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How Much Ram Can You Really Need/use


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#1 Gothmog

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 07:26 AM

I've been browsing through the mobo sections and noticed that some of them support 4GB of RAM (some 8GB!). When do you have too much RAM? I was planning on 2 GB in the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Socket 939. Is this overkill now, or just right? Should I get 1x1GB now and get another later, or would that cause me trouble if I have to match the spec? Can you get 2x512MB now to make 1GB then get 2x1GB to total 3 GB when they slash prices?

thats enough questions for now I think, but I have tons more I havent thought of... :thumbsup:

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#2 acklan

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 08:45 AM

Well I guess I will take a stabe at it.

As far a max RAM. XP can handle up to 4gb of RAM without a problem. Windows '9x can handle, reportedly, up to 512mb before a problem starts to arise. They claim you will receive a virtual memory error, althought I ppersonall have run '98se with 768mb of RAM with no ill effects. Windows ME was reported to be able to use up to 1gb without a problem, but I have no first hand knowledge of this.
Practically speaking 512mb of RAM should be fine for internet, word proccessing, still picture editing, and very light gaming. Most video editing, heavy gaming, RAM Drives, should have a minimun of 1gb and up to 2gb. While some will max out thier computer at 4gb I fail to see the advantage, but I have never tached out my computer or even come close.

I would use one 1gb chip for now and expand if need be. If you need 2gb the expence of 2 vs 1, 1gb chip is not that much really, in the event you cannot match the original chip. The chips are getting better each year and soon I do not think it will be much of an issue. IMO.

What is over kill today will be mainstream tomorrow. I remember when 64mb of RAM on a P-III was more than enough. Today I run the same computer with 768mb installed and glad to have it. Something to consider, you will have 2 to 5 security programs activily running in the background before any other programs startup. Antivirus, firewall, atleast 2 active antispyware programs. I do, am many more. They all take up memory resources.
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#3 dc3

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 11:42 AM

My two cents...it depends, with that motherboard has four expansion sockets, and you are limited to two modles of DDR400, or four modules of DDR333 or DDR266.

If you are going to run this in dual channel mode the modles must be matched pairs.

If 4GB is installed, the recognized memory may be reduced to 3.5GB or less (depending on system configuration and memory allocation), so don't have a heart attack it this happens.

As far as the modules themselves, Asus recomends Crucial at their web page advertisment for this board, and I have to agree that they build a quality product.

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#4 Klinkaroo

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 01:24 PM

My 3 cents is that you can never have too much ram. Stuff it till in there but if we talk pratical 1g is fine 2g is better and anything above that is over kill for the current technologie.

Maybe when games get more ram demanding that will have to go up and also with the windows vista coming out soon.

#5 Gothmog

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 10:46 PM

ok thats what I thought and wanted to know. thanks.

my last question is about dual channel. I assume that it allows the operations running thru the RAM to run faster or more efficiently, but is it a lot better? I notice that some of the products are dual channel and are close in price to non dual channel are they inferior versions of a higher quality product, or just an option available to all levels of RAM? And, dc3, when you say"If you are going to run this in dual channel mode" do you mean you have the option of not running in dual mode or you must plan ahead and buy accordingly.

okay I lied I have one more question. What is a good timing for DDR 400? Can you just go by the Cas (which always seems to be the first number) or is it best to comare the whole string from chip to chip?

and should I look for ECC on my chips?

Edited by Gothmog, 26 March 2006 - 11:07 PM.


#6 dc3

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 01:08 AM

Yes, you do have the option of not using dual channel mode. If you are using dual channel mode, your modules must match, most companies selling RAM will offer matched pairs for this purpose. If you can find two modules from seperate manufacturers that match exactly, you machine won't know the difference.

ECC is error correcting modules, they have an extra chip, run slower, and are usually found in servers. In short, unless your board suggest that you use ECC, don't.

All of the major manufacturers have a tool available to determine what modules of theirs will work in your motherboard. For instance, Crucial has what they call their "Memory Advisor tool", it will give you the choice of searching for your motherboard or computer (Dell, Compaq...), then in your case it will prompt you to enter the manufacturer of your motherboard, and then it prompts you to enter the model, it then will show you what they know will work in your machine. Here's what Crucial shows for you motherboard.

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.asp...eluxe&submit=Go

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#7 acklan

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 01:26 AM

You can also run Everest Home 2.2 to determine what memory your computer uses. While it will not tell you what part number to buy it will tell you what type to purchase. This will be helpful if you decide to purchase you RAM local in a store.
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#8 Gothmog

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 01:33 AM

thats good stuff dc3. jsut one or two more ?s if you dont mind.

I was thinking of buying from OCZ rather than crucial since they seem to be a little higher performance and everyone is buying their chips. The single 1GB chip or the paired dual channel kit were my final choices. I wasn't gonna go all the way to 2GB in my initial build plan, but the special right now is only $50 more for the kit.

I only checked newegg, but I didnt see any solo DC chips. I'm not sure if I totally understand DC, are the two DC chips in a kit different than a matched pair of RAM? If so what performance gains do DC have over 2 matched RAM chips?

you are limited to two modles of DDR400, or four modules of DDR333 or DDR266.

and out of curiosity, why would I have to use DDR 333 if I used 4 modules?

#9 dc3

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 02:13 AM

OCZ is good, I was just using Crucial as an example.

Let me see if I can get this straight for you...dual channel mode requires two matched RAM modules, dual channel kits are two matched modules specifically for dual channel purposes. These modules aren't special, they just have the exact same specs, as I said before, you can use any modules for dual channel mode as long as their specs match exactly, and are of the same speed, like DDR400.

This link will take you to a much better explanation of the difference between DDR400 and DDR333.

http://www.quepublishing.com/articles/arti...p?p=339089&rl=1

In your first post here you stated that you were planning, which leads me to belive that you haven't purchased the motherboard or RAM, if this isn't the case, and you have the motherboard and have RAM that you intend to use, then I would do as acklan has suggested, use Everest to find out what type and amount of RAM you have as this will determine whether you will be using DDR400 or lower.

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#10 Gothmog

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:14 AM

okay, thanks again. I was just confusing myself by over complicating dual channel.

I have not actually bought anything yet, but I have been browsing Newegg and sending items I like to my wish list and building the computer on paper. Once I get the plans ironed out I'll spend a month or two looking for steals from vendors.
My main part decision right now is btwn the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe and DFI LANPARTY UT nF4 SLI-DR Expert. They seem to have good reviews and will do what I want with room to expand. The DFI was in the AnandTech test system so it should be pretty good. My plan is to get a $200-300 A64 3500+ or 3800+ now and then in a year to 18 months swap for an FX60(which I think will be the best chip ever made for 939 according to recent articles) at a reduced price(hopefully). The 2 GB of RAM will probably be the most I ever will need and I'm just not sure if I should get a pair now or gamble and see if I can find a matching DIMM in 12 months to pair up. Is pairing DDR400 Dimms hard to do as long as you know the spec?

Would I get better performance from DDR500 ram even though the board standard is DDR400? After reading a roundup on DDR memory from AnandTech I was curious about this. Would I need to get into overclocking and tweaking to get better performance out of it since it has a higher latency(something I'm not sure I wanna have to get into). Or if I did OC would it be better to OC the low latency DDR400 towards 500 performance?

#11 Gothmog

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 04:03 AM

I was wondering if you could enlighten me with advice on another project I have going. I used Crucial.com's memory wizard for the PC Chips M935LU(my current computer), and it gave me these options. They recommend 512Mb of PC2100, but I don't know if my board supports higher speeds (or even needs them).

The board has 2 SDRAM slots and 2 DDR slots (apparently DDR266)
For reference my CPU is a 2.8 P4 and I currently have one 512Mb PC133 SDRAM module installed. It runs XP Home with a Radeon 9000 Pro AGP 4x bus(I might replace gfx too)

I think that 1 GB is enough. Would you get 2 512MB DDR266 modules and scrap the SDRAM (PC133) DIMM? Or will the extra RAM help and not hinder performance even though it would be much slower?

#12 dc3

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 04:06 AM

You still haven't told us what you plan to use this computer for.

Practically speaking, the only reason to overclock is for better gaming, and with the system your putting together that shouldn't be an issue. With the amount of RAM you're talking about, all you need to do is choose the proper GPU for your, use and your a gamer.

Overclocking can make your system run faster, but it can also shorten the life span of you CPU, here's more reading material.

http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagea...290526608142878

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#13 dc3

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 04:15 AM

I was wondering if you could enlighten me with advice on another project I have going. I used Crucial.com's memory wizard for the PC Chips M935LU(my current computer), and it gave me these options. They recommend 512Mb of PC2100, but I don't know if my board supports higher speeds (or even needs them).

The board has 2 SDRAM slots and 2 DDR slots (apparently DDR266)
For reference my CPU is a 2.8 P4 and I currently have one 512Mb PC133 SDRAM module installed. It runs XP Home with a Radeon 9000 Pro AGP 4x bus(I might replace gfx too)

I think that 1 GB is enough. Would you get 2 512MB DDR266 modules and scrap the SDRAM (PC133) DIMM? Or will the extra RAM help and not hinder performance even though it would be much slower?


I need to know what your motherboard is, or what make and model if it is a factory build.

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#14 Gothmog

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 04:35 AM

sorry I have been kinda vague. The new build is definetly gonna be a gaming platform to replace my current computer. I have been encoding DVDs with Nero Vision Express since I got my DVD-rw but that isn't its primary purpose.

I need to know what your motherboard is, or what make and model if it is a factory build.

The Mobo is made by PC Chips and the model# is M935LU. That is all I can come up with. I have looked online (maybe in the wrong places) and not been able to find any specs on it, since it is so old(10/18/2002). The models on their website are newer and different but the SiSŪ 650GX / 962L M935DLU (V1.2) seems to be the closest by comparison.
In the past week my research into this new build led me to discover that I actually have 2 DDR slots and not 4 SDR slots. so I'm just gathering a little extra info on how to configure a RAM upgrade.

#15 dc3

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 05:25 AM

Sorry about that, I'm not familiar with that brand of computers. If crucial suggests that module, you can count on it being ok.

I don't have the time to do a search tonight to be sure of the configuration of the two different types of sockets, but I would emagine that if you install PC2100 in conjuction with your PC133 that it will underclock to match the pc133. This means that if you really want to use pc2100 you will have to take out the PC133.

If you look at the price list, you will notice that PC133 is a lot more expensive than the newer PC2100.

If you are serious about building in the immediate future I wouldn't invest in the newer RAM, you will gain some speed, but you will still have the same FSB.



Just curious here, but where are you located?

Edited by dc3, 27 March 2006 - 05:28 AM.

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