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RAM Upgrade Questions


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#1 Mediokrates

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 08:22 PM

Hi all,

Now that my aging desktop is back up and running, I was thinking of doing some cheap but hopefully efficient upgrades... namely RAM

Currently, I have a M2N-MX SE Plus mobo, running XP - 32bit.

According to the specs, this mobo will handle 2 2GB RAM modules in slots A and B, for a total of 4GB. It can use 533, 667, 800, or 1066MHz nonECC unbuffered modules.

Currently, I have 2GB RAM, dual channel.
I want to increase the speed of the computer. However, I understand that XP will only recognize up to 3GB of RAM.

So, I initially thought I could just purchase one 2GB module and put it in, for a total of 3GB, but I've read that both modules should be identical when running dual channel. So, I'm considering getting 2 2GB modules anyway.

I have some questions though, before I go looking for modules. Hopefully, someone can explain them simply enough for me to understand:)

From what I can see, I have 2 1GB Hynix RAM modules. The stickers say 1GB 2Rx8 PC2-4200U 444 12.
From what I understand, and from reading the specs on this module (HYMP512U64BP8 C4), it is a DDR2 - 533MHz, with 1.8 Voltage, and a latency of
444 12.

All I know is that I want DDR2, preferably 800MHz or 1066MHz.


1. Should both modules be identical in specs? ie Mhz & GB?
2. What is more important to a computer's speed: MHz or GB?
3. What should I be looking for in voltage? higher or lower, or the same?
4. Any conflicts between my plan of 800 or 1066Mhz and the rest of my system?

My system is as follows:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ / 2.2 GHz
Data bus speed 2000.0 MHz
RAM:
2.0GB (4GB Max)
DDR2 SDRAM
533 Mhz
PC2-4200

Any suggestions on specs, or better yet, make and models, would be highly appreciated.

Thanks again

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:14 AM

<<However, I understand that XP will only recognize up to 3GB of RAM.>>

Incorrect, although among several common misunderstandings regarding installed RAM and useability of same. The 4GB will be recognized and used by the system. Misconceptions come about when users focus on one line reflected within Windows...RAM reflected when viewing System Properties. What is reflected there is a residual number for RAM, not the RAM installed nor the RAM used by Windows...any RAM used for background processes is deducted from the total RAM installed, providing the misleading statistic.

XP 32-bit will recognize and use up to a total of 4GB.

For the system to run in dual-channel mode...the specs for the modules should be the same.

Specs for the motherboard, http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM2/M2NMX_SE_Plus/#specifications .

FWIW: Don't get overly concerned...about every possible spec on any system component. Some are important, some not so important.

A good reference for any questions regarding RAM for your board, you can always use the Crucial.com website for reliability. Crucial guaranteeds system compatibility.

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=M2N-MX%20SE%20Plus&Cat=RAM

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 10 August 2012 - 09:30 AM.


#3 Mediokrates

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 12:06 PM

Thank you,

Could you please clarify what is more important... MHz or GB?

For example...
What would be the difference in performance between a 1GB 1066Mhz and a 2GB 600Mhz?

Since I'm running 1GB modules with 533MHz, would it make more sense to upgrade to 1GB modules with 1066 MHz,
or should I just top out with 2GB modules with 1066Mhz?

My desktop is an entertainment system, used primarily for streaming movies to the tv, but I find that some other programs open or run slower while streaming.

#4 hamluis

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 01:09 PM

IMO...the total RAM installed...is much more important the the stated speed.

The speed at which the RAM performs is controlled by the motherboard...so if you install an ostensibly faster grade of RAM than the motherboard will clock...it means nothing because the motherboard is the controller. Given the choice between DDR667 or DDR800...I take whichever I know will work and which happens to be cheaper at the moment.

The only area where cited speed makes a difference for me....DDR versus DDR2 versus DDR3...and, again, the motherboard will dictate which of those types the system can accommodate.

Louis




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