Gigabyte S3 956P memory upgrade question

I've had a trawl through the forum and although there are a number of similar topics I haven’t found one that quite answers my questions, so here I go:

I have a Gigabyte S3 956P motherboard with a Core 2 Duo 6300 and an ASUS 8800GTS graphics card running Windows XP.

Currently have 2 x PC5400 DDR2 667 512MB. I am not over clocking.

Looking to add some more memory. The feasible options seem to be (in rising order of cost):

1) Add another 2 x PC5400 DDR2 667 512MB to give 2 GB in two pairs.

2) Add 2 x PC5400 DDR2 667 1GB to give 3 GB running in two pairs (will this still be in dual channel mode? Is the S3 956P normally happy with 4 slots filled with different size memory pairs?)

3) Buy 2 x PC6700 DDR2 800 1GB to give 2 GB

So what is recommended? Will option (2) actually work ok? Will 3GB of PC5400 be better than 2GB of PC6700 with this setup?

Thank you.
11 answers Last reply
More about gigabyte 956p memory upgrade question
  1. DDR2-533 memory is plenty fast enough for your system when running in dual channel mode. I'd go with option 2.
  2. I was hoping that would be the case Mondoman, however I was concerned as the motherboard manual says that to enable dual channel mode with two or four memory modules "it is recommended to use memory models of identical brand, size, chips and speed".

    Also, would your view on the suitablity of the PC5400 memry change if I was to upgrade the CPU, which I mnay do early next year?

  3. I would vote for option 2 also.
    My DS3 (rev 2.0) manual says that when memory modules of different size and chips are installed, a POST messate indicating FLEX memory mode will appear. For a discussion of FLEX mode see:
    If all else fails, just use the new 2 gb set only.
  4. Thank you for the further input everyone.

    I think I put the system together back in December 2006. Is there an easy way to tell what revision the motherboard is? (or indeed, isn't).

    The manual says it supports 1066/800/533MHz FSB. I was planning on leaving the CPU upgrade a bit longer, but is there a real possibility that could mean that new ones won't work on my motherboard? I can see this leading to another question i.e. which is the best value CPU upgrade!
  5. CPU-Z will tell you the motherboard, what revision it is, and what bios it has. I also bought the same board in december of 2006, so it is likely that yours is rev. 2 also. You must update the bios to F12 in order to support the E6850 processor and other 1333.3 fsb processors. I also had a E6300 and 8800GTS and am pleased with the E6850 upgrade. I decided that the Penryn update due in Jan 2008 would not be that much more powerful, and that it would be surpassed by Nehalem only a year later.
  6. Option 3, if you plan on OC'ing this unit. Sell the 1 gig of 5400 memory to recoup some of the expenses and then wait for a CPU to come around your budget later. Just my opinion, since RAM is really cheap right now. Here are some very good DDR2 RAM to consider, if you go with option 3. ALL are CAS 4!!!

    Memory - $102 shipped - $40 MIR = $62!! Solid performing CAS 4 DDR2
    CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – Retail

    Memory - $110 shipped - $47 MIR = $63!! Good OC’ing RAM + CAS 4 too.
    Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – Retail

    Memory - $93 shipped - $30 MIR = $63!! CAS 4 and good RAM
    GeIL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
  7. THank you geofelt.

    I just tried CPU-Z and it says that I have mainboard revision C2, BIOS Version F4.
    Looking at

    This shows Revision 1.0 (supports up to FSB 1066) and Revision 3.3 of the mainboard which has native FSB 1333 support.

    Are you saying that if I update to the current BIOS version I will be able to use the latest FSB 1333 CPUs?

  8. Yes. I installed a E6850 without a problem. You do need bios F12 which you can download at:
    ---good luck---
  9. What's the best (safest) method for updating the BIOS?

    Thanks again!
  10. I used the windows based update. I think it is the safest unless you have unreliable electricity and no ups. If you have no other PC, then print out all the installation and recovery instructions first, just in case, and also prepare a recovery bios on a floppy/cd/usb device. The update takes a while and looks like it may be doing strange things, so don't stop the process prematurely.
  11. lunyone, I just wish we could get components at those prices in the UK!
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