Memory Sticks for a PC running XP

  wee eddie 12:46 15 Oct 2008

Which would be better?

2GB of the Fastest that the MOBO can support or 3GB running at the speed of the Old Sticks, which is probably the slowest that the MOBO will support.

In other words: Do I chuck out the 2 old, 512MB, Sticks or not?

In the latter configuration, the old sticks would be installed in the Secondary Slots.

  howard64 12:49 15 Oct 2008

I would first let the crucial scanner look at your system. Then if there is nothing wrong with the existing leave it in and fit the max you can. Be aware that 32 bit xp cannot handle above 3GB without problems.

  Batch 12:51 15 Oct 2008

Depends what you use the PC for and what the difference between slowest and fastest is.

For many uses, 2GB would be more than enough. In fact 768MB would be enough for general browsing / office application use. Larger amounts are often needed for games, photo / video editing etc.

If you really need more than 2GB, I would guess that 3GB of the slower memory might be better as it would minimise use of the page file on disk.

BTW, "memory sticks" will make many think of pen drives.

  wee eddie 12:58 15 Oct 2008

I've already visited Crucial. My MOBO requires that the RAM to be installed in Pairs.

I currently have 2 x 512MD of RAM, Crucial are offering 2 x 1GB Sticks, of suitable RAM, at a good price.

The reason for the visit to Crucial was that I appear to be using Virtual Memory, more and more often.

  Furkin 13:18 15 Oct 2008

do RAM sims still 'need' putting in in pairs ?

I'm no expert Eddie, & of course know nothing about your system or needs,,,, but if Crucial recommend 2Gb for your set up, & you can afford the 2 sim's - i'd go for that. You are keeping the integrity of the machine in tact.

I have an ACER T120 & like you I had 2 x 512's. I couldn't afford two 1gb's in one go, so got one at a time so had 1 x 1gb & 1 x 512mb - no probs at all.
I added the other 1gb later.

good luck

  DieSse 13:35 15 Oct 2008

Ideally don't mix different specifications (speeds mainly) or RAM for maximum stability.

Yes I know it's often said they'll all run at the slower speed - but RAM and motherboards can be touchy things.

Myself, I would go for 2x1GB of the faster RAM and take out the older RAM. I've always stuck to this rule, and my systems just run nice and stably, with next to no "glitches or odd happenings".

Your "pairing" is probably for dual-channel RAM - which is noticeably faster. However, on older motherboards the dual-channeling may not work at the highest speed of the RAM (mine doesn't - with dual-channel it defaults to a slower speed).

  wee eddie 09:44 16 Oct 2008

However I am still none the wiser.

Put in other words.

I still do not know which will process "more" information. 2GB of the fastest RAM usable or 3GB of RAM working at a considerably lower speed.

I shall just have to "Suck it and see".

  DieSse 10:43 16 Oct 2008

RAM doesn't "process information" - the Processor does that (hence it's name).

RAM is just storage.

Now there are some situations where more RAM storage will be better (when there's lots of information likely to be needed and the faster it's available the better - and from RAM is faster than from disk))

And there are some situations where less RAM storage is needed, in which case the faster the RAM the better.

So there is no hard and fast answer - it depends what you are doing (and on which OS it's running).

IMO in XP, anything over 2GB is excessive apart from some very particular situations. I run XP with 1GB and in everyday use rarely if ever think my system might run noticeably faster with more RAM.

  I am Spartacus 10:46 16 Oct 2008

If it's any use. I benchmarked the same RAM running at 800MHz and again at 1066MHz on the same system. Difference in performance was between 3-6% i.e. undetectable in normal use.

I go with what DieSse suggests. Don't mix different RAm unless you have a really low spec system that isn't stretched.

I've only noticed a few % improvement in switching from 2GB RAM to 4GB (3.2GB available) in the same system and then it's only in video editing, about 20-30 seconds quicker on a 7GB render.

  wee eddie 11:47 16 Oct 2008

I, of course, used the word "Process" in the context of "In & Out" and the speed & volums at which the information passes through.

Unfortunately I don't have the speed of my old RAM, but I know that I purchased it over 4 years ago to upgrade my previous PC, and it wasn't the fastest available then.

As both Crucial's 2GB packages are the same price, I shall go for the faster, and shall then start with just the 2GB installed. Later I shall add back the 2 x 512MB sticks and see if I notice any difference.

  DieSse 11:51 16 Oct 2008

Yes - I wasn't trying to talk down to you - but a lot of people see these answers and I was just trying to give as clear as possible response for everyone that sees it.

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