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Customer Discussions > Video Games forum

Do I have to "match up" my RAM?


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Showing 1-16 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2012, 5:38:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2012, 5:39:09 PM PDT
Solid Sponge says:
I was thinking of upgrading the RAM in my PC but my Mobo only supports up to 6gb of RAM. I was looking around and it seems two 3gb sticks are hard to come by, so I was wondering if it would be okay if I could get one 4gb stick and one 2gb stick to add up to 6gb worth of RAM?

For some background: I have the Alienware x51 which has a mini ATX mobo with only enough slots for two sticks of RAM.

Thanks for the input!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012, 5:54:56 PM PDT
No, you don't have to match them up.

That said, the reason that people normally do get matched pairs is less risk of incompatibility issues and increased bandwidth for the data to travel faster. Most of the time, you'll be just fine unless you're extremely unlucky. When using mismatched pairs, be careful with using two different manufacturers - as they're usually tested and rated slightly differently.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012, 6:24:16 PM PDT
FV says:
You can have different pairs, but don't the timings have to match?

Posted on Aug 3, 2012, 6:41:35 PM PDT
Solid Sponge says:
Thank you guys for the input! I'm not quite sure what brand my current sticks are so I will most likely pick up a 2gb and 4gb of the same brand.

Posted on Aug 3, 2012, 6:43:45 PM PDT
FV says:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/270753-30-mixing-latency-size

Posted on Aug 3, 2012, 6:58:18 PM PDT
HorizonBrave says:
I believe that dual-channel solutions work more efficiently with the same GB capacity, and of course the same model and its pair.

Posted on Aug 3, 2012, 7:03:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2012, 7:10:13 PM PDT
I thought the Alienware x51 could take 8gb total. Is yours like the ones in the links:

http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/desktops/alienware-x51-review-50007564/
http://www.theverge.com/products/x51/5003
http://www.plunderguide.com/alienware-x51/

edit:
PC Mag link also shows 8gb: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399407,00.asp?tab=Specs as does techradar. The memory stated is 1,600MHz DDR3 in dual channel configuration.

These sites indicate that the max is 8gb so you could then use 2 4gb sticks of dual channel on those x51.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012, 7:14:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2012, 7:15:34 PM PDT
Solid Sponge says:
I've seen conflicting information on this. Some sources say you can have up to 8gb but on Dell's webpage for the base model X51 it's stated that you can have up to 6gb of RAM. This leads me to believe that the most expensive X51 model is the one that supports 8gb while the base (The one I own) can only support 6gb.

Posted on Aug 3, 2012, 7:17:11 PM PDT
I was always told I should but never told why?

Posted on Aug 3, 2012, 7:37:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2012, 7:49:52 PM PDT
"I've seen conflicting information on this. Some sources say you can have up to 8gb but on Dell's webpage for the base model X51 it's stated that you can have up to 6gb of RAM. This leads me to believe that the most expensive X51 model is the one that supports 8gb while the base (The one I own) can only support 6gb."

Check what board you have and then check the specs on Dell for those boards not just base vs expensive. Typically the boards are the same and really if this thing is a i5 or i7 i would think they would have used the faster dual channel memory . I have seen more than one Dell that said they would only take so much ram in a certain model with the higher model able to take more. In the end the boards where the same and he could use more ram and it worked fine. It also would not hurt to post on the Dell community because occasionally you can end up with someone from Dell verifying something will work even when the main site does not list it. Such is the case with this Inspiron 530 I have here setting around here. Initially it was only suppose to take 1 gb per slot for a total of 4gb but later, on the Dell community, a tech confirmed it would actually take 2gb per slot for a total of 8gb. Anyway, running matching ram (dual channel) will give you some performance increases compared with 2 mis-matched pairs.

Edit:

Checked the Dell site for the x51 and notice that the cheap model can be equipped with either 4gb of dual channel ram or 6gb with a 1-4gb 1-2gb configuration. So the board in the cheaper model does support dual channel. Also there was a bios update for all these computers that made them compatible with Ivy Bridge.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012, 8:05:28 PM PDT
Solid Sponge says:
Thank you very much for this informative post. Almost everything I've read about the X51 states that it can hold up to 8GB of RAM, and I will most likely purchase two 4gb sticks of the same brand and see what that yields. If I do this I figured that the computer could just use 3gb from each stick right? The computer would only use what it was capable of and the rest of the memory is useless? OR will the entire stick be useless to the computer because it is exceeding the capacity that is useable by the computer itself?

Hopefully that makes sense. This is my first ever gaming PC and I've never upgraded anything in any of my other computers before. So thanks for answering my questions!

Posted on Aug 3, 2012, 8:25:47 PM PDT
If the ram is to large the computer may not boot. That would require you to switch back to the other ram. The computer may also only address the max ram it can handle and still work fine.

You could go to crucial.com and see what they list for your computer. I did and they list 16gb of ram Link: http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=X51&Cat=RAM . They guarantee their ram to work so I assume they have tested it.

You can check this: http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/p/19439639/20064974.aspx where some users state they have used as much as 16gb of ram. So you should be fine with 2-4GB sticks.
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012, 9:18:33 PM PDT
Yes, unless you go into the bios and set the timings manually. That's usually for overclocking purposes though. Most of the time though, non-matching pairs will work, it's just more advisable to get a matched set for the reasons already said and future headaches should anything arise.

I just wanted to let him know it's possible if he was trying to save money or got a nice deal on them. Like Orf and Matthew said, his optimal solution will be dual channel matched sticks at the same capacity for the best performance.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012, 4:36:44 AM PDT
pyroguy says:
yeah dude, I was quite lucky enough to buy a PC last summer whose RAM can be maxed-out at 16GB (which I had done a couple of months ago). All I need last, is a decent enough graphics/video card that'll allow me to play games at the 900x1600 Screen Resolution

Posted on Aug 4, 2012, 6:50:11 AM PDT
mattfixit says:
http://the-tech-guy.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ram-merino.jpg

Posted on Sep 20, 2013, 1:32:58 PM PDT
Mani says:
Huh
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
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Initial post:  Aug 3, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 20, 2013

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