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RAM upgrade dillema

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Dear Overclock.net community,

my apologies for starting a thread with a first post, but I really need a solid advice from a competent community.

My system specs are as follows:
Motherboard: GA-Z87-D3HP
CPU: 4770K @ 4.5 GHZ (custom air cooled)
RAM: 2 x Dual Channel 4 GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 1600MHz CL9 1.5V (running at nominal parameters)
No dedicated graphics card

I've discovered that for my current usage 8 GB of RAM is not enough and would like to upgrade. However, I don't feel competent enough about this subject, so my questions are as follows:

1. Is it rational to add 2 x 8 GB RAM sticks to my current build to run a system in 2 x 4 GB + 2 x 8GB mode?
2. If so, what are the negative consequences in running the system in that mode (like more limited CPU OC capabilities)?
3. What memory sticks should I choose for this upgrade? Is the same manufacturer, chips, CL, frequency and voltage a must?
4. Any general advice on future upgrades and OC settings?
5. I am considering adding a low-mid tier graphics card for occasional GPU-oriented tasks. Should I expect an overall performance benefit from such upgrade?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 10
Do not "add" memory. You never want to use "mixed memory".

Even buying the same brand, same part number from the same store on the same day does not guarantee you'll get a matched set of sticks. The only way to be sure you memory all matches is to buy it as a "matched set".
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My System
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FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
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2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Do not "add" memory. You never want to use "mixed memory".

Even buying the same brand, same part number from the same store on the same day does not guarantee you'll get a matched set of sticks. The only way to be sure you memory all matches is to buy it as a "matched set".

I'm running mixed memory just fine, and it isn't even full dual-channel. I think the first 8GB are but the last 4GB are single-channel. In general, if timings or latency are different, then the less latent RAM will increase timings and the higher clocked RAM will decrease its frequency. This isn't always true, and issues do happen, but they aren't guaranteed.

Yes, I think that in theory you should be fine with 2x4+2x8GB. I think Intel allows dual-channel operation provided the paired DIMMs are the same capacity. You have two channels, 1 and 2, and each has two slots, A and B. If A1 and A2 are both 4GB and B1 and B2 are 8GB, then dual-channel operation should still work.

Source: Wikipedia (so it must be true! biggrin.gif)
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Triumvirate
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Osmium
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For Sale: [FS] Z97 system: Xeon and RAM
$160 (USD) or best offer
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post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalUnicorn View Post

I'm running mixed memory just fine,

I didn't say mixed memory wouldn't work. Sometimes it does. But matched sets always work together.
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FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies so far.
Unfortunately, such divided opinions from "it should never be done" to "you should be fine" on this subject is the exact reason why I decided to start this thread smile.gif.

Thus, I'll try to narrow the whole thing down to two questions:

When mixing memory in a way described previously:
1. What's the worst thing that could happen?
2. What's the worst thing that is likely to happen?

Also, if you could direct me to any informative article on the subject I would be happy to study the information provided. From what I've managed to dig out, discussion of mixing RAM is often times avoided, concluding that it's "not recommended".
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by V123 View Post

Thank you for your replies so far.
Unfortunately, such divided opinions from "it should never be done" to "you should be fine" on this subject is the exact reason why I decided to start this thread smile.gif.

Thus, I'll try to narrow the whole thing down to two questions:

When mixing memory in a way described previously:
1. What's the worst thing that could happen?
2. What's the worst thing that is likely to happen?

Also, if you could direct me to any informative article on the subject I would be happy to study the information provided. From what I've managed to dig out, discussion of mixing RAM is often times avoided, concluding that it's "not recommended".

Ok, here's the explanation:

Memory sticks are made of two basic components, a "brain" and ICs. The ICs are the black squares on the memory sticks.
There are only a few manufacturers ICs for computer memory in this galaxy. All the memory manufacturers buy from them.
They buy what they need, when they need them. So, the ICs memory manufacturer needed to produce ABC memory on Tuesday, may be different from the IC's the memory manufacturer used a week ago, a day ago, or an hour ago to produce the same memory. When the memory manufacturer needs ICs they buy the IC's that will give them the memory spec they need. Even though the memory made from the new IC will be used to make memory with the same manufacturer's specs (CL, tRCD, tRP, t RAS, etc.) the new ICs the memory manufacturer buys may overclock better, the same, or worse that the original ones. There are about 20 memory timings, not just the usual 4-5 that are listed as specs by the manufacturer (see thaiphoon burner for all the timings). Even though the manufacturers spec may be the same, any of these other timings may be different with the memory produced from the new ICs.

Some memory manufacturers will actually publish which ICs are used with which batch of memory (denoted by a revision number in the part number) are used with different batches of the same memory. (Corsair)

So buying memory that is not a "matched set" , even though it has the same specs, may be built with different ICs, and hence may:
Work with your existing (same spec) memory.
Not work with your existing (same spec) memory.
May overclock differently than your existing (same spec) memory.

So, it's a crap shoot...............


Edited by billbartuska - 5/16/14 at 7:25am
My System
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FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
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Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
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2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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Logiteck G400s none 
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
billbartuska, thank you for your detailed explanation. I'll see if I can figure something out.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by V123 View Post

Thank you for your replies so far.
Unfortunately, such divided opinions from "it should never be done" to "you should be fine" on this subject is the exact reason why I decided to start this thread smile.gif.

Thus, I'll try to narrow the whole thing down to two questions:

When mixing memory in a way described previously:
1. What's the worst thing that could happen?
2. What's the worst thing that is likely to happen?

Also, if you could direct me to any informative article on the subject I would be happy to study the information provided. From what I've managed to dig out, discussion of mixing RAM is often times avoided, concluding that it's "not recommended".

1. It will not work
2. It will not work

There really isn't too big of a problem for this kind of issue. It will not break your pc (99.9% sure).

I agree with @CynicalUnicorn . You should not have much problem in doing this, although it is recommended to have similar ram when doing this in terms of Cas latency, Mhz, voltage, and memory size. The worst that can happen though I believe is your pc not recognizing a pair.
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post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by malzmidx View Post

The worst that can happen though I believe is your pc not recognizing a pair.
Correct, but add in the cost of an unusable set of memory too.
My System
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
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2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Correct, but add in the cost of an unusable set of memory too.

He can see that for himself I believe. I was just answering his question.
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