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2x512 vs. 4x256 PC 3500 Ram

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October 11, 2004 11:10:26 PM

my Rig below:

When I built my PC, I was dumb pinched pennies and anly installed 512mb of ram. Now I want to upgrade to 1gb. How much performance will I lose if I buy another 512 of ram, as opposed to buying a new 1gig kit, and re-selling/trashing the 512 I currently have? Money is tight right now because I just bought the new vid card. Thanks for the help. My goal is to play everquest 2 when it comes out, they recommend 1gig of ram to play it.

Abit IC7-G
P4 2.8 800 OC'd to 3.2
Corsair xms twinX512-pc3500C2/PT
Vantec ION-400b -PS
Zalman CNPS7000A-CU
2x Western digital SATA Raptors 10k 36gig-raid 0
XFX Geforce 6800 GT 256mb
Samsung SM352 52x24x52/16x 8mb
Antec Performance plusview 1000AMG
Logitech Z-640 5.1 speakers
Samsung 172T Flat Panel
Win XP PRO SP2! (New IE much improved)

More about : 2x512 4x256 3500 ram

October 12, 2004 12:15:17 AM

From what I understand you are essentially comparing the two memory setups performance-wise:

2x512MB modules
vs
1x1GB module.

The performance in theory is better with a single 1GB stick, though the difference is so minimal that is is nothing to squeal over. :p 

I would just use two sticks of 512MB. Better that you use identical sticks.
October 12, 2004 12:19:28 AM

Yes looking for a performance vs, $$ comparison. I'm in Dual channell mode, and have heard 2 sticks is better performance than 4 sticks, but not sure how much better or if it's worth the extra $120 to buy a new 2x512 kit, as opposed to just adding the exact same ram to my currently empty ram slots. Thanks
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October 12, 2004 12:20:13 AM

I'm going to be in the same boat at some point, having ordered 2 sticks of 256 instead of 512. I don't think it will hurt anything to have 4 x 256, as long as they all run dual channel right? Not sure, but wouldn't smaller memory modules be theoretically more efficient, though it probably doesn't make any difference in real-world application?
October 12, 2004 2:04:51 AM

2 sticks technicaly are better, theoreticaly.
But, if you have a good board, you can o/c similar with 4.
If not o/c, the difference is not noticable.

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October 12, 2004 3:25:24 PM

So currently you have 2x256MB modules, buying a couple more should not hurt you. The motherboard runs in dual channel mode so make sure you get 2 modules at the same time with all of the same specs. Is there really any benefit going with 2 512MB modules versus 4 256MB modules? Not really, the only down side is your taking up more real estate so if you want to upgrade to more memory in the future you would have to replace them. If you can afford it go to 2 512MB modules with your 256s for a total of 1536MBs, if this is not an option then just get 2x256MB modules for a total of 1GB.

Hope this helps.

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cpl@micron.com
October 12, 2004 7:11:10 PM

Yes, thank you, that helps a great deal. what I have heard was 4 sticks requires more timings, hence slowing performance. My board is an Abit IC7-G, which has been great for me, it makes OC'ing, raid, bios updates extremely simple for someone like me. I really have no need to OC most of the time, especially when gaming because I find my PC a bit unstable...I'm no expert. So if you say there isn't much difference, it will save me $100...which is a lot in my unemployed state. Thank you
October 12, 2004 8:28:47 PM

I am running 4 sticks of 512MB Corsair DDR 400 with Prescott 3200 and have stable timings at 2-2-2-5 and they have no problems.

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October 12, 2004 10:20:05 PM

Also, another thing to consider: more memory modules consumes more power. There is actually a noticibly small difference in performance when you compare 2x512MB vs 4x256MB. 2x512MB offers slightly better performance, no significant difference in performance.

Since you already have 512MB stick, I would just buy another 512MB stick, and forget about the 1GB kit.

Of course you want two modules for dual channel, make sure you insert them in the right DIMM slots- every other slot if you have two sticks.
a b } Memory
October 13, 2004 12:39:55 AM

Anandtech says your better off with 4 sticks than with 2, performance wise. In fact, they rated it like this:

Dual Channel Configurations:
Worst: 2 single sided modules
Better: 2 double sided modules
Better: 4 single sided modules
Best: 4 double sided modules

Something about the 875 chipset wanting more banks to populate, you'll have to read the article at Anandtech.

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October 13, 2004 2:00:24 PM

You know what? I'm still in the dark ages of RDRAM from my old PC. I totally forgot I can add 2x512 dimms, to my already installed 2x256 dimms. Unless this is not a good thing to do?

I may just spend the extra $100 for the 1 gig extra, if I can keep my current ram. I'd just switch the slots, put the 2x512 in slots 1 & 3, and move my current ram to slots 2 & 4. I can do this right? without anything going haywire potentially?
October 13, 2004 5:58:06 PM

That would be the best way...

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<font color=red> And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign </font color=red>
October 14, 2004 7:51:30 PM

I just got my computer parts From Fedex, sans video card which I ordered from another company. I'm excited to try this Crucial Ballistix ddr2-667! With a p4 550, what timings should I shoot for, non-overclocked? I may do that later, but for now I want to play around with things at the stock speed since I don't know much about Pentiums.
October 15, 2004 10:27:45 PM

I ended up with just getting the addition 512 megs. I spend nearly $400 on the XFX 6800 GT 256 8x. Between the 2 I don't think I'll have trouble playing any game for while, I hope. Have heard great things about the XFX card, plus I already owned an XFX Ti4600, which I have been happy with. I'll keep you all posted on the 3D & PC Marks
February 23, 2005 12:22:48 PM

How can you tell if RAM being sold on sites like Newegg.com are singlesided or doublesided?

AMD Athlon 64 2800+, SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 9800 PRO, Corsair Value Select 184 Pin 512MBx2 DDR PC-3200, Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA HD, EPoX "EP-8KDA3J" nForce3-250Gb Motherboard, Windows XP HOME w/ SP2
February 23, 2005 7:08:39 PM

Look up the model numbers on the Manufactures website. Its usually on the same page with each product at Newegg. It will be on the left side of your screen about 3/4 of the way down the page. Click the link to the manufactures website.

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February 23, 2005 7:54:16 PM

Using 2x256 modules and a single 512 module will disable dual channel mode! You have just halfed your memory bandwidth from 6400MB/s to 3200MB/s.

As crash said they 865/875 actually perform better with 4 sticks installed rather than 2.
!