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Different speed of Ram sticks, will it damage the motherboard or other parts?

By Vexare
Aug 5, 2005
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  1. I am not really well versed in computers and I was hoping someone can help me solve my problem. I was told by a friend of mine that using 2 different ram sticks could damage your mother board. For example using a pc400 512 MB ram and a pc333 128 MB ram in an asus p4vp-mx motherboard. Is this true? Does using RAM sticks of different speeds really cause damage to the motherboard even if they are both ddr's? Will it really cause damage to my computer or will it just slow down my PC? Please help me.
  2. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 829

    Unless the RAM is physically defective, it can't damage your motherboard. In most cases the system will default to the slowest RAM speed or simply not boot at all.

    Unless of course you try and put the RAM in backwards, or use the wrong architecture for your slot, then you can definitely damage your motherboard.
  3. Vexare

    Vexare TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks a lot panicx!

    Thank you very much bro! I'm sorry but are you telling me that I don't need to change my current setup? All I know is that my ram sticks are not the same, speed wise so is it still safe to use them both as long as they could fit in their slots and my system could detect them? I'm sorry I know nothing about computers please help me dude. Thank you!
  4. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 829

    As long as your RAM fit's properly, you can try installing it. Not all RAM is compatible with all motherboards, but if there's any problem, you can just uninstall it.
  5. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 1,595

    Three things must be true in order for 2 mismatched sticks to work:

    1) They both must work at the designated speed of the lower stick. In your case, both sticks must work at DDR333 (166mhz). Typically there is never an issue with a DDR400 stick being clocked at a slower rate. However, there can be, which is point 2:

    2) They both must work at the same timings at the designated speed as detected by SPD. The motherboard will automatically what timings to use for the sticks, but there is no guarantee that the faster stick will operate properly at the timings assigned to it at the lower speed. You have roughly a 90% chance of success here though, so don't worry.

    3) The sticks both must be compatible with the motherboard. Provided 1) and 2) are true, as long as the sticks work with the board you should be good to go. Because these are of such different size, do not put them in a dual-channel configuration.

    However, a question. Why? The difference between 512mb and 620mb is going to be minimal at best, and you are sacrificing a considerable chunk of memory bandwidth in doing so, especially with a P4.

    I would advise not doing it from a performance standpoint.
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