View Full Version : Noob looking to buy more memory.

27-06-2011, 06:21 PM
So, I have some questions about memory, because I'm lame and don't understand stuff.

Is 2x2GB in dual channel really better than 1x4GB? I've seen some reports that say it doesn't make much difference, and some that say it can. (If it makes a difference, I already have 2x2GB in dual channel and two free slots.)
I don't understand memory timings. I know that my current memory is running at 8-8-8-24. Presumably I ideally want my new memory running with the same timings (and of course at the same clock speed of 1600MHz). What should I look for to make sure it can do that? (e.g. the memory I'm looking at now is listed as 9-9-9-24. Could I push it to 8-8-8-24?)
I have a pretty enormous CPU cooler (running my 2.67GHz i5 relatively stably at 3.6GHz - though it does get into slightly worrying temperatures at times), and one of my free memory slots is very close to the perpendicular fan. Would it be bad news to slot that or does it not matter?
I know with some PC components, brand makes a huge difference, and with others, it doesn't. Can you advise me on how that relates to memory? (I've heard that you should ideally use all the same brand - mine is Patriot.)


28-06-2011, 01:34 AM
1. It depends on the CPU's bus speed and whether or not the ram is fast enough. It can cause bottlenecks that slow the CPU and the memory otherwise, but in all honesty the actual speed increase is barely perceptible unless in quite extreme cases.
2. See 4
3. Don't worry about it.
4. You can use different brands and speeds if you must, but it's not ideal as it'll only go as fast as the slowest stick. Returning to 1 again, I would be better to buy a single 4gb stick than have a mix. That way you can get another stick for dual channel if you want to upgrade again later.

28-06-2011, 02:04 AM
Stick with the same brand, and model/lot number of the memory even, unless you just can't avoid it.

It's better to upgrade RAM all at once, and not piecemeal. Even RAM of the same brand can vary from lot to lot.

For timing, haunt the forums of your favorite brand, or if they don't exist or are poorly maintained, I'd suggest looking at either Corsair's, or maybe Tom's Hardware. Be aware you could experience a lot of blue screens and unexpected crashes, and potentially hard drive corruption by playing with the memory. Given the gains are actually pretty small, I'd find what works and is stable, and leave it at that. Buy quality and stick with stable timing.

29-06-2011, 08:32 AM
I used to subscribe to the idea of "keep it all the same" as well, but I think that's an idea that's quite outdated now a days. I use 2 different types of memory myself, Kingston HyperX 800mhz and 1066mhz guaranteed Corsair Dominators, but I just make it all run at 800mhz 5 5 5 15, and that's the end of that.
If there's one thing you can be sure of it's that they'll always run at lower speeds and timings, so just get whatever that is close to it, and the whole thing will automatically set itself to run at whatever the lowest speed is... shouldn't be a problem. In fact, I'd be really, really surprised if it was a problem.