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Old 02-03-2004, 02:25 AM
Rangoon Rangoon is offline
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Default Dual Channel/RAM speeds vs. quantity

I have been using 2 (twin) XMS 512 MB PC3200LL sticks for a year, but recent ponderings have brought out my first post here.

In the interest of heavy audio processing, multi-channel mixing with real-time automation, and hefty flight sims, I am considering adding more RAM. But perhaps this would be foolish. Please forgive my long list of questions:

1. In order to maintain dual channel mode, would I need to buy a 1024MB stick for slot 1 and move my two 512MB sticks to slots 2 & 3?

2. If I add an identical 512 PC3200LL stick to the third slot, is there anything wrong with 2 sticks running dual channel while the third runs single channel (if this is even how it works, as I have read)?

3. If I add a 1024MB stick, which has timings of 3-4-4-8, this will slow down my 512MB sticks from their 2-3-2-6 timings. Is this a smart trade-off for having more RAM (2 gigs instead of 1)? (assuming I am using more than 1 gig and therefore avoiding using virtual memory.)

4. Which would be faster and/or more useful - having slow 1024MB and 2 fast 512MB sticks, having three fast (LL) 512MB sticks, or just leaving the configuration alone with two 3200LL 512MB sticks?

5. Is it markedly better to buy a 400MHz FSB CPU (like AthlonXP 3200) so that I can increase the speed of my RAM to its rightful 200/400MHz?

My system in a nutshell:

WinXP Home
Asus A7N8X Deluxe
AthlonXP 2700+ (333MHz FSB)
1 Gig Corsair XMS PC3200LL (2x512MB matched pair)
Asus Radeon 9800XT
SB Audigy

Is there any other advice you can offer regarding this? I've been posting a lot of questions on amdmb.com forums, but wanted to check here for more definitive answers. Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:45 AM
st_trooper st_trooper is offline
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1. The larger stick goes into slot 3, the two 512MB sticks go into 1 and 2.

2. It won't work. Either it's dual channel for all or single channel for all.

3. All your RAM has to run at the same timings. If you buy RAM rated at 3/4/4/8, all of your sticks are going to run at that speed. 3/4/4/8 on a nforce2 is going to stick out.

4. Honestly, I never cared for dual channel on my nforce 2 mobo. It just didn't seem to boost performance as much as it should have.

I personally, would get another stick of 512MB or leave it be. I don't know if you REALLY NEED 2GBs of RAM.

5. You're better off unlocking your current CPU's multiplier and getting a higher fsb that way (save the money ). If you don't know how to do this, don't be shy.
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Old 02-03-2004, 10:40 AM
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CMC_SAVAGE CMC_SAVAGE is offline
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Your board will run dual channel with three sticks of RAM.
If you up your CPU's frequency to 200 in the BIOS, you should be
able to run your RAM at the full 400MHz.
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Old 02-04-2004, 01:00 AM
Rangoon Rangoon is offline
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Thanks, st trooper and cmc savage.

So you are saying that I would notice the drop to 3-4-4-8 in a bad way, eh? And Corsair doesn't make a 1024MB stick that will match the timings of a 512MB LL stick, do they? What I've read makes it pretty clear that in order to run dual channel with three sticks, you have to have 1 stick equal to the total of the other two. So I could put 1024MB in channel 0 and 2x512 in channel 1 (2 slots). But then I will slow down to 3-4-4-8 or whatever I can push the 1024 stick to. So I will notice that slow down, but you think that dual channel doesn't make much difference anyways? That would indicate that I could happily run 3x512MB PC3200LL and not notice any real decrease in speed, while upping the total space.

My CPU is running at 166x13. I could try pushing it up, but I think I will soon be buying a Barton Athlon 3200. That will run at 200/400 FSB, so I will be able to run my RAM at its advertised speed finally. Perhaps I will overclock from there, but maybe it's not a good idea to push the DDR400 past 200MHz? At any rate, thanks for the replies here...I think I will wait until I get the new CPU, see how things go and maybe add more later.

Any other advice/comments?

This is confusing stuff, but it's a fun confusing. Cheers!
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Old 02-04-2004, 09:57 PM
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RAM GUY RAM GUY is offline
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I think that you would be better off with 1 Twinx1024-3200LL as the benefit would not out way the loss in performance with running the memory at a slower latency. And in fact may slow the system down even with the same settings.
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Old 02-05-2004, 12:13 AM
Rangoon Rangoon is offline
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Ram Guy, so you think I should keep it as is? When you say 1 Twinx1024-3200LL, that is 2x512, right? When I ordered this RAM it was listed as:

DDRAM 1GB TWINX1024-3200LL

Just want to be sure I'm clear....so keep what I have and don't add anything?

Thanks!
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Old 02-05-2004, 01:16 AM
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RAM GUY RAM GUY is offline
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Yes! With today's O.S. (Win2k, WinXP and Win2003) all have limits with usable memory. 2.0 Gigs with Win2k and WinXP and 4 Gigs with Win2003. And I just have not seen a real benefit or more than 1.0 Gig of memory unless you are using a server O.S. and an application that will use more than 2.0 Gig of memory! But all of the above O.S. can be made to see more than default size with hacks to he registry. But I would not suggest it!
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Old 02-05-2004, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAM GUY
Yes! With today's O.S. (Win2k, WinXP and Win2003) all have limits with usable memory. 2.0 Gigs with Win2k and WinXP and 4 Gigs with Win2003. And I just have not seen a real benefit or more than 1.0 Gig of memory unless you are using a server O.S. and an application that will use more than 2.0 Gig of memory! But all of the above O.S. can be made to see more than default size with hacks to he registry. But I would not suggest it!
Rangoon, I have had similiar thoughts when using our systems for DV editing. Unelss you have some crazy heavy audio processing going, you'll never use that full gig. And, I have seen raging debates on the subject of using virtual memory and people trying to shut it off. It appears from what I have seen that XP will create a page file and use it no matter what you do. You can also hit CRTL/ALT/DEL and bring up the WIN task manager and watch your page file usage to see how hard your system is hitting the page file when you do your intensive tasks.

If you have the time and $$$ I would suggest a nice little WIN tweak that works well with XP, 2K, and WIN-98. Place your paging file on a seperate physical disk from the OS. This helps to reduce the I/O bottleneck created by heavy paging activity. It is pretty simple. And, I am not going to spam the vendor here but, email or PM me if you want a Seagate Barracuda 200gb HD for $99. That is a great deal and a good drive to use for storage and your paging file if you do not already have a 2nd drive in the system to try this.

Good luck, Mike.
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