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Thread: memory matching????

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003

    memory matching????

    hi there and thnks for ahelp as ususal,
    just wondering about memory slots...
    usually they have to come in pairs?and be the same-matching 2700 with 2700 and so on.
    my motherboard asus a7n8x-x has 3 x184 pin dimm sockets max 3gb pc3200/2700/2100/1600pc ddr ram memory.
    as i read that we have to put them in pairs, why is there 3 socets instead of 2/4(pairs)??
    i have at the moment 2x256 pc2100.what happens if i put another stick of pc2100?
    do i have 768?

    is it good to have 3 sticks?(i know more memory is in general beneficial)
    pls excplain little bit

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    no, you dont need "pairs" for memory nowadays. You can use one,two or three sticks and it will work perfectly.

    Maybe you have read about "Dual channel" memory controllers -- on Mainboard that implement "dual channel", you must have 2 sticks (of same type) to ACTIVATE dual channel. If you put 1 or 3 sticks, memory controller WILL work as a regular controller (one channel for memory)
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  3. #3
    Just Another Geek
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Dual channel is one possibility.

    Older pentium mainboards used SIMM modules. These had to be added in pairs because the databus of the pentium was twice the width of a single SIMM. Even older 486 boards could do with just one.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Dual Channel memory controllers is a thing of the Intel world with the era your hardware came from (Athlon/XP). Today's age has Athlon64 (939) with Dual Channel Memory, but AMD doesn't benefit as much as Intel did from it. In short, it doesn't apply to you and that is why there are 3 slots.

    Anyways, I see no harm in adding more memory to your computer. I do recommend that you get PC3200 memory if possible, because it is pretty much the same cost as PC2100 memory and it would have a chance at being used in a newer system or when you upgrade your processor. PC3200 memory can run at PC2100 speeds well, so it should be compatible. Have fun.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    The concept of "matched pairs" belongs to the era of 72 pin EDO RAM roughly 486/Pentium I processors. Some early PIIs also have the same memory.........this one (PII/266) does, for example. [Before any "purists" start flaming me, there are exceptions where there is fixed memory on the MoBo]

    Later PIIs and after either use SIMMS or DIMMS which are independent and can be added as you wish, provided that the MoBo/BIOS will support that particular size of strip. I have come across problems where someone has bought a 512Mb strip that won't work, or is recognised as a 256Mb because of the MoBo/BIOS limitations.

    An exception is the RAMBUS RIMMS (PC800) which also needs to be installed in matched pairs. This memory is pretty rare though, and belongs to the era of the early P4s.

    Yes, you can get away with mixing memory types, sometimes. I do not recommend it though, and would say that memory should be of the same speed (PC2100 etc) and clock latency (CL2/2.5/3) for the most stable installations.

    You could add a 512Mb strip to your machine to give you 1024Mb total memory. The difference is size between DIMM strips does not matter. In theory you should have the largest one in the lowest numbered slot (0 or 1) which is usually closest to the processor.

    Unless you are into very heavy duty graphics type apps, I do not think that you will see much improvement beyond the 512Mb you already have. You could REPLACE it with PC3200, or look at upgrading your graphics card, if you want better performance.

    Hope that helps

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