1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Suggestions for memory upgrade

By Schmutz · 23 replies
Dec 7, 2008
  1. Hello,

    I am using 2gb of memory (2x Patriot 1gb PC2 6400). I wish to upgrade to improve performance in video/3D applications, and videogames

    Under Vista 64bit, I believe the time has come in which 4gb of RAM has a significant performance improvement over 2gb - Alt+Tabbing out of games, and handling multiple applications at the same time was far smoother when I added a friends PC2 5400 (2x 1gb) memory to my system.

    Using the same brand of memory (and speed) will provide even better results though. But from there, I don't know what option to take;

    • Adding another two 1gb modules to my system (Patriot PC2 6400)
    • Finding a pair of 2gb modules
    • Use faster memory? (currently 800mhz)
    • Using a single 4gb module

    From what I understand my motherboard (EP45-DS3R) supports up to 8gb of "DDR2 1200" memory

    Thank you in advance for suggestions folks...
  2. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    get 2x2GB sticks at 1200. Probably your best bet, still leaving room for two dimms.

    timings on ram usually dont yield a huge different, to the naked eye anyway. sticks with 4-4-4-12 or 5-5-5-15 settings should do you fine.

  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Get two 2GB modules and run them in dual-channel. I'd specifically recommend this RAM kit for its superb quality and outstanding price. You don't need faster RAM, the performance boost is negligible (usually ~2-5%), mainly because the CPU doesn't sit around most of the time waiting for data transfers from the RAM. This is the reason a faster HDD or more RAM helps far more than investing in faster RAM.
  4. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Thank you. If I grab 2x2gb sticks (which was my preferred option) would it be fine if I placed my current 2x1gb sticks in the two remaining slots? Any drawbacks to using two dual channel kits at the same time? Am I better off eBaying them?
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    I doubt there will be any problems.
  6. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    made my mind up to get 4gb RAM now, there is a massive selection on ebuyer though, quite confusing. Heres why:

    Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory (£59.99)

    OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800Mhz/PC2-6400 Memory GOLD DUAL CHANNEL (£35.99)

    The only difference I see is the Latency timings. Don't know how much that impacts performance, and I know that the more expensive Crucial memory is the same speed/voltage as my current memory so it'll probably cause less problems

    Also, some other people I've been talking with recommend faster memory (1000mhz+) as there is more room for overclocking... I currently have my processor overclocked to 3.0ghz (which is as high as I want it) and 2.0x (or 2.5x..?!?) multiplier - whatever the case the memory runs at 800mhz currently.

    Here is a 1066mhz (PC8500) 4gb kit for £60:


    BTW. @ supersmashbrada, I can't see any RAM at 1200mhz? (Even though that appears to be the highest my motherboard supports) I'm thinking that 1200mhz is a common number people overclock 1066mhz memory to?? :dead: :D
  7. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    OCZ is great RAM, but not near as forgiving as Crucial. OCZ RAM will overvolt reasonably well for overclocking. Crucial RAM chokes when it's overvolted.

    OCZ uses the Brain Power PCB, a cheaper but faster PCB than the JEDEC standard. Crucial has their own variant that's actually rather costly, hence part of the reason for the big price difference.
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    That Ballistix kit is superb for OCing. Crucial is Micron's brand-name memory, so superior quality is guaranteed. If you want, get RAM with better heatsinks, like the Corsair Dominator and OCZ Reaper kits, so you can OC it further. The Ballistix kit OCs to 1066MHz pretty easily from what I've heard though.
  9. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Thanks adweston, Rage_3K_Moiz. I'm wondering whether it'll play well with my current 2gb 800mhz patriot memory when it's going faster... Is it normal (or possible..!) to have two chips running at 1066 and another two running at 800mhz?

    I guess I need to decide on one of three different options:

    (1) Buy a 1066mhz kit if it'll work well with my current 2x1gb 800mhz memory

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/149202 - £78.34
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/141930 - £60.00

    (2) Buy an 800mhz kit if it is not recommended (impossible?) to use two different memory speeds

    Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory (£59.99)

    OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800Mhz/PC2-6400 Memory GOLD DUAL CHANNEL (£35.99)

    (cheaper memory does not match the timings/voltage of my current memory...)

    (3) Buy a 1066mhz kit and sell the old 2x1gb kit - then look to upgrade in the future

    I'm happy to spend up to £80 for the best performance (unless the benefits become silly/pointless)
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    It all boils down to whether or not you're OCing. If you are, then get a faster RAM kit and sell your old one. Otherwise, just get an 800MHz kit.
  11. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    I want to keep my processor running stable at 3.0ghz. I think memory speed is related to processor speed though isn't it? If I purchased 1066mhz memory I wouldn't want to overclock

    It looks like it would be best if I get a 800mhz kit, but I'd need to decide from:

    • Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory (£59.99)
    • OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800Mhz/PC2-6400 Memory GOLD DUAL CHANNEL (£35.99)

    I guess I should go with the Ballistix memory as it is the same speed as my current 2gbs. (4-4-4-12/2.2v)
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Go with the 800MHz kit. It won't limit your OC IMO.
  13. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    ok then, but is the Crucial ballistix worth the 40% extra ££? If it's that much more stable and reliable then I don't mind paying £60 at all - I like how it matches my current memorys timings and voltage...!
  14. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    yeah its worth it, you dont want those blue screens :p
  15. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    Umm.. Not really. What you'll find is that later on if you change your motherboard that the Crucial might not work in it. I've had the unfortunate experience with it of simply hating certain motherboards, to the point where the computer wouldn't even run stable for an hour.

    Personally, I'd go the OCZ Gold, and have used it personally many times.
  16. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    The Ballistix kit uses Micron D9 chips, which are the best on the market and compatible with every motherboard out there. I recommend it as your best choice.
  17. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Thanks for providing another angle adweston, I really do appreciate it. That OCZ Gold set is appealing. I'm going with the Crucial kit though. I will look to go with DDR3 memory or better next time I upgrade my motherboard - which elimates the problem that you mentioned, and leaves the Crucial kit standing tall. (timings/voltage...)

    Going to grab it now - thanks for the support :grinthumb
  18. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

  19. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    Throw it in a P4E Deluxe mainboard and then come back and say that. ;) There is a very well documented issue with Ballistix on certain Asus mainboards due to voltage issues.

    Second, you can't overvolt Ballistix. The second you do, the computer doesn't boot (at least in every config I've thrown them in.)

    I sell Ballistix. I personally like them, except the ones with the green heatsinks have turned out to be crappy. :( At home I use 4GB of Ballistix Tracers. Just two days ago I ran into the problem with the Asus/Ballistix....It crashed repeatedly, refused to format harddrives, Windows installs failed, programs terminated with errors, etc. I went home very frustrated that night. lol.

    When I'm dropping RAM in a $3000 computer, I darn well expect them to work......I think that's only fair. :D
  20. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    faulty kit perhaps? :suspiciou With ebuyer though, if I do run into some problems like you mention I would send the components to them for diagnosis/resolution with replacements etc

    This was interesting and helpful, BUT the guide was written at the start of 2006, do all of the instructions still apply today? :eek:

    The first two represent problems which I didn't know existed;

    • Mixing different brands
    • Changing voltage settings

    I've used my 2GB (Patriot PC2 6400 800mhz CL4 4-4-4-12/2.2v) with a friends 2GB (Crucial Ballistix PC2 5300 667mhz CL3/2.2v) extensively with the latest games and demanding applications like Adobe After Effects and have not had any problems

    And about overclocking, there seems to be a lot of people who overclock memory nowadays - I don't, but I do have to increase the voltage settings and timings in my BIOs to reach the correct speeds

    I hope that I am able to use my current 2GB memory with the 4GB kit arriving soon, but if I am not I'm not going to be that concerned as the difference between 4/6gb is not going to be very big, aside from a few things like RAM previews in Adobe AE.
  21. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 242

    Nope. Nothing wrong with them. In fact, I put them in another machine and they worked perfect. Do a Google search and you'll see what I mean. Fortunately I own a computer business, so I have access to as much of a product as I need. I can always pull off the shelf in a pinch. I just get very anal about it if it doesn't go as planned and/or doesn't make any sense. Part of being a perfectionist perhaps?
  22. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

  23. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    adweston, I'm like that also mate, if something isn't working like it should I can't rest until I have resolved it!

    I won't be overclocking my memory. Now that I've installed it, everything is working really well (fortunately) aside a wierd problem at first where my graphics card drivers stopped functioning/needed complete clean and reinstall :suspiciou:dead: (I think it was just a coincidence). Anyway, I must say that I'm really pleased with the performance; framerate stability during games is flawless, alt-tabbing out of games like Crysis takes seconds (2GB choked in that situation and took minutes) and I am able to run other programs like IE (or whatever) in the foreground, and lastly RAM previews are as big as I'll ever need them :cool:

    This is using two different brands of memory though, and again I can't report anything strange at all so I think that as long as the user checks the voltage speed and timing of the memory mixing different brands doesn't seem to be a problem - I'd still recommend that someone uses one type of memory, but I wouldn't discard the idea of using two brands
  24. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    Just wanted to add that there isnt really a use for ram above 800mhz because only intel i7 cpus can actually use all the bandwidth if your stuck on an old FSB machine than you cant address more than 10Gbs worth of memory bandwidth. 800mhz ram has around 14Gbs memory bandwidth so that is just a little i wanted to tell ya.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...