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Dual-Channel memory operation

Tags:
  • Memory
  • RAM
  • Dual Channel
  • Product
Last response: in Memory
February 4, 2009 6:35:18 PM

Specs:

Compaq Presario SR1020T
ASUS PTGD-LA (aka Goldfish3) Motherboard
AMI Bios V3.28
Pentium 4 3.0 GHz Processor w/HT
3 GB PC2-4200 Dual Channel DDR2 (533 MHz) RAM (2 1 GB sticks and 2 512 MB sticks)
NVIDIA GeForce 6200
Windows XP Home Edition w/SP3

Recently, I upgraded my computer with new RAM and video card. Initially, I had 2 512 MB sticks of RAM and the on-board video card only. The lack of my performance increase brought suspicion to me. So, I downloaded a couple software applications to determine my performance (CPUZ and PC Wizard 2008). From here, it was brought to my attention that my computer was not running in dual-channel mode. So, I browsed some threads and tried to diagnose my problem. However, as you have guessed, I haven't figured it out. Here is the list of things I have tried:

- Inserted RAM in every possible combination - matched and unmatched (4 slots with 2 1GB sticks and 2 512 MB sticks)
- Made sure both sets of RAM were identical
- Tried inserting the 2 512 MB sticks by themselves as well as the 1 GB sticks
- Used memtest86 to ensure no memory errors
- Updated virtually all of my software and hardware drivers and so forth.
- Went into BIOS to see if I would be able to change timing settings and what not however, the Bus speed, system clock, etc is locked.

Here are some interesting facts I have found in my quest to fix this issue. Many threads I visited said the POST messages should identify in what mode the RAM is operating. However, mine does not mention if it is in single or dual channel mode. Another interesting fact is the RAM that came with my computer does not operate in dual channel mode no matter in what configuration I apply. I verified my motherboard's capabilities for dual channel on the Compaq website in addition to PC wizard and both say it is capable of attaining such status however, it doesn't seem to work. Finally, I had 3 different sources say my computer can use 3 different RAM speeds. Crucial said PC2-5300 (667 MHz), HP said PC2-4200 (533 MHz), and PC wizard said PC2-3200 (400 MHz) which I also thought was interesting. I also read up on the Bus and FSB in relation to memory speed and computer speed. PC wizard said my bus and memory were 1:1 running at 200 MHz and the FSB was running at 800 MHz (QDR). Since these are locked, I was wondering if that would prevent my system from running in dual channel mode. I don't think that is the case but am unsure.
Finally, it seems one of my ram sticks' timings are either set wrong on the onboard EEPROM or for some reason operates at a faster latency (suppose to be identical). I would ramble on more but I'm so frustrated I want to see what some of the experts think. Below are some relevant PC Wizards analysis of my computer:


CHIPSET INFO
General Information :
NorthBridge : Intel i915GL
SouthBridge : 82801FB/FR (ICH6/ICH6R) LPC Interface Bridge

NorthBridge Information :
Architecture : Direct Media Interface (DMI)
Manufacturer : Intel (Hewlett-Packard Company)
Codename : Grantsdale
Revision : B1
Bus Speed : 200.1 MHz
FSB Frequency : 800.3 MHz (QDR)
FSB max. Support : 533 MHz
RAM max. Support : DDR2 (400 MHz)

Memory Information :
Frequency : 200.1 MHz
DRAM/FSB Ratio : 1/1
Supported Channels : Dual (128-bit)
Activated Channels : Single
ECC Diagnostic : No
RAS Precharge (tRP) : 5 clocks
Cycle Time (tRAS) : 0 clocks
Shared Memory (video) : Yes

Video Information :
Integrated Controller : No
Enabled : No

Device Capabilities (PCI) :
I/O Access : No
Memory Access : Yes
Bus Master Capable : Yes
Special Cycle Recognition : No
Memory Write & Invalidate : No
VGA Palette Snoop : No
Parity Error Response : No
Cycle Wait : No
System Error Line : No
Fast Back-to-Back : No
Detects Parity Errors : No
User Defined Format : No
PCI 66Mhz Bus Support : No
New Capability List : Yes
PCI Support : Vendor-Dependant

MEMORY INFO

General Information :
DIMM1 (BANK1 ) : 1024 MB - DIMM
DIMM2 (BANK2 ) : 512 MB - DIMM
DIMM3 (BANK3 ) : 1024 MB - DIMM
DIMM4 (BANK4 ) : 512 MB - DIMM

Information SPD EEPROM (DIMM1) :
Manufacturer : Kingston
Part Number : 99U5316-011.A01LF
Serial Number : 6520F44E
Type : DDR2-SDRAM PC2-4300 (266 MHz) - [DDR2-533]
Format : Regular UDIMM (133.35 x 3)
Size : 1024 MB (2 ranks, 4 banks)
Module Buffered : No
Module Registered : No
Module SLi Ready (EPP) : No
Width : 64-bit
Error Correction Capability : No
Max. Burst Length : 8
Refresh : Reduced (.5x)7.8 µs, Self Refresh
Voltage : SSTL 1.8v
Prefetch Buffer : 4-bit
Manufacture : Week 23 of 2008
Supported Frequencies : 200 MHz, 266 MHz, 266 MHz
CAS Latency (tCL) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 5 clocks @266 MHz
RAS to CAS (tRCD) : 2 clocks @200 MHz, 2 clocks @266 MHz, 2 clocks @266 MHz
RAS Precharge (tRP) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz
Cycle Time (tRAS) : 9 clocks @200 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz
Min TRC : 12 clocks @200 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz

Information SPD EEPROM (DIMM2) :
Manufacturer : Infineon
Part Number : 6
Serial Number : 05038323
Type : DDR2-SDRAM PC2-4300 (266 MHz) - [DDR2-533]
Format : Regular UDIMM (133.35 x 3)
Size : 512 MB (1 ranks, 4 banks)
Module Buffered : No
Module Registered : No
Module SLi Ready (EPP) : No
Width : 64-bit
Error Correction Capability : No
Max. Burst Length : 8
Refresh : Reduced (.5x)7.8 µs, Self Refresh
Voltage : SSTL 1.8v
Prefetch Buffer : 4-bit
Manufacture : Week 13 of 2005
Supported Frequencies : 200 MHz, 266 MHz, 266 MHz
CAS Latency (tCL) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 5 clocks @266 MHz
RAS to CAS (tRCD) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz
RAS Precharge (tRP) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz
Cycle Time (tRAS) : 9 clocks @200 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz
Min TRC : 12 clocks @200 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz

Information SPD EEPROM (DIMM3) :
Manufacturer : Kingston
Part Number : 99U5316-011.A01LF
Serial Number : 6A20F14E
Type : DDR2-SDRAM PC2-4300 (266 MHz) - [DDR2-533]
Format : Regular UDIMM (133.35 x 3)
Size : 1024 MB (2 ranks, 4 banks)
Module Buffered : No
Module Registered : No
Module SLi Ready (EPP) : No
Width : 64-bit
Error Correction Capability : No
Max. Burst Length : 8
Refresh : Reduced (.5x)7.8 µs, Self Refresh
Voltage : SSTL 1.8v
Prefetch Buffer : 4-bit
Manufacture : Week 23 of 2008
Supported Frequencies : 200 MHz, 266 MHz, 266 MHz
CAS Latency (tCL) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 5 clocks @266 MHz
RAS to CAS (tRCD) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz
RAS Precharge (tRP) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz
Cycle Time (tRAS) : 9 clocks @200 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz
Min TRC : 12 clocks @200 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz

Information SPD EEPROM (DIMM4) :
Manufacturer : Infineon
Part Number : 64T64000HU3.7A
Serial Number : 05038426
Type : DDR2-SDRAM PC2-4300 (266 MHz) - [DDR2-533]
Format : Regular UDIMM (133.35 x 3)
Size : 512 MB (1 ranks, 4 banks)
Module Buffered : No
Module Registered : No
Module SLi Ready (EPP) : No
Width : 64-bit
Error Correction Capability : No
Max. Burst Length : 8
Refresh : Reduced (.5x)7.8 µs, Self Refresh
Voltage : SSTL 1.8v
Prefetch Buffer : 4-bit
Manufacture : Week 13 of 2005
Supported Frequencies : 200 MHz, 266 MHz, 266 MHz
CAS Latency (tCL) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 5 clocks @266 MHz
RAS to CAS (tRCD) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz
RAS Precharge (tRP) : 3 clocks @200 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz, 4 clocks @266 MHz
Cycle Time (tRAS) : 9 clocks @200 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz, 12 clocks @266 MHz
Min TRC : 12 clocks @200 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz, 16 clocks @266 MHz

Memory Controller Information :
Memory Controller : System Memory
Location : Mainboard
Error Correction Capability : No
Number of connectors : 4
Max. Module

Any help or advice is appreciated

Nate

More about : dual channel memory operation

February 4, 2009 8:59:05 PM

Dual channel offers very little performance increase, I wouldn't worry about it.
February 4, 2009 9:45:30 PM

As I've heard... the more I read on it the more it really doesn't make much of a difference. I figured maybe I'd just try and get it to work just for my own benefit. I might as well just max out my RAM
Related resources
a b } Memory
February 5, 2009 11:00:51 PM

Memtest the original ram? If it won't run in dual channel mode, perhaps its bad. This might be because your maxing out the banks, perhaps dual channel only works on the 915 if your using two sticks? I would just use the new ram, 2GBs is plenty for XP.

Performance didn't go up by a lot because of the 6200. You should have bought a better card.
February 6, 2009 12:14:47 AM

i only have PCI slots, no PCI express so i was very limited in selections... i used memtest to make sure everything works and i tried using only 2 sticks at once.. still nothin... its no big deal... i really was just wondering why it wasnt working.. thanks for the info
February 6, 2009 12:18:46 AM

also i should point that i didnt want to spend a whole lot at the moment on the video card and the 6200 got nice ratings on nice bang for your buck
February 6, 2009 4:37:19 AM

I think your mobo is a POS.

Dual-Channel RAM, (while not a barnburner in raw performance increase especially with your CPU), can and does have significant impact in certain instances with 64-bit AMD CPUs due to the on-die memory controller and lower by design latency. (Windows boots quicker, for example.)

So, you can't take advantage what what you weren't missing anyway!
February 6, 2009 9:02:31 AM

I think the problem lies to the fact that your RAM's aren't exactly alive and your motherboard doesn't like a setup like that and thus defaults to single channel.
a b } Memory
February 6, 2009 10:07:00 AM

You have bigger worries than dual channel if you are looking for a performance bump.....
P4 CPU They are simply outdated. Even a $50 Athlon X2 will crush it.
6200 GPU Ouch, painfully slow.
Motherboard may not be bad, but nothing really good about it either.

Whether or not your memory runs in dual channel won't make a very big difference.
Do you have your Slpash screen disabled, so you can see all the messages during POST?
February 6, 2009 11:25:48 AM

You can't trash tha CPU just yet.....
My sons pc is an intel P4-631 on a Foxconn 915p mobo with 2 GB of DDR-2 667 ram and pushing an Nvidia 8600 GT OC 256MB card.
He plays crysis @1280 x 1024 on medium with very little lag!
I was actually quite impressed....
Your GFX card is not a gaming card it's more for HDTV/Media use.
I have one of these in my home theater pc and it's great.....
Doesn't that pc have an AGP slot..(beige color) it's set in from the white pci slots?
If so then why not try and grab an ATI 3850 that would still run very well on 1280 x 1024 or 1440 x 900!
February 6, 2009 2:47:27 PM

originally it was meant to have a pci-e slot but HP decided to not incorporate the hardware interface as it would save them $3 per board (whoop die doo) ... the computer still works great.. for myself i generally wait for price of games/hardware/etc to go down before i buy. so while everyones playing the newest games and using amped up computers, im still a few years back enjoying those.. the latest game i have though is nhl 2009 but it doesnt require too much.. the most demanding game i own is oblivion...

aas for as the post messages, i wasnt sure how to do that however, if you press the pause button itll stop so you can read everything, i did that a few times to make sure i didnt miss anything...

as far as the setup, i have read and heard that if you have nearly identical rams in each channel (slots 1 and 3 and slots 2 and 4 for mine) then there really shouldnt be a problem... i do not believe you have to have 4 identical ram sticks but i dont know for sure... so i bought some to see it was only another 25 dollars...

and yeah i realize the dual cores destroy my processor but like i mentioned for my needs, i should be fine for now...i am going to search for a better video card as ive been searching and prices have dropped in the past two months... the ram i got 2 months ago is now 35% cheaper and the video cards i looked at dropped as well... i think ive found a much more suitable pci video card.. if not then ill just make do with what i own

i appreciate all the inputs! any suggestions and comments are still welcomed
February 6, 2009 4:35:21 PM

I will try and do some digging to see if I can find anything of importance for you...
I found this online..

http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?cat=861..

it's a preattydecent card for pci....don't know if they still have it but worth the ask!
It should give you a decent performance boost.
Hope this helps...
February 7, 2009 7:32:57 AM

If you can and want to stay with your current system then I would suggest you grab one if they're still available!
You won't be able to find these very easily in the near future...
As far as your dual channel settings go your board should automatically set it when it sees 2 identical sticks in the 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 slots.
That's why they have dual channel kits..they are matched in timings and voltage.
Sometimes you can get lucky and buy 2 single sticks and they work but not always.
February 7, 2009 3:31:19 PM

I went ahead and bought one! yeah im surprised this video card is as new as it is... it was released last august i believe. i didnt think they'd make new conventional pci cards since pci-e and agp slots provide much better results..

As far as the ram goes, yeah i knew it should automatically set and thats why i was so curious when the 2 identical ram sticks that came with my computer (set in 1 and 3) did not cause my computer to run in dual channel... and i had bought the new kingston ram in a kit but they werent exactly the same in the CAS timings.. but im not too worried about it anymore i suppose... for now ill just enjoy the new video card and the games i can play on it for now! thanks for all the help and suggestions! I appreciate it!