Specific question about RAM

Reply Mon 23 Aug, 2010 08:30 pm
Right now my computer is tiptop but I’d like to add some RAM in the near future. My computer supports up to 16 gigs of RAM and right now I have 8. The RAM runs at 1333MHz, its DDR3, 4 gigs each. I would like to get RAM that runs faster. My computer supports 1866MHz RAM and I was wondering if I bought that, would it work with the RAM I currently have. Would the new RAM operate at 1866MHz and if it did would my 1333MHz RAM become obsolete/unused? Would my 1333MHz RAM slow down the 1866MHz RAM?

I don’t know a lot of how everything works together. I know if your RAM is big and fast your CPU doesn’t have to work as hard and in turn your computer will run better. I am aiming to have a very fast computer, though it is pretty darn fast, I've become a bit of an enthusiast. I just want to feel secure in buying a different and possibly better type of RAM to be used with my other RAM without any negative effects.

Any light you can shed on the subject is much appreciated.

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Reply Tue 24 Aug, 2010 12:29 am
Your RAM runs at the speed set by your motherboard. If you buy "faster" RAM, and put it in the same motherboard, it will only run at the same speed as your old RAM.

By all means stuff your computer with as much RAM as you can afford, but I think you will hit the law of diminishing returns. Adding more RAM makes a computer appear to be "faster" only if the RAM was a bottleneck before. Let's say you are running a 64 bit OS and you go from 2 GB to 4 GB. You will notice quite a jump. If you now go to 8 GB the jump would be smaller, if you noticed it at all. If you then went to 16 GB again, the difference, if any, would be tiny.

Right now my computer is tiptop

This tells me you don't need any more RAM.

Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 01:41 am
Thanks a bunch! I will definitely consider not buying RAM for some time now. I do have one more question however. Would it be better to purchase RAM that runs at higher speeds or RAM with more memory? I'm thinking 4-8 gigs totall of 1866MHz vs 8-16 gigs of 1333MHz. Like I said, I probably wont invest in new RAM until I need it based on what you said. I'd just like to know what route is best.
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 01:59 am
If I read contrex correctly, he said that higher speed would only be wasted on your mother board. That is also my understanding from years ago when the choices were much simpler.
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 11:21 am
roger wrote:

If I read contrex correctly, he said that higher speed would only be wasted on your mother board. That is also my understanding from years ago when the choices were much simpler.

Roger did read me correctly. Let put it more simply: The motherboard contains a piece of hardware called a "memory controller". It contains a "clock". When choosing RAM for the computer, it is necessary that the RAM will run at the speed set by the clock. If the RAM is not capable of running at that speed, the computer will not work. Even if the RAM is capable of running faster than the clock speed, it will not do so. With some motherboards you can go into the BIOS and "overclock" the RAM by altering settings but it is very easy to put your computer into a non working state.

However I do not think that adding more RAM will give you a dramatic speed jump. This usually happens when a computer had too little RAM before e.g. 1 or 2 GB with Windows 7 or Vista. You already have 8 GB, more than enough for a modern operating system. More RAM will not make your processor, disk drives, or network connection run faster.

You do not get big speed jumps by throwing RAM at an already well specified computer. You get them by buying a new computer with faster everything.

Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2010 02:42 pm
Thanks a billion! My mobo can run 1866 MHz but I'm pretty happy with 1333 for now. Thanks for the info!
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