Concerning RAM - Rank and Organization?  What are they / can you mix them?

Posted on 2009-02-21
Last Modified: 2013-11-10
Adding 2 GB RAM (1 GB each in slots 2 and 4) to a Dell Dimension 5150 desktop that already had 512 in it in (256 in each of slots 1 and 3).  

When it booted up and go into BIOS, we get the following info for the 4 slots (2 pair of 2):

slot 1:  256MB, Rank 1, Organization x16
Slot 2: 1GB, Rank 2, Organization x8
slot 3:  256MB, Rank 1, Organization x16
Slot 4: 1GB, Rank 2, Organization x8

I wound up just pulling out the old 256 sticks.  But I got wondering about rand and more importantly organization?

any advice on whether I can keep them all in there?
Question by:babaganoosh
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Is any of this RAM dual channel or ECC memory?
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    That model dell tower uses standard DDR2 memory, it does not matter what size or which order you place the modules in the slots, you should use all the same speed memory and Although the memory can be installed one module at a time, the best performance comes from using matched pairs of modules.

    Each memory slot can hold DDR2 PC2-5300 with a maximum of 2GB per slot, for a total of 8GB.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    i suppose in this case the rank points to the same channel for dual channel ram
    organisation  would be the number of chips on it (can be also single side / double sided)
    LVL 26

    Accepted Solution

    Organization x16 is high density
    Organization x8 is low density
    They don't work and play well together.

    I'll probably screw this next part up because it's way past nappy time.
    But here goes.

    You can [sort of] think of it like this:
    Take x16 and x8 as meaning how 'wide' each chip on the module is. [Like lanes of data path.]
    The # Ranks is how many chips are used [side by side fashion] in each data path.

    2 Rank x8 = 16 wide [lanes]
    1 Rank x16 = 16 wide [lanes]

    16 wide x 8 bits = 128 bits. [CPU's memory bandwidth]

    If you multiply 'wide' by 'deep' you get the chips 'size'.
    Assuming the same 'size' chips then x16 is 1/2 as 'deep' as x8.

    Also x16 takes 1/2 as many chips to get to 128 bits so it's called high density. [More in less space.]
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Just for reference, you computer does not support dual channel or ECC memory RAM.

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