Based purely on performance they should be identical, but that doesnt take into account that games are often memory hogs.
In reality there is a significant difference, especially running win2k or XP, as the OS and applications can easily consume considerable amounts of ram. If too much is used the system has to dip into the swapfile more often, slowing things down to a crawl.
Having 512mb of ram ensures that any swapfile usage is rare at best, keeping gaming smooth.
As a general rule of thumb...
Win95/98/ME normal user can get away with 128mb of ram
Win95/98/ME heavy user/gamer should have 256 to 512mb
Win2k/XP normal user should have 256
Win2k/XP heavy user/gamer ideally should get 512Mb.
Really depends on your needs.
<b>Microsoft is good for you. MS has your best intrests at heart. MS products are easy to use, Reliable, Bug free and Secure. MS says so. What possible reason would they have to lie to you?</b>
I run WinXP in 2 of my comps. ! has 256MB PC800 RDRAM and 1 has 512MB DDR333 @ DDR266 (at the moment). The 512MB really speeds up the opening and closing of apps I find. There's practically no lag, whereas in the 256MB machine, you get lags.
...And all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put my computer back together again...
Our MINIMUM standard for normal operation is 256 meg for WIN9x and 378 meg for XP.
WinXP recommendation is 512 and up. With PC2100 so cheap after rebate. We run 768 as our standard.
Our recommendation is 512 meg for Win9x. We often run 768 meg on Win9x successfully despite the warnings to keep it down.
Every working computer must be improved .... or replaced ...<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by JEFF68005 on 10/23/02 02:48 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
I'm running win 98 on 256 megs of RAM. After bootup, I ran a memory testing program and found that I had only 20 megs free.
That's plenty for a typical internet browser/word home PC, but is pretty low for a gaming PC. I would recommend at least 386 Megs for win 98, and at least a gig for win 2k/xp for optimum performance.
(I can't believe that I'm recommending a gig of RAM! My first PC had only 640 K or RAM! I can remember not so long ago when the typical PC shipped with 8 megs of RAM. Just a year ago a gig or more of RAM was reserved for servers and rich folk only.)
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I have Win2k and 256 of pc2100, and believe me those 256 megs get used up FAST! When I'm playing UT2003 or any other graphics intensive game, the ram fills up immediately. Needless to say, I need some breathing room. So I will be getting another 256meg stick soon.
I'd prefer having 2x256, because if one dies, all is not lost, you have backup.
<i><font color=blue>If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets.</font color=blue></i>
For any Windows users, you should really limit the programs at startup to only the most essential ones. In addition, if you don't use some programs all the time, disable them in the system tray. If you have Windows 98 or Windows XP, you can run MSCONFIG (from the Run dialog) to see what programs you can uncheck from starting up. But if the program has a setting where you can disable it, that would be best. For Windows 2000 users, you can go to my software database on my website to get the link to MSCONFIG, since it wasn't included on that operating system. I'm especially recommending that <b>knowan</b> should look into this, because there shouldn't be 20MB of physical memory free after bootup...unless you have a bunch of background programs running right off the bat.
I agree with what my buddy PooBaa says about RAM amount recommendations. In addition, if you have 512MB of memory on a Windows 98 computer, you just might need the workaround. I don't know how to explain the long way to do this, like Toey would, but I just use <A HREF="http://http://www.outertech.com" target="_new">Cacheman</A> to configure it. It runs once, configures it, and ceases...without using CPU cycles in the background. And for <b>knowan</b> again for recommending a GB of memory...that's a whole lot for optimum performance. It's tough to say optimum performance, because we really can't tell what a person runs (in terms of programs) on their system.
I'm not totally sure if two smaller sticks are faster than one, but I think it is, as opposed to what <b>camieabz</b> says. Something about interleaving??? But in terms of overclocking, one is better, because no two sticks of memory, although rated the same, might overclock the same (except for tested sticks). In that case, one would be the better choice, because your system won't have to worry about two memory modules running at the same speed.
In terms of whether I personally would use one or two sticks, even if 512MB was faster, I'd rather have safety of knowing that if one memory stick died, at least (I hope) the other would hold me over. *agrees with <b>Octivus</b>* :smile:
(Someone can/should correct me on this if I'm wrong, because I haven't really answered too many memory questions in awhile.)
That 20 megs free was on a new system after I had loaded all the "extra" goodies from the CD that came with the motherboard. 2 days later I still hadn't used any of the extra's (except the memory tester) so I re-formatted the hard drive and started over. The PC boots up alot faster now, and I likely have more RAM available, but since I haven't loaded the memory tester I don't know if that's true or not.
I grew up on running 286's and 486's, so conserving RAM and hard drive space is important to me. I hate TSR's and will soon be trimming down even further. It's my ambition to have an "instant boot" PC. I want to have my computer come on when I turn on the power button, and not have to wait 10-40 seconds for the boot up process.
As for speed, I think that one stick is faster than 2, but the difference is 1% or less, not worth worrying about. The exception is of course the nforce motherboards, where 2 is better than 1.
On most (but not all) motherboards 3 or even 4 ram sticks will significantly slow down performance. Maxxing out the RAM slots almost always leads to degrading the memory timings. If you are using 2 or more sticks it is also almost always better to use sticks that are the same size (2x256 megs instead on a 256 and a 512). It is also better to use single sided RAM, as opposed to those with chips on both sides of the stick. I'm not sure why, but it has been demonstrated again and again to me that single sided RAM is faster/more stable than double sided.
Of course, I'm talking about DDR RAM here. RD RAM is another story altogether.
As for overclocking I really can't say which is best.
I would still recommend 265 Megs for win 98/me users and 512 for win 2k/XP users should be the minimum. 384 megs would actually be enough for win2k/xp, but price/performance ratio makes 512 a beter buy. That's good enough for the casual user. People who are heavely onto games, video playback/editing, CAD, etc should double that.
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I'm not totally sure if two smaller sticks are faster than one, but I think it is, as opposed to what camieabz says.
Personally, be it 2 x 128MB or 2 x 256MB, I've found that one stick seems to make for a more responsive system. I blame the chipsets on mobos for that. Over the years, they've (mostly) been designed for a single stick.