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Old 03-10-2012, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
915 posts, read 4,012,002 times
Reputation: 480

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I have a 6-year-old, 32-bit, Dell Dimension 8400 computer with 1 GB RAM at 3.2 GHz. I plan to buy memory sticks from crucial.com. There are four 1GB slots in my computer. Based on the following statement from crucial.com--"Although the memory can be installed one module at a time, the best performance comes from using matched pairs of modules,"does it mean that I should install enough RAM to make either 2GB or 4GB, but not 3GB? Or, do they mean that for the best performance, buy a pair of memory sticks instead of just one?

After running their memory analysis, this is the product that they came up with:

2GB kit (1GBx2) / DDR2 PC2-5300 • CL=5 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR2-667 • 1.8V • 128Meg x 64 / Part #: CT908118 = $33.99

Can someone shed some light on the subject, please?

I don't want to buy a new computer until Windows XP Service Pack 3 Support terminates in April 2014. Thanks.

Crucial.com's analysis of what I need:

Memory Type: DDR2 PC2-5300, DDR2 (non-ECC)
Maximum Memory: 4GB
Slots: 4
Each memory slot can hold DDR2 PC2-5300 with a maximum of 1GB per slot.*
*Not to exceed manufacturer supported memory.

Although the memory can be installed one module at a time, the best performance comes from using matched pairs of modules.

How much memory your Windows OS will recognize depends on which version of Windows you are running. 32-bit versions of Windows will see (and utilize) only 3GB or 3.5GB. To utilize more memory, install a 64-bit version of your OS. More information about OS memory maximums can be found here.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,955 posts, read 17,980,449 times
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Paired same brand memory is always the best way to go.

If you really want to max out the memory then buy a full set of sticks all at once to ensure they are from the same run lot.

I can't prove that same lot is any better than one stick at a time but I know they sure play nicer together than when I have to mix brands and lots.

Same lot= butter smooth processing
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:56 PM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,273,417 times
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Run memory in pairs, 2 - 1GB usually slots 1 & 3, and 2 - 500K in slots 2 & 4.
Or 4 1GB in all slots.

Don't run with 1 or 3 sticks, that will slow memory access down.

32 bit OS can only access 3.5 gig of ram, thus if you have 2 500K sticks (1GB) total, buy 2 - 1GB sticks bringing your system up to 3GB, your best solution on a system that old.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:56 AM
 
Location: The Berk in Denver, CO USA
14,391 posts, read 21,078,607 times
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Default It is 6 years old

Buy a new computer.
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:56 PM
 
28,643 posts, read 40,622,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post
Buy a new computer.
The OP clearly stated their reason for not doing so. Trouble with reading comprehension?

For the money, and assuming the PC is holding up well, go ahead and buy 4 - 1GB sticks and replace the existing. If the RAM is 6 years old it's probably a good idea to just buy all new.
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Old 03-11-2012, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
3,685 posts, read 8,500,721 times
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I really doubt you would notice the increased performance by being able to enable dual (or triple) channel memory operations in real-world use. I know that on Mactel systems, the measured improvement was in the 3-6% range with common media creation apps. Synthetic memory bandwidth benchmarks show much larger improvements, but these rarely translate to real-world improvements. That said, it's always better to install in matched sets - fewer compatibility issues, and a small performance improvement.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
915 posts, read 4,012,002 times
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Ahhh. Now, I understand what they mean by matched pairs. Thanks.

I found my original invoice, and at present, I have two 512K memory sticks. Sounds like I should buy two 1GB memory sticks and two new 512K memory sticks for matched lots, totalling 3GB.

I'm a medical transcriptionist and type Microsoft Word reports all day long. I use medical dictionaries, software for voice files, and Comcast's Norton antivirus, but that's it. No photos, no games, no CAD, no TV/movie viewing--just Microsoft word files. My system is still fast, to me. I notice lag time when booting up and when loading Internet pages with a million different advertisers or when Google is doing some special doodle.

I've been reading up on how to install the sticks, so hopefully, all willl go well.

Thanks to everyone for your input.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:32 PM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,273,417 times
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No, just buy the 2 - 1Gig, and use the 2 500K already installed.

Install the 2 new sticks in the same slots as the current sticks, they install your current sticks in the now empty slots.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
915 posts, read 4,012,002 times
Reputation: 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
No, just buy the 2 - 1Gig, and use the 2 500K already installed.

Install the 2 new sticks in the same slots as the current sticks, they install your current sticks in the now empty slots.
Oh, okay. Sounds like positioning is critical.

Some favor buying all new sticks or having "matched lots," but you don't. Would you share why? I'm just collecting info. Thanks.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,955 posts, read 17,980,449 times
Reputation: 7193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
No, just buy the 2 - 1Gig, and use the 2 500K already installed.

Install the 2 new sticks in the same slots as the current sticks, they install your current sticks in the now empty slots.
Quote:
Originally Posted by virgo View Post
Oh, okay. Sounds like positioning is critical.

Some favor buying all new sticks or having "matched lots," but you don't. Would you share why? I'm just collecting info. Thanks.
Sorry but the advice to re-use your 6 yr old 512 sticks is penny wise and pound foolish.

Those sticks are so well used they are bound to be the "weak link" in your system not to mention they will not want to play nice with newer memory. Yes, you can reuse the old memory but why bother? They have paid for themselves so retire them.

Bite the bullet and do it right.....all new memory or don't waste your time. Better to buy a whole new computer to be done with it.

Allow me to suggest that you call the good folk's at Crucial to get their help to set up a full package deal just for your needs and computing needs.
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