Solved: RAM choices. Dual channel vs single channel.

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nildefects

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Hi guys,
I want to purchase more ram sticks for my desktop. It already has 3GB in it. 2x1GB sticks and 2x512MB sticks. I would like to take it all the way to 4GB. If I replace the two 512mb sticks am I better off getting a matched pair of sticks for dual channel. A matched pair in most stores seems to be more expensive than just buying two sticks of the same type. What is the difference? My motherboard does support dual by the way.
I think when I bought the two 1GB sticks I just bought 2 of the same make in pc world, but not a matching pair.
I would like to know, does it really matter?
Thanks.

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Triple6

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The reason the previous poster asks is because if you have a 32 bit versions of Windows rather then a 64 bit version then you will not be able to use all 4GB of RAM, 3GB is around the max for a 32 bit operating system as it can only handle 4GB of addressing space but that also includes BIOS and video reservations cutting the limit of RAM doign to around 3GB.

Dual Channel kits are tested and perfected matched to be used in a dual channel configuration, the memory itself is nothing special though and buying two separate but similar pieces can also work.
 

nildefects

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Hi,
I am using using XP 32bit, and do realise that it doesn't always recognise the 4GB. I would just like the PC to be as higher spec as possible. So I wont need to change the desktop to install Vista or the new system coming out soon.
So I guess that 2 sticks of the same make and spec is pretty much the same as a matched pair? Many thanks for your advise.
 

nildefects

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Hi,
Just one other question.
I am looking at the PC3200 400Mhz DDR 1GB sticks.
When I look at the choices, I can get PNY sticks for about £17.99 and others for £29.
Do you get what you pay for or are the PNY sticks just a good deal?
 
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Cheap memory can work but you need to know a bit about it. For DDR 400 you really need a low latency for your speed to count much. Timings of 2.2.2.5 are obtainable from suppliers like Munchkin/ Transcend or a few other good suppliers.
 
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I just built a 32 bit Vista Business AMD 6000 4 gb ram and Vista shows 4 gb. Yes, get dual channel. It's like counting to ten on your fingers using two hands simultaneously instead of one after the other.
 

Triple6

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Hi,
I am using using XP 32bit, and do realise that it doesn't always recognise the 4GB. I would just like the PC to be as higher spec as possible. So I wont need to change the desktop to install Vista or the new system coming out soon.
So I guess that 2 sticks of the same make and spec is pretty much the same as a matched pair? Many thanks for your advise.

Adding more memory beyond 3GB is a complete waste in Windows XP 32 bit, simply money down the toilet.

Stay with what you have, dual channel and lower latencies and higher memory clock speeds add up to very little real world performance, some improvements in synthetic benchmarks buts thats about all you gain.
 
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Adding more memory beyond 3GB is a complete waste in Windows XP 32 bit, simply money down the toilet.

Stay with what you have, dual channel and lower latencies and higher memory clock speeds add up to very little real world performance, some improvements in synthetic benchmarks buts thats about all you gain.
I tend to agree with this post in regards to the amount of memory and the performance seen using XP.

On the other hand I do always make an attempt to keep the RAM amount as high as possible using the fewest sticks possible.

For one thing motherboards vary and whereas if you use two sticks of RAM that are matched you can benefit from Dual Channel there are boards with four slots that if all populated you don't get dual channel.

In other words if you are determined to have 4GB of memory and your board will support it then the ideal scenario is two 2GB matched sticks which would result in 4GB of Dual Channel memory.

An important thing to always consider too where memory is concerned is that the more sticks you have the more you increase your chances of glitches down the road so it's a good idea to keep the odds of success in your favor by maximizing RAM through use of minimum parts.

It's also not the best of ideas to mix brands when it can be avoided even if they are the same specifications on paper.
 

Triple6

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Rob
I tend to agree with this post in regards to the amount of memory and the performance seen using XP.

On the other hand I do always make an attempt to keep the RAM amount as high as possible using the fewest sticks possible.

For one thing motherboards vary and whereas if you use two sticks of RAM that are matched you can benefit from Dual Channel there are boards with four slots that if all populated you don't get dual channel.

In other words if you are determined to have 4GB of memory and your board will support it then the ideal scenario is two 2GB matched sticks which would result in 4GB of Dual Channel memory.

An important thing to always consider too where memory is concerned is that the more sticks you have the more you increase your chances of glitches down the road so it's a good idea to keep the odds of success in your favor by maximizing RAM through use of minimum parts.

It's also not the best of ideas to mix brands when it can be avoided even if they are the same specifications on paper.
I agree, however I would not recommend someone spend money when their existing setup works, there are better ways to spend money. On the initial purchase I too would recommend buying a 2x2GB set versus a combination to get 3GB which will cost more.
 
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Those OCZ 2 x 1.5GB matched pairs would have been great. I seem to remember them being SODIMM for laptops, though.
 
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