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Thread: What is better - 3 or 4 sticks of DDR2?

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    silent h3ro's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +9BT Rep +9
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    As the topic asks, what is better, 3 or 4 sticks of memory? Right now I've got two sticks of 1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800. I hear that putting a stick in all four slots will strain the computer but I've also heard it's better than just two sticks because the computer has access to more memory (2 vs. 4). I can't find a definitive answer using Google. Anybody know about this? Clocker or Lynx?

    I'm considering either one more 2GB stick of memory or two more 1GB memory sticks. My motherboard is an eVGA 680i SLi.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by silent h3ro; 07-25-2008 at 01:13 AM.

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    Acid_death69's Avatar confuddled?!
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    i heard that if you put an odd amount for example 1,1, 512mb sticks can make you games lag. not sure what will happen if you have other combination like 2,2,1 or something like.
    liking your new display pic by the way

    My name is Dan for the people who care!

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    silent h3ro's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +9BT Rep +9
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    lol thanks Dan, Ace Ventura is a classic. I run 3 sticks of memory in my laptop and works perfect but I care more about the performance in my desktop than my laptop since I only play games on my desktop. I hear that you have to run in a lower command rate with all four slots full. How much would this affect performance?
    Last edited by silent h3ro; 07-25-2008 at 12:05 AM.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by silent h3ro View Post
    As the topic asks, what is better, 3 or 4 sticks of memory? Right now I've got two sticks of 1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800. I hear that putting a stick in all four slots will strain the computer ...
    Four sticks work just fine on Intel chipsets....not sure about the nVidia stuff.
    Probably you're best bet would be to get a 2 x 2GGB kit (they're so damn cheap right now) and sell off your 2 x 1GB set.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    4 > 3
    4 sticks allow for dual channel, while 3 will not.
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    Acid_death69's Avatar confuddled?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiweiler View Post
    4 > 3
    4 sticks allow for dual channel, while 3 will not.
    thought that was right.
    Silent hero, i have 2x2 GB and works amazingly well even though vista 32bit only likes to use 3 something GB of it lol.

    My name is Dan for the people who care!

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
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    Actually, it's not completely right.

    As long as you get the sticks in the right slots you could run 1GB+1GB+2GB in dual channel mode.

    Assuming you are already running in dual channel mode you would have to remove one of the 1GB sticks and replace it with the 2GB stick, then put the free 1GB stick in whichever slot is the same channel as the other 1GB stick. That way you've got 2GB on each channel and dual channel mode should work. If your memory is in slots 1 and 2, you probably need to move the stick from slot 2 to slot 3 and put the 2GB into slot 2. If your memory is in slots 1 and 3, you probably need to move the stick from slot 3 to slot 2 and put the 2GB into slot 3. It all depends on the slot layout of your mobo.

    The downside is that since they can't possibly be matched pairs, the timings can't be as tight as with a matched pair and they will also probably need to run in 2T mode which will slow things down slightly.

    1T/2T refers to the delay between setting up the address in the chip and telling the chip to deliver the data. The affect it has on performance depends on the burst length since there is only one setup per burst. You usually need 2T with 2 sticks on the same channel because you need to give both sticks time to become stable so that data transfer is synchronised.
    Last edited by lynx; 07-25-2008 at 10:51 AM.
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  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx View Post
    The downside is that since they can't possibly be matched pairs, the timings can't be as tight as with a matched pair and they will also probably need to run in 2T mode which will slow things down slightly.
    Lynx, I'm not even sure that 1T is an option for most DDR2 RAM anymore.
    Or maybe it's the motherboards...certainly, none of the three different Gigabyte LGA775 boards I've used had the ability to specify between 1 or 2T.
    Could be that a more feature rich board- possibly DFI?- does have this option.

    @h3ro...Acid_death raises a good point.
    Without a 64 bit OS, more RAM isn't going to do you much good whether it's dual channel or not.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    silent h3ro's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +9BT Rep +9
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    My OS is Vista Ultimate x64, so yes I can go over 3 gigs of memory. I have both memory sticks in slots 1 and 3 right now (in Dual Channel) and the reason I asked about running a third or fourth stick is because I want to go as cheap as possible. I'm giving this PC to my mom by the end of the year (this is currently the only PC in the house) and I just need something to tide me over until then. Gaming on Vista with only 2 gigs is very choppy, especially in Crysis. So I guess I could go for 2x2gb but is it really that much better than another 2gb stick?

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    I'd still get the 2 x 2GB set and then pull it out and install into your new PC when Mom inherits this machine.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

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