Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Best ram for Dell XPS 420

Last response: in Memory
Share
January 9, 2008 1:50:38 PM

Hi,

I was wondering if someone can advise me on the best ram to purchase. I have just recently bought the Dell XPS 420 as there was a special promotion. The current system specs are:

Intel® Core 2 Quad-Core Processor Q6600 (2.40GHz, 8MB, 1066MHz)
3072MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2x1024/2x512]
SINGLE 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT card
640GB Dual Hard Drive Raid 0 Stripe (2x320GB - 7200rpm)
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium - English

Now I am looking to unisntall Vista Home and replace it with Vista Ultimate 64bit and also replace the 3gb ram for 8gb of ram. Now on the Dell site the fastest ram they offer is 800MHz. Does this mean the fastest ram I can purchase is 8gb at 800MHz? Can I purchase ones that are at a faster clock speed one that matches the cpu (1066MHz) or something that runs at the fastest speed for optimal performance?

Apologies if the questions don't make sense as I don't really know much about PC hardware.

Thank you in advance,
Masterson :) 

More about : ram dell xps 420

a b } Memory
January 9, 2008 2:24:52 PM

Enter your Dell in the Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool here. MB/Chipset dictates which RAM speed is capable.

http://crucial.com/
January 9, 2008 3:17:36 PM

Thank you badge for your reply.

This tool is very helpfully. But according to them I should not exceed the 4gb as per requested by the manufacturer. Will it be safe for me to go over 4gb as I was really hoping to max out the slots :) . Also the fastest ram they offered for my system is the PC2 6400 again due to request of the manufacturer.

I am wondering if it will alright for me to stick in ram with a clock speed that matches the cpu (1066MHz) or the fastest I can possibly get it.


Thank you again in advance
Masterson :) 
Related resources
a b } Memory
January 9, 2008 3:27:28 PM

Well, it could be your MB only supports 4 GB, I don't know. FYI, if you overclock your system (increase FSB), the RAM you are using (PC5300)will overclock along with your system. Your PC5300 667 mhz. will clock to 'near' PC6400 800mhz speeds, to at least 700 mhz or so. If you change over to PC6400 800mhz., Crucial DIMMS should run near PC8500 or 1066 mhz. Anyway, whatever RAM you have, the speed can be adjusted. Not sure what you are asking.
January 9, 2008 3:45:27 PM

According to the manual online at the dell site your computer will support up to 8GB (4x2GB modules.) However, I'm not sure what overclocking you can do inside these latest XPS's. But most Dell Bios' I've seen there is no way to adjust the cpu or memory clocks. Which means the MB will be set to either run at 667 or 800 depending on what you put in. I would bet if you put 1066 in it would either not run well or more likely just run at 800. Also, can you adjust your memory voltage in the bios? Cause if not, be careful about getting memory that needs to run at a higher voltage like 2.1 or 2.2
a b } Memory
January 9, 2008 3:49:40 PM

occdavid has it right. Your board will not 'auto' set at any RAM speed above PC6400. That would have to be accompolished manually, if even available. Like occdavid, I have no idea what options are available to you in BIOS. In your case with the Dell, the 'guaranted to work' option a company like Crucial offers is a good thing. If you cannot adjust the voltage, like occdavid mentioned, you have serious limitations as to 'which' DIMMS would even work in your system. Never owned a Dell.
January 9, 2008 3:50:29 PM

Sorry if I was unclear. Just trying to figure out the best ram to buy.

In regards to your advice of increasing the fsb, unfortunately because this is a Dell rig I don't think I will be able to up the fsb. Also just looking at the crucial site I can't see any PC2-8500/1066 that are 2gb dimm.

But apart from trying to find out the best ram to buy, now I would like to know if my system will accept PC2-8500/1066?

Thanks again Badge
Masterson
a b } Memory
January 9, 2008 3:54:43 PM

masterson001 said:
Sorry if I was unclear. Just trying to figure out the best ram to buy.

In regards to your advice of increasing the fsb, unfortunately because this is a Dell rig I don't think I will be able to up the fsb. Also just looking at the crucial site I can't see any PC2-8500/1066 that are 2gb dimm.

But apart from trying to find out the best ram to buy, now I would like to know if my system will accept PC2-8500/1066?

Thanks again Badge
Masterson


Quote:
In regards to your advice of increasing the fsb, unfortunately because this is a Dell rig I don't think I will be able to up the fsb. Also just looking at the crucial site I can't see any PC2-8500/1066 that are 2gb dimm.


Even if you put PC28500 1066 mhz. 'capable' DIMMS, they would show up as PC6400 running at 800 mhz. best. They would have to be manually set to run at 1066 mhz.

As Occdavid said, PC8500 'probably' would not even run or boot your system (you probably have no voltage increase adjsutment that may be necessary to run them.)

best to stick with what Crucial (for example) guarantees will run. Hopefully Crucial's suggestion will run at 800mhz. when you install them.
January 9, 2008 4:08:04 PM

What are you planning to do that requires so much memory ?

From what I understand, your FSB is actually quad pumped and your memory twice pumped. So the memory (667/2 = 333) and FSB (1066/4 = 333) are nicely matched and you might not gain any advantage from faster memory if you cannot overclock. As a result, you will be paying quite a lot to increase memory as you plan. The 3 GB is pretty close to the limit - probably about 3.2GB - on Vista Premium and you will be paying a lot to go to Vista 64 and replacing and addding faster memory. Can someone with a little more knowledge confirm or correct this?
January 9, 2008 8:34:25 PM

Thank you all for your reply.

I don't actually have the system yet as it is in the process of delivery, Dell says its will take a few days.

From what you guys are saying, I might just buy some PC2-6400/800MHz just to be on the safe side. Plus I can't seem to find any PC2-8500/1066MHz 2gb dimms. I have found some DDR3 at crucial but thats out my price range.

As for the reason of wanting 8gb of ram, well I'm just being greedy :p  But I do need a stable system that will last for a while as I do a lot of developement work and I normally have multiple memory hungry programs on at the same time and vm's. Also the regular video encoding and the usual gaming (Waiting for StarCraftII :D  ).

I think I will shop around for some PC2-6400/800MHz 2gb dimms as advised by you guys ( the experts :p  ). You guys know a cheap place to purchase some?

But thanks again guys for your help. I will keep you posted and let you know what I can change in the bois once my system arrives.

Thanx
Masterson :) 
January 10, 2008 8:56:21 AM

You could try taking out all the RAM that is currently in the system and purchase just 2x2GB PC2-6400 DIMMs. See if the mobo automatically sets your FSB to 800MHz after putting the new RAM in. You'll have 4GB and you can see you how you get on. If you find that you need more RAM (keep your eye on task manager - or any other method you choose) then at a later time you can buy another 2x2GB PC2-6400 DIMMs, they'll be cheaper by then too.

If you find that the system does not automatically increase the FSB to 800 and just stays at 667, you could use the 2x1GB sticks which came with the system and the 2x2GB PC2-6400 DIMMs, you'll have 6GB in total.

If money's not really an issue just go for 8GB 4x2GB PC2-6400 DIMMs and give me the ones that came in the system, or ebay them.
January 11, 2008 1:37:37 AM

But will the 800MHz memory be any faster than 667MHz in a system with a 1066MHz FSB and no overclocking? And by "faster" I mean improved performance not just faster RAM speed.
January 11, 2008 8:23:50 AM

I have just read a post by someone who also bought a Dell XPS 420, that PC2-6400/800MHz will work but it only gave a 10% improvement.
January 11, 2008 7:43:16 PM

A 10% improvement in what?
January 11, 2008 8:41:54 PM

Dell's Bios are normally locked, thus no overclocking.

Dell MBs, like all MBs are limited in the speed of the RAM that can be installed.

If Dell and Crucial both say 800MZ, then it is 800MZ.
a b } Memory
January 11, 2008 9:57:23 PM

DDR2 PC5300 667mhz = 5.3 GB/second data transfer rate RAM to CPU

DDR2 PC6400 800mhz = 6.4 GB/second data transfer rate RAM to CPU

PC6400 compared to PC5300 is about a 20% increase in data transfer rate RAM to CPU.

a c 128 } Memory
January 12, 2008 11:15:58 AM

I would wait and check the chipset of your dell motherboard, and download the bios if you can find a link. You might be wasting your money by changing memory. The board may not change your memory speed to match the newer faster modules.
January 13, 2008 2:11:38 AM

badge said:
DDR2 PC5300 667mhz = 5.3 GB/second data transfer rate RAM to CPU

DDR2 PC6400 800mhz = 6.4 GB/second data transfer rate RAM to CPU

PC6400 compared to PC5300 is about a 20% increase in data transfer rate RAM to CPU.


But will this theoretical increase actually translate into faster performance or will it be constrained by CPU or FSB speeds, or some other component?
a b } Memory
January 13, 2008 2:25:13 AM

If you increase your RAM speed from 5.3 GB/second data transfer rate (speed) to 6.4 GB/seconds data transfer rate (speed) and you system doesn't crash, your memory is performing at a faster data transfer rate regardless of what your CPU or FSB remained at.
a b } Memory
January 13, 2008 2:26:08 AM

Ram speed can be adjusted independently of FSB speed and/or CPU speed.
a b } Memory
January 13, 2008 2:32:12 AM

With all that said, do a search for 'memory dividers' and see what you come up in relation to what you are asking.
January 14, 2008 1:34:50 PM

Thanks for the replies

And thanks badge for the technical caculations. I do agree with badge

Quote:
If you increase your RAM speed from 5.3 GB/second data transfer rate (speed) to 6.4 GB/seconds data transfer rate (speed) and you system doesn't crash, your memory is performing at a faster data transfer rate regardless of what your CPU or FSB remained at.


And as hatimh said I will try out 4gb of PC2-6400 first. If worst comes to worst it will only run at 667MHz.
January 14, 2008 2:39:08 PM

OK - but the question I have asked twice still was not answered. Will system performance increase? Will the rest of the system be able to process the data at the higher bandwidth provided by the memory?
a b } Memory
January 14, 2008 5:17:57 PM

rockyjohn said:
OK - but the question I have asked twice still was not answered. Will system performance increase? Will the rest of the system be able to process the data at the higher bandwidth provided by the memory?


If you overclock your sytsem's FSB, everything on the BUS is effected including the RAM which clocks to a higher speed (data transfer rate). The RAM moves upward (faster) as well as the CPU. Once the RAM reaches it's limit, the CPU will not clock any higher (CPU at 2.6Ghz. not able to get to 2.7ghz. because of RAM limitations for example). The BIOS provides DRAM 'dividers' if needed to allow faster RAM speeds to be made 'compatible' with the CPU speed. Higher clocking RAM will allow higher clocking CPU speeds in the end. You are asking will system performance increse? Yes. Some DDR3 DIMMS are clocking to 1600mhz. You think my system with 8 GB DDR2 at 1086 mhz. would be faster if I were running 8 GB DD3 at 1600 mhz? Absolutely, no question. Not to mention the higher CPU speeds possible. Sure dividers matter, but the faster RAM speed will improve system performance in any instance. Another example in answering your question would be your own 667 mhz. RAM you mentiuoned. At best the RAM would run at 720 mhz. or so, PC6400 runs at 800mhz. and upward. A 1:1 RAM divider ratio is ideal, but not necessary to achieve greater system performance. This subject has been discussed time and time again on the Forumz. An archives search might help you find more information regarding the subject.
January 14, 2008 11:00:37 PM

Badge, what you're saying, I'm sure is probably all correct.

I think what everyone here is trying to find out is, if you don't have control over the FSB, RAM speed/bandwidth settings in the BIOS, will the system run faster if you put 800MHz RAM as opposed to 667MHz. So literally just taking out the 667 and putting in the 800.

My opinion is no, it won't make any difference if the bios has set it to run at 667MHz. Then again, I'm not sure how the dividers are configured and don't know if there might be some implicit performance increase based on what the dividers are set at.
a b } Memory
January 14, 2008 11:05:36 PM

You need to read the post, OP is hoping to replace his PC5300 with PC6400 and hoping the new, faster RAM will run at 800mhz. instead of his old 667mhz. RAM when he installs it. OP's question is simple, if it will, upgrading to PC6400 certainly will make his sytem faster. It comes down to what dividers his Dell BIOS is equipped with and will those dividers allow his new PC6400 to run at 800mhz.. Op has no control of his BIOS, it's a Dell. OP knows that. Of course if OP installs PC6400 and the RAM defaults to PC5300 667mhz. there would be absolutely no improvement and it would be a complete waste of money. If you read OP posts, his manual says his system supports PC6400. Hopefully that means supports PC6400 at 800mhz. (with the proper divider provided by BIOS/Chipset and PC6400 DIMMS also cooperating). I have never owned a DELL so in that regard, I know little about the company' systems, BIOS limitations, upgradability path, etc.
a b } Memory
January 14, 2008 11:38:04 PM

Quote:
You could try taking out all the RAM that is currently in the system and purchase just 2x2GB PC2-6400 DIMMs. See if the mobo automatically sets your (RAM speed: fixed) to 800MHz after putting the new RAM in.


If possible, OP should borrow some PC6400 and do this. BTW, this is what I have been saying all along. If his system has the proper BIOS Dividers AND the PC6400 he installs cooperates and runs at 800mhz. (from his current 667mhz.), his sytem's performance would imporove with RAM running at a faster speed. This idea is anything but confusing. It's totally basic knowledge. Maybe OP will let us know how it goes.
January 16, 2008 3:12:44 PM

No, that is not what you have been saying all along. You repeatedly talked about OC. Maybe YOU should read the posts and when others ask reasonable questions when your comments are off topic you should not put them down with such comments and with "anything but confusing" and "basic knowlege".

If the PC5300 bandwidth is as fast as the FSB (see my first post above), and the FSB also has to carry all the traffic to the CPU from the graphics card as well as the memory, won't the FSB limit limit performance of the PC6400 memory?
a b } Memory
January 16, 2008 3:15:14 PM

Post your question as a new topic. You are obviously learning nothing from this thread.
January 16, 2008 11:05:43 PM

My question is not onlydirectly relevant but also basic to this thread and has not been answered. And your insult only demeans yourself.
a b } Memory
January 16, 2008 11:16:18 PM

Your question has been answered several times. Go back and find it or start a new thread. Your lack of self esteem and personal selfishness when using this forum is showing. What don't you go jump. Want to know how far?
January 16, 2008 11:47:22 PM

Why do you chose to continue demeaning yourself with childish personal attacks?
January 18, 2008 12:16:08 PM

I think you guys need to calm down a little. Both of you have been very helpful and I have learnt a lot from these post. But I just want to update you guys.

My system arrived a few days ago but the RAM (PC2 6400/800MHz) only yesterday. As I expected with Dell BIOS (as well as what everyone else was saying) you have no control at all for OC. As I was going thourgh the BIOS I noticed that it reported RAM information with the speed of 667MHz. So after testing the system out for a few minutes I proceeded to swap the RAM. I swaped the PC2-5400/667MHz for the new RAM PC2-6400/800MHz, booted the system checked the BIOS and I can confirm that the system accepts the RAM and runs at 800MHz.

Thanks again guys for your help!
Masterson
January 23, 2008 12:06:42 AM

Could you confirm how much RAM (4, 6, or 8GB) can be added to your 32/64 systems? What brand of RAM did you use?

masterson001 said:
I think you guys need to calm down a little. Both of you have been very helpful and I have learnt a lot from these post. But I just want to update you guys.

My system arrived a few days ago but the RAM (PC2 6400/800MHz) only yesterday. As I expected with Dell BIOS (as well as what everyone else was saying) you have no control at all for OC. As I was going thourgh the BIOS I noticed that it reported RAM information with the speed of 667MHz. So after testing the system out for a few minutes I proceeded to swap the RAM. I swaped the PC2-5400/667MHz for the new RAM PC2-6400/800MHz, booted the system checked the BIOS and I can confirm that the system accepts the RAM and runs at 800MHz.

Thanks again guys for your help!
Masterson

June 5, 2008 5:36:19 PM

I'm also on the same boat .. I have a Dell XPS 420 and want to max out the memory to 8GB..
OP: Can you update the thread with your memory config, I know it's DDR2-6400/800MHz... I just want to know what brand, voltage & place you bought them from???
June 6, 2008 6:08:22 PM

Thanks Bamacre.. I do have 64bit Vista Ultimate on the system...
I can't see the voltage rating on the RAMs you've mentioned.. Can u confirm if it's compatible with XPS420. I think XPS420 needs 1.8v RAMs
December 15, 2008 6:33:58 PM

It sounds like your xps is coming with slower memeory. I have and xps 420 about the same specs but I got my system with 3GB of memory @ 800MHZ. Now I'm going up to 4GB and I'm getting my memeory from http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TPXULC
CORSAIR XMS2 4GB ( 2 X 2GB ) PC2-6400 800MHz 240-pin DDR2 CL5 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit
July 8, 2009 8:48:24 PM

I have 8GB of PC2-6400/800MHz Corsair in my XPS 420. Works like a charm.
April 3, 2010 6:46:00 PM

OK, so to get this out of the way first... I know this topic is pretty old. But my question is pretty much identical to the topic creator's, only I have some additional info to add.

At the moment, I have 4GB of PC2-6400 in my XPS420 that I added when I bought the PC a few years back. I recently upgraded to 7 ultimate 64 bit and am looking to add more RAM. That and the fact that I am occasionally getting BSOD's every now and then which I am assuming is RAM related as I have systematically replaced all the vital components (OS, hard drive, video card, PSU, audio card) with parts from a second PC and it is still occurring.

Now... I went to Crucial's website and looked up the XPS420, and it is saying:
Quote:
Each memory slot can hold DDR2 PC2-6400,DDR2 PC2-5300,DDR2 PC2-8500 with a maximum of 2GB per slot.
Now when I bought this 4GB of PC2-6400 a couple years ago their site said that 6400 was the fastest RAM that this PC could use. But NOW, it is saying that it will use PC2-8500. Is this trustworthy? Did Dell issue a BIOS upgrade to allow support for this faster RAM? Since the RAM that crucial offers are "guaranteed-compatible parts" is it safe to assume that they are right and 8500 will work in an XPS420, or are they ill-informed?
!