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Thread: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

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    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    A friend of mine has a Dell Dimension 8300 I belive, and wants to go to 512megs of ram. He has a p4 2.8g 800fsb, HT.

    I cracked it open and it's got 2x128 sticks in there now. DDR 400 CL3.

    I noticed the sticks are in dual channel config, and there are 2 spaces free. Should I just slap a 256 stick in there, or get 2x128 sticks and put those in for the second dual channel slots?

    Dell warns to only do them in pairs.. On my MB I don't have to do that even though it's dual channel capable. Not sure what will happen with proprietary hardware though, you never know.

    1) Would it even work with 1 256meg stick?
    2) Would performance be worth it to go to 2x128meg instead?

    Any input is appreciative!

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    *Flashaholic* bwaites's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    Have to be in pairs.

    But, 2x256 is like $30-40, wouldn't that be better?

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    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    OK, this is the 4th time today that I can swear I've replied to a post, and then later I check and it's not there.

    nm what I posted, now I'm about my posts disappearing...

    sorry for the HJ

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    Flashaholic daBear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    Like bwaites said the ram MUST be in pairs. I am not familiar with that MB so I would check with Dell to see if there are any other special considerations. Match the DDR and CL to what you have in the board also.
    Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.

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    Modulated Moderator Radio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    1) Would it even work with 1 256meg stick? Yes
    2) Would performance be worth it to go to 2x128meg instead? Yes

    Will not run dual channel on one stick but will run fine

    There will be a slight performance increase with the 2x128 over the 1x256

    As others have stated PC3200 DDR ram is very cheap now, you can get 4x512 for approx $100 after rebate, check Fatwallet for the deals, that box will smoke with 2gb in dual ch, will be the single most important performance increase you could make short of changing the processor to a dual core
    Carrying a firearm for self-defense gives you great power. Society expects great responsibility from those with great power.

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    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    bwaites: he's only looking to spend 30 shipped max. I'll keep looking.
    dabear: I planned on matching the DDR400 and CL3.

    Every major memroy upgrade site I've looked at said nothing about adding in pairs. Also I had an old Dell 266mhz PII and I upgraded the ram in that and I didn't add in pairs even though it shipped with pairs and it worked great. My MSI motherboard is running just fine on 1 stick too btw..

    Radio: So will adding a 256 stick to channel A or B cause the dual-channel feature to no longer operate because one channel has more ram than the other? He's not a performance freak, doesn't do gaming, just wants quicker response on applications. Since he's using XP, 256mb isn't cutting it.
    Last edited by IsaacHayes; 01-25-2006 at 09:40 PM.

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    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    OK after a lot of reading it seems that I'll have to add him ram in pairs or it will operate in single channel. I found a pair of 128 kingston for 30 shipped, he'll probably go for that.

    One more question though, Say you had a pair of matching X brand of 128, one in each channel. Then you add a matching pair of 256 of Y brand, one in each channel. Would it still work as dual channel as each channel would be "equal" ?

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    Flashaholic* LukeK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    Yes, it would work just fine to have different brands for each pair. As you probably found out in your research, adding only one stick of RAM to your old Dell PII didn't matter since dual channel wasn't around on PCs back then.
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    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    Right I knew they didn't have dual channel back then. But they (dell) said you had to upgrade in pairs. I went agaisnt it and it worked great.

    Thanks for confirming the pair of different size/brand mixing!

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    Flashaholic* LEDcandle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading RAM in a Dell. Pairs or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacHayes
    OK after a lot of reading it seems that I'll have to add him ram in pairs or it will operate in single channel. I found a pair of 128 kingston for 30 shipped, he'll probably go for that.

    One more question though, Say you had a pair of matching X brand of 128, one in each channel. Then you add a matching pair of 256 of Y brand, one in each channel. Would it still work as dual channel as each channel would be "equal" ?
    Technically, it should work. Some motherboards can run dual channel even if the memory amount is different or if 3 slots are used.

    I remember vaguely reading some older motherboards can't handle 768mb ram though; they prefer it in the usual multiples of 128, 256, 512, 1024 etc... but I can't absolutely validate this

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