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Which is better, more RAM at a slower speed or less at higher speed?

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Which is better, more RAM at a slower speed or less at higher speed?

dennis_rees
I have an XP PC with an 800MHz FSB and 512MB of PC3200 RAM. Will adding 512MB of PC2700 RAM improve or degrade performance?
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    cmiller5400

    Your RAM will only run at the slowest speed. So, you are now running at 333MHz instead of 400MHz on the RAM.

    Edit:* - Only slightly, probably you wouldn't notice it unless you are running memory intensive applications. You will benefit from going from 512 to 1GB.

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    Slayer_

    If your actually short of RAM, then simply having more will help greatly as you wont use swapfile, however if you already have plenty of RAM, then higher speeds would help.

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    jszivos

    Hands-down, increasing RAM provides the best bang for you buck. At the expense of decreasing from 400mhz to 333mhz memory, you are able to double the memory. I've actually done exactly what you are contemplating - it worked out well for me.

    There are some other things you can do to improve performance, such as increasing the pagefile, setting the pagefile to be stored on a slave drive, or spanning the pagefile across multiple hard drives. You can disable services too. Like if you don't use Remote Desktop then you can disable the Terminal Services service. If you don't print then disable the Print Spooler service.

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    TheChas

    As to if there will be any performance degradation with slower RAM installed depends a lot on the actual Front Side Bus speed of your CPU.

    If your CPU does not support the full speed of the PC3200 RAM, you may not have any system slow-down from installing the slower RAM.

    As stated in other replies, having more RAM almost always improves system performance.

    Further, if your system has on board video that uses system memory you will actually be more than doubling your system RAM by adding another 512 MB DIMM.

    The only concern I have is if the 2 DIMMs will work together. If both DIMMs have the same number of memory chips on them, the probability of them working together is best.

    They may have different timing and CAS latency specifications. You may need to manually 'tweak' the RAM settings to get your system to run stable.

    Still, I have had problems with DIMMs of similar construction from different manufactures. So, do not be surprised if your system either locks up or is unstable with these 2 different DIMMs installed.

    I always try to have all of the RAM in a system from the same manufacture.

    Chas

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    jszivos

    Chas is correct. It is not recommended to mix different memory modules, for compatibility reasons. But if it works, it works.

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    dennis_rees

    Thanks for the info! The PC does work properly with both PC2700 & PC3200 memory in it. My "gut feel" was that it performed better with more memory at the slower speed, but that was just doing day-to-day tasks; not benchmarking. Thanks again for your thoughts!

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    Slayer_

    You might notice a speed difference in game framerates and games and high load applications will unload faster (loading is bottlenecked by your HDD speed), but thats about it.

  • +
    0 Votes
    cmiller5400

    Your RAM will only run at the slowest speed. So, you are now running at 333MHz instead of 400MHz on the RAM.

    Edit:* - Only slightly, probably you wouldn't notice it unless you are running memory intensive applications. You will benefit from going from 512 to 1GB.

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    If your actually short of RAM, then simply having more will help greatly as you wont use swapfile, however if you already have plenty of RAM, then higher speeds would help.

    +
    0 Votes
    jszivos

    Hands-down, increasing RAM provides the best bang for you buck. At the expense of decreasing from 400mhz to 333mhz memory, you are able to double the memory. I've actually done exactly what you are contemplating - it worked out well for me.

    There are some other things you can do to improve performance, such as increasing the pagefile, setting the pagefile to be stored on a slave drive, or spanning the pagefile across multiple hard drives. You can disable services too. Like if you don't use Remote Desktop then you can disable the Terminal Services service. If you don't print then disable the Print Spooler service.

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    0 Votes
    TheChas

    As to if there will be any performance degradation with slower RAM installed depends a lot on the actual Front Side Bus speed of your CPU.

    If your CPU does not support the full speed of the PC3200 RAM, you may not have any system slow-down from installing the slower RAM.

    As stated in other replies, having more RAM almost always improves system performance.

    Further, if your system has on board video that uses system memory you will actually be more than doubling your system RAM by adding another 512 MB DIMM.

    The only concern I have is if the 2 DIMMs will work together. If both DIMMs have the same number of memory chips on them, the probability of them working together is best.

    They may have different timing and CAS latency specifications. You may need to manually 'tweak' the RAM settings to get your system to run stable.

    Still, I have had problems with DIMMs of similar construction from different manufactures. So, do not be surprised if your system either locks up or is unstable with these 2 different DIMMs installed.

    I always try to have all of the RAM in a system from the same manufacture.

    Chas

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    0 Votes

    And

    jszivos

    Chas is correct. It is not recommended to mix different memory modules, for compatibility reasons. But if it works, it works.

    +
    0 Votes
    dennis_rees

    Thanks for the info! The PC does work properly with both PC2700 & PC3200 memory in it. My "gut feel" was that it performed better with more memory at the slower speed, but that was just doing day-to-day tasks; not benchmarking. Thanks again for your thoughts!

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    You might notice a speed difference in game framerates and games and high load applications will unload faster (loading is bottlenecked by your HDD speed), but thats about it.