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Quick dumb question about RAM

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  • CPUs
  • RAM
  • Motherboards
  • Product
Last response: in CPUs
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August 12, 2006 6:57:46 PM

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.

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August 12, 2006 7:05:01 PM

uhm i dont see why it wouldnt work..it doesnt matter about the brand, its the timing and the cas latency, and how fast eh ram speed is
August 12, 2006 7:11:14 PM

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.
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August 12, 2006 7:19:33 PM

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.
August 12, 2006 7:20:42 PM

And crap, I just realized I posted this in the CPU forum. Sorry guys. :oops: 
August 12, 2006 7:49:04 PM

The 200Mhz is the actual clock of the RAM ( I don't think they make pc1600 RAM ;-) )

The effective clock would be 400Mhz because it's DDR.

I would also try to get the same kind of RAM you already have, if not that then try to find the most compatible RAM with what you already have (same CAS latency, same timings, same speed, etc.)
August 12, 2006 7:55:48 PM

Ohhh, good point. That makes a lot more sense. I didn't think it felt THAT slow.

I googled what memory had a 200mhz clock, and I found a table that said it was pc1600, so I was really starting to worry.

This is good news. Heh.
August 12, 2006 7:56:23 PM

They actually did make a PC1600, though I doubt a system builder would build a 1GB system using it.
August 12, 2006 8:06:09 PM

I've never tried mixing dual/single channel. I imagine that it would work, just that the dual-channel would just run in single channel mode.
August 12, 2006 8:09:46 PM

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.
August 12, 2006 8:27:51 PM

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.
August 12, 2006 9:57:42 PM

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.
August 12, 2006 10:09:34 PM

Quote:
Dual-channel, single-channel memory configuration depends only on the motherboard.


I did not know that. I've always bought RAM labeled Dual Channel, and I assumed it was determined by the RAM.

Thanks for the info.
August 12, 2006 10:18:43 PM

You have 99% chance that it would work. I have mixed rams many times before and it worked and even overclocked. You should be fine with yours.
August 13, 2006 9:35:10 PM

Quote:
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.
August 13, 2006 9:54:17 PM

Thanks for the info.

When I said slower timings, I meant 3-3-3-8. I know that lower latency is always better.

Hopefully with my new motherboard I can overclock the RAM that I have now to be at 3-3-3-8.
!