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Can you mix RAM? What about same IC?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Please no canned answers about how blah blah blah, you aren't supposed to mix ram. Yes, I know, I'm looking for a deeper conversation on the topic!

So I'm trying to see why, exactly, you can't mix RAM, what happens if you mix bad RAM, etc. Laptops mix ram all the time, it's quite common on laptops you see, say, 2GB + 4GB. You see it on desktops sometimes too (less so). So what exactly can you not mix? And what happens if you do the unthinkable? Is it a simple no boot, beeping as the system says no ram is inserted? Is it dangerous to the system?

And even if you did mix RAM, nothing bad would happen right, you just would be limited to the slower RAM. But, that happens even when you have the same ram. If you got 2 sticks of RAM, or 4, whatever, and you overclock them, you are going to be limited to the slowest stick, no? I mean technically, if you mixed some 2000mhz Microns with 1600mhz PSCs, you would end up limited by the 2000mhz sticks because they wouldn't hit 2400mhz while the 1600 PSC ram would do it easily.

From what I understand, you just can't mix RAM in in the same channel. Right?

Anyways, can you mix RAM if it's the same IC? Or is there more to the RAM, like a controller or something? I mean, I got my Mushkin sig rig ram, my 2000mhz CL7-10-8-27 1t 1.65v ram, it's PSC XDZs. Now this RAM is end of life, it's impossible to find anywhere. I can't buy it, and likely can't even get it used (i've looked everywhere, believe me). The RAM IC's are PSC XDZs. Couldn't I look for RAM out there that was obviously PSC? Hell, Mushkin also has a RAM with exact same specs and timings, but sold with a different heatspreader, I'm sure that RAM is the exact same.
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post #2 of 25
Ive always said that you can mis and match RAM, as long as its from the same family (DDR3,DDR2 etc) AND your willing to give up dual/tri/quad channel. It woudl just run on no channel since the ram is diffrent. But correct me if im wrong.
     
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post #3 of 25
ok so we all know you can't mix different RAM such as DDR 3 and 2 etc.
When it comes to mixing RAM the main specification that should match is voltage, miss matched voltage can cause instability.
Quote:
The following conditions DO NOT need to be met:

Same brand
Same timing specifications
Same speed (MHz)

Memory channel speed is decided by the slowest DIMM module populated in the system.

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/cs-011965.htm
also explains a bit on RAM config and channeling

also different sticks with different IC's may have differences in slew rate. slew rate is the maximum possible rate of change of a signal at any point in a circuit, simply put it is the rate of time taken for a signal to change from a 1 to a 0 voltage level or vice versa in digital circuitry. what i would do if you have for example different 2 stick kits is put each of the 2 sticks from in kit in the same channel.
Edited by stubass - 3/25/13 at 4:40am
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post #4 of 25
With many motherboards these days, you can even set timings for individual channels/sticks. You could realistically run four sticks, two at 2133 9-11-9 and two at 2400 10-12-12 as long as they'll run at the same voltage, as mentioned above.

Mismatched ram causing errors is a thing of the past on most counts.
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post #5 of 25
In your specific case, you shouldn't have any compatibility issues running four sticks of PSC 1Gbit memory, it's just that getting four modules up to speed is much harder compared to two.
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
When it comes to mixing RAM the main specification that should match is voltage, miss matched voltage can cause instability.

So why would voltage need to match (outside of maybe something like low voltage which operates on very different conditions)? I mean you got some gskills, say, at 1600 CL8 1.5v, and then 1866 CL9 1.65v, that's most likely the exact same ram, why would you need to use same voltage? Obviously when you got all 4 sticks, they would all run at the same voltage.

I'm well aware we are running ram out of spec here... you know, overclocking, that's the whole point here. I'm aware that the slowest ram will limit all the ram, but that holds true even on 4 sticks of identical ram (1 stick always overclocks lower than the others). So is there anything wrong with mixing ram?

I mean you don't hear anyone say DONT MIX GRAPHICS CARDS! MUST BE EXACT SAME BRAND! Even though you can mix same family (460, 470? im not sure, you knwo what i mean), and it's just limited to the clocks of the slowest card, but no reason you can't do it.
Quote:
also different sticks with different IC's may have differences in slew rate. slew rate is the maximum possible rate of change of a signal at any point in a circuit, simply put it is the rate of time taken for a signal to change from a 1 to a 0 voltage level or vice versa in digital circuitry. what i would do if you have for example different 2 stick kits is put each of the 2 sticks from in kit in the same channel.

I thought slew rate was a temporary underclock during boot-up so you can validate an overclock? And, slew rate only matters during heavy benching, not during 24/7 overclocks?
Quote:
With many motherboards these days, you can even set timings for individual channels/sticks. You could realistically run four sticks, two at 2133 9-11-9 and two at 2400 10-12-12 as long as they'll run at the same voltage, as mentioned above.

Mismatched ram causing errors is a thing of the past on most counts.

You know, I think my gigabyte board can do that, your right. Very interesting.

I mean no matter what RAM I have, I'll run them at 1.7-1.8v, because I'll be doing a 24/7 overclock on them.
Quote:
it's just that getting four modules up to speed is much harder compared to two.

I'm aware of this.

So you can mix ram, no problem. Got it, thanks.
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post #7 of 25
Here's my experience:

I am running two completely different versions of the same family DDR2 ram. Both are Kingston Hyper-X, but that's where the similarities stop.

Type I is memory made in 2008, PC2 8500 1GB, 2 ranks 4 banks module type with an Enhanced Performance Profile (2 modules).
Tupe II is memory made in 2012, PC26400 1GB, 1 rank 8 banks module type WITHOUT an Enhanced Performance Profile (2 modules).

You'd think that I'd have all sorts of problems with these two sets of modules. I did everything wrong with them and went against every rule in the book.

1. I mixed PC28500 with PC26400 modules.
2. I am running both sets of modules at 2.2Volts while only one set is rated at 2.2 Volts and the other set is rated at 1.8 volts only.
3. The modules are of a different internal specification. Their ranks and banks are different and arranged differently.
4. The two sets of modules were produced 4 years apart, while Corsair for ex tells you that not even two sets of modules produced on the same month are similar and theyr ecommend you not to use two sets of modules together but instead go for a kit.

Still, memory works just fine, and not only that, but I have been able to seriously overclock them @ 1125MHz max stable while only one set of the modules is rated for 1066 MHz and the otehr is rated for 800 MHz.

Luck of the draw. I'd sure as hell won't be doing the same mistake again though.
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post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
so what if i ran, like

Channel 1= PSC 2Gb + PSC 2GB
Channel 2 = Micron D9 4GB

?

Or like PSC2GB+PSC2GB // PSC2GB?

I mean you can pretty much mix up DDR3 ram on modern systems with absolute no regard to compatibility these days, right? You will just be limited by the slowest RAM, which would hold true even with 2 sticks of RAM bought from a single 2x2GB kit, right?

I'm guessing there might be a 5 minute headache with initial boot configurations, but that shouldn't be a problem (insert just 1 stick, set bios, then insert all).
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post #9 of 25
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. My asrock wouldn't play with my mix matched g.skills at all. My old asus mobo had no problems doing it.
post #10 of 25
You can run different ram in dual channel. My very first build (in sig ) is running 12gb in dual channel what you have to do is make sure you have one channel equal another. I have one stick of 2gb patriot and one stick of 4gb hyper x in one set of slots and the same in the other slots so now each channel has 6gb of ram. they run fine at 1333 (stock patriot speed) and I can run them at 1600 by manually setting the voltage.

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X79
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