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PC3200 RAM Compatibility


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#1 BlueCalcite

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 11:40 AM

I just helped a friend replace his 2003-era motherboard, which suddenly died. I couldn't find his exact motherboard (used), so I found a compatible one on eBay (AOpen AX4SPE-UN). The installation went fine, everything was working great. He decided he wanted to upgrade to Windows 7 32 bit, and I advised him that he should add more memory to accommodate it. He had only 1 GB of PC3200 (2 x 512 MB). I recommended a 2-GB kit (2 x 1-GB) of PNY Optima PC3200. He received the memory and installed it himself and the system crashed right after Windows finished loading. I advised him of some troubleshooting steps, and the result was that the system works fine with the old memory, no matter which two slots it is installed in. The system also works fine with the new memory, no matter which two slots it's installed in. But when installed at the same time, blue screens are always quick to follow. I didn't do my due diligence in researching voltages and timings of the RAM and the voltage of the motherboard, so I suspect that's the conflict. Here's the information I have:

Old RAM is Crucial PC3200, 2.6v, unknown timings (working on figuring that out)
New RAM is PNY Optima PC3200, 2.5v, timings 3-3-3-8
Motherboard (AOpen AX4SPE-UN) is apparently adjustable between 2.6v and 2.7v

I had him check the BIOS and the RAM timings were already set to 3-3-3-8, and the RAM voltage is set to 2.6v.

I have a feeling that if I had advised him to get some 2.6v RAM, the old and new RAM would play nicely together. Or is that not necessarily the cause? Does the fact that the 2.5v PNY runs fine (by itself) at 2.6v suggest that the voltage differences between the old and new RAM aren't significant? Is there any way to avoid buying new RAM and making these work together by adjusting anything in the BIOS?

In the meantime, I told him to just run the system with the new PNY RAM. Thoughts on the wisdom of this? I tried e-mailing PNY to see if running the new RAM (rated at 2.5v) at 2.6v (the lowest the mobo allows) will damage it. But every time I try to submit the question via their form I get an error.

Thanks in advance for any advice on getting the old and new RAM working together.

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#2 the_patriot11

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 11:51 AM

Sometimes ram just does not play well together especially with different voltages on some boards it does some do not. What you might do is go into the bios and manually set the voltages, first set to 2.5. And then try 2.6 if worse comes to worse just use the pny 7 will run off 2 gig and on that old of a system its not going to be the biggest bottleneck. U can always add another 2 gig set of the pny stuff later

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#3 BlueCalcite

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:59 PM

What you might do is go into the bios and manually set the voltages, first set to 2.5. And then try 2.6...


It's currently set to 2.6v, which is the lowest that it can be set to. The allowable range in the BIOS is 2.6v-2.7v.

#4 the_patriot11

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 07:55 PM

But you say it will run off the 2 gigs PNY on their own? Well then my advice then, is to either return the two gigs of PNY for 2 crucial sticks that match the voltages of the RAM already there, or get another stick of matching PNY to get the intended 3 gigs, or just live with the 2.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

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#5 BlueCalcite

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:24 PM

Is it risky to supply 2.6v to the PNY that's rated for 2.5v? Or is that 0.1v insignificant to the health of the RAM?

#6 the_patriot11

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 08:43 PM

not if its running stable and not overheating. whats probably causing the instability is the mixing voltages would be my guess. If it were me however, if the option is available (I dont know if it is or not, dont know where you got it from) I would return the PNY and go for the crucial memory. PNY is good, but if you can find a 2 gig set of crucial ram at the same voltage it will likely give you 3 gigs cheaper then buying another gig of PNY ram, and crucial is normally (not always) cheaper then PNY anyway, and still good quality ram.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

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#7 BlueCalcite

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:39 AM

I'm actually having a hard time finding Crucial at a good price. The PNY was about $55 on Newegg for the 2 GB kit. A similar Crucial kit is more than $90 both at Newegg and at crucial.com. I think I know what I'm going to do. I have access to another 1 GB stick of the PNY. I bought the same stuff to beef up my parents' computer. It's got 4 GB, but at 32-bit that last 1 GB is mostly a waste. I think I'll just yank a stick out of that and donate it to my friend's PC, since it was my fault for not researching it better before purchasing.

Thanks for your time!

#8 the_patriot11

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:02 AM

Not a problem if u have any more questions feel free to ask

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.





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