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Is 2gb ddr2 running at 1066mhz in dual mode better than 3gb at 800mhz

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June 27, 2012 4:41:22 PM

Hi,

My son has an e8400 intel core two duo currently with 2 gb Kingston DDR2 1066 ram running in dual format. His operating system is Windows 7 32 bit. He has an ati 4650 with 512mb ddr2 ram connected to a dfi lanparty junior motherboard.

Would you get a performance increase if I added another 1-2 gb of ram ( bearing in mind the other ram i have is rated at 800mhz ).

Would this mean the faster ram would revert to slower speed? or would it still recognise the faster units and run them as dual and the individual one at the lower rate?

Not sure i you can mix and match so to speak or what configeration would give best performance.

Please help :) 
June 27, 2012 5:16:35 PM

2GB of memory is not nearly enough for good performance on Windows 7. With how cheap memory is, I'd recommend just going ahead and getting him a proper 8GB kit rather than trying to mix and match and hoping for the best.

You can get 8GB kits for less than $40 these days. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
June 27, 2012 5:24:24 PM

willard said:
2GB of memory is not nearly enough for good performance on Windows 7. With how cheap memory is, I'd recommend just going ahead and getting him a proper 8GB kit rather than trying to mix and match and hoping for the best.

You can get 8GB kits for less than $40 these days. Seems like a no-brainer to me.


Hi - thanks for getting back to us so quick. Only reason I thought of doing it this way as I was advised that it's not worth going above 4gb as it's a 32 bit system and apparantly does not recognise more. In fact I was told that it would only recognise 3.5gb at max as it already has 512mb on the graphics card.

As you say, if it would take more and make use of it, it'd be worth buying the 8gb kit but don't want to pay more i it won't make use of it.

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June 27, 2012 5:40:49 PM

Didn't catch the bit about it being 32 bit. 4GB is right around the "enough" mark, and you won't see many problems at all with that amount. And yes, it will get limited to 3.5 GB or so in a 32 bit OS.

There are a couple of things that will happen if you put the new memory you've got in the system.

First of all, all of the memory will run at the speed of the slowest module. This can very rarely cause problems, usually things just work. The computer won't be any slower than it already is, it just won't see increased memory bandwidth from the higher speed of the new memory, because it will be throttled. He'll still see performance benefits from not paging constantly due to insufficient memory.


Second, the computer will only run in Dual Channel mode if you have an equal number of sticks of the same capacity in each channel. Right now it sounds like he has two 1GB sticks. If you put a third 1GB in, it will operate in single channel mode and his memory bandwidth will suffer. If you put two 512MB sticks in, it might drop into dual channel mode. If the 1GB sticks are in Channel A and the 512MB sticks are in Channel B, then it will probably work as dual channel. If you mix sizes within a channel, though, it won't be able to operate as dual channel.

The bottom line, though, is that he definitely needs more memory. A second pair of 1GB sticks would be best.
June 27, 2012 5:47:36 PM

With DDR2 memory getting scarce, the price will be high. As a result, you won't be able to pick and choose like you would with all the DDR3 memory available today. Make sure all slots are populated with sticks of the same voltage and timings if possible. This will help eliminate memory errors from cropping up.
June 27, 2012 7:31:24 PM

willard said:
Didn't catch the bit about it being 32 bit. 4GB is right around the "enough" mark, and you won't see many problems at all with that amount. And yes, it will get limited to 3.5 GB or so in a 32 bit OS.

There are a couple of things that will happen if you put the new memory you've got in the system.

First of all, all of the memory will run at the speed of the slowest module. This can very rarely cause problems, usually things just work. The computer won't be any slower than it already is, it just won't see increased memory bandwidth from the higher speed of the new memory, because it will be throttled. He'll still see performance benefits from not paging constantly due to insufficient memory.


Second, the computer will only run in Dual Channel mode if you have an equal number of sticks of the same capacity in each channel. Right now it sounds like he has two 1GB sticks. If you put a third 1GB in, it will operate in single channel mode and his memory bandwidth will suffer. If you put two 512MB sticks in, it might drop into dual channel mode. If the 1GB sticks are in Channel A and the 512MB sticks are in Channel B, then it will probably work as dual channel. If you mix sizes within a channel, though, it won't be able to operate as dual channel.

The bottom line, though, is that he definitely needs more memory. A second pair of 1GB sticks would be best.


Thanks again for coming back so quick and for the explanation - makes sense.
June 27, 2012 7:40:02 PM

clutchc said:
With DDR2 memory getting scarce, the price will be high. As a result, you won't be able to pick and choose like you would with all the DDR3 memory available today. Make sure all slots are populated with sticks of the same voltage and timings if possible. This will help eliminate memory errors from cropping up.


Thanks for getting back to us so quickly.
Looking at it, the timings for the kingston 1066 memory ( the 2 gb already installed ) is quoted to default 800mhz at 5-5-5-18 at 1.8v and 5-5-5-15 at 2.2v.
Looking at the bios it seems to be set at 1.91v? - not sure why this is but it's reading running in dual format at 1066mhz.

The older ram I have is a dual set of 1gb sticks of Corsair xms2-6400 - which is quoted at 4-4-4-12 at 800mhz and has a 2.10v ( although I know I ran this previously at 1.85 volts ).

From what your saying I'll probably get memory errors if I put these in the two spare slots as they are different from the Kingston ones? - Or am I getting mixed up?

Sorry - fairly new to all this!:) 
June 27, 2012 7:52:30 PM

It depends on the chipset, but mixing timings is always iffy. If you've had the higher voltage RAM working in that board before, it must be OK with the lower voltage. You can try the mix of memory and see what happens. It won't do any physical harm to the machine. If it boots into Windows, run something memory intensive and see if it's stable.
June 27, 2012 8:10:39 PM

clutchc said:
It depends on the chipset, but mixing timings is always iffy. If you've had the higher voltage RAM working in that board before, it must be OK with the lower voltage. You can try the mix of memory and see what happens. It won't do any physical harm to the machine. If it boots into Windows, run something memory intensive and see if it's stable.


thanks again. - Just to clarify, should I set the ram memory clock in the bios to auto, instead of 1066 ( as it is now ) before putting the other corsair modules in?
I guess if it does not boot in windows it's not going to be compatible.

I could purchase another dual kit of Kingston 1066 ( £30 ) from CCL online but would like to see if I can make use of what I have aleady before spending out, especially as it won't recognise all of it.

At the moment the pc does not seem to be waiting due to paging etc but if by using the additional ram it will give a slight performance increase it would help.

Thanks again for your help and advice.
June 27, 2012 8:38:11 PM

Yes, I would leave it at auto. Let the board/BIOS/chip set determine what it needs to do. And, as you know, your memory will not operate at any faster speed than the processor/chip set/slowest RAM allows without overclocking the RAM. And I wouldn't do that with the mixed array of memory you are using. If you run into problems, you may have better luck getting answers in the Motherboards and Memory section.
June 27, 2012 8:40:51 PM

clutchc said:
Yes, I would leave it at auto. Let the board/BIOS/chip set determine what it needs to do. And, as you know, your memory will not operate at any faster speed than the processor/chip set/slowest RAM allows without overclocking the RAM. And I wouldn't do that with the mixed array of memory you are using. If you run into problems, you may have better luck getting answers in the Motherboards and Memory section.


Thanks again - will give it a go and see what happens.:) 
!