Build a PC 1gb single channel or 2x512mb dual?

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Posts: 12   +0
I'm looking to upgrade my memory from 256mb to 1Gb. I know exactly what type of memory I need (either 2700 or 3200) but I'm not sure whether to buy a single 1Gb stick or get two 512mbs in dual channel.

I understand that dual channel would run faster, but my reasoning behind thinking about single 1Gb stick is incase i decide to get another upgrade to 2Gb at some point, but to be fair my pc's a Dimension 3000 and prob has no need for 2Gb.

Would it be advisable to go for 2x512? My pc has only 2 slots so no option of 4x512 for 2Gb in future.



Posts: 13,810   +3
I know exactly what type of memory I need (either 2700 or 3200)
3200 = 400Mhz

I also checked all your computer specs out directly from Dell first, before my post (above) to you. I like being thorough.


Posts: 12   +0
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Yeh but i thought it was compatible with 3200 but had max speed of 333mHz? anyway, other than that I've seen a few offers on ebay for 2x 1Gb sets which im tempted by (getting greedy), but they say not compatible with asus chipsets. As im not that well up on motherboard knowledge do you have any idea whether this applies to my Intel 865GV?


Posts: 20   +0
I just received my Dimension 3000 yesterday from Ebay. It had two 256mb sticks, but I had already bought a 1GB 3200 DDR. I put the 1GB in slot1 and put one of the 256mb sticks in slot 2. I am now running at 1.25GB, no problems.


Posts: 10,551   +440
Yeh, you can run mismatched sticks. The reason it isn't recommended is every once in a while you run into a conflict and have problems booting or random crashes/errors, and that happens just enough for people to just recommend people buy the same matched sticks.

For example, I'm running 2 gigs (2x1) of Crucial Ballistix 800 in this machine along with 1 gig (2x512) of Corsair Value RAM 667 without any stability issues, for a total of 3G.


Posts: 20   +0
That probably happens when people use memory that has mixed or generic chips, or even running at different speeds. Not only on this PC, but several of my PC's over the last 14 years I had installed memory (brand name) of different sizes and they functioned with no issues; two-128's with one-256; one-512 and one-256, etc. Only when I inadvertently installed memory that wasn't compatible with said PC did I ever encounter any boot issues. IMO, it's a racket where they want you to spend more money on the system. I have far too many left over 128mb and 256mb SIMMS, DIMMS, SDRAM, RDRAM and now DDR memory sticks of all speed configurations. I'm not saying that using a 128mb and a 256mb sticks together wouldn't cause a problem, I'm just saying that I have never had any problems.

Taken from the Dell Dimension 3000 manual:
DDR Memory Overview
DDR memory modules should be installed in pairs of matched memory size. This means that if you
purchased your computer with 128 MB of memory installed and you want to add another 128 MB of
memory, you should install it in the appropriate connector. If the DDR memory modules are not installed in
matched pairs, the computer will continue to operate, but with a slight reduction in performance.
NOTE: Always install DDR memory modules in the order indicated on the system board.
NOTE: Your computer has two memory slots labeled DIMM3 and DIMM4.
The recommended memory configurations are:
• Install a pair of matched memory modules in connectors DIMM3 and DIMM4.
• Do not install ECC memory modules.
• If you install a mixed pair PC2700 (DDR 333-MHz) and PC3200 (DDR 400-MHz) memory, the
modules function at the slowest speed installed.
• Be sure to install a single memory module in DIMM3 or the connector closest to the processor before
you install modules in the other connector.
Memory Installation Guidelines
NOTICE: If you remove your original memory modules from the computer during a memory upgrade, keep them
separate from any new modules that you may have, even if you purchased the new modules from Dell. You should
install your new memory modules in connectors DIMM3 and DIMM4. If possible, do not pair an original memory
module with a new memory module. Otherwise, your computer may not function at optimal performance.
NOTE: Memory purchased from Dell is covered under your computer warranty.
I can take the 256mb stick out, but it's running just fine for now. But back on topic, just buy one 1GB DDR 3200 stick. You'll pay slightly more money if you bought two 512mb sticks. Besides, if you want to upgrade to 2GB in the future (not even necessarily this particular PC, but one that uses PC3200 memory), then you'll be stuck with an extra 512mb - providing that it has 2 slots like the Dimension 3000. Check out the cheap prices of memory on Price Watch to get an idea of what you'll be spending:
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