ratio when you already have DDR RAM.
I assumed my RAM was PC3200, but after checking just now, the operating frequency is 200mhz, which would make it PC1600, right? Ouch. Maybe I should just get all new RAM then.
This upgrade might prove to be more expensive than I'd planned.
Random question, but if I were to buy 2gb of RAM, should I buy 4 512's, or 2 1gb's? It seems like 2 1gb's would be the most future-proof so if I ever wanted to I could just buy 2 more sticks of 1gb, and the prices seem to be roughly the same.
You could try to spec it at 3-4-4-8. Not sure it will since it's "Value Ram". Just make sure you can RMA if it doesn't work.
Are you sure your ram isn't Dual Channel? Every prebuilt I've seen with 1GB PC3200 has been Dual Channel. When you get your new Mobo, try your old ram in slots 1 & 3, and see if your BIOS reports that it's Dual Channel.
Dual-channel, single-channel memory configuration depends only on the motherboard. What you should look up is, if your motherboard manufacturer suggests double-sided or single sided modules and how the modules should be inserted in the DIMM slots for dual-channel to be enabled. Also make sure, as stated above, that your timings and frequency are the same for all modules or that there is a way to manually set the timings to the lowest common one.
How much of a performance hit do you think that would cause?
Also, my timings are 3-4-4-8. I'm guessing if I buy 3-3-3-8 it would run at the slower timings? I've never bothered OC'ing RAM, but maybe I could try to just get the timings to be the same.
Thanks for the help.
No. Wrong way around. The higher the numbers , the slower it is.
The most important thing for Dual Channel operation is NOT brand names , but the timings. You have to manually set the timings for the different branded rams in the bios to be axactly equal or there will be problems. The extent of the actual problem will differ on different systems.
As for performance impact between single and dual channel ??
Most times .. none. Your rams don't get any faster by going dual channel. Same speed, just extra bandwith. Some apps itulise this extra bandwidth but most don't.