Question RAM compatibility, Type only or speed matters too?

Feb 3, 2020
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i have an i7 860 which i want to upgrade with 16 or 8 gigs of RAM, i know the processor and motherboard only supports DDR3 memory but do the clock speeds also make a difference, an i use any DDR3 RAM or of specific MHz speed.
This article tells that i can only use 1333Mhz or 1066Mhz: https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/41316/intel-core-i7-860-processor-8m-cache-2-80-ghz.html

While other sources have led me to believe that RAM of any speed can be used regardless of speed, as long as it is DDR3
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
The guiding document is the motherboard's User Guide/Manual.

There should be a Section or Chapter regarding RAM; what RAM is supported and in what configurations.

Many manufacturer's also include a link back to their website for more information and relevant details.

Sometimes RAM needs to be installed in a certain slot order.

Overall, a system will perform only at the speed of the slowest RAM module.

If dual channel RAM needs to be installed in matched kits: e.g., 2 x 8GB modules for 16 GB RAM.
 
Feb 3, 2020
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i would buy RAM of same capacity and speed, if it is dual channel, quad channel or none of this (dont know much about that), the manufacturer recommended 1333Mhz but what would happen if was to use, say, 1600Mhz, would it work but slower or wont work at all,
As for the motherboard, i am using the one shown in the pdf file: https://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/optix/en/optiplex-980-tech-guide.pdf
It has 4 slots for RAM so i am guessing quad channel,

So final question, i would get 16GB (4 sticks of 4GB each) but which would i get, 1333Mhz or 1600Mhz, 'cause according to the article: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-870-1156,2482-9.html it shows that maximum increase in perofmance was only around 5%, so would it even matter?

Also i would NOT use the already installed memory, all new RAM
 
Last edited:

SamirD

Honorable
Jan 16, 2014
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So a couple of things--memory, even if faster, will usually clock down to whatever the system can take. This happens because each memory module is usually designed to work at all the lower speeds as well. ie, 1866 can work at 1600 and 1333 and 1066.

Now, that being said, the processor also has a supported memory spec, and this will usually be the same as the motherboard spec on Dells and HP systems. In your case, it won't make sense to get any ram faster than 1333 since that will be the mex your system and cpu will be able to handle. If you get anything faster, it will simply run at 1333.

A 4x4gb 16gb kit should be nice and cheap, so it will make a great upgrade. As far as banking, your system only has 2 banks even though it has 4 slots. And it is only dual channel even though it has 4 slots.
 
Feb 3, 2020
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So I would get maybe 1866 or 1600Mhz, while they would run at 1333Mhz, I could use this RAM in a future build with better CPU and motherboard.

Thank you for solving this confusion, this helps sooo much, it's good to have such a great community to for new and inexperienced computer enthusiasts like me to get help and learn something new, don't know how i would have got by without your support
 
Feb 3, 2020
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So I would get maybe 1866 or 1600Mhz, while they would run at 1333Mhz, I could use this RAM in a future build with better CPU and motherboard.

Thank you for solving this confusion, this helps sooo much, it's good to have such a great community to for new and inexperienced computer enthusiasts like me to get help and learn something new, don't know how i would have got by without your support
 

Third-Eye

Distinguished
So I would get maybe 1866 or 1600Mhz, while they would run at 1333Mhz, I could use this RAM in a future build with better CPU and motherboard.

Thank you for solving this confusion, this helps sooo much, it's good to have such a great community to for new and inexperienced computer enthusiasts like me to get help and learn something new, don't know how i would have got by without your support
You may be better off getting used 1333Mhz ram as 1866 or 1600 may not downclock to 1333mhz properly and instead drop to 1066Mhz. The faster ram still requires a motherboard that can support 1600/1866Mhz overclock like Intel Z series.

Personally, I would save toward at minimum a B450 motherboard, Ryzen 5 1600 AF and 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz or if you have the budget, you could go for a Ryzen 5 3600X paired with a 120mm tower cooler and DDR4 3600Mhz. The 1600 AF is actually a lower speed 2600 12nm Zen+, but AMD decided to call it 1600 despite it not being an actual first generation 14nm Zen CPU. Make sure to look for YD1600BBAFBOX if you want to actually buy the 1600 AF.
 

SamirD

Honorable
Jan 16, 2014
1,360
181
11,490
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So I would get maybe 1866 or 1600Mhz, while they would run at 1333Mhz, I could use this RAM in a future build with better CPU and motherboard.

Thank you for solving this confusion, this helps sooo much, it's good to have such a great community to for new and inexperienced computer enthusiasts like me to get help and learn something new, don't know how i would have got by without your support
You can, and it makes sense if you are going to upgrade to something with ddr3 later. But since ddr3 is now a previous generation technology and there are better deals on ddr4 and modern computing thanks to ryzen, I wouldn't make it a strong point in your search for memory. Even 3 generations later, stock Dell units like my 3020 are only at 1600Mhz.
 

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