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Which RAM do I need?

  1. Jul 22, 2008 #1
    My 5 year old pc has 256MB ram and I would like to buy new ram (because with WinXP it runs very slowly). But I don't know which ram to buy.
    ---

    1) I've installed the program "Everest" and it gives the following information:
    Motherboard Name: Asus P4S266-VX
    If i click on SPD Everest shows: DDR SDRAM, PC2100 (133MHz)
    ---
    2) I've also installed the program "CPU-Z" and it says the following:
    SPD (Slot #1)
    Module Size: 256 MBytes
    Max Bandwidth: PC2100 (133 MHz)
    Frequency 100MHz 133MHz


    ---

    3) Then I went to the website "crucial.com" which says:
    # Maximum Memory Capacity: 1536MB
    # Currently Installed Memory: 256MB
    # Available Memory Slots: 1
    # Number of Banks: 2
    # Dual Channel Support: No
    # CPU Manufacturer: GenuineIntel
    # CPU Family: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.00GHz Modell 2, Stepping 4
    # CPU Speed: 2018 MHz

    On the left hand side of the website it says:
    Currently installed memory:
    [256MB] [EMPTY]
    Each memory slot can hold DDR PC2700 with a maximum of 1GB per slot.*
    *Not to exceed manufacturer supported memory.
    ---


    What ram should I buy?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2008 #2

    Mech_Engineer

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    Sounds like you should get 1.5gb of PC 2700 DDR RAM, a 1 GB chip and a 512 MB chip would give you the maximum allowed amount of ram for your computer, 1536 MB (you would just throw out your 256MB chip that's in there right now). If you want to keep the chip that's in there, then you could get a 1GB chip of PC 2100 DDR RAM, and have a total of 1280 MB.
     
  4. Jul 22, 2008 #3
    Buying 1.5 GB of PC 2700 is definitly overkill for such an old computer. Also PC 2700 is not worth the investment as it is too slow for present day processors. If your computer is slow I would consider upgrading the motherboard, cpu and the memory.
     
  5. Jul 22, 2008 #4

    mgb_phys

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    Not only is PC2700 too slow for modern machines, most take DDR2.

    But a 1Gb (or even 512Mb) stick will cost around $20 and make a huge difference
    It is worth upgrading the memory, unless you have suddenly got an interest in non-linear video editing or fluid dynamics simulations the 2.0Ghz P4 will be fine.
    It browsed the web and wrote word docs 3years ago - why shouldn't it now?
     
  6. Jul 22, 2008 #5

    russ_watters

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    I second that. Another 512 or 1gig on that computer will make a huge difference. MS should have made 512 the minimum for XP - it takes more than 256 megs just to boot and once you fill that, you're using your hard drive as ram. Simple things like switching between open programs can take seconds when it should take miliseconds.
     
  7. Jul 22, 2008 #6
    I would buy three 512MB sticks of PC2100 and be done with it. The difference in performance going from 256 to 1.5GBs will be considerable... especially for just a $60 investment.

    The only reason I would step up to PC2700 though, is if you intend to overclock at all. (Which a Northwood does very well.)
     
  8. Jul 23, 2008 #7

    russ_watters

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    Only two slots....
     
  9. Jul 23, 2008 #8

    Mech_Engineer

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    Considering 1.5gb of PC2700 would cost about $35, I don't think it's THAT big of an investment, and will considerably increase the performance of the computer. Buying a new motherboard, cpu, and memory would cost at least 10 times that if not more, so the comparison doesn't really work; plus its a bit of slippery slope, if you're upgrading all of that why not just spend $500-$600 and just build a whole new computer, keeping the old one as a web surfer or network storage box.

    The choices as I see them are buy 1 gb of PC2100 for about $25, or 1.5gb of PC2700 for $35 (and toss the 256mb chip already in there). Either will give a significant performance boost.
     
  10. Jul 23, 2008 #9

    robphy

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    It seems there might be some confusion on how many slots there are....

    http://www.satech.com/motherboard-m...memory-asus-p4s266-vx-motherboard-memory.html says 3 slots for "P4S266-VX" .... which makes sense for a maximum of 1.5 GB (.5GB per slot).

    I usually trust crucial to get it right.... but maybe they made a mistake this time.

    google.com/search?q=P4S266-VX+(slots+OR+banks)

    Given the cost of the RAM upgrade, I'd vote for that.... unless you're looking for an excuse to buy (and setup) a new computer.
     
  11. Jul 23, 2008 #10

    Mech_Engineer

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    It seems that the Asus P4S266-VX motherboard has 3 ram slots according to many other websites. However, buying a 1gb chip and a 512mb chip is still the cheapest way to get to 1.5 gb, unless you keep the extisting 256mb chip.
     
  12. Jul 23, 2008 #11
    There are three slots. All DDR motherboards of those types have three slots. I've worked on quite a few Sony Vaio's which have this exact motherboard. Here's an actual picture of the motherboard we're talking about...

    http://www.vaiosite.com/review/vaio/desk/mxs3/p4s266.jpg

    I still say keep the ram matched evenly for maximum performance. Those boards are finicky if you try to use 1GB in any one slot (will only register 768MB), so buying a 1GB will be wasting money. Just buy three 512MB sticks and be done with it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2008
  13. Jul 23, 2008 #12
    Also, the PC2700 is not faster due to the MHz difference (133 vs 166). PC2100 has a lower CAS latency which actually yields faster performance than PC2700.
     
  14. Jul 23, 2008 #13
  15. Jul 23, 2008 #14

    robphy

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    Um....
    that says " 128MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 266 (PC 2100) "

    How do you get $57.96 shipped?
     
  16. Jul 23, 2008 #15
  17. Jul 23, 2008 #16

    Mk

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    I'm with McJennifer,
    1 or 2 512 MB sticks are probably just fine.
     
  18. Jul 23, 2008 #17

    robphy

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    If that particular style of RAM was expensive, I'd agree.
    But for this price of $17 for 512MB [which is likely to become more expensive], you might as well take advantage of it and max it out now.

    Recently, I got two 2GB-sticks for my 2yr-old laptop.
    The price of one of those 2GB-sticks was half the price of a 1GB-stick for my wife's older laptop. So, if you have the opportunity to get ram at the price above, you might as well go for it.

    What's wrong with using an older computer if it works?
    ...especially if it is still using the older software?
     
  19. Jul 23, 2008 #18
    I agree. The computer we're talking about really isn't that old. Like I said previously i've worked with these motherboards before. Two of them I maxed out the memory at 1.5GBs and doaded Vista onto them... which it runs just fine (1GB of ram being the minimum, the extra 512MBs helps quite a bit.). It whizzes through XP. If you add a newer video card, you can even enable Aero Glass... which it again can run just fine.

    Still pretty up to stuff for an 'old computer'.
     
  20. Jul 24, 2008 #19
    Thanks for all the answers and the help, especially Elliott.
    I'm going to buy two of the 512 MB ram PC2100 and let the 256 MB in the first slot.

    In case there is no PC2100 but only PC2700 in the shop, is it also possible to use PC2700?
     
  21. Jul 24, 2008 #20

    Mech_Engineer

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    Usually you can only use one kind of RAM, and can't use PC2100 and PC 2700 together. Some motherboards will automatically underclock a PC 2700 chip to run at PC2100 speed, but that's not guaranteed on all boards.

    I would recommend price shopping here, you will be able to see what memory is available for all over the internet that way.

    http://www.pricewatch.com/system_memory/
     
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