View Full Version : RAM - So confused

03-09-2008, 12:16 AM
The whole Ram thing still completely confuses me, maybe you can help me understand.

Basically I was given a computer, which I want to use for uni. I don't need anything special and it will probably be running Ubuntu and/or XP.

Right now its falling to pieces, I've just ordered a new Graphics card and Hard drive, both basically as cheap as I could get. So just hoping they work.

I know your probably thinking I'd be as cheap buying a new system but hopefully not.

Its got 256mb of DDR 333 PC2700 at the moment and I'd like to upgrade that ideally to at least 1GB.

As I said I'm trying to do this as cheaply as possible, so would like to buy a 1GB module instead of 2 512MB ones, is this OK. Also is it OK to leave the 256MB in with a 1GB stick. I've read places that say you need to have equal Memory in each slot, but I don't know if that is just for certain types of RAM.

Any help is welcome, I'm not going to order anything until the other parts arrive and I make sure everything is working.

Dalo Harkin
03-09-2008, 09:15 AM
Hi Shrimply,

It all depends on the MOBO and what speed RAM it can take - if its DDR333 it may support DDR400 which will give a boost in speed and, from memory, be cheaper.
If you have a look in the MOBO manual or look it up on line it will tell you what speeds of RAM the MOBO supports.
you can run 1GB with a 256MB module BUT if the speeds are the same i.e. both DDR400 then they will both run at DDR400 BUT if one is DDR400 and one is DDR333 then they will both run at DDR333 as all the RAM has to run at the slowest speed.
Hope this is ok and makes sense Shrimply :)

03-09-2008, 09:56 AM
Also is it OK to leave the 256MB in with a 1GB stick. I've read places that say you need to have equal Memory in each slot,

Dalo is this ok with DDR?

Dalo Harkin
03-09-2008, 10:00 AM
Yeah it's fine - just read the part above about the speeds though

03-09-2008, 10:24 AM
Thanks. Good to know. :)

03-09-2008, 10:28 AM
Thanks very helpful, I've not got much to go on here, all I've got is the imformation that PCwizard could give me, but its not easy working on a screen that is so messed up.

This is the Memory Information

>> General Information
DIMM1 (RAS 1, RAS 0) : 256 (Single Bank)
DIMM2 : Empty

>> Information SPD EEPROM (DIMM1)
Manufacturer : Unspecified
Part Number : 32MX64U-33B
Serial Number : 02090925
Type : DDR-SDRAM PC-2700 (166 MHz) - [DDR-333]
Size : 256 MB (1 rows, 4 banks)
Module Buffered : No
Module Registered : No
Module SLi Ready (EPP) : No
Width : 64-bit
Error Correction Capability : No
Max. Burst Length : 8
Refresh : Reduced (.5x)7.8 s, Self Refresh
Voltage : SSTL 2.5v
Prefetch Buffer : 2-bit
Manufacture : 2000
Supported Frequencies : 166 MHz
CAS Latency (tCL) : 2.5 clocks @166 MHz
RAS to CAS (tRCD) : 3 clocks @166 MHz
RAS Precharge (tRP) : 3 clocks @166 MHz
Cycle Time (tRAS) : 7 clocks @166 MHz

>> Memory Controller Information
Memory Controller : DIMM, SDRAM
Number of connectors : 2
Max. Module Size : 1024 MB
Max. Memory Size : 2048 MB
Supported Speed : Unspecified
Supported Voltages : 3.3v
Error Detection Method : No
Error Correction Capability : Unspecified
Current/Supported Interleave : 1-way/1-way

And this is the MotherBoard Info

> Mainboard : MSI MS-6580

>> General Information
Manufacturer : MICRO-STAR INC. (MSI)
Product : MS-6580
Version : 20A
Serial Number : 00000000
Support MP : Yes, 1 CPU(s)
Version MPS : 1.4

>> Chassis Information
Manufacturer : Uknown Chassis Manufacture
Type : Desktop
Version : Version 1.00
Serial Number : 123456890
Asset : 0123ABC

>> Sensor Information
Hardware Monitoring : Winbond W83627HF

>> On-Board Device Information
Embedded Controller : No

>> Slots Information
Slot PCI : Available (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening
Slot PCI : In Use (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening
Slot PCI : In Use (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening
Slot PCI : In Use (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening
Slot PCI : Available (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening
Slot PCI : Available (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening
Slot PCI : In Use (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening
Slot PCI : In Use (32-bit) 3.3v, Shared Slot Opening

>> External Connectors
Serial 16550A Compatible : DB-9 male
Parallel ECP/EPP : DB25 female
Keyboard : PS/2
Mouse : PS/2
USB : Access Bus (USB)
USB : Access Bus (USB)
Network : Access Bus (USB)

>> Internal Connectors
COM Port
LPT Port
Floppy : On Board Floppy
Primary IDE : On Board IDE
Secondary IDE : On Board IDE
USB Port
USB Port
Ethernet : RJ-45

>> System Configuration Options
Option #1 : System Management BIOS from Atlanta
Option #2 : SMBIOS from AMI

SO I think I'm right in saying the best I can get is the DDR333, but its going to safe me a bit of money only getting 1GB and hopefully that will speed it up although I know the Speed depends on a lot of other things too.

Dalo Harkin
03-09-2008, 10:53 AM
Ok - just had a scan about and the maximum speed of the RAM is DDR333 (PC2700) and IT WILL support a MAXIMUM of 1.5GB, over the 2 slots, so a 1GB stick would be the best option, and then as a future upgrade you can if need be get a 512MB stick.
I would have a look for BIOS updates on the MSI website though as they may have thrown one in that supports DDR400 (just read the release notes on the page)

*UPDATE* I just looked on the MSI site and they are listing the MS-6580 as 845 and then variations of that board.
on that note just get the DDR333

03-09-2008, 11:31 AM
Thanks will let you know how it goes. Should warn you there will probably be a lot more questions but I'm waiting until the new parts come before I do anything else.

Pretty much all the onboard connections for instance don't seem to work, not sure if I need drivers or if they're broken and the old owner just bought PCI cards to replace what he needed.

Anyway thanks a lot that's been a big help and hopefully one more thing I can get right.

Dalo Harkin
03-09-2008, 11:33 AM
It probably just needs the MOBO drivers installing - you did order a AGP4X card right?

03-09-2008, 11:45 AM
Umm, no,lol. eek

I ordered a 8x, which is what was in it.

IT had one of these

Nvidia Corp GeForce4 MX 440 with AGP 8x

Which still kind of works I can make out a picture etc, and my dad's PC had the same card and it works fine in it so I thought that's what I needed,Ohh dear.

I ordered this one


Edit - this link here suggests it supports 4x,

Newegg.com - MSI FX5200-TD128LF GeForce FX 5200 128MB 64-bit DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127181)

Will it not work?

Dalo Harkin
03-09-2008, 12:19 PM
Shrimply on the MOBO number I checked on the web and some etailers still sell it and under the specs say that it's AGP4x, it's been that mong since I have used AGP - I am sure that an 8x will fit but will only run at half speed, basically the chip that sits in the slot is 2 4x if that makes sense and one just hangs over the slot. I am 99% sure :eek:

03-09-2008, 12:24 PM
Thanks, ohh well guess I'll take my chances. It only cost 12, so its not too much of a loss. I mean as long as it works, I'm no gamer all I want is basic word processing and Internet access.

I'll let you know, might be back to ask for help finding a compatible card.

04-09-2008, 10:14 AM
Just to let you know that I got the Graphics Card and it works.

Obviously I don't know how well, hopefully its not doing any damage. But I put it in the computer and turned it on and XP has installed all the drivers.

Now for the hard drive and RAM.

Dalo Harkin
04-09-2008, 10:21 AM
Just make sure that you install the GPU drivers from NVIDIA, if you look at where the GPU slots into the MOBO there should be some hanging over the side - the same amount thats in the slot -

05-09-2008, 04:59 PM
Thanks, I think its fine, The nvidea software seems quite happy to report that its a 4X bus which would suggest that there isn't going to be any problems.

Dalo Harkin
05-09-2008, 05:17 PM
No problem - glad thats its all ok :)