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Noob Dual Channel question!!!

Last response: in Memory
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September 14, 2006 4:54:46 AM

I know you aren't "supposed" to mix brands of RAM, but I have done it in older PCs (DDR) with 100% success. I am wondering if I add another 1GB of Dual Channel DDR2 PC5400 to my system, will it work?

I currently have PQI and would be adding OCZ of identical speed, voltage, and timings. My reason for using a different brand is that a friend is parting out his PC, but he goes to school in California and I am at school in Minnesota, so he will sell me the kit for 40 bucks, but I dont want to bother if it isn't going to work.

I know it is a noob question, but please let me know if you have any experience with this! Also, please don't just say "no," try and explain why it is a bad idea and if any damage could be caused by simply giving it a shot. Thanks alot!
September 14, 2006 7:22:42 AM

It should work, and there's even a good chance it'll run in dual channel mode (remember, dual channel is a function of the memory controller(s), not the memory, so technically there is no such thing as 'dual channel' memory). It certainly won't hurt anything.
September 14, 2006 12:08:24 PM

It won't work if you're using the 965 chipset - OCZ memory will not work with a 965 chipset without a lot of tweaking with the BIOS, and even after that it won't be stable.

A better use of OCZ memory would be to clip the chips off and use the PCB as a bookmark.

And remember - Friends don't give Friends OCZ memory.
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September 14, 2006 2:36:17 PM

Cool, thanks Mondoman. It was as I presumed but wanted to make sure.

To sruane: I have nForce 4 chipset so no worries there. I have always heard good things about OCZ and it's overclocking abilities and stability other than on some Asus boards, have you had personal problems with the company?
September 14, 2006 3:25:41 PM

Quote:
Cool, thanks Mondoman. It was as I presumed but wanted to make sure.

To sruane: I have nForce 4 chipset so no worries there. I have always heard good things about OCZ and it's overclocking abilities and stability other than on some Asus boards, have you had personal problems with the company?


Yes. I have a board with the 965 chipset and OCZ memory simply won't work. This same memory works fine in a machine with a 945 chipset. I bet it will work with your chipset too - but it simply doesn't work with an Intel 965 chipset.
September 14, 2006 4:09:41 PM

I agree, I always stick to Crucial (as they are part of Micron who make the chips themselves) or Corsair (as they rock).

I've always considered people like OCZ to be a small step up from 'unbranded OEM', and have had issues with them before.
September 14, 2006 7:35:38 PM

Thanks for the input. If my budget wasn't usually tight, I sure would have stuck to Crucial/Corsair/Mushkin as I have known them to be of the best quality and performance, but when I built my PC the $57 after rebate I payed for my PQI was too hard to pass up, and the $40 for a kit of OCZ Gold seems a little to hard to pass up again :)  Thanks again for helping and not flaming!
September 14, 2006 7:38:59 PM

Quote:
I agree, I always stick to Crucial (as they are part of Micron who make the chips themselves) or Corsair (as they rock).

I've always considered people like OCZ to be a small step up from 'unbranded OEM', and have had issues with them before.

I think you'll find that the problems folks have had with OCZ stem from the *agressiveness* of their timings/settings, rather than quality per se. Crucial and Corsair seem to emphasize compatibility over max performance. OCZ makes high quality stuff, but seems to have gone a bit too far in their SPD settings recently. It would help if more manufacturers adopted the EPP spec.
September 14, 2006 7:49:31 PM

Quote:
I agree, I always stick to Crucial (as they are part of Micron who make the chips themselves) or Corsair (as they rock).

I've always considered people like OCZ to be a small step up from 'unbranded OEM', and have had issues with them before.

I think you'll find that the problems folks have had with OCZ stem from the *agressiveness* of their timings/settings, rather than quality per se. Crucial and Corsair seem to emphasize compatibility over max performance. OCZ makes high quality stuff, but seems to have gone a bit too far in their SPD settings recently. It would help if more manufacturers adopted the EPP spec.

be that as it may, my 965 board will not POST with OCZ memory. I have to boot with different memory, up the voltage on the memory bus and swap the memory back to get it to POST. This is completely unacceptable for a manufacturer to dump memory on the market that simply cannot be used until you configure your board using someone elses' memory. And that they charge money for it is just adding injury to insult.
September 14, 2006 8:08:15 PM

Quote:
...
be that as it may, my 965 board will not POST with OCZ memory. I have to boot with different memory, up the voltage on the memory bus and swap the memory back to get it to POST. This is completely unacceptable for a manufacturer to dump memory on the market that simply cannot be used until you configure your board using someone elses' memory. And that they charge money for it is just adding injury to insult.

To be fair, you're talking about one, not all, of their products. Same thing happened with my Ballistix DDR2-800 on my NI8-SLI. They had also programmed the SPD to be too aggressive for my MB. I RMAd the RAM and they sent me back the latest version with slightly different SPD settings, which worked fine. Fast DDR2 memory is on the bleeding edge right now, and changing from week to week. The various companies have their own niches, and I agree that I wouldn't pick OCZ for guaranteed compatibility; I'd go with Corsair for that.
September 14, 2006 8:13:33 PM

Quote:
...
be that as it may, my 965 board will not POST with OCZ memory. I have to boot with different memory, up the voltage on the memory bus and swap the memory back to get it to POST. This is completely unacceptable for a manufacturer to dump memory on the market that simply cannot be used until you configure your board using someone elses' memory. And that they charge money for it is just adding injury to insult.

To be fair, you're talking about one, not all, of their products. Same thing happened with my Ballistix DDR2-800 on my NI8-SLI. They had also programmed the SPD to be too aggressive for my MB. I RMAd the RAM and they sent me back the latest version with slightly different SPD settings, which worked fine. Fast DDR2 memory is on the bleeding edge right now, and changing from week to week. The various companies have their own niches, and I agree that I wouldn't pick OCZ for guaranteed compatibility; I'd go with Corsair for that.

I'd agree if there were any settings at all that will work. If you know any timings, voltages or anything that will with with this chipset and this memory, I'll try it. Even the folks at OCZ can't make it work - or at least they haven't revealed the secret to me or any of the other subscribers to their forum.
September 14, 2006 8:19:09 PM

Quote:
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I'd agree if there were any settings at all that will work. If you know any timings, voltages or anything that will with with this chipset and this memory, I'll try it. Even the folks at OCZ can't make it work - or at least they haven't revealed the secret to me or any of the other subscribers to their forum.

Perhaps I misunderstood - I thought it worked once you changed the RAM settings (using other memory) and then swapped in the stick. If you want it to boot w/o changing settings, just get a replacement module w/less agressive SPD settings, or have OCZ change the SPD settings in your module. OCZ certainly should be willing to do that, or refund your money.
September 14, 2006 8:38:19 PM

Quote:
Same thing happened with my Ballistix DDR2-800 on my NI8-SLI. They had also programmed the SPD to be too aggressive for my MB. I RMAd the RAM and they sent me back the latest version with slightly different SPD settings, which worked fine.


I also have an NI8-SLI and a D805 :D  and I have heard of a few RAM modules that wont boot at the 1.6 or 1.7v the NI8-SLI's BIOS auto-detects them at. Just like you said.

It would be pretty tough for a company to make RAM that is compatible with 100% of chipset/mobo combo's and keep aggressive speed and competitive pricing.
September 14, 2006 8:59:37 PM

Quote:
...
I'd agree if there were any settings at all that will work. If you know any timings, voltages or anything that will with with this chipset and this memory, I'll try it. Even the folks at OCZ can't make it work - or at least they haven't revealed the secret to me or any of the other subscribers to their forum.

Perhaps I misunderstood - I thought it worked once you changed the RAM settings (using other memory) and then swapped in the stick. If you want it to boot w/o changing settings, just get a replacement module w/less agressive SPD settings, or have OCZ change the SPD settings in your module. OCZ certainly should be willing to do that, or refund your money.

I suppose I wasn't clear. It won't boot at all with default SPD settings at default 1.8v. Once you boot with someone else's memory and change it, it'll boot but can't be made stable. The best stability I was able to achieve was four minutes running Prime95. As far as I'm concerned, it simply doesn't work.
September 14, 2006 10:23:43 PM

Quote:
... It won't boot at all with default SPD settings at default 1.8v. Once you boot with someone else's memory and change it, it'll boot but can't be made stable. The best stability I was able to achieve was four minutes running Prime95. As far as I'm concerned, it simply doesn't work.

Yep, I would RMA it for modules that do work or for a refund!
September 15, 2006 12:31:36 AM

Quote:
... It won't boot at all with default SPD settings at default 1.8v. Once you boot with someone else's memory and change it, it'll boot but can't be made stable. The best stability I was able to achieve was four minutes running Prime95. As far as I'm concerned, it simply doesn't work.

Yep, I would RMA it for modules that do work or for a refund!

As it turns out, OCZ agrees. They have agreed to RMA it.
!