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2x1gb RAM in Dual Channel VS 2x1gb + 1x1gb

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January 3, 2009 5:42:53 AM

Hey, just wondering if someone could let me know about this. As the thread title says, what is the performance difference (mostly games loading times etc, responsiveness of Vista) between a 2x1gb DDR2-800 RAM setup, and a 2x1gb + another 1gb stick.

Currently I have 2x1gb DDR2-800, running in dual channel. Because I only have 32bit vista, I see no point in getting another 2gb of ram. So is losing dual channel worth it for an extra 1gb of RAM? Oh and I have an E5200 @ 2.8ghz CPU, if that helps. And my motherboard has the usual 4 slots for RAM. Thanks for any help :) 
January 3, 2009 5:57:03 AM

No, it doesn't help what is your mobo?
January 3, 2009 10:23:26 AM

Gigabyte GA-EP31-DS3L my good friend.
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January 3, 2009 10:38:07 AM

scout1011 said:
Gigabyte GA-EP31-DS3L my good friend.
I suspect that you are good. Let me check.
January 3, 2009 11:15:24 AM

Here is your answer: link.

Even with a 32 Bits OS, MOST of the 4GB can be used, but some will be used for Memory Mapped devices like video cards. In the end, the OS will have ~3.5GB of available memory.

What version of Vista do you have? Depending on the version, I think Microsoft offers very cheap upgrades (~10-15$) to 64 bits.
January 3, 2009 12:37:17 PM

His question is whether his mobo will give him dual channel with 2 x 1Gb and a third 1GB. I wanted to look even though I knew. I still haven't looked, I got called away, l but off the cuff I say yes you are good. I believe that with your northbridge you can even have different sizes in the channel and it will give you dual channel to the limit of the smallest stick. So you are certainly good.
January 3, 2009 11:01:52 PM

Hmm, OK thanks for that. So pretty much I will get an increase in peformance with another 1GB?
January 4, 2009 8:10:09 AM

No, you cannot run dual channel with three 1gb sticks. If you want to keep dual channel, which I highly recommend, get that extra gb as a pair of two 512 mb sticks. Put the two 1gb sticks in the slots with the same colour and then the two 512mb sticks in the remaining slots.
However, since ddr2 800 is quite cheap at the moment why not getting 2x2gb?
January 4, 2009 3:00:02 PM

Nils, apparently you missed this part of the article, it's right at the top.



In answer to your question, as I said before, yes you can get an improvement with another stick, assuming you are overrunning the 2GB.

You want the original RAM in slot 1 & 3 and the added RAM in slot 2, Unless they are all identical, but it's not critical.

Get RAM of the same speed and timings if you can, because the RAM will run at the speed and timings of the slowest stick.




January 4, 2009 3:15:32 PM

No Zorg, I did NOT miss that part of the article. How are you going spread three 1GB sticks evenly over the two channels? By cutting one in half?
It is possible to get dual channel with three sticks, like the image shows, but not with three 1GB sticks.
Like I said before, if he wants an extra gig, he should get it as 2x512mb and not as 1x1gb. Like this, he can install 1.5 gb in channel A and another 1.5gb in channel B.
January 4, 2009 3:20:13 PM

To illustrate it. This is the config he should be looking for:

January 4, 2009 4:02:18 PM

I didn't say he would get the dual channel on the third stick, I said he could keep the dual channel he has now and add the third stick. Obviously if you have only one stick you can't have dual channel, because there is no RAM in the other slot. That is a no brainer and I assumed that he would know that. He specifically asked "So is losing dual channel worth it for an extra 1gb of RAM?" He will not loose dual channel, he just won't have it on the third stick. Your response was "No, you cannot run dual channel with three 1gb sticks." and that is false. You can run dual channel, just not with the third stick, which is patently obvious to anyone with a brain.

True he would benefit ever so slightly by having two 512 sticks but then he opens himself up to the potential 4 slot problem. Dual Channel only gives about a 30% increase in bandwidth anyway and he will only loose it if he goes over 2GB, it's in the wind.

The bottom line is, he can run dual channel with three sticks, just not on the third stick.
January 4, 2009 5:25:26 PM

Not to sure about that. In every motherboard manual I have already seen, is written: 'To enable dual channel: (DIMM A1 + DIMM A2) = (DIMM B1 + DIMM B2)' Anyway, running one part of your ram in dual channel and the other one not, does not sound so good to me.
My advise to you scout1011, get 2x2gb ddr2 800. It will run completely in dual channel, you won't have the 'more-than-two-sticks' problem and it's really cheap these days.
January 5, 2009 1:19:12 AM

OK thanks for all the useful info guys. I would get 2x 512mb extra, but I'm reading in my motherboard instruction manual (and from what you both have said) that 'due to chipset limitations, do not populate both DIMM sockets of the same channel (eg DDRII1 and DDRII2) with double-sided memory sticks to prevent system failure to boot etc'. I'm no expert on memory, but does that mean it would be bad to add more than 1 stick in each channel? If so, I might go with the 2x2gb idea, seems a bit wasteful because I would be getting rid of my current 2x1gb but oh well.
January 5, 2009 1:19:33 AM

Nils said:
Not to sure about that. In every motherboard manual I have already seen, is written: 'To enable dual channel: (DIMM A1 + DIMM A2) = (DIMM B1 + DIMM B2)' Anyway, running one part of your ram in dual channel and the other one not, does not sound so good to me.
My advise to you scout1011, get 2x2gb ddr2 800. It will run completely in dual channel, you won't have the 'more-than-two-sticks' problem and it's really cheap these days.

It depends on the northbridge, that's why I needed to know the mobo. The newer northbridges are a lot more fault tolerant. It used to be that the sticks had to be a matched set and now they don't even need to be the same size it just runs in flex mode, as per the Intel doc you linked.

I was going to say the same thing, 2 x 2GB is so cheap that is the way to go. But apparently not with that mobo.

I just got 2 x 2GB of Mushkin 5-4-4-12 1.8V for ~$33 after rebate.
January 5, 2009 1:47:35 AM

scout1011 said:
OK thanks for all the useful info guys. I would get 2x 512mb extra, but I'm reading in my motherboard instruction manual (and from what you both have said) that 'due to chipset limitations, do not populate both DIMM sockets of the same channel (eg DDRII1 and DDRII2) with double-sided memory sticks to prevent system failure to boot etc'. I'm no expert on memory, but does that mean it would be bad to add more than 1 stick in each channel? If so, I might go with the 2x2gb idea, seems a bit wasteful because I would be getting rid of my current 2x1gb but oh well.
What they are talking about is memory with chips on both sides instead of one side only. The older Ballistix RAM was two sided, but it appears that they have changed to higher density chips and now they are only on one side.

If you have the cash, and it doesn't take much, definitely get the 2 x 2GB sticks.

Look for a good sale (rebate) on DDR2 800 5-5-5-15 or better that runs at 1.8-1.9V.


I just checked the manual and saw this.
Quote:
4 x 1.8V DDR2 DIMM sockets supporting up to 4 GB of system memory
That is an indication that the mobo only accepts up to 1GB sticks. Just make sure you get single sided RAM for the additional 1GB or 2 512MB sticks. Or confirm that the mobo will take 2GB sticks, which I don't think is the case.

I really hate these budget P31 mobos.
January 5, 2009 3:12:07 AM

Hmm, so basically is the majority of DDR2 RAM nowadays single sided? Or is it a complete mix?
January 5, 2009 3:27:42 AM

It's still a mix, you will have to verify before you buy it. I am not even sure what the restriction on the mobo is for, how serious it is, or if there is a work around.

Also, I suspect that the mobo won't take 2GB in one slot because of the 4 slot and 4GB max., but that may not be the case. You may be able to use just two slots and stay below the 4G max of the P31 northbridge, although I find that questionable, it may be worth looking into.
February 12, 2009 5:58:28 AM

I have a question to you guys. I've just bought 3 of 2GB mem sticks willing to install them on my ep31-ds2l to get a total of 6GB I did install them still the wont work at all. They are all double sided.
When I log on to my win vista 32 bit. It gives a blue screen then restarts immediately.
Any help will be appreciated here.
February 12, 2009 6:02:43 AM

I thought of buying another one to make an even number of sticks or maybe installing vista 64 bit help.
Plz help
!