Ram upgrade 3GB 4 GB 2GB??


Jul 5, 2005
So right now I am running this ram

1:1 with my E6400 @ 2.66(i think)
But I only have 1 stick of 1GB of ram.

So I am about to order more from newegg but I have a few questions.

1. Does it matter at all if I buy the same ram?
2. I really want to get 2 more gigs of ram, but then I won't be able to run DDR right? (Because i'll have 3 sticks)

So would it be better to get 1 more gig for a total of 2 gigs and run it DDR? And if I'm worried about running DDR should I be buying the exact same ram that I currently have?

or should I
3. Just go all out, get 3 gigs of the same ram and run it all DDR?

Any educated opinons would be greatly appreciated
by the way right now I think I'm leaning towards buying 2 gigs of the same stuff for $65 and not running it DDR

a 6pack in

Nov 12, 2007
get the 3 gigs, but remember if you are running a 32-bit OS, you will only see 3gb of ram in the system. you need a 64bit os to see all 4gigs.

make sure its the same speed. dosnt have to be the same brand and model. just the same speed and type.


You won't be running in dual channel mode with 3 sticks, but it only represents maybe 2-5% of the performance. if that.

With 4GB physical RAM, you'll see just over 3500MB in windows as XP needs to reserve about 500MB for internal addressing or something like that. I think I see 3545MB on my machine which is running 32b XP sp2.


Nov 23, 2007
hey Bliq, i read somewhere that the limit (in xp 32b) is the sum of the physical memory and the virtual ?

Any clues about that? is that true? if so, and if i have 4gb, xp works fine with none virual memory? (so i can use all the physical?)


Jul 22, 2007
u2vini, no you wont be able to :)

It will still show 3.5...whatever
Xp will just use the extra memory as storage for commonly accessed files generally..aka startup programs
What are you doing that requires more memory?
If you are running XP, 2 gig is more than enough for most people. If Vista 64, get 4 gig.
Buy the exact same memory. If you buy different, the board will default all memory to whatever stick is the slowest. Different types/brand of memory sometimes are difficult to get to work together. The problem becomes compounded the more sticks you use.
Many boards simply do not "like" to run 3 or 4 sticks and work best with only 2 ( 2-2 gig sticks is the best possible combo) You just have to try it and see what happens.
A 32 bit OS can address ONLY 4 gig of memory.
This includes ALL the memory in your system.
CPU/motherboard cache, the memory on your video card, your drive controllers, etc. If you install 4 gig, most people normally end up with somewhere between 3 and 3.5 gigs that Windows will use, depending on everything you have in your system already.
If you want 3 gig, don't care about the performance loss from not running dual channel, buy a 2 gig stick.
Or, buy 3 more 1 gig sticks, run in dual channel, and let Windows use all that it can, though it won't be able to use all it.


Oct 1, 2006
Here's a sweet little explanation of DDR and dual channel (and a few other related ram specifications.


Just an FYI about using unmatched RAM. It will work, but it might not work as fast, or it may take a bit of tweaking to get them working together. I had 2 X 512 sticks of OCZ memory and recently added 2 X 512 sticks of Mushkin memory. Both sets were rated at DDR400 with decent timings. When I installed the Mushkin memory my computer wouldn't even start. When I reset the bios is started with the memory running at DDR333 instead of DDR400. Manually changing it to DDR400 resulted in instability and I had to raise the volatage to get everything running smooth. It may be the memory or the motherboard (ABIT), but if you buy the same brand ram at the same time you'll be less likely to have problems.

I would recommend 2 sticks of memory. You'll get a bit of a performace increase from running them in dual channel and most motherboards can run 2 sticks of memory with tighter timings then 4 sticks.


Oct 10, 2007
Hahaha, I am so PO. I didn't know this until now. I just ramped up to 4 gig and of course I am on the 32bit and see only 3.4 gigs. F**K What a waste. The 4th stick was useless (not totally but def not worth it). I should have got 2x512MB for the 3rd gig and stuck with 3GB total. Now I know I guess. The only thing it is doing is allowing the 3rd stick to run in dual channel. GAAA. So I pretty much wasted the $ value of 1GB to get my 3rd stick in dual mode.

Yeah I concur with jerrardo, I was getting better performance from 2x1GB in dual than 3x1GB not running dual. I actually saw about 11% faster DVD decryption though...the 2-5% is pretty relative to what process you are talking about. I am seeing the same numbers as 2GB with my 4GB (which to my system is actually 3.4GB). BAAA!! Waste. I am kicking myself for not researching this. At least lack of RAM isn't my problem... :( My CPU or chipset is probably the bottle neck now. This is sort of my test system anyway...when I build a new rig next spring I will have all this s*#t down :)