12-21-2010 02:44 PM
MS Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit SP2
Motherboard: ECS Nettle (Socket AM2 )
Total memory slots 4
Used memory slots 2
Free memory slots 2
Size 2048 MBytes
Channels # Dual
DRAM Frequency 200.9 MHz
Size 1024 MBytes
Max Bandwidth PC2-4300 (266 MHz)
2.0GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 251MHz (4-4-4-12)
I've upgraded various things on my computer, but never RAM. I understand that with a 32-bit computer, I can only use a maximum of 3 GB of RAM right? Well upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit at this time is out of the question because my Harddrive is completely full as well as my external HDs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but does having Dual-channel RAM force me to always have RAM in pairs. Say I want to add only 1GB of RAM, can I just get one 1GB card since I can only use 3GB of ram anyway. Or would I have to get the pair. Can I get two 512MB cards to make it a pair and not waste that extra GB? Do the cards have to be identical to the ones I have installed? perhaps only similar?... identical MHz? similar MHz? I have no idea.
from the looks of it, the DIMMs that I should look for are DDR2 PC2-4300 (266 MHz) right. My computer is a a6030n Hp Pavilion, and the HP website says:
Dual channel memory architecture
Four 240-pin DDR2 DIMM sockets
PC-4200 (533 MHz)
PC2-5300 (667 MHz)
PC-6400 (800 MHz) DDR2 DIMMs
The DIMMs that I have been able to find are: (from Crucial.com)
1GB kit (512MBx2) DDR2 PC2-5300 DDR2-667 MHz
2GB kit (1GBx2) DDR2 PC2-5300 DDR2-667 MHz
2GB kit (1GBx2) DDR2 PC2-6400 DDR2-800 MHz
But none of the kits are DDR2 PC2-4300 (266 MHz). The specs from the websites are identical, but they're not even close to the DIMMs I have installed in my computer. Could I still use one of these kits to work in Dual-Channel with the DIMMs I already have, or would I have to discard them because they don't match.
12-23-2010 01:01 PM
With 32bit OS you can only have 4GB total memory, this includes graphics cards and other reserved memory by the motherboard, so depending on your graphics card and board 32bit OS normally see between 2.75GB-3.75GB.
It's not just locked at 3GB directly or anything like that.
Yes, dual channel would need pairs. You can however run pairs of 2x1GB and 2x512MB if you wanted, but it's often hard to get that kind of thing stable or working together due to the differences in the memory.
Your best bet would be to just buy a 2x2GB PC2-6400 (800Mhz) set, then you would get 3GB or more, and have good memory for use in a future motherboard when you next upgrade.
I'd remove the old memory and just use new memory.
If you are wanting to save cash, and possibly risk new memory not working with the old 2x1GB memory installed now, you could try buying a set of 2x1GB PC2-5300 (667Mhz). That should downclock to match your current installed 266Mhz.