SOLVED RAM Upgrade


Elmer BeFuddled

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At the time of buying my PC, due to financial restrictions, I had a choice of
  • XP Pro with 4Gb of Ram
  • Seven with 2Gb of Ram
I chose the latter option.

The time has come (the walrus said) to upgrade my ram to 4 or possibly even 6Gb. I understand that I'll be far better off installing a matched pair as opposed to just dropping in another stick.
So from someone who is a bit shell shocked by all the numbers, a few questions.

1). Considering the rest of the hardware of this budget priced desktop, should I even be thinking of 6Gb as an option? I think the 4Gb option is the more realistic (financially) option.
2). What's the difference between DDR2, DDR3 and are they linked/locked to the mobo?
3). What do these numbers mean (speed?), are they user settable and are they relevant to what I buy (In other words, do I need to buy Ram with exactly the same numbers)?
  • 4.0-4-4-12-16 @ 266 MHz
  • 5.0-5-5-15-20 @ 333 MHz
  • 6.0-6-6-18-24 @ 400 MHz
4).What manufacturer(s) should I be looking at that aren't top jolly prices but also aren't the pits performance wise? The manufacturer of the ram stick I have at the moment is like the poor man to a major manufacturer though the name escapes me at the moment. Think what AS-Rock is to Asus (I'm told).

A Graphics Card is also on my wish list. Nothing to fancy. Just need/want to run Photoshops 3D engine.

For those of you who love lists of numbers I'm attaching reports from CPU-Z and Speccy in a zip.

TIA
 

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You need DDR2 @ 400 MHz.

4 GB total is well more than fine for your needs.

So purchase 2 GB DDR2 @ 400 MHz, install and enjoy.

---------

As a side note, your current memory is underclocked. Go into the bios settings and Load the Optimized Defaults on the first page. Save.

Now, you are at 333 MHz and your memory should be at 400 MHz.

---------

You can test the bandwidth before and after the change.

Open a command prompt and run this command (notice the difference before and after :) ):

winsat mem
 
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Yep....then notice all the rest I put in an edit.

DDR2 @ 400 MHz = PC2-3200
 

catilley1092

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My budget desktop came with 2GB RAM also, what prompted me to upgrade to 4GB (the MB's max) was that I didn't like the speed that videos loaded, and couldn't run a VM. I didn't have the RAM to spare.

But since upgrading to 4GB, videos load faster, in fact my whole computer loads faster, and I'm able to run VM's with ease.

On the Microsoft site, it recommends that you need a minimum of 2GB RAM to run 64 bit Win 7, however in reality, 3GB is far better. That way, you have plenty of RAM for your video card, and whatever else needs RAM to function, and your OS doesn't run like it has a severe case of anemia.

4GB is considered the "sweet spot" by many, as Nibiru has posted many articles on this topic. If you need more, and your MB supports it, by all means, go for what you need. But for many, anything over 4GB is a waste, and the money spent on that unnecessary amount can be used in other areas of upgrading your computer, such as adding an extra hard drive, upgraded video card, etc.

I bought my RAM from Crucial, they have a tool that runs, and gives you your option(s) as to what you can run. There are other well known brands, they may have a tool also.

But, by all means, stay away from those who sells "refurbished" RAM, such as 1-800-4MEMORY. They do offer a lifetime warranty, but who wants to worry with the process? And the savings are minimal, mabye 10% off, more on older computers. Much of their business is from computer refurbishers, who sells their junk on eBay, and repair shops who takes the cheap way out, rather than giving the customer what they pay for. They have 24 hour delivery, making it easy for shops to make fast repairs.

Whatever brand that you buy, steer clear of these places, the $10 you save, you'll wish you had spent it later.

Hope that your upgrade goes well.

Cat
 

Elmer BeFuddled

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TG,
Not that I wander to often into BIOS, (change boot order) but the 333mhz always confused me as I always thought I was/should be 400mhz.

Anyways,
On the first (Main) BIOS page I had options to physically change date/time only. Under Smart (2nd page) the "Load defaults" did nothing. So I highlighted "Load Performance Settings Defaults" and clicked OK. PC died fast :eek: (expected, because of change?). So I F2'ed into BIOS again and the offending entry on the main page read:
DDRII1 2048 400mhz (DDRI 800)

as opposed to:
DDRII1 2048 333mhz (DDRI 667)
Re-booted fine. WinSat Mem readings as follows.

@333mhz:
Code:
C:\Windows\system32>winsat mem
Windows System Assessment Tool
> Running: Feature Enumeration ''
> Run Time 00:00:00.01
> Running: System memory performance assessment ''
> Run Time 00:00:05.09
> Memory Performance                           3540.06 MB/s
> Total Run Time 00:00:07.80
@400mhz:
Code:
C:\Windows\system32>winsat mem
Windows System Assessment Tool
> Running: Feature Enumeration ''
> Run Time 00:00:00.00
> Running: System memory performance assessment ''
> Run Time 00:00:05.13
> Memory Performance                           [COLOR=Red]3980.83 MB/s[/COLOR]
> Total Run Time 00:00:07.18
I like the 10% increase in "Memory Performance", if I'm reading that correctly!!
 
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catilley1092

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The only change that I've ever done in the BIOS was to enable hardware assisted virtualization (HAV) to run my VM's. I didn't even see that option, but it may not have been offered for my computer.

You do have another option, go to "Power Options" (type this into the Start Menu), and you have the choice of running the power mode in "Balanced" (set by default), and you can opt to show plans that are hidden. There, you'll find a "High Performance" option. It may or may not help, but that's what I run on. It may use a tiny bit more power, but it won't be much, and it may be worth trying out for you. The "Power Saver" option will most likely slow you some, something we don't need, the "Balanced" option attempts to make a happy medium, but setting it on "Performance" and leaving it there will ensure that your computer will put out what it's capable of.

There are many tips & tricks to gain power & speed posted all over the net, but most of them involves compromise, like doing away with the Aero glass look, you'll gain, but at the price of appearance. Some even suggests to increase your page file space, but if you don't know what you're doing, stay clear of it. ReadyBoost may help, but my experience was that it only helped if I was running less than 2GB RAM.

Having an ample supply of RAM is the quickest (and least expensive) way to boost system performance, without sacrificing screen quality or other features that you may like to keep. And having an AV that has a light footprint helps too, more than many realizes. A heavy AV will slow you badly.

Cat
 
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Elmer BeFuddled

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You do have another option, go to "Power Options" (type this into the Start Menu)........
I know what you mean Cat but I don't have the (type this into the Start Menu) as an option.
[rant]10 minutes after my very first install of windows 7 I did a search for something obscure like "My Computer". Windows Search couldn't find My Computer, Documents, Program Files, Program Files (x86) etc. or any file with an extension of .txt, .rtf, .doc or any other file extension you'd care to mention. So Windows Search got destined for its rightful place. The scrap bin.
Windows Search and Indexing are the 1st and 2nd things now to be removed as soon as I re-install. Locate32 finds things for me without having to waste 2 hours of my life telling "search" how to "search". I mean, that defeats the object, if I know what I'm searching for then I don't need to search , do I? Bring back that mangey dog I say![/rant]
With XP, Locate32 was an additional (bloody good) Search Engine. With Seven, it is my (bloody good) Search Engine.
But now the rant is over(!), yes, power options etc. are set to my liking.
 
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