RAM compatibility

By Jimbeau
Mar 22, 2009
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  1. I have an IBM 'Think Centre' desktop P4 3.0, 800fsb.
    It has two RAM slots, one empty, the other with a 512mb PC2700U DDR chip.
    A merchant at a computer show told me that PC3200 RAM would work in my machine.
    This made me wonder what other RAM options would work. Newer, faster RAM seems to be cheaper than a chip matching mine. Can anyone here tell me what RAM options would work in this machine, and whether the chips in each slot have to match in size, speed, etc.? Thanks.
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,043   +84 Staff Member

    Your motherboard has a physical RAM module limit, RAM capacity limit as well as RAM speed limit and it's only compatible with a specific RAM interface/type (DDR SDRAM in your case, you say).

    You've stated that you can only install two modules, and you've already got one installed - so that leaves one DIMM slot open unless you're going to replace your old RAM as well.

    Odds are the RAM capacity limit is somewhere around 2GB for your system and the RAM speed is likely 400MHz DDR or less but a specific model number for your PC would help in confirming this. Despite that, even if you were to purchase beyond the capacity/speed limit, the excess capacity would simply be unrecognized and if the RAM were too fast, it'd be underclocked so the modules should work regardless - you'd just be out the cash (buying beyond what you had to).

    The truly important specification is the actual interface/type. Just about any variety of DDR SDRAM should work just fine.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...escription=&Ntk=&SpeTabStoreType=&srchInDesc=
  3. Jimbeau

    Jimbeau Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thanks for the help! I don't necessarily want to load this thing up with RAM, but I realize from reading here and there that XP can be noticeably helped by increasing the 512mb that is currently on it. At the computer show today, they wanted $20 for a used PC3200 512mb chip and $45 for a new 1gig chip. I started thinking that if I'm going to spend a significant amount of money, I had better do some research on what my machine will accept, and whether I can have a different 'speed' or 'size' chip in each slot. The owner's manual just says: 'up to 2gigs of PC2700 ram'.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,400   +832

    If the Tedster catches you talking about your first RAM upgrade without reading his guide there'll be hell. or rather heck to pay. http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic65114.html
    In any event if the board in question is NOT dual channel my choice would be to slap another 1GB in, and be happy. That would give you 1.5GB and XP runs nicely on that amount.

    Sometimes Dual channel boards run fine with different amounts of RAM in each socket, however some don't

    The prices you got at the computer show weren't anywhere near good enough to abandon a good Etailer like Newegg. Also if there's a "Microcenter" near you they have reasonably priced memory. http://www.microcenter.com/index.html Keep in mind I don't recommend them for an online supplier, but their sale prices are way good on many items, if one of their Brick and Mortars are near you.

    Here's a Kingston Value RAM IGB , free shipping http://www.microcenter.com/index.html but, only after you determine that it's exactly what you need. Credit to Zeno, I pulled if from his linked page.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    thanks crank .... ;)
  6. Jimbeau

    Jimbeau Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thanks for the help, gentlemen.
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