DDR: 2GB 400Mhz or 3GB 333Mhz - which gives better performance?

By ianhaigh
Jul 17, 2011
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  1. Hi,

    I'm looking to upgrade the memory in my PC.

    Currently I have 1x 1Gb DDR 400 and 1x 512Mb DDR 400

    My motherboard (Abit NF7-S) can accept a maximum of 2x1Gb 400Mhz or 3x1Gb 333Mhz. Which configuration is likely to give best results?

    Am I correct in thinking at I can mix and match the speeds, but the system will just run at the slowest speed?

    Many thanks in advance for any help/advice

    Ian
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,000   +710

    The memory will run at the speed of the slowest DIMM. So, you're right about that.

    I take it that this is an older machine. If you're running XP (32 bit), I don't see you picking up much performance from the extra 1 GB of RAM. (2 GB > 3 GB).

    People believe that more RAM is the only factor to improved performance. But, it doesn't add more work per clock cycle, and the CPU is still doing as much work per clock as it was designed to do. That be whether, 2GB or 200 GB of RAM is in the machine.

    You should be managing your resources with the task manager, and finding out which program(s) are using up the RAM. At some point, you hit a wall where you have to kill processes, and/or close programs to manage an older computer.

    XP's sweet spot is 2 GB. Some older programs screw up with more than 2GB of installed RAM. Notably Nero 6.

    Boot times with DDR are poor in general. I don't really know if 400Mhz is noticeably faster than 333 Mhz RAM. But, I'm guessing cleaning up your start up programs and unnecessary process would improve performance.
  3. ianhaigh

    ianhaigh Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for all that

    Yeah it is XP 32bit - originally built 2004 so getting a tad old now, but I'd like to keep it going a little longer if possible.

    I've uninstalled all the programs I don't need, and used Glary Utilities to reduce the ones that run on start-up. It also came in handy to clean up a lot of stuff (discs and registry). Hard drives are defragged although C: hasn't got vast space left (about 10%). All this was done a couple of months ago, but it seems to have got even more sluggish since then.

    As far as task manager, memory usage is generally above 1Gb. There are quite a lot of processes running but the chunky ones seems to be antivirus etc which I don't really want to turn off. Do you have any advice as far as killing ones that I don't recognise the names of?

    Cheers,

    Ian
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,255   +110

    That depends on how much you know about windows XP. If you don't know a lot, then you probably shouldn't kill processes that you're not familiar with.
    Antiviruses can be pretty corpulent.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,246   +213

    You could replace your AV with Microsoft Security Essentials, its pretty lightweight (moreso than AVG or Avast, I think) and free.
  6. ianhaigh

    ianhaigh Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies.

    I got annoyed with the sluggishness and tried System Restore to a point which I knew it was running OK, but this doesn't seem to have made things any better.

    Now I don't know if I'm getting paranoid but I keep thinking there is far more hard drive noise than previously. It always seems to be ticking away as if it's reading/writing something. It normally does this when doing a virus scan but now it just seems constant even where there are no programs running.

    Having said that, there is still a heck of a lot of processes. I've attached a screen shot of Task Manager after I've logged in and before I touch anything else.

    As far as monitoring memory use, should I be concentrating on "Mem Usage" or "VM Size"?

    And other than uninstalling programs, is there any way to stop these processes running on startup?

    Cheers,

    Ian

    P.S. Do hard drives experience performance degradation over time (other than getting full/needing deframenting), or do they just stop working completely?

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