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What memory type to buy for an upgrade

Posted on 2006-06-27
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I want to buy a ram upgrade for my pc but I am confused about the options and want to make sure I buy the right thing (having already bought an incompatible one that I have to get a refund on). My PC is made buy a small firm called Novatech - so those online scanning things like on the Crucial site dont work for me. And the manual that came with the PC just says how to install different types of ram not the specific one for this.

I have found out I have a Sis 648FX-A motherboard - 3 memory slots that are current holding 2 X elixir 256mb-DDR-400 CL3.
Now Im pretty sure I should go for 184 pin DDR 400mhz (i actualy counted the pins) PC3200 (i think).

I'm looking to upgrade to 1Gb. Now I now there are other considerations such as EEC registered. I also need to know about the configuartion -eg can I just buy one 512mb for the spare slot to get up to 1GB or do I have to buy two 512mb as I have read that some motherboards dont like mixed ram or just get a 1GB. and if they are mixed i've read that they have to go in a certain order in the slots.

....(there are times i miss my old Amiga 500 that 512KB Ram upgrade was so easy)

Any advice please.
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Question by:DuarteR
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15 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Calvin Paxson
ID: 16996891
SIS is your chipset manufacturer, not the motherboard manufacture.  I would recommend using a utility like cpu-z, it will most likely tell you who your mother board manufacture is and what model of motherboard you have.  Once you have this info, goto the mb manufactur's website and look for the manual for your mother board.  The manual will tell you what the max. amount of ram per slot is.  CPU Z will also tell you the exact type of ram you have in your system.  CPU Z is free, just google it and you will find the download.  Then you will be ready to purchase your memory.

Cal
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Expert Comment

by:wylie_uk
ID: 16997038
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Accepted Solution

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char1iecha1k earned 200 total points
ID: 16997132
184 pin DDR 400mhz is what you need which is pc3200 go for a lower cas as you can afford

dont bother with EEC its for servers and more expensive

newer motherboards have a dual channel function which means if you put paired ram together it will be better than single or unmatched ram however nowadays unless you have RDRAM or simialar they will work wether matched  or not

a good brand i go for is crucial value select 512/1024 cl2.5

this website http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php has a utlity on it which will tell you lots of info about your cpu m,otherboard and memory worth a look before you dio anything
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Expert Comment

by:simpswr
ID: 16997303
An easy way to find out what kind of RAM you have is to pull a stick and read the sticker on it
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Expert Comment

by:Rickardc
ID: 16997457
Lol, good answer simpswr!

I do believe that Crucial have an application on their site avalible free which determines what ram you need

Chris
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Expert Comment

by:Rickardc
ID: 16997471
In addition to my last answer here is the link to this test

It uses an ActiveX control. Allow this to proceed.

It will then tell you how much they sell it to you for etc! however it also tells you what type of RAM you are using

Hope this helps!

Chris
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Author Comment

by:DuarteR
ID: 16997554
this is taken from crucials website:
 "Many DDR and all DDR2 desktops and motherboards have a built-in feature called dual channel that allows you to utilize the bandwidth of two modules at the same time. For these systems, you need to install modules in pairs for maximum performance, so if you’re going to be adding 512MB of memory, you are better off buying two 256MB modules, as opposed to one 512MB one. Again, this information is noted in the Memory Advisor tool to help you get the correct solution."

As my make of PC is not in the list of manufacturers in the memory adviser on crucial and the manufacturer of the motherboard is blank in cpuz i need to make sure - crucial charge if you return a product that you didnt use the adviser to get.
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Expert Comment

by:char1iecha1k
ID: 16998964
as i said dual channel motherboards will work with single chips, paired chips or odd chips it doesnt matter, the best thing to do is get paired because if you do have dual channel then it will be slightly better.

can you provide a screen shot
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Expert Comment

by:simpswr
ID: 16999674
Have you looked at the existing RAM to see what it is?
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Author Comment

by:DuarteR
ID: 17000015
simpswr - yes  - but like I said knowing this does not tell me if I have to upgrade in pairs (more expensive) or I can just buy one 512mb to add to the two 256mb i already have. Really after what char1iecha1k said I need to find out If my board is dual channel or not. and yes I have looked all over the motherboard to find any manufacturer names and I just see :  648FX-A Rev:0.1    15-H15-011002
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Expert Comment

by:simpswr
ID: 17001377
Have you tried Belarc to see if it will tell the motherboard manufacturer?

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,8078,00.asp
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Author Comment

by:DuarteR
ID: 17002140
your right wylie it is ecs thanks everyone for your help
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Author Comment

by:DuarteR
ID: 17002342
sorry 1more thing

this is taken from the ECS manual for my motherboard:
http://freespace.virgin.net/duarte.rocha/mem.bmp

in the table it shows ddr400  2 dimms does this mean I can only use 2 ddr400s at a time?
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Author Comment

by:DuarteR
ID: 17018527
great - ive just recieved the 1gb ram stick - installed it on its own and guess what it shows up as 512mb. damn!!!!!
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