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Dual Channel Ram Compatability

Posted on 2006-06-02
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Hello, I just purchased 2 - 1 GB sticks of Corsair TWINX2048-3200C2 and after installing them, have no idea wether they are running in Dual channel mode or not.

I have searched all over google for answers to how to identify if your pc is running in the mode; some say look in bios, some say use CPU-Z.  I've tried both.  Bios gives me no options for dual/single channel, and CPU-Z says I am running in Channel:  Dual for both of my sticks.  Now I have done the obvious.  Placed the two sticks in positions 1 and 3.  My PC detects that I have 2 GB of ram in there, which is good.

Heres the important information:
Model # of PC: Sony Vaio RS620G
Mobo: P4SD-VL
Bios: American Megatrends Inc.
4 Ram slots

Now I've come across a website with a topic entitled:  Sony Vaio PCV-RS710G Ram Compatibility, which is a step up from my model number.  The URL is: http://www.houseofhelp.com/v2/showthread.php?t=51112.  Based upon this website, apparently my mobo sucks majorly and cannot accomodate ram higher than 512 MB for dual channel purposes.  It also directs me to the corsair compatibility website.  Going by this information, it looks like im screwed.  I just would like to know if you experts agree with this information.  

If this is the case, and I cannot fully take advantage of this pretty expensive ram, what would be in my best interest?  Returning the ram, purchasing the 2-4 512 MB sticks of "compatible ram", or taking apart my computer, purchasing a new mobo/processor and a Tower?   Not to mention I dont even know if I can take the processor off of this computer and sink it in the new board.  If I can, then I'll save quite a few bucks.  Any advice would be really appreciated.  Man I was so happy to finally get my ram >.<.  Thanks much!
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Question by:waznboi04
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by:garycase
ID: 16821801
Download MemTest-86+ from www.memtest.org ==> create a bootable floppy or CD, boot to it and run the test.   It will give your memory a good test -- AND will display whether or not it's running in dual channel mode :-)
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by:garycase
ID: 16821809
... by the way, your system CAN use 1GB modules (as you've obviously seen -- since it's showing the full 2GB you have installed).
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by:_
ID: 16821900
>> what would be in my best interest <<   Hard to say.
What are you using the computer for?
Do you really need dual-channel?
2gigs of ram?
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by:garycase
ID: 16821982
... another simple way to tell if you're running dual channel is to download and install Everest Home Edition from http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4181.html

Run it; then look (in the left pane) in the Motherboard - Chipset section.   On the right side it will show you the Memory Controller type and the active mode ==> if the active mode is Dual Channel all is well :-)
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by:waznboi04
ID: 16823793
Thanks for all of the replies.  Really appreciate it.  I'll have to try some of those programs when I get home.  In reference to Coral47's comment, no I don't NEED 2 Gigs of ram running in dual channel, per se, but I'd like it since I game a lot.  I had 512 MB of crap ram previously, so you can imagine what multi tasking is like.  Anyhow as far as my best interest, I'd LIKE 2 Gigs running the best possible way I can run it, which would be dual channel.  So I'm looking for the cheapest alternative - New board, tower, and use this ram, or keep what I've got and go with the 4 512 sticks.  

Now when I am able to determine if the ram is running in dual channel mode, I have a few follow up questions and thoughts:

1) Since my bios is garbage and basic, where do I configure the timing to the correct settings, and will this really make a difference?

2) Is it true that my PC will auto drop the speed of my ram to lower than 400 MHZ and also go down to PC2700 as indicated by the website I originally linked?  And what does this mean for overall performance?

3) Which program will be able to tell me if I'm taking full advantage of what this ram is capable of doing?  I don't want to be wasting my money, so to speak.

If worse case scenario, i'm not running in dual channel, whats the best way to determine if I can remove my processor from my PC and place it in another board?  And where do I find the processor information so I can see if the new board I purchase will fit it?

Thanks again.  Really appreciate it.
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by:garycase
ID: 16823920
Everest (the link in my last post) will show you a lot of what you've asked -- the speed of your memory; exactly what CPU you have (so you can look for compatible motherboards); etc.

... before worrying about modifying settings, or reduced performance, etc. .... wait and see what your memory is running at.   Odds are it's working just fine -- and in dual channel mode.   If you find out otherwise, THEN ask specific questions and provide the details that Everest will give you on the current modes of operation.


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by:waznboi04
ID: 16824225
Thanks again.  Ill check out that program.
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by:_
ID: 16825835
Thanks for the clearing up what you are trying to do. I will also wait to see what Everest says.  : )
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by:waznboi04
ID: 16829993
Okay the verdict is in.  As far as the Everest results:

North Bridge Properties      
North Bridge      Intel Springdale i865PE
Revision / Stepping      02 / A2
Package Type      932 Pin FC-BGA
Package Size      3.75 cm x 3.75 cm
Core Voltage      1.5 V
In-Order Queue Depth      12
      
Memory Controller      
Type      Dual Channel  (128-bit)
Active Mode      Dual Channel  (128-bit)
PAT      Disabled
      
Memory Timings      
CAS Latency (CL)      3T
RAS To CAS Delay (tRCD)      3T
RAS Precharge (tRP)      3T
RAS Active Time (tRAS)      8T
      
Error Correction      
ECC      Not Supported
ChipKill ECC      Not Supported
RAID      Not Supported
ECC Scrubbing      Not Supported
      
Memory Slots      
DRAM Slot #1      1024 MB  (PC3200 DDR SDRAM)
DRAM Slot #2      1024 MB  (PC3200 DDR SDRAM)
      
So it seems that my computer is running in dual channel.  Mission accomplished, I suppose.  Now a few other questions:
1)  As far as the timings are concerned, Corsair recommends 2-3-3-6 at 1.75 Volts.  As you can see, Im at 3-3-3-8.  Will changing these values make a noteable difference, if any?  If so, how can I change these values?

2) Why wouldn't the Corsair webpage have my PC listed as compatible for this ram if its working fine now?  And that previous website I mentioned in my initial post?  What gives?


Thanks again for all of your guys help.  If this Everest program tells all, and is the "proof in the pudding", it looks like I am good to go.  
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Author Comment

by:waznboi04
ID: 16830013
Oh and one more thing.  I ran the benchmark tool in Everest, and here are the results (Only chose to compare the ones with 3 GHz):

P4      3000 MHz      Intel D875PBZ      i875P      Dual PC3200 DDR      4880 MB/s
P4      3000 MHz      Asus P4SD-VL      i865PE      Dual PC3200 DDR      4852 MB/s <--- Here's mine.  
P4      3000 MHz      Intel D865PERL      i865PE      Dual PC3200 DDR      4070 MB/s

I have no idea what this means, i'm such a noob when it comes to PCs.  So seeing as how its near those other two, I'd say im good?  Hope I'm not comparing apples and oranges.  Thanks.


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by:garycase
ID: 16830062
You're system is running just fine -- those are good numbers.

The CAS (column address strobe) latency (the first number in the 3-3-3-8 timing) is fine;  but if your BIOS allows adjusting it you could set it to 2.5, and if that works, then try 2.   These are more aggressive memory settings -- but if the board runs with those settings it's okay to use them.  Do NOT leave them like that if you every add additional memory sticks => the load generated by 4 modules makes them much less likely to run aggressively than with just 2.  (the waveform is deformed)

What does the memory report for its settings via SPD?   (Look in Motherboard - SPD;  then click on the modules one-at-a-time in the top right area; and look at the Memory Timings for 200MHz)


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_ earned 400 total points
ID: 16830259
Looks good.

Changing it to 2 or 2.5 will probably bump your numbers up to where the other ones are. But like garycase said, they are fine at 3. Especially if you add more sticks later.
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Author Comment

by:waznboi04
ID: 16830596
hey garycase, the values u were looking for:

@ 200 MHz      3.0-3-3-8  (CL-RCD-RP-RAS)

For both of them.  Thanks again for the information.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 1600 total points
ID: 16830646
In that case you are running the RAM at EXACTLY the settings it's designed for -- those values are reported by the RAM module to the system via the SPD channel (Serial Presence Detect).   I'd leave it exactly like it is -- you'll have a nice, solid, stable system :-)

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Author Comment

by:waznboi04
ID: 16830663
Wow I screwed up the points there -_-a Don't mind those.  I gave u guys each points.  Thanks.
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by:garycase
ID: 16830672
You're most welcome.
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by:_
ID: 16838955
: )
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