2x2 or 4x1 Sticks: Does it Matter?

4700 Dell Dimension
Pentium 4 CPU 3.00 Ghz
DDR2 PC2-6400 Unbuffered Non-ECC

Old computer that I'm hoping to keep working for a year or two. Replaced HD & monitor previously, and just ordered a new video card (7750) and PSU.

I also replaced the original RAM some time ago with one 2GB stick. The max on this computer is apparently 4GB, so I thought I'd buy a second 2GB stick if I can find one for cheap. My question is, does it matter if I end up with two 2GB sticks and 2 empty slots, as opposed to filling all 4 slots with 1GB sticks?

Running the check on Crucial.com recommended adding three 1GB sticks to my current stick. I am curious as to why, is there a benefit to doing this (due to dual-channel) or is it simply because Crucial does not have any compatible 2GB sticks in stock? Searched around, and I have read conflicting reports. Some say it matters, some say it doesn't. Also, Crucial recommends a CL6 stick. Would it cause problems if the one I added was CL5?

Lastly a dumb question, if I did get an additional 2GB stick, would it go into slot # 3? Current stick is in slot 1, they are numbered 1-3-2-4.
5 answers Last reply
More about sticks matter
  1. Yes, I believe they are usually set up as every-other. You will see a performance increase with another 2gb stick as it will operate in dual channel mode, and the performance from 4 separate and small capacity sticks will also be better, however the increase is minuscule and you would generally not notice outside of a benchmarking program. Just get another 2gb stick, DDR2 RAM is expensive enough as it is (get it with specs as close as possible to your current stick, better chance of compatibility).
  2. Two or four sticks is better than one or three because of dual channel capabilities. If I were you, I would get 4 (2X2GB) at one time because it is usually better to have two sticks from the same manufacturer which are usually manufactured around the same time (same lot). Tends to cause a lot less headaches in the future.
  3. samuelohagan said:

    Interesting, what is this item and what does it do? Really need to keep the costs down right now, so I'm not sure I can get both right away, but I'll keep it in mind. Would I be better off getting this first instead of a second 2GB stick?
  4. If its a matter of $50(US) to $25(US) then go ahead and just get another 2GB stick. As far as the other post, that's just another Pentium D processor and has nothing to do with RAM.
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