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DDR2 800MHz -- OK for DDR2 667 motherboards?

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January 17, 2008 11:47:14 PM

I'm a bit confused by what I've read (I don't overclock and don't know much about RAM). I've got an MSI P6N SLI motherboard that's BSOD'd for the past year and I am looking to replace it. I have two sticks of DDR2-800 ram:

http://www.ec.kingston.com/ecom/configurator_new/partsinfo.asp?root=us&LinkBack=http://www.kingston.com&ktcpartno=KVR800D2N5/1G&id=2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820220088

(I've never used them together -- purchased the Kingston in the hopes that my motherboards issues were caused by memory -- they weren't...)

Although this computer was designed to play games for my kids, it doesn't have to be fancy -- I'm not actually using SLI, raid, overclocking or anything else. I was looking at a few low-cost motherboards like the

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138089
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138035

but these motherboards specify DDR2-667 ram. Can I use the DDR2-800 RAM (either one or both) in motherboards that specify DDR2-667? If so, do I need to alter any bios settings?

Thanks.
mcaren
MSI P6N SLI-FI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16
ePOWER ZU-550W ATX12V Version 2.0 / EPS12V 550W Power Supply
SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory
SATA CD/DVD drive


January 18, 2008 12:05:03 AM

You generally don't want to mix and match sticks. You can pull it off - most of the time - but it's just generally not a good idea. However, pick one, and you can stick in the motherboard. The motherboard might be able to pull off 800, but it will most likely automatically underclock it to 667. You should be able to pull off some tighter timings on the memory because of it, though its certainly not necessary.
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January 18, 2008 12:31:56 AM

DeathWalking said:
You generally don't want to mix and match sticks.


he's right about that, but you should be able to run them together. The mATX board only has 2 DIMM slots and (since it's a mATX) it might have limited options in the bios. The mobo might automatically try to run in dual mode which may/maynot cause the occasional BSOD with unlike sticks and you might not have an option in the bios to disable automatic dual mode. I'd go with one of the other boards with 4 DIMM slots which would ensure your being able to run in single channel if it BSODS in dual mode. Even in single mode there is no garruntee it won't BSOD with unlike sticks, but your odds are better than when run in dual mode.

also, those sticks probably have ratings for ddr2 800, 667, 533, and 400 so you will have no problems with running them in those boards.

I ran in 1 board two different types of memory 1 was ddr333 and the other was ddr400 and had no problems with BSOD, it just automatically underclocked each stick (don't know why, but to ddr212 speeds, i.e. each stick was running at 106mhz???) wierd, but it worked.
January 18, 2008 11:19:40 AM

Thank you all for your replies. My low-cost kid machine has turned into the most expensive one ever (two different motherboards so far not counting this new purchase). This is not memory-related, but I just read the sticker on my CPU box (Intel Pentium D Processor) and it says that it "requires Intel 945/955x express chipsets" -- I'd never noticed that before. I've simply been looking at the Newegg motherboards that say "Pentium D"-compatible... I hope that's not a big deal... I'd just like a stable board for once... Thanks again. mcaren
January 18, 2008 1:17:07 PM

All P35 boards should be compatible with Pentium D processors, but I believe it is up the manufacturer to actually include BIOS support. The ECS board that I recommended above does not appear to have guaranteed support for Pentium D, but this BIOSTAR board does.
BIOSTAR P35D2-A7

It is unwise to purchase an outdated 945 or 955 based board given the excellent backward compatibility of Intel's chipsets.
January 18, 2008 1:31:15 PM

I have an old Asus board that specs DDR2 667Mhz. I recently put some Patriot DDR2 800Mhz in it. It clocked it down to 667, but it works.
January 18, 2008 3:25:54 PM

Thanks for the info. Homerdog -- I also don't know anything about 945/955/otherwise chipsets -- are you being sarcastic about Intel's backwards compatibility? [I've had less-than-stellar luck with an Intel motherboard, so wasn't sure...] Is a 935 a newer product than the 945/955?
Also, that particular Biostar board got iffy reviews -- how much stock do you put in the Newegg reviews? Thanks. mcaren
January 18, 2008 4:22:30 PM

mcaren said:
Thanks for the info. Homerdog -- I also don't know anything about 945/955/otherwise chipsets -- are you being sarcastic about Intel's backwards compatibility? [I've had less-than-stellar luck with an Intel motherboard, so wasn't sure...] Is a 935 a newer product than the 945/955?
Also, that particular Biostar board got iffy reviews -- how much stock do you put in the Newegg reviews? Thanks. mcaren

No sarcasm intended. Intel has has been using the LGA775 socket for a while, and theoretically any motherboard that supports Core2 should support all of the LGA775 processors that preceded Core2. This includes your Pentium D. This is not the case 100% of the time, so be sure to check the manufacturer's website out before you make any purchases.

Intel usually comes out with new chipsets when they release a new line of processors. The 965 chipset was released alongside the first Core2 processors, and was the recommended platform for Core2. Some of the older 945 and 955 based motherboards supported Core2, but there was no official support from Intel.

As for that specific BIOSTAR board, it may not be the best. I just linked it because it was a cheap P35 board that had guaranteed support for Pentium D. By the way, Newegg reviews are generally not very helpful
!