RAM upgrade - Good / Bad / Usless / Etc

December 23, 2009 at 12:36:22
Specs: Windows XP
Hello To Anyone That Is Willing To Help...

I have an Alienware Computer (about 3 years old) and would like to upgrade my memory. However, after reading forums and searching the internet I am not sure if my plans are good / bad / useless / etc. I ask for any serious help from anyone who knows my motherboard or this topic.

Current Setup:

COMPUTER: Alienware Area-51
PROCESSOR: Intel Core 2 CPU 6400 (2.13 MHz)
Current Memory: 2 * 512 DDR2-SDRAM PC6400 (400 MHz) (PDP Systems)
OS: Windows XP Media Center (32-bit)
VIDEO CARD: nVidia Gefore 7950 GX2 (1 GB Card)

I would like to leave everything as is but add 2 additional sticks of of PC6400 (2 * 1 GB) for a maximum of 3 GB of memory. The memory I am looking to add is from a big box retailer that states the following info about the memory.

Memory Master 2-Pack Memory Kit

• Warranty Terms - Parts Lifetime
Warranty Terms - Labor Lifetime
Memory Size 2GB (2 x 1GB)
Type of Memory PC2-6400 DDR2
Speed 800MHz
Pin Configuration 240-pin DIMM

The concerns I have are as follows:

1.) Will my system truly be able to use / see the 3 GB of memory?
2.) Will my system still run in dual channel or will it change to single channel?
3.) With my original memory being 400 MHz is there a concern with two additional sticks at 800 MHz?
4.) Is this a good idea to upgrade with this memory based on my current processor? I read that the processor has a lot to due with the MHz of your memory and it should match somehow but didn't understand what I read.
5.) My system works fine as is but I have noticed that when I turn off / exit a new game (Left 4 Dead 2) that it takes a little while before my system starts working quickly again. Will this memory upgrade help? What I mean is the game runs fine and everything is great but if I exit the game and try to open Internet Explore or anything else it takes awhile for the system to perform the function. I have found that if I exit the game and wait about 1.5 to 2 full minutes the system runs at normal speed. I assume it is trying to clear out memory banks or something to end the process of the game but would like it to perform quicker without the wait (hope that sounds clear to those that read it).

Any help would be awesome... thanks again

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December 23, 2009 at 18:44:00
1.) maybe, it depends on the hardware config. My guess is that it will be less than 3GB because of the video card.

2.) if you do it right, yes.

3.) don't confuse the advertised/theroretical DDR speed with the actual frequency. PC2-6400 runs at 400MHz, not 800MHz.

4.) if you're not overclocking your CPU to 1600MHz FSB to match the RAM, the RAM should be underclocked to 533MHz DDR (266MHz frequency) to match the CPU.

5.) 1GB is not a lot of RAM these days so this upgarde to 3GB should make a lot of programs more responsive.

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