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Memory: 1x1GB module vs. 2x512MB modules

I have a Dell Dimension 3000, and I got the lowest memory available (256MB PC3200 DDR non-ECC), knowing that I could get more memory cheaper than from Dell. I know that I can install a 1GB module in one slot or 2 512MB modules. The Dell site says that the best performance comes from adding the 2 512MB modules, but I know that I'm going to want to go up to 2GB later, and I don't want to waste the money on the 2 512s when I know I'm going to end up with 2GB later.

My question is this: How much of a performance hit will I take by doing this? Does anyone have first-hand knowledge of this?
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ftaco96
Asked:
ftaco96
3 Solutions
 
stockhesCommented:
Hi ftaco96

Theoretically you loose half the bandwith to the RAM. If we are talking PC3200 in single mode the bandwith is 3200MBytes /sec. In dual channel you have 2*3200 = 6400 Mbytes /sec.

In practice the memory bandwith is only increased by 1,67, when dual channel.

check this link

http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:7imEKQJuVswJ:www.twinmos.com/dram/dram_p_dt_dualchannel_ddr400.htm+dual+single+channel+test&hl=da

I would advise to run dual channel
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mwnnjCommented:
also, install sisoft sandra:
http://www.sisoftware.net/index.html?dir=dload&location=sware_dl_3264&langx=en&a=
 and if you don't know what motherboard type you have,then see the tech specs after installing and running the program:
use the Mainboard Information module to check what is the maximum installable memory for your motherboard and other tech specs regarding your ram configuration,,,


cu
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WatzmanCommented:

With one module, you will be running single channel, with 2 modules dual channer.  The difference in memory bandwidth is substantial, in theory 2:1 although it practice it may be somewhat less.  However, the overally system response, although slower, MAY be almost unnoticeable.  It all depends on what you are doing.
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ftaco96Author Commented:
Thanks, everybody. I went ahead and got the dual channel 512s. Since I'm not going to be doing heavy gaming or video editing, I figure the 512s may be enough for the life of the machine. Plus, by the time I'd want to upgrade, the price of 2x1GB modules will be about the price I'm paying for the 512s now. At any rate, the new memory should make the machine blazingly fast compared to the way it's set up now with the 256MB.
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