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Installing DDR in matched pairs?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by yeeha, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. yeeha

    yeeha Private First Class

    I have a Dell Dimension 8300 and just bought 1gig of PC3200 from Mushkin to supplement the 2 x 512MB factory chips.

    The manual for the machine says:

    1) I should only install RAM in matched pairs and that failure to do so will result in degraded performance.

    2) Any RAM upgrades I buy should not be matched with the original factory modules even if I bought the upgrades from Dell.

    3) There should always be a module in slot 1.

    Right now I have the 1gig Mushkin chip in slot 1 and the 2 x 512MB factory chips in slots 3 and 4. Am I going to experience the degradation of performance the manual speaks about? If so, would buying a 2nd 1 gig chip to match the one in slot 1 improve things? Or did the manual really only mean that I shouldn't put a chip in slot 2 that is of different size than the one in slot 1 ?

    Thanks in advance for any advice or information. I don't know much about this stuff, but it also seems like the information in the manual is pretty lacking.
  2. risk_reversal

    risk_reversal Sergeant Major

    Matched pairs are sold as 2 memory sticks together. These have been tested as such.

    If you buy another 1Gb stick of Mushkin and have just those two sticks in they will probably not run in dual channel configuration.

    Generally speaking matched pairs of ram sticks go into slots 1 & 3 or 2 & 4, though some who had issues found that putting them in slots 1 & 2 oddly cured their problems.

    If you tried to run 1Gb in slot 1 and 512Mb in slots 2 & 3 then your ram will likely clock down to 333 from 400.

    I am sure that other users will correct me if I have made any errors.

    Good Luck
  3. yeeha

    yeeha Private First Class

    Where would I check what speed the memory is running at, or whether it is running in dual-channel? When I go into the F2 setup menu during a startup, it says the system memory clock is 400mhz, but of course I have no idea if this means the ram is actually running at 400mhz.

    Since there is only 1 1gb chip, I also assume this means I'm not running in dual-channel mode, but how can I check this?

    I can't seem to find any matched pairs of RAM for this model of computer, yet the manual says that is what I should use. What am I missing?
  4. risk_reversal

    risk_reversal Sergeant Major

    I take it that hitting F2 on a Dell takes you into the bios which is showing you that your ram is running at default speed of 200mhz. There are of course third pary utilities which will show you this, namely cpuz and clockgen.

    In respect of where do you see if your ram is running in dual channel configuration, on my system whenever I boot the post screen says so. I am not at home at the moment but I will also check whether there is also a third party utility that shows it. From memory, Everest.

    Good Luck
  5. yeeha

    yeeha Private First Class

    Thanks guys. CPUZ indicates that I'm running in single channel any time I have the new 1gb chip installed; I've opened a ticket with Mushkin to find out whether they can provide me with a matching chip.


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