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RAM advice -- 2 sticks or 4

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September 13, 2010 6:00:59 AM

I'll be building a computer for a friend in a couple of weeks, whose most strenuous task will be to run a statistical package she needs for her Ph.D. research. The program actually recommends 8 gig of RAM. Does it make much difference if she buys 2 sticks or 4? I highly doubt she'll ever need 16 (and if she does, would probably have a grant that could pony up for it), so I don't think it matters if there are no RAM slots free on the mobo in the near future.

Any advice is appreciated.

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a b } Memory
September 13, 2010 2:05:51 PM

2 sticks are better; you can get 2x4 GB. Some motherboards do not like all the DIMMs populated, others require manual BIOS voltage increases to the northbridge.
a c 163 } Memory
September 13, 2010 3:48:30 PM

Hi.

I'd go with the 2x4GB since u have the options to add more RAM in the future (if u need it) more if u bear in mind that some mobos don't performs very well with all slots populated as treefrog07 says.
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September 14, 2010 5:03:01 PM

Any idea how to tell if a motherboard doesn't like all of its slots populated (besides the interwebs -- I got that one covered)?

As an aside, I realize that putting components together can be more than an art than a science, but what's the issue with DIMMs?

Thanks for your comments.
a b } Memory
September 14, 2010 8:35:33 PM

Generally the default BIOS settings are for two sticks of RAM operating at the board's stated speeds. You can change the settings, and often with four sticks in a board with 4 DIMMs, you will have to increase the northbridge voltage a bump or two from the default settings to get the system to boot.

Also, your RAM may require you to change the default BIOS settings to achieve the advertised speed and latencies. Some BIOSes have a feature to enable the RAM's XMP profile, so you do not have to change the specific RAM voltage, frequency, or latency settings.
a c 163 } Memory
September 14, 2010 9:39:58 PM

lugalbanda said:
Any idea how to tell if a motherboard doesn't like all of its slots populated (besides the interwebs -- I got that one covered)?

As an aside, I realize that putting components together can be more than an art than a science, but what's the issue with DIMMs?

Thanks for your comments.


That's why some mobos only support some speed in two RAM slots and not in the four RAM slot.
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