On most motherboards you will have 4 slots able to run up to 16GB but obviousely no Operating system to use it all. You should always try to fill as little slots as possible because that would leave a space for future upgrade so going with 2x2GB is a smart choice in my opinion. You should always use two slots to get maximum bandwidth. So buy 2x2GB or 2X1 or 4x1. Keep in mind that most of the time for someone that is not a "geek" and has some experiance and level of comfort in bulding it will be more expensive to build your own than to buy from DELL plus you will run in a lot of issues and many times regread . But if you don't mind the headeach you should go for it because its worth it.
For best performance, you always want to install memory in pairs.
Memory will only run in dual channel mode if installed in identical pairs.
If you want 3 gig, you would buy 2 -1 gig sticks, and 2 -512k sticks.
But that would be kind of silly.
Just get a 2-stick 4 gig kit. Less worries, less problems, take our word, that is what you want.
You have to start with the processor you want, find the motherboard that goes with it, and then look to the motherboard for all the types of memory it supports. But yes, most combinations will work fine, some better than others, and in a few instances some won't work at all. Like I said, consult the motherboard manuals and specs for the board you are getting.
No you should always stick with the same type of RAM. But yeah since you using Dual chanal you should match two types of ram together. So lets say you have 4 slots on your mobo usually a1, a2, b1, b2, in order to get dual channel you need to match the same type of ram speed wise and capacity wise. so it is possible to use two different capicity rams as long you chanell them together. But is not recomended for maximum performance. The best choice for you now si to get 2x2gb combination why? it leaves the remaining two slots open if you ever decide lets say go to 64bit OS and you will be able to run 8GB but if you will stick to 32bit os than it is fine to go with 4x1GB since 32bit os support only up to 4GB of ram. XP using 4GB you will see only 3.25, Vista had the same issue but it was fix but only the way it shows who knows if it actually using all 4GB.
jitpublisher makes a good point. First pick a processor than look for a mobo that supports that processor. Once you do those go on line download mobos manual read it few times and choose the RAM based on what that mobo support (mostly you need to worry about voltage that the MOBO supports) some mobo will have low V so it will limit your option and some mobo will have highly adjustable V so you will have more RAM to choose from. But before you do that pick processor than mobo and get the mobo manual and read it like 3 times till you get comfortable with everythign in there. Trust me for a first time build its smart to get the manual first, and study it for few days it will provide you with higher chance of success.
Not the whole story but it will give you the basics.
Ram should be installed in matched pairs either with the 1gb, 2gb or 4gbs that you are seeing on newegg in two slots. Most new mb's can support up to 8gb total, yes the slots will hold more the chipset will not. Three 1gb moduals or a 2gb and a 1gb but they will not function to full capacity. Which is why they are sold in pairs. What MB are you going to use? The motherboard is the most important decision you will make. The capabilities of the mb will determine all your other decisions. Do you want an Intel or AMD cpu?
Poke around on the forums, lately it seems to be about 50% of the posts are those seeking advice on new builds and first time system builders. It will give you a good idea of the combos people are building with.
Please do some research on these forums and come back with a proposed build and state your reasons for the selections that you want. We all want to help you with your first build. I'm just saying that you should do some research first and then come with some ideas of yours. 3/4 of the work is the research/homework of a build. After that, putting the system together and installing the OS is all that remains. It's good that you have a budget ad a general direction. This will help focus your thoughts towards your ultimate system. Here are a few things to consider in your build:
* What parts are you going to need for your build? CPU/GPU/Mobo/Case/PSU/Memory/DVD Burner/OS/Monitor?
* What are the options that you want in a mobo (backbone of your system). Do you want lots of options (costly, usually) or will a few less options work for you (Firewire/# of USB Ports/1 or 2 GPU's (suggest sticking with 1 GPU at this time/etc.)
* Monitor size that you'd like to use or currently have. Will need specifics on the resolution, so we can assist you in getting the right GPU for your specific needs.
* Is OC'ing (overclocking) your CPU something you'd like to consider in the future?
* Where are you ordering your parts from? Are you in the U.S.A./U.K./Australia/etc.?
After you have figured out these options that I've listed above, we'll be able to help you figure out what will fit into your budget and possibly save you some $ off of your original budget. It all depends on the options that you want. Please figure out what you like/don't like and we can help you fine tune your build for you, so you don't have to worry too much or get overwhelmed too much. Building your own computer is a very rewarding and learning project. You will be come more knowledgeable and will use the confidence from building your own rig, that'll it make you feel better about yourself (at least I do).
OS get at least Home Premium.
Case its a personal taste but Antec 900 is a great choice (something to concider)
Ram not a big fan of Data I would prefer G.Skill or Patriot
Video card I would not go under 512MB. My personal Favorite is EVGA 512-P3-N841-AR GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
DVD burner get a SATA.
Power supplu don't be cheap on that part my recomendation would be CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX 620W
Danger of electricity? No if everything is unpluged Don't try it any other way http://www.corsair.com/systembuild/report.aspx?report_i...
Check that link it will give you overall idea. Its really easy to build a PC but first time you attempt it your hands will be shaking. And if something is not working its your fault most of the time not parts so don't be too fast to send anything back