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Dual-Channel Memory Issues.........But We Can Fix'er, Right? I SAID RIGHT?!!! by Boondawg
Started on: 11-04-2006 07:17 PM
Replies: 32
Last post by: Deabionni on 11-05-2006 09:23 PM
Boondawg
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Report this Post11-04-2006 07:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post

A few months ago I ordered a stick if memory for my new motherboard (Gigabyte K8 Triton GA-K8NSC-939) and Processor (AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 2.2GHz Socket 939).

The memory was a stick of Patriot 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400/PC 3200.
It's model is PEP1G3200LL.
http://www.patriotmem.com/products/detailp.jsp?prodline=5&catid=1&prodgroupid=2&id=40&type=1

Yesterday I got another stick of that EXACT make & model.
The slots in the motherboard are:
Slot 1-Blue
Slot 2-Blue
Slot 3-Orange
Slot 4-Orange

Motherboard:


I already have 1 stick in slot 1 (Blue), so I put the new stick in slot 2 (Blue), as per the motherboard manual:


No boot.

So I left the old stick in slot 1 (
Blue) and put the new stick in slot 3 (Orange).
Boots fine, shows both sticks, but on boot it says, "Memory not optimized - See manual", which is telling me I have 2 gigs working, but not in Dual-Channel mode. Which is as it should be when using slot 1 and 3.

Bottomline, the memory won't boot in Slots 1 & 2, for Dual-Channel mode.

So I pull the sticks to visually compare them and read the fineprint on the heatsink stickers.

Besides the brand, size, & speed, my old stick says on it:
PE000003 - M A0011686
And that's all.

Besides the brand, size, & speed, my new stick says:
PE000003 RoHS Compliant
And thats it.

So it would SEEM that these sticks are CLOSE, but not exactly EXACT.

So, let's leave them in Slots 1 & 3, (the only bootable configuration that works) and run CPU-Z.

Stick 1:


Stick 2:


OK, so far, so good.

Now, lets look at the timings:


See the differences?
And I just don't know why!
I'm guessing the sticks ARE NOT the same?

Can I fix this problem by adjusting the memory settings in BIOS?


There is also some strange readings going on in BIOS:


See some differences?!
What in the hell is going on?!
Can I fix it, or should I just RMA it back to Newegg?
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Report this Post11-04-2006 09:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Direct Link to This Post
Have you tried both sticks in slots 3 and 4 to see if it'll boot?
How about one stick in slot one?
One stick in slot two?

Go through the memory and see if there are any configurations that do and do not boot. You could have a damaged memory slot on the mobo, or the memory controller could be flaky.

Do the memory chips on both memory sticks look the same? Sometimes later models will have different hardware on the stick, but be sold as the same model number - depending on what batch the memory came from and if they switch suppliers. That's why it's recommended to buy a matched pair of memory.

Do you have access to a matched set of memory sticks for testing?
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Deabionni
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Report this Post11-04-2006 09:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DeabionniClick Here to Email DeabionniSend a Private Message to DeabionniDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:

Have you tried both sticks in slots 3 and 4 to see if it'll boot?



That's what I'd try next. Put them both in yer orange slots, and see what you get.

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Falcon4
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Report this Post11-04-2006 09:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
Or you can just be happy with one of the sticks (1gb is enough for anything as I've been using for years) and sell the other one on eBay.

And you'd better not tell me you've got a swap file running on that box as well...

On topic, I'd suggest the orange thing as well. Also give a BIOS update a try. Sticks of that size are pretty damn hard to work with... could be a different kind of memory than it was expecting. =\

------------------


'87 Fiero GT, Automatic, 153k miles, stock everything, just trying to make it all work again. :D
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Report this Post11-04-2006 10:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for The FunkmasterSend a Private Message to The FunkmasterDirect Link to This Post
Back up your Scuzzy port against somebody's hard drive, jiggle your PROM, then upload your data to a remote server before initializing a systemwide virus scan.
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Report this Post11-04-2006 10:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
That's SCSI, Funkboy.
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Report this Post11-04-2006 10:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by The Funkmaster:

Back up your Scuzzy port against somebody's hard drive, jiggle your PROM, then upload your data to a remote server before initializing a systemwide virus scan.


It's a computer, not a warp core. Jordi can't fix this one.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 04:58 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:
Have you tried both sticks in slots 3 and 4 to see if it'll boot?

 
quote
Originally posted by Deabionni:
That's what I'd try next. Put them both in yer orange slots, and see what you get.



 
quote
Originally posted by Boondawg:
Slots 1 & 3, (the only bootable configuration that works)


Upon farther examination, the new stick won't work in ANY slot BY ITSELF.
The only way it will work AT ALL is in slot 3, IF I have my old stick in slot 1.

Time to RMA it and send it back.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 05:04 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
Ooh. God. Attention to detail, I guess. Too many screenshots.

But seriously though, do you have any sane reason to RMA it instead of just returning it for a refund?? Dude, you don't need that much memory!
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Report this Post11-05-2006 07:19 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SynthesisSend a Private Message to SynthesisDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:

Dude, you don't need that much memory!



Heh, sounds like something Bill Gates said.
"Noone will ever need more than 512k of RAM."

Actually, 2 gigs makes a hell of a difference compared to 1 gig in a Gaming System. I ran 2 gigs in my system a couple of weeks back while testing some RAM for a friend. My games loaded nearly twice as fast as they did with 1 gig, my framerates were smoother, and I spent less time in "Loading" screens. Especially in games such as Battlefield2 and Flight Sim X.
As for your comment on the swap file earlier. That is a whole can of worms, and whether you think it is needed or not, I DO recommend running a swap file, even if you have 2 gigs of RAM. Windows will check the swap file periodically while running applications, even if the applications never need the swap file. Running without a swap is asking for potential problems regardless. Now, you CAN turn it way down if you would like..
Boonie is a Gamer. 2 gigs of DDR will help him exponentially.

Boonie. Return that stick, and then buy 2 matched sticks of 1 gig each. After those are installed, sell the other stick here on the forum or something. That would be your best bet for getting a true matched set. Most sticks of Matched DDR for Dual Channel have been tested together, and usually come off the assembly line next to each other.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 12:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeDirect Link to This Post
I was going to suggest testing the sticks individually using Memtest86. But if the new stick doesn't work by itself, then the answer is pretty obvious.

BTW... Falcon4 must still be stuck in the 20th century.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 12:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for antinull.comSend a Private Message to antinull.comDirect Link to This Post
i mighta misred it
basically unless they are EXACTLY MATCHING RAM you are going to have to use slots 1 and 3 and its not going to be optimized
and if the speeds of ram differ it wont work as well either
i sugest getting 4 matching cheaps sticks works better then 2 unmatch
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Report this Post11-05-2006 12:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
As for your comment on the swap file earlier. That is a whole can of worms, and whether you think it is needed or not, I DO recommend running a swap file, even if you have 2 gigs of RAM. Windows will check the swap file periodically while running applications, even if the applications never need the swap file. Running without a swap is asking for potential problems regardless. Now, you CAN turn it way down if you would like..
Boonie is a Gamer. 2 gigs of DDR will help him exponentially.


Gamer + swap file questions = yes, a can of worms.

However, times have changed since XP "Original" (and very much from Win2K) in the way Windows handles swap file "substitution". It's become well known fact in my field of swap file preaching that all programs require swappable memory, so how Windows compensates for the lack thereof is coming into play here. SP2 has made the best improvements - no more weird crashes and "out of virtual memory" errors (unless you REALLY ARE, which is rare even with 1gb RAM).

But gamers will surely see the biggest hit - many modern games are memory whores, eating up 600, 768, even up to 1 full GB of RAM of its own, leaving remaining system processes to fight for the rest. I've noticed this with Quake 4, after a few levels have loaded during the session, it doesn't seem to unload the old data so the next level just adds to the massiveness. I have, however, successfully played (almost) through Quake 4 with no swap and 1GB RAM before getting tired of losing.

However, in this system of 2gb RAM -- keeping in mind that with SP2 no swap file is really necessary -- you should be perfectly well off on any game with just physical RAM. To find out how well off you are, use Windows Task Manager's "PF usage" (a VERY misleading title) to find your absolute current memory usage. Keep Task Manager open while you run your games and see how high the bar gets. If it never passes 2gb, you can disable that piece of **** swap file and visibly notice your load times drop through the floor. People (like Synthesis) will tell you that the swap file goes unused - but just try placing your swap file on a secondary hard drive then try telling me Windows is fully utilizing your memory. You'll see that second hard drive in use more than any other drive in your system as soon as you fire up a game! Windows itself is still stuck in the 20th century when 16mb RAM was valuable.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 12:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SynthesisSend a Private Message to SynthesisDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:

People (like Synthesis) will tell you that the swap file goes unused - but just try placing your swap file on a secondary hard drive then try telling me Windows is fully utilizing your memory.


Not arguing, just making a point...

I never said Windows will never use the Swap file...
My exact statement was this:

 
quote
Originally posted by ThatGnarlyDudeKnownAsSynthesis
Windows will check the swap file periodically while running applications, even if the applications never need the swap file.


I have run without a swap file before with 2 gigs of RAM, and had minimal issues.
Keep in mind though, I utilize more of my RAM than most people, not just as a gamer, but I am also running several background tasks that utilize CPU and RAM very heavily.

Yes, Boondawg may be able to get by without a swap file. I agree. He can disable it, and then re-enable it the moment he has issues.
I just want to make sure those issues never happen.

Again, not arguing, just making a point.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 12:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
*shrug* Early morning misreading, I guess. Sorry.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 01:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Direct Link to This Post
Keeping a swapfile is fine. To improve your performance, use a fixed size swapfile rather than dynamic, and add the following to your SYSTEM.INI file:

Under [386Enh] add "ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1" to make the PC use all onboard RAM before going to the swapfile. Otherwise Windoze likes to swap out pretty aggressively, to keep as much system memory free as possible. With 2Gb RAM, it should almost nullify any swapfile usage except when doing lots of multitasking, etc.

Add the line in blue only - the rest is just to show an example of where to put it. Make sure to leave a blank line at the end of the [386Enh] section.


[386Enh]
ebios=*ebios
woafont=app850.fon
mouse=*vmouse, msmouse.vxd
device=*dynapage
device=*vcd
device=*vpd
device=*int13
keyboard=*vkd
display=*vdd,*vflatd
PageBuffers=32

ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1


[NonWindowsApp]


Note: this may not apply to 2000 or XP.

[This message has been edited by Formula88 (edited 11-05-2006).]

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Falcon4
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Report this Post11-05-2006 01:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
WOW!!! EVERYONE WITH AN EYE ON KEEPING THEIR COMPUTER ALIVE PLEASE IGNORE THE PREVIOUS POST.

Do I *really* need to explain why that doesn't apply in the new fangled world of Windows 2000 and XP?
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Report this Post11-05-2006 02:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:


[386Enh]
ebios=*ebios
woafont=app850.fon
mouse=*vmouse, msmouse.vxd
device=*dynapage
device=*vcd
device=*vpd
device=*int13
keyboard=*vkd
display=*vdd,*vflatd
PageBuffers=32

ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1


[NonWindowsApp]



 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:

Do I *really* need to explain why that doesn't apply in the new fangled world of Windows 2000 and XP?


Please do.

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Report this Post11-05-2006 02:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
*sigh* Damnit, if I have to pause AotS one more time to address stupid comments... >.<

Look. First of all Windows NT has never used system.ini. Windows 2000 and hence Windows XP still does not use it. Microsoft even notes that it's only there for legacy application compatibility - many old Windows 3.x and some Windows 95 programs will add or modify entries in system.ini to improve performance or load proprietary drivers. Windows doesn't even look at it - you can delete this file and Windows won't even care. In fact I just deleted mine. I'll reboot in a minute and prove that point simply enough.

(edit: This piece of old advice started here with Windows 98's memory manager redesign.)

Second, Windows 95 had a dynamic swap file that always caused problems. The root of the whole "static page file" advice was rooted in the way Windows 95 would always start with a miniscule (like, 8mb) page file, then slowly grow as the system is used. Since then, with Windows 98 and ME, the page file system was rewritten to be more static and cause less fragmentation. The page file in Windows 2000 and more so in XP is almost completely static - it starts out massive and always stays that size unless in the extremely rare instance you run out of page file, it will increase its size on the fly. But as the data within the page file is disorganized enough, it wouldn't matter if it's fragmented or not, it's seeking all over the drive all the time anyway!

Hope that helps clear things up. Now next time I say I know what's going on with memory management... let's not argue, mm'kaies?

edit: **pokes forum last-post list**

[This message has been edited by Falcon4 (edited 11-05-2006).]

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Falcon4
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Report this Post11-05-2006 02:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
** pokes forum last-post list harder **

No, not 17 posts. Now 19. Come on, count! :P
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Report this Post11-05-2006 02:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:
Do I *really* need to explain why that doesn't apply in the new fangled world of Windows 2000 and XP?

 
quote
Originally posted by Boondawg:
Please do.

 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:
*sigh* Damnit, if I have to pause AotS one more time to address stupid comments... >.<


I was trying to learn.
Wasn't ment to be a "stupid" comment, or seen as one.
Just taking you up on your offer, "Do I *really* need to explain why".
For me, it was an opportunity to learn more about a subject that is of intrest to me, as of late.
Thanks for the info!
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Report this Post11-05-2006 02:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:
Dude, you don't need that much memory!



 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:

Hope that helps clear things up. Now next time I say I know what's going on with memory management... let's not argue, mm'kaies?

edit: **pokes forum last-post list**



Given these two quotes in the same thread, you'll forgive me if I don't take your word as being an expert on windows and memory.
I'd say thanks for the info, if you weren't such an ass about offering it.

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Report this Post11-05-2006 02:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
I just tend to beat people up a little too much when offering bad information... like the system.ini tip. Top it off with memory being a touchy subject... trying to bash down the "bigger numbers is larger e-penis" mindset... and you get me steamrolling everyone I encounter.

Sorry to those I flattened... 'cept you, Formula. (j/k)
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Report this Post11-05-2006 03:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Direct Link to This Post
Why the heck would memory be a "touchy" subject?

More memory is almost always going to be better - just like a faster CPU is almost always better. It may be more than you "need" for most tasks, but many modern games run much better with 2 Gb of RAM than they do with 1 Gb. Someone who claims to know so much about memory should know that.

No go park that steamroller on your ego. If you've got information to share, you'll find people willing to learn, myself included. But, if you're going to go off on a tirade because you think you know so much more than everyone else and are being burdened by having to respond, then you can shove that information and your steamroller up your ass.


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Report this Post11-05-2006 03:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:
Top it off with memory being a touchy subject... trying to bash down the "bigger numbers is larger e-penis" mindset...


But when it comes to memory, too much can't hurt you, can it?
The worst it could do, would be to be a waste of money, right?

From my side, Battlefield 2 loads twice as fast with 2 gigs ~vs~ 1 gig.
I tryed it myself, to find that out.
When it comes to more memory, the only time I notice an improvement, is on load times.
But I mostly just play games, so more memory may do more in other tasks, but I only see noticable improvments in game load times.

On the other hand, this thread is about trying to get Dual-Channel working, which I'm told will be a BIG improvement over single-channel memory access times.

I wanted to see for myself.

But to do it, I needed 2 sticks.
I already had 1 stick, so in order to try it, I had to match it up with another stick.
It was more about trying Dual-Channel technoligy then "mines bigger then yours".
I'd settle for mine being bigger then MINE!!!!

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Report this Post11-05-2006 03:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DeabionniClick Here to Email DeabionniSend a Private Message to DeabionniDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Synthesis:

Heh, sounds like something Bill Gates said.
"Noone will ever need more than 512k of RAM."

Actually, 2 gigs makes a hell of a difference compared to 1 gig in a Gaming System. I ran 2 gigs in my system a couple of weeks back while testing some RAM for a friend. My games loaded nearly twice as fast as they did with 1 gig, my framerates were smoother, and I spent less time in "Loading" screens. Especially in games such as Battlefield2 and Flight Sim X.



Believe me, I can vouch for that! We have 2GB in our current system (that we use A LOT for gaming), and I'll never run anything less than 2GB from here on out. Load times are faster, and game play is a lot smoother.

Not to mention, the 2BG of RAM coupled together with my dual core CPU allows me to do things like video editing and such; and still be able to run multiple tasks, or play a game at the same time. The days of "1GB is enough for any system" are at an end.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 03:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoondawgClick Here to Email BoondawgSend a Private Message to BoondawgDirect Link to This Post
So which is faster (better).

A 1 gig stick of DDR-400

~or~

2 sticks of 512 DDR-400 in Dual-Channel?

[This message has been edited by Boondawg (edited 11-05-2006).]

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Report this Post11-05-2006 03:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Falcon4Click Here to visit Falcon4's HomePageClick Here to Email Falcon4Send a Private Message to Falcon4Direct Link to This Post
From what I understand (still working with at least one computer with PC133 RAM), dual channel allows the memory controller to write/read to/from two individual modules in the same cycle. So if you have one module of 1gb, it creates a sort of "bottleneck" because there's only one stick, compared to two smaller 512s in dual channel. I'd go with the two modules.

Oh, and I'm sorry for taking the thread off-topic... let's see how this works, shall we?
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Report this Post11-05-2006 04:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DeabionniClick Here to Email DeabionniSend a Private Message to DeabionniDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Falcon4:

...dual channel allows the memory controller to write/read to/from two individual modules in the same cycle. So if you have one module of 1gb, it creates a sort of "bottleneck" because there's only one stick, compared to two smaller 512s in dual channel. I'd go with the two modules.



I agree. If it comes down to a choice of running a single gig of RAM in single channel mode, or 1GB in dual channel mode (2 x 512MB sticks); your RAM will have faster read/write capabilities in dual channel mode.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 05:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SynthesisSend a Private Message to SynthesisDirect Link to This Post
Actually, as an added piece of interest, if you run 4x512 MB of DDR in Dual Channel, it is FASTER than 2x1GB of DDR in Dual Channel.

So, if you still wanted to go 2 gigs, go with 4x512MB... It works out to the same price (Almost) as buying 2x1GB...

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Formula88
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Report this Post11-05-2006 05:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Synthesis:

Actually, as an added piece of interest, if you run 4x512 MB of DDR in Dual Channel, it is FASTER than 2x1GB of DDR in Dual Channel.

So, if you still wanted to go 2 gigs, go with 4x512MB... It works out to the same price (Almost) as buying 2x1GB...


Not necessarily. Check the documentation on your motherboard. Some have memory timing limitations when using 4 DIMMS, so while you may have 4 sticks in dual channel mode, it may slow down the memory timings, negating any performance improvement.

I know on Athlon64 socket 754 boards, they have 3 DIMM slots. You can run DDR400 with up to 2 slots filled, but only DDR333 with all three filled.
It may be dependant on the memory controller, or BIOS - I'm not sure which. Just double check the documentation on the board you're looking at to make sure. I think most 939 boards are ok. Just wanted to give a heads up to check before so someone checks before spending money on 4 DIMMS.
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Synthesis
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Report this Post11-05-2006 06:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SynthesisSend a Private Message to SynthesisDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:


Not necessarily. Check the documentation on your motherboard. Some have memory timing limitations when using 4 DIMMS, so while you may have 4 sticks in dual channel mode, it may slow down the memory timings, negating any performance improvement.

I know on Athlon64 socket 754 boards, they have 3 DIMM slots. You can run DDR400 with up to 2 slots filled, but only DDR333 with all three filled.
It may be dependant on the memory controller, or BIOS - I'm not sure which. Just double check the documentation on the board you're looking at to make sure. I think most 939 boards are ok. Just wanted to give a heads up to check before so someone checks before spending money on 4 DIMMS.


Actually, thank you for correcting me, I forgot all about that. lol
My board has the same exact issue, EXCEPT, I can manually set my DRAM speed back to 400 in the BIOS, and it actually runs at the 400 I set it at. Even with that limitation, as long as I manually set it.
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Report this Post11-05-2006 09:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DeabionniClick Here to Email DeabionniSend a Private Message to DeabionniDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:

Not necessarily. Check the documentation on your motherboard. Some have memory timing limitations when using 4 DIMMS, so while you may have 4 sticks in dual channel mode, it may slow down the memory timings, negating any performance improvement.



Correct. Most motherboards have to run the RAM at much looser timings, to make up for the added stress on the CPU's built in memory controller. At the very minimum, most boards will only operate at a 2T command rate, vs. the faster 1T command rate when there are more than two sticks of RAM present. (Some boards are also known to have problems running at with all of the RAM slots filled).

That's something you may want to consider before ditching the 1GB stick, and getting 2 x 512MB sticks in it's place.
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