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Can I use DDR memory in DDR2 slots until I can afford DDR2?

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January 25, 2007 7:01:56 AM

Simple question. I'm buying some parts to retool my computer, but frankly haven't kept "up to date" with the current mobos and memory.

Can I use DDR memory in DDR2 slots until I can afford to pick up some DDR2 memory?

My guess is absolutely not because DDR2 is 240 pin and DDR is 184 pin. But, like I said, I haven't kept up.

The mobo I'm looking at is the GIGABYTE GA-M55SLI-S4; it has 4 DDR2 800 slots. Is it like DDR in that I don't have to put 800 in there, like if I need to buy 667 until I can afford some good 800?

Thanks for your help,

--Indy
January 25, 2007 7:45:05 AM

Your guess is right, you can´t.

It uses different voltages too. I know somone who forced a DDR2 RAM into a DDR slot and ruined the Mainboard in the process. Messed up all his memory (the existing DDR RAM), the DDR2 RAM and the mainboard.

Regarding your link, that memory looks fine. You will only need DDR2 800 if you plan to overclock or go AMD AM2. Otherwise taking 675 should be enough (and cheaper). I´d wait for a few more responses though, since i´m not really a memory expert. :wink:
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January 25, 2007 7:48:56 AM

DDR and DDR2, although similarly named, are incompatible:
- different pin layouts
- different voltages

Force DDR in a DDR2 slot, see white smoke.

Since you look like a complete n00b, just follow these guidelines:
- don't get OCZ DDR2 (they require overvolt to work)
- get DDR2 chips that are certified to work at a frequency equal or superior to what the mobo says it can support, and don't hesitate to spend a bit more on branded stuff; Corsair Value chips is a good compromise between lower price and reliability.
- get a pair of identical RAM chips, but don't forget to read the motherboard manual on how to mount them properly, and in what slots! It's important! Even better, download the motherboard's manual before you buy it, and read it: if you don't understand it, ask your local supplier instead.
January 25, 2007 7:50:19 AM

Quote:
Can I use DDR memory in DDR2 slots until I can afford to pick up some DDR2 memory?

The mobo I'm looking at is the GIGABYTE GA-M55SLI-S4; it has 4 DDR2 800 slots. Is it like DDR in that I don't have to put 800 in there, like if I need to buy 667 until I can afford some good 800?


DDR(1) and DDR2 are not compatible, so choose either one. There are motherboards (check Asrock) that can handle both memory types, but in different slots, and only one type at a time. Also some of their boards support e.g. Conroes and DDR(1). I don't know about AMD. That gigabyte board supports only DDR2 memories, with all the speeds up to 800. But is it really worth to buy some "cheap" memory and later upgrade? The cheap ones are not that cheap any way...

The questions you will be getting are why to get AM2 instead of C2D. :) 
January 25, 2007 8:02:57 AM

It's also good to check the supported memory for the motherboard you want to buy. They generally have a list of supported brands that's more than just marketing. It means they've tested modules from those brands in that particular motherboard.

I'm not sure about DDR2 800 myself. Some motherboards are more stable with DDR2 533 or 667. That might be an issue with older generation or some manufacturers over others, but I've seen it mentioned in a few motherboard reviews this past year.

It might be voltage issues like one poster mentioned with OCZ. Check the manual, or go to a local computer store for advice (ie not from a big box salesperson, but people who actually build PCs for a living).

I'm going to go for a budget MSI barebones Athlon X2 build this next week and the DDR2 issue is one I've checked out on MSI's website. One thing to note is that if you plan on going Vista, that 32 bit Vista is like 32 bit Windows XP, it only supports 3 gigs of RAM, so there's no need for two 2 gig sticks now, and two one gig sticks is the recommended amount nowadays.
January 25, 2007 4:21:50 PM

Quote:
(lots of excellent advice)
...
Corsair Value chips is a good compromise between lower price and reliability.
...
(more excellent advice)

...

Minor correction: Corsair Value Select is actually one of the worst lines to get. Unfortunately, Corsair just contracts out the ValueSelect line to the cheapest bidder, then slaps a Corsair label on them. In my experience, they have a high DOA rate, compatibility problems, and are no better than generic RAM. This is all very different from the top-quality, highly-compatible premium lines of memory with which Corsair established its reputation.
Kingston's ValueRAM line is an excellent-quality "value" line; there are other decent ones, too.
January 25, 2007 8:17:05 PM

oh? I must have been lucky then; I ordered half a dozen of them, they are still ok. Maybe I was lucky.
Then I'd recommend some Kingston stuff.
The advantage with both is that they sport a life long warranty though.
January 26, 2007 6:33:58 AM

Quote:
...
The advantage with both is that they sport a life long warranty though.

Yes. The bad part is when a company seems to be using the warranty RMA process instead of quality control!
January 26, 2007 7:04:21 AM

considering how much RMA would cost them compared with quality control, I'd say you may have been unlucky - or the components fragilized during shipping, or whatever.
On the other hand, I don't own DDR2 systems, only DDR ones. It may just be that Corsair Value stuff rocks the boat on DDR, and deeply sucks in DDR2... Could be.
What brand are you using for DDR2? Samsung?
January 26, 2007 7:27:06 PM

Quote:
considering how much RMA would cost them compared with quality control,

Sorry, I should have put a smiley there, as I don't think they are literally doing that. However, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they have lower QA standards than their peers, and are banking on most of the extra modules let through working well enough to not be returned under warranty.
Quote:

I'd say you may have been unlucky - or the components fragilized during shipping, or whatever.

Once, maybe. More than that, over more than a year, I become dubious. Corsair Value Selects are the ONLY modules I've ever had quality problems with.
Corsair XMS or XMS2, no problems.
Corsair ValueSelect, problems: 2 matched pairs, each with 1 stick DOA or DsoonafterA. 1 marginal SODIMM (works in one notebook, errors in another).
Centon, no problems.
Ultra, no problems.
Kingston, no problems.
Kingston ValueRAM, no problems.
Mushkin, no problems.
Crucial, no problems.
Ballistix, 1 pair needed SPD reprogrammed (cutting edge DDR2).
January 27, 2007 6:31:31 AM

OK, then as a definite answer to the question:
for cheap, performing and reliable RAM get Kingston DDR2 ram, in paired modules.
January 27, 2007 6:49:32 AM

January 28, 2007 5:37:50 AM

Quote:

Minor correction: Corsair Value Select is actually one of the worst lines to get. Unfortunately, Corsair just contracts out the ValueSelect line to the cheapest bidder, then slaps a Corsair label on them. In my experience, they have a high DOA rate, compatibility problems, and are no better than generic RAM. This is all very different from the top-quality, highly-compatible premium lines of memory with which Corsair established its reputation.
Kingston's ValueRAM line is an excellent-quality "value" line; there are other decent ones, too.


I just found that out recently. I have Corsair VS DDR 400 in my Northwood system, but I just got Corsair XMS at Fry's for my soon to be built Athlon X2 3800+ box. I've ordered an MSI barebones with the K9N6SGM-V board, and I went ahead and got the Fry's X2 3800+ bundle with another K9N6SGM-V board, so I can eventually get another two sticks of XMS and another X2 3800+ and replace the Northwood/Intel/Corsair VS in my old PC.

I've had no bad experiences with Corsair VS, but I've heard enough and never liked the "parts is parts" aspect of Corsair using whatever comes down the pike under that brand. That's why I went Corsair XMS this time around, though it's probably overkill.
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