Forum Thread

DDR2 RAM Upgrade Question

HRockets 2,027 288 December 9, 2015 at 01:01 PM
Gateway GT5412
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 / 1.8 GHz
Intel 945G Express
Contains 4 Memory Banks with a Max Memory of 4096MB.

Current Memory installed:
(1 Stick) ADQKD1A16 ADA 1GB 240p PC2-4200 CL4 16c 64x8 DDR2-533 2Rx8 1.8v UDIMM, Adata
(1 Stick) ADQKD1A16 ADA 1GB 240p PC2-4200 CL4 16c 64x8 DDR2-533 2Rx8 1.8v UDIMM, Adata

I looked up the model number via the memory modules and looked it up to get those specs. The Crucial memory detection site actually detected them as PC2-5200.

Evidently, I can upgrade with one stick at a time but for best performance it's best to buy in pairs. I also read via one of the memory detection sites that it is best to maximize each slot. This leads me to a few basic questions please (and my apologies as I'm sure these are basic answers for some).....

1. Is it best to go with (4) 1GB sticks versus (2) 2GB sticks?

2. I'm going to assume I can buy a different brand compared to what is already installed and not lose performance (eyeing Crucial on Amazon).

3. I see memory "pair" kits. Is there a difference between buying 2 single sticks versus one of these kits that include 2 sticks.

4. On the motherboard, the memory slots are lined up as follows...
It basically looks like two slots close to each other, a slight gap and then the other two slots close to each other on the right side of the gap.

First Pair of slots...
The first slot has a white set of hinge/seaters/anchors (not sure of the proper term).
The second slot has a black set.
Second Pair of slots...
The first slot has a white set of hinge seaters.
The second slot has a black set.

The current sticks are installed in the first slots of each pair (meaning installed into the slots that have the white set of anchors). Is this correct? How should they be currently installed and as well how should the new memory modules be installed? Thanks.

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#2
Quote from HRockets View Post :
Gateway GT5412
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 / 1.8 GHz
Intel 945G Express
Contains 4 Memory Banks with a Max Memory of 4096MB.

Current Memory installed:
(1 Stick) ADQKD1A16 ADA 1GB 240p PC2-4200 CL4 16c 64x8 DDR2-533 2Rx8 1.8v UDIMM, Adata
(1 Stick) ADQKD1A16 ADA 1GB 240p PC2-4200 CL4 16c 64x8 DDR2-533 2Rx8 1.8v UDIMM, Adata

I looked up the model number via the memory modules and looked it up to get those specs. The Crucial memory detection site actually detected them as PC2-5200.

Evidently, I can upgrade with one stick at a time but for best performance it's best to buy in pairs. I also read via one of the memory detection sites that it is best to maximize each slot. This leads me to a few basic questions please (and my apologies as I'm sure these are basic answers for some).....

1. Is it best to go with (4) 1GB sticks versus (2) 2GB sticks?

2. I'm going to assume I can buy a different brand compared to what is already installed and not lose performance (eyeing Crucial on Amazon).

3. I see memory "pair" kits. Is there a difference between buying 2 single sticks versus one of these kits that include 2 sticks.

4. On the motherboard, the memory slots are lined up as follows...
It basically looks like two slots close to each other, a slight gap and then the other two slots close to each other on the right side of the gap.

First Pair of slots...
The first slot has a white set of hinge/seaters/anchors (not sure of the proper term).
The second slot has a black set.
Second Pair of slots...
The first slot has a white set of hinge seaters.
The second slot has a black set.

The current sticks are installed in the first slots of each pair (meaning installed into the slots that have the white set of anchors). Is this correct? How should they be currently installed and as well how should the new memory modules be installed? Thanks.
1. 2 sticks of 1GB each will probably be cheaper than 2 sticks of 2GB each, so going with 4 sticks of 1 GB is probably a bit better than 2 sticks of 2GB. There's no real performance difference between the two configurations.

2. You can buy a different brand / model than what's installed, although I think DDR2 was a lot more persnickety than DDR3 is as far as matching was concerned when dealing with dual channel mode. Dual channel mode allows a slightly (almost negligible) performance increase when using 2 or 4 identical (or identically spec'd) sticks.

3. "Pair" kits tended to be more likely to work properly in dual channel mode, IIRC.

4. The different colors / spacings denote which slots should be used to enable dual channel mode. Different mobos used different conventions, but it is either use slots of the same color or the two slots closest together. If putting in 4 sticks, just fill them all; if using 2 sticks, replace the two existing with your new ones.

All that said, why are you putting money into such an old system? Granted, the cost actually seems fairly reasonable for such old tech (I saw 2x1GB sticks on amazon for ~$15), but that computer is probably 10 years old. Why are you wanting / needing to add RAM now?
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Marshall: Have the rest of you guys figured out by now that mmathis is the smartest guy on SlickDeals?
#3
1. Doesn't matter
2. As long as it's PC2-5200 or faster you won't lose performance.
3. No difference
4. That's correct. If you buy 2 more 1gb sticks it doesn't matter how they're installed.
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#4
Dont waste money on that system. You will likely not feel a performance increase. Put the money towards an ssd which can be moved to a new system later and you will feel quite a difference.
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#5
Many thanks mmathis (and maramos) for the help. That cleared a lot of things up. One final question please.

The current sticks are DDR2 533 PC2-4200 (although Crucial says 5200). The FSB on the chipset is 800Mhz which means (I believe) I could add on DDR2 667 or DDR2 800 sticks to what I already have (DDR 533). I've read that 667 and 800 are backwards compatible to 533.
What I'm curious about. ...If I add 667 or 800 to the 533, will this show improve performance compared to simply adding 533 to the existing 533? Or will the faster sticks automatically run to the decreased rate of the existing 533?

Yes, good question mmathis. Smilie I had big plans to finally upgrade the computer during the black friday events. Had been monitoring all of the deals and got fairly excited to be up to speed (so very close to getting the $399 Asus i5 Skylake Front Page Amazon deal). Then circumstances made me realize I needed to back off of those plans for the time being and just hope the existing computer doesn't crap out when no deals are around. I decided to at least upgrade the RAM to give the dinosaur a boost.
Quote from mmathis View Post :
1. 2 sticks of 1GB each will probably be cheaper than 2 sticks of 2GB each, so going with 4 sticks of 1 GB is probably a bit better than 2 sticks of 2GB. There's no real performance difference between the two configurations.

2. You can buy a different brand / model than what's installed, although I think DDR2 was a lot more persnickety than DDR3 is as far as matching was concerned when dealing with dual channel mode. Dual channel mode allows a slightly (almost negligible) performance increase when using 2 or 4 identical (or identically spec'd) sticks.

3. "Pair" kits tended to be more likely to work properly in dual channel mode, IIRC.

4. The different colors / spacings denote which slots should be used to enable dual channel mode. Different mobos used different conventions, but it is either use slots of the same color or the two slots closest together. If putting in 4 sticks, just fill them all; if using 2 sticks, replace the two existing with your new ones.

All that said, why are you putting money into such an old system? Granted, the cost actually seems fairly reasonable for such old tech (I saw 2x1GB sticks on amazon for ~$15), but that computer is probably 10 years old. Why are you wanting / needing to add RAM now?
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#6
Quote from fenderman View Post :
Dont waste money on that system. You will likely not feel a performance increase. Put the money towards an ssd which can be moved to a new system later and you will feel quite a difference.
Thanks fenderman. Just not quite sure when that new system will happen. I've been seeing a few deals recently that list ssd drives along with the usual hdd drives. Is this a new thing (not solid state drives but adding them as additions to desktops and such) and what do users usually dedicate, in terms of data, to the ssd drives (OS or gaming or...)?
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#7
Quote from HRockets View Post :
Thanks fenderman. Just not quite sure when that new system will happen. I've been seeing a few deals recently that list ssd drives along with the usual hdd drives. Is this a new thing (not solid state drives but adding them as additions to desktops and such) and what do users usually dedicate, in terms of data, to the ssd drives (OS or gaming or...)?
The 250GB ssd drives are on sale for about 60 dollars. They will give your WAY more of a performance boost than memory for day to day operations. You may not benefit from the memory increase at all if you are not currently maxing our your memory usage. Using SSD's in desktops is not new, many have been doing it for years. You want to put your OS and programs on the SSD. The difference between an ssd and a spinning hard drive is dramatic. It will make your computer way FASTER than new.
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#8
Quote from HRockets View Post :
Many thanks mmathis (and maramos) for the help. That cleared a lot of things up. One final question please.

The current sticks are DDR2 533 PC2-4200 (although Crucial says 5200). The FSB on the chipset is 800Mhz which means (I believe) I could add on DDR2 667 or DDR2 800 sticks to what I already have (DDR 533). I've read that 667 and 800 are backwards compatible to 533.
What I'm curious about. ...If I add 667 or 800 to the 533, will this show improve performance compared to simply adding 533 to the existing 533? Or will the faster sticks automatically run to the decreased rate of the existing 533?

Yes, good question mmathis. Smilie I had big plans to finally upgrade the computer during the black friday events. Had been monitoring all of the deals and got fairly excited to be up to speed (so very close to getting the $399 Asus i5 Skylake Front Page Amazon deal). Then circumstances made me realize I needed to back off of those plans for the time being and just hope the existing computer doesn't crap out when no deals are around. I decided to at least upgrade the RAM to give the dinosaur a boost.
Your ram will be limited to whatever the slowest stick is. There's no benefit in getting anything faster than what you have if you're going to use them together.
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#9
What will the ram cost? I would consider Ebay too. Pick up some dirt cheap maybe. I would agree and SSD might be a better investment or keep going with what you have till funds allow for a new system completely.
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Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
What will the ram cost? I would consider Ebay too. Pick up some dirt cheap maybe. I would agree and SSD might be a better investment or keep going with what you have till funds allow for a new system completely.
Thanks, LiquidRetro. I was checking out a Crucial kit for $24 but have seen that I can get other brands of the same for about $20. Just now looked at ebay and see that I can get Crucial for $15 or even another brand for $9.

I'm going to revisit the SSD option that fenderman and yourself have mentioned. Currently reading a couple of articles on it (ssd vs ram upgrades on older systems). One article suggest to at least have a dual core and a couple of gigs of RAM which the computer indeed has. So, I'll just need to decide on throwing a few bucks down on RAM and hoping for the best or investing more on a SSD that would help now and a future computer.

Thanks all.
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#11
Quote from HRockets View Post :
Thanks, LiquidRetro. I was checking out a Crucial kit for $24 but have seen that I can get other brands of the same for about $20. Just now looked at ebay and see that I can get Crucial for $15 or even another brand for $9.

I'm going to revisit the SSD option that fenderman and yourself have mentioned. Currently reading a couple of articles on it (ssd vs ram upgrades on older systems). One article suggest to at least have a dual core and a couple of gigs of RAM which the computer indeed has. So, I'll just need to decide on throwing a few bucks down on RAM and hoping for the best or investing more on a SSD that would help now and a future computer.

Thanks all.
Buying some used ram for $9 is worth doing. Not sure I would do the ssd or not.
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Quote from HRockets View Post :
Many thanks mmathis (and maramos) for the help. That cleared a lot of things up. One final question please.

The current sticks are DDR2 533 PC2-4200 (although Crucial says 5200). The FSB on the chipset is 800Mhz which means (I believe) I could add on DDR2 667 or DDR2 800 sticks to what I already have (DDR 533). I've read that 667 and 800 are backwards compatible to 533.
What I'm curious about. ...If I add 667 or 800 to the 533, will this show improve performance compared to simply adding 533 to the existing 533? Or will the faster sticks automatically run to the decreased rate of the existing 533?

Yes, good question mmathis. Smilie I had big plans to finally upgrade the computer during the black friday events. Had been monitoring all of the deals and got fairly excited to be up to speed (so very close to getting the $399 Asus i5 Skylake Front Page Amazon deal). Then circumstances made me realize I needed to back off of those plans for the time being and just hope the existing computer doesn't crap out when no deals are around. I decided to at least upgrade the RAM to give the dinosaur a boost.
Note: there's no such thing as PC2-5200 DDR2 RAM - it's 4200 or 5300. Not sure if that's just a typo on your part?

If you routinely run out of RAM (see the sticky thread in this forum to figure out if you do, in fact, run out of RAM), you'll see a performance boost, but it will be due to the extra RAM, not the 667 or 800. The new sticks will run at the slower 533 speed. The difference in speeds is essentially negligible in real-world applications. If you don't run out of RAM now, you won't see any difference in performance.

If you can find 2x1GB for less than $20, I'd say it's probably worth it - again, assuming you actually need more RAM. An SSD would also be a good buy, as mentioned, since you can move that to a new build. Most people put the OS on it and install all their programs on it, and a ~250 GB drive is plenty big for that. Actual data is stored on a separate (non-SSD) drive.

There are always deals on PC components. Set up some deal alerts for the components or ready-built PC you want, and buy as the deals hit. This has the added benefit of spreading out the spending making it easier on your budget Smilie
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#13
Quote from fenderman View Post :
The 250GB ssd drives are on sale for about 60 dollars. They will give your WAY more of a performance boost than memory for day to day operations. You may not benefit from the memory increase at all if you are not currently maxing our your memory usage.
That's a big if though. There are few things worse for performance than having to regularly swap out apps to disk, and 2GB is not a lot of memory for modern apps. Having the pagefile on an SSD will be noticeably faster, but still nothing like having enough actual RAM.

OP: check the sticky about how to know if you need more RAM. If you need more RAM, that's the best thing you can do for yourself right now short of upgrading the system. If you don't need more RAM, as many others have said, invest your money elsewhere since you won't be able to bring that RAM forward into your next system.
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Last edited by quotidian December 10, 2015 at 08:34 AM
#14
Quote from quotidian View Post :
That's a big if though. There are few things worse for performance than having to regularly swap out apps to disk, and 2GB is not a lot of memory for modern apps. Having the pagefile on an SSD will be noticeably faster, but still nothing like having enough actual RAM.

OP: check the sticky about how to know if you need more RAM. If you need more RAM, that's the best thing you can do for yourself right now short of upgrading the system. If you don't need more RAM, as many others have said, invest your money elsewhere since you won't be able to bring that RAM forward into your next system.
What type of "modern apps" do you think op is running on that old system. 2gb is plenty...I will bet the op will not be able to feel any difference between 2gb and 4gb, likely flushing money down the drain. The ssd will result in an very noticeable performance boost, and can be moved to a new system later.
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Quote from fenderman View Post :
What type of "modern apps" do you think op is running on that old system. 2gb is plenty...I will bet the op will not be able to feel any difference between 2gb and 4gb, likely flushing money down the drain. The ssd will result in an very noticeable performance boost, and can be moved to a new system later.
Chrome with tabs will easily consume a ton of ram.I think that's pretty modern. I agree on the SSD but it's a lot more money and the OP Should rebuild the OS rather than clone. For $9 for used ram on Ebay its fine.
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