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Memory upgrade question

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  • RAM
  • Memory Upgrade
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July 20, 2010 6:40:21 AM

Currently running an Intel E4300 on a MSI P6N SLI Platinum and I am looking to upgrade the ram.

My current ram is G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 PC2 6400 and it's running at 667 @4-4-4-12 to match the OC on the processor 1:1. Cpu is running at 3.0ghz from 1.8 on a Zalman.

My question is, if I can get my hands on some cheap sticks, would i notice a performance gain if I were to add 1 additional gig stick in single channel (crucial or kingston) of pc6400 ram?

Also what if I were to add a couple of 1gb sticks, both brands wouldn't match, and say that both weren't dual channel. I'm going to assume that both would need to be set to 667 like the current ones and hopefully set the timing as well.

It's going into a system running windows 7 64bit.

I would like to get all 4gigs working at the same speed/timings but that probably won't happen since two would be dual channel and I guess the other two would be single. Can they all work together if that's the case and would the whole system improve or be unstable with such a combination, perhaps the memory increase regardless of channels/brand/timings is of greater benefit?

Just need to know before I purchase said ram off craigslist for $35, when I could get new ram same as in there already for $54.99 FS new.

oh yeah and this time around, since I have it at 667 already, should I upgrade with 800 or 667 ram?

More about : memory upgrade question

a b } Memory
July 20, 2010 6:56:40 AM

If you add 2 more sticks, it will be in dual channel. They only have to match the GB, not the brand.

The performance gain by adding one stick will probably be countered by the fact that it will switch to single channel. You need to add 2 sticks at a time to preserve this.

Regardless of the speed of the new ram (800 or 667, doesnt matter-800 can run at 667), you should maintain custom RAM timings for any RAM you add. Keep the speed and timings at the slowest setting. Check the memory section of CPU-z id program (you can download it for free if you;ve never heard of it. Google) CPUz will tell you the SPD timings of each stick, then use the slowest timings at the 333mhz speed in BIOS.

Should work fine. The ultimate performance increase will really depend on how much ram you are using. I find win7 64 to be awesome with 4gb, noticeably more responsive than 2gb. Applications, I can't really tell. I have 6gb in my machine right now, I've never had any ram problems.
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July 20, 2010 7:07:12 AM

ahh, ok, i never knew that dual channel was simply just using both slots, I always assumed that it was the ram sticks specifically made to work together in pair. Ok, so as long as I add an additional 2gb total, regardless of brand/speed i should be fine.

yeah i know i have 800 in there now that i set to 667 to keep the 1:1, yeah i use cpu-z all the time and have them set to 4/12 from 5/15.

yeah i'd like 6-8, but 4 could work fine for now.


Just need to know before I purchase said ram off craigslist for $35, when I could get new ram same as in there already for $54.99 FS new. What would you do in this spot? Save a little now, or pay extra and get the matching?

oh yeah and this time around, since I have it at 667 already, should I upgrade with 800 or 667 ram? meaning instead of lowering the ram speed, what if I just get 667 already?
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a b } Memory
July 20, 2010 10:41:18 AM

If you have 800 in there already, I would match it with 800. Also, realize that while you could put in 2 sticks of 1gb each that are not the same brand and model, the chances of getting achieving a "better" lowest common denominator in timings go down. For example, to make it stable, yo may have to change the timings to something a little bit slower than what the chips are rated for, diminishing a slight bit of performance. Personally, I do not try to achieve performance gains with RAM, pushing it is asking for trouble, and the speed gains are very minimal compared to even slight OC of the CPU.

So, basically, don't worry about slower timings too much if they have to be tweaked that way. :) 

In your position, I would get a matched set at 54.99, its a $20 investment in less headaches. Also, if you ever get a faster chip that you can OC with a 400 FSB, that matches nicely to ddr2 800, and having a 4 pack of the same brand/model will let you get the best performance ultimately.
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a c 114 } Memory
July 20, 2010 1:49:29 PM

Some motherboards are sensitive to mismatched ram. Ram, even the same part number can have different manufacturing makeup; that is why ram is sold in kits. For certain, you need ram that operates at the same voltage. You will be safer buying a kit just like the one you have. If mismatched ram is OK, then all ram will operate at the lowest common denominator of specs.

To operate in dual channel mode, you need to have the ram capacity balanced between the two channels.

Your system will operate better with more ram. Here is a Corsair study on the benefits of going from 2gb to 4gb:
http://www.corsair.com/_appnotes/AN804_Gaming_Performan...

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