Memory questions

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Greg_S_H, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I've down a little research now, so I think I have a handle on what I need, but I want to make sure. I've got a Dimension 8300 with a 800MHz FSB, which means I need DDR400. Right now, I've got two 256M modules, and I have a total of four ports. New memory must be installed in pairs.

    So, if I go into the store, what do I look for? I believe it's PC3200, so is that what I look for? Any PC3200? Is PC3200 synonymous with DDR400? There's something in my manual about memory being limited to the slowest memory, so I want to make sure I don't hobble my system with the wrong memory.

    I'm either going to get a pair of 256s or 512s, if that's important. Best Buy's having a special right now, but I threw out the flyer. I hope what I need is covered. [​IMG]
     
  2. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Get DDR 3200, whatever pair of equal size you feel like. Don't buy memory from best buy if you can help it. If you live near a Fry's, go there. You can return the ram if it is defective, doesn't run at the indicated speed (an increasingly common problem), whatever. I recommend corsair, I haven't had a stick of that go bad yet.
     
  3. Scott Core

    Scott Core Auditioning

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    Greg, your Dell probably has dual channel DDR400 (aka PC3200), your invoice would say for sure. I think you max out at 2 GB on the Dell motherboard, if I remember correctly.

    Try popping in your service tag (usually on the side or back of the desktop on a sticker) at http://support.dell.com/upgrades/Hardware.aspx to get info about ram types you can upgrade with, or you could call cust support and have them read off your system specs and track down the type of ram you need if you have time to kill.

    Scott
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    There is a Fry's near me, so I'll use them. They have a much better memory selection anyway. It's just that I went there this weekend before I began researching this stuff and was intimidated by their Wall of Labels*. [​IMG]

    Scott, thanks for the link. It's neat having all that information about my computer right there where I can get to it easily. And, it seems you're correct about my system's possible memory configurations. I at first thought it could go up to 4GB, but that's apparently for the slower bus systems. I couldn't afford that much memory right now anyway (and probably don't need quite that much), so it works out.

    Thanks, guys!

    * - At least at my Fry's, they have a case with inventory labels listing the different types of memory they have. Very small type. Very large selection. [​IMG]
     
  5. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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  6. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Couldn't you even install RDRAM singly? I thought it was the same 'it just runs slower' situation with that as well.
     
  7. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    I'm pretty sure with rambus it was in pairs. Even the slots that weren't on the same channel had to be filled with the continuity modules. Not having to install in pairs was one of the benefits of moving to DDR memory.
     
  8. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I'm just going by my manual and the Kingston and Dell websites. They don't say it's optional.
     
  9. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    You definitely want to use pairs for that computer, because you'll lose a substantial chunk of performance going with a single.

    Open up your task manager and watch the "Commit Charge" usage. Open up and use the programs you normally do. Keep an eye on Total and Peak. That'll tell you basically how much memory you need.
     
  10. Scott Core

    Scott Core Auditioning

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    The newer dual channel DDR stuff needs to be installed in pairs or you lose the benefit of having dual channel, but I'm not sure if you can you can just use a DDR stick and a DDR version of a CRIMM (RIMM Continuity module blank), like you could with the older RDRAM.

    Greg, I order my ram of the net (usually from newegg.com) and I usually use Micron/Crucial, but I've had great success with PNY and Kingston when I used to need EDO and SDRAM a few years ago. Word of advice, though, backup your important files in case you get a bad stick of RAM and end up having to nuke your machine (I knew the generic memory was priced too good to be true :b ). Good luck on your ram install.
     
  11. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I'm not sure I totally understand commit charge, but here's what I'm getting:

    First, I ran my normal programs, plus I ran BCWipe, a file deletion program that sucks a lot of memory on my system (though, things do tend to stabilize soon after it finishes). After that, I got:

    Total: 218M
    Peak: 1.18G

    I then rebooted and got:

    Total:164M
    Peak:176M

    After playing an online game after the reboot, I got:

    Total: 168M
    Peak: 280M

    If I understand all of this correctly, I have enough memory to handle my normal activities, but I could use a little extra for when I run something like BCWipe (and, of course, extra memory can't hurt for games and stuff). I could upgrade with either two 256s or two 512s (right now, I have a total of 512, made up of two 256s), and the current worst-case-scenario would be eliminated. It seems like it would be pretty close if I went with the 256s, but I guess virtual memory could make up for any differences there.

    I'll probably go to Fry's again this week to look around, armed with this new knowledge, and I'll compare what I find there to newegg.com. I never heard of that site, and now I'm seeing it in several current threads. [​IMG]
     
  12. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Yeah, you basically have it. You're probably not going to need more than 512mb or so total from those numbers.

    One thing to consider is that 512mb sticks tend to require higher quality PCB's & chips. Errors are more common. That's why most people recommend ECC memory with 512mb dimms (not usable in your case). You may actually be better off with 256mb dimms.
     
  13. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Gabriel. With that in mind--and coupled with the fact that I also am going to spend money on a new video card--I'll plan on a pair of 256s. Enough for what I need, better than what I've got, and a little less expensive.
     
  14. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    There are no continuity modules for ddr memory, or else it would ship with the motherboards.

    I've never seen mb (or computer) venders say you can add memory 1 module at a time but they do say if you need to add them in pairs. They don't say you need to add ddr memory in pairs so that means you can just add 1 stick, but yeah you lose the benefit of the pairing but technically its not necessary. But memory is so cheap anyways so you might as well just do it in pairs and get the benefit. Unless you are running a something that technically requires ecc memory, I wouldn't waste the money. I've NEVER had a problem with non-ecc sticks.
     

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