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Old February 28, 2009, 01:17 PM
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Default Memory upgrade - What to choose ?

Hello everyone,

I'm shopping for parts to upgrade my system (see below for specs). The last thing I need now is the RAM.

According to the emachines site, it says the following :
Memory: 1024MB DDR2 (2 512MB), 533MHz (PC4200)
Expandable to 2GB

This is were things start to become is little weird.

I had doubts about it and I wanted to confirm the info before buying the new parts; using CPU-Z, I've found the following info :
slot #1 : PC2-3200 (200mhz) DDR2 - 512MBytes Maker : Infineon
slot #2 : PC2-4300 (266mhz) DDR2 - 512MBytes Maker : SpecTek

Now I'm puzzled; to say the least....

First question : What to think about this ? I have this system for 2 years now and no problems ever occured during this period.
Second question : I have no experience at all regarding RAM questions and I want to know what would be the best choice for an upgrade to 2GB (1 strip ? 2 strips ?). My budget : about 50$-60$Canadian (or lower if possible).

Thanks for the help !

Desktop : Emachines T5212-T5048 hybrid Pentium D (805) 2.67Mhz Smithfield
1 GB RAM DDR2 Video card ATI Radeon X550 128MB (going out...)
PSU : 300W (going out)
Hard drive : 160 GB - Windows XP Media Center
Going in: PSU - Corsair CX400W Power Supply - 400-Watt
GPU - HIS Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16
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Old March 1, 2009, 05:57 AM
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My System Specs

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1. I've run mismatched RAM on a computer for 1 year (almost 24/7) without problems. What really puzzles me is why you say your RAM is PC2-4200 while one of your sticks is labelled slower. Since you have CPU-Z, look under the "Memory" tab and read me the numbers there. I'm willing to bet that you're not even running at the advertised 266 Mhz because of the slow stick.
2. As for RAM, I'd get a 2x 1 GB kit (because your computer won't be able to "see" any more RAM than that). Do NOT get "overclocking" or "gaming" RAM because your motherboard will not support the voltage mod that's sometimes required. For a stock system like E-machines I recommend the "budget" RAM from any of the reliable makers including Kingston, Corsair, and Crucial.

Look for something like this:
Newegg.ca - CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

You can get PC2-5400 (667) or PC2-6400 (800) non-performance RAM as well, and your computer will select the slower speed. (at least it does for me on a Via single-board computer I use in a lab)

EDIT: Since you asked about 1 stick vs 2 sticks of RAM... The best way to configure RAM for a system (except i7 / LGA1366) is TWO sticks, for performance reasons. This is because of "Dual Channel" mode. (search for single vs dual channel on Google to see reviews & comparisons). A "dual channel" kit is merely advertising that tells you that the package contains 2 of the same RAM stick. These kits have no advantage over buying 2 sticks individually.
You lose this dual channel mode if you run 1 or 3 sticks of RAM, and if you run 4 sticks of RAM, you risk stressing your motherboard even if you have the slots for it. That's why many (including myself) do not fill all 4 RAM slots of the motherboard.

Intel's core i7 is strange and has triple channel, so for performance you want 3 or 6 sticks of RAM...
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Last edited by frontier204; March 1, 2009 at 06:07 AM.
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Old March 1, 2009, 08:10 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Montmagny, Quebec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frontier204 View Post
1. I've run mismatched RAM on a computer for 1 year (almost 24/7) without problems. What really puzzles me is why you say your RAM is PC2-4200 while one of your sticks is labelled slower. Since you have CPU-Z, look under the "Memory" tab and read me the numbers there. I'm willing to bet that you're not even running at the advertised 266 Mhz because of the slow stick.
2. As for RAM, I'd get a 2x 1 GB kit (because your computer won't be able to "see" any more RAM than that). Do NOT get "overclocking" or "gaming" RAM because your motherboard will not support the voltage mod that's sometimes required. For a stock system like E-machines I recommend the "budget" RAM from any of the reliable makers including Kingston, Corsair, and Crucial.

Look for something like this:
Newegg.ca - CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

You can get PC2-5400 (667) or PC2-6400 (800) non-performance RAM as well, and your computer will select the slower speed. (at least it does for me on a Via single-board computer I use in a lab)

First of all, thanks for the reply and info.

1) I've look at the memory tab and you're right. The DRAM frequency is 199.8Mhz, well below what is advertised. Also, the other numbers below are : 3-3-3-9.

2) You're CORSAIR suggestion is noted and I'll probably follow your suggestion. I need something pretty basic and it will fit my needs very well. Also, thank you for your list of reliable makers; I'll keep that in mind for future purchases.

Thanks again, I feel less noob on this subject now.
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Old March 1, 2009, 09:38 AM
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No prob, we're all learning here :)
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