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Is 2x512Mb better than 1x1Gb memory??

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  • Memory
  • Build
Last response: in Memory
December 28, 2006 4:36:45 PM

Hi. Just about to build my first system. I've done lots of research...so much that I'm suffering from information overload. My proposed build is
E6400
Gigabyte-GA-965G-DS3
Corsair XMS2 DDR2 5400C4 (2x512Mb)
Seasonic S12 430W
Lian Li PC7 Plus
Pioneer DVD 111_D
Logitech keyboard and mouse
Seagate 7200.10 320Gb
Samsung 205BW

I seem to recall reading that 2 sticks of 512Mb memory were better than 1 stick of 1Gb memory. Is this right? and if so, why?

Thanks
Colin

More about : 2x512mb 1x1gb memory

December 28, 2006 4:44:16 PM

see there your running dual channel. the information streams faster and it doesn't lock up and if you got one gig then its just regular but i wouldn't know what the difference is you get a little better performance when running dual.
December 28, 2006 5:09:57 PM

Yes and no. The 2x512 mg would be better because they would operate in dual channel mode and thus be a bit faster than a 1x1 gig. At the same time, if you have 2x512mb and ever want to upgrade, you then have to buy two new sticks of 1 gig to keep the dual channel mode, whereas if you buy one stick of 1 gig now, then you would only need to buy one stick of 1 gig later.

Another point to ponder is that an increasing number of games demand 2 gig to run properly. This will only increase during the next year. If you have only 1 gig, your machine will so down while it stops to read the virtual memory files on the hard disc. So for now, 2 gig, in a 2x1 gig setup, is the sweet spot.
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December 28, 2006 6:02:05 PM

Quote:
At the same time, if you have 2x512mb and ever want to upgrade, you then have to buy two new sticks of 1 gig to keep the dual channel mode, whereas if you buy one stick of 1 gig now, then you would only need to buy one stick of 1 gig later.


Unless of course, you have 4 DIMM slots, as is on the MB he lists. In that case one could buy 2x512 of higher end stuff and add two more as budget permits.
December 28, 2006 6:03:56 PM

yeah that is true if hes on a budget stick to another dual channel later on 2x512 instead of buying 2 gig sticks to go for dual channel when you can have 4 slots and 2 gigs total dual. :D 
December 28, 2006 6:53:15 PM

Excellent build btw.

Your MB has 4 memory slots, so you can easily allow yourself to have 2x512MB dual channel setup. That leaves you with 2 more slots for an additional 2x1Gig memory, plentiful for the foreseable future.

If you're running an application/game that really requires much more than 3Gigs of ram to achieve optimum operation, chances are that it's either poorly coded or so advanced that you will need a faster CPU to run it anyway. Not to worry about for the time being :) 


Cheers
December 28, 2006 10:25:21 PM

Quote:
At the same time, if you have 2x512mb and ever want to upgrade, you then have to buy two new sticks of 1 gig to keep the dual channel mode, whereas if you buy one stick of 1 gig now, then you would only need to buy one stick of 1 gig later.


Unless of course, you have 4 DIMM slots, as is on the MB he lists. In that case one could buy 2x512 of higher end stuff and add two more as budget permits.

Yes, that's true. I think I'm too used to DDR ram where if you use 4 sticks, you are limited to 2T timing instead of 1T with 2 sticks of ram. Admittedly, I'm not familiar enough with DDR2 ram to know if it makes a difference.
December 29, 2006 8:12:09 AM

Many thanks for the replies. Think I'll go with the 2 x 512 Mb for now and add more later when I can afford it.
cheers
Colin
a b } Memory
December 30, 2006 6:04:44 PM

Quote:
Many thanks for the replies. Think I'll go with the 2 x 512 Mb for now and add more later when I can afford it.
cheers
Colin
Keep in mind that this is not always a good idea. When adding memory to an existing system you need to add memory that EXACTLY matches the existing memory in both ICs and revision. If you mix n match ICs, there is the possibility that you will get instability or possibly no boot. This is not always the case but, it is something to consider. If you want 2gb of memory, which I would strongly suggest, I'd go for 2 x 1gb now.
December 30, 2006 10:03:58 PM

Quote:
.... When adding memory to an existing system you need to add memory that EXACTLY matches the existing memory in both ICs and revision...

While this is of course a good idea, it is neither realistic nor normally necessary. If you avoid generic and "value" lines of RAM, you should be OK, especially as it seems you will be running fairly conservative memory clock speeds.
January 1, 2007 8:10:28 PM

I was just wondering, I have 2X512mb right now in dual channel, and have 4 RAM slots. If I stick in just 1 other 1x1gb stick, what will that do to the system? Can the first 2x512 still be in dual channel? How about the performance impact?
a b } Memory
January 1, 2007 8:49:20 PM

Some dual channel MOBOs will not even boot with 3 DIMMs so keep that in mind also.
January 1, 2007 8:52:13 PM

Here's what I would do (because I'm doing it right now, organizing my new build)

First, I would switch to PC2 6400 (DDR2 800 - or whichever letters go with those numbers) up from the slower RAM. This will give you a lot more room to overclock that E6400, which is always a good thing. =)

Second, I would definitely stick with the 2x512 MB because it's cheaper & will run faster. Always a plus. The only exception (& I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with that motherboard - this is my first Intel build since the P166 was a hot item & I jumped straight on the 680i chipset) would be if you have either 3 DIMMs or if the 4th DIMM of your motherboard (check the manual PDF on the website) is finicky on what arrangements it will accept.

I plan on having 4x512 MB later on (or maybe 2x512 & 2x1024, but I'll get to that in a year) but your motherboard may not allow you to.

But honestly I don't see any reason to use just a single stick if it's actually more expensive.
January 1, 2007 9:32:07 PM

Well, don't misinterpret that too much.

Okay, misinterpret it. I went from P166 to Athlon XP 2700+ Thoroughbred B (which I still have... >_>) & I've built several to sell with Athlon 64s (pre-dual core) & now I'm building my own again, before I fall impossibly behind the curve.

I'm also avoiding the RAM mistake I made last time. Not only does the Thoroughbred B 2700+ not overclock like a Barton 2600+ would have (my first mistake at the time), but starting with DDR 333 RAM (actually I do have one stick of PC 3200, but it's limited by the other two) forces me to overclock by multiplier & to replace all of my RAM if I want a Barton 3200+.

The whole thing wreaks of novice really.

But the moral of the story: Get fast RAM.
January 1, 2007 10:13:41 PM

If you have just a midrange (or low end) CPU, then your RAM will probably be underclocked even if you overclock the CPU by FSB.

Then again, I've had bad luck with RAM, so maybe I'm just overspending... >_>

I think he already decided anyway though, so we're kindof having a pointless discussion now.
January 1, 2007 10:22:13 PM

I had forgotten about that capability!

I've always thought it would be slower if misaligned in something like 3:2. Is there any truth to that?
January 1, 2007 10:47:57 PM

Well with an offset (now doubled I can understand perfectly) frequency, you're really only working with the LCD.

(now I'm assuming my thinking is correct here - it may not be)

Let's use an example. If I come by to buy a stick of RAM every other day, but the store only opens every three days, here's what happens. On day one, I buy a stick of RAM (yay!) and go home happy. On day 3, I come back & he's not there. On day 4 he opens his store, but I don't come to buy anything. On day 5 I come back & he's not there. On day 7 I come back & his store is open again so I can finally buy my new stick of RAM! ^_^

Basically you end up with a much slower speed than either frequency because they don't meet up. It's somewhat similar to what Vsync tries to accomplish. I think. Assuming my thinking is correct...