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  Strange Problems 
 Date Written 
Peter Bennett Oct 26, 2010, 12:32pm EDT Report Abuse
Hi all, not so new here, was on years ago but forgot details, ok heres my problem:

a month ago my other computer decided to play up, by which I mean either Shutting itself off instantly or showing a BSOD - it was quite a humid time and the computer got quite hot from time to time, but even when cool and had just started running it, it decided after 5 minutes to shut off again, now recently it seems to be fine, just abit laggy in the games department and abit on the slow side in general ie opening a web browser.

The computer itself is not a new machine but likes to be upgraded type of thing, and is currently running:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
AsusTek K8N Motherboard
2x 512mb Samsung DDR PC3200 Memory
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS 256mb Graphics Card

Even now that the computer is running better and has stopped the hissy-fits shut downs and BSOD's the CPU Usage is usually not far off 100% but manage to play World of Warcraft for a full night, the game loads up longer than about 6 months ago but its manageable, but none the less is still a cause for concern.

The Hard Drive is new less than 3 months old (I consider as new anyway) so I am ruling it out, and it is a fresh install with no viruses or any downloads, just warcraft and all windows standard installs.

I will be upgrading Graphics cards soon, however I am thinking the main problem lies within either the CPU or Memory, one of my main questions is...

my motherboard has 3 memory slots and I want to increase my memory to 2gb which is standard everywhere nowerdays, if completly honest I dont know enough about memory because you have to pair them?

is it possible to have:
2x 512MB and
1x 1GB sticks?

I am on Crucial at the moment and they have suggested some memory, would I be safe in putting this in?...

"1GB, 184-pin DIMM, DDR PC3200 memory module"

or does it have to be identical to the ones I have in already?

one last thing, CPU with high CPU usage is it more likely CPU or Memory, what would be my best option?

Cheers Everyone,
Thanks in Advance.

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john albrich Oct 26, 2010, 01:27pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Strange Problems

To take advantage of dual-channel memory performance enhancement, you have to have memory installed in "like" pairs, AND the motherboard must of course actually support dual-channel mode...not all mobos do so. Check your mobo specs/manual to be sure.

e.g. for a 4-memory-slot system




(total=4GB (slightly over 3GB usable by a 32bit OS))

But, since your mobo only has 3 memory slots, then the best dual-channel configuration<1> for you is either

2x1GB (2xUS$40each ~$80 total)
(2GB total)


2x2GB<2> (unknown price)
(total=4GB (slightly over 3GB usable by a 32bit OS))

The moment you have an odd number of RAM sticks (e.g. 3 sticks), dual-channel mode is disabled.

Make sure your mobo can support the RAM sticks you select, AND the configuration of sticks you select.

The paired RAM sticks do NOT have to be "specially" selected and paired together by the manufacturer (for which they naturally charge a premium), but things generally work out best when each pair at least shares the same timing specifications (e.g. PC3200 with the same CAS timings). In addition to the same timing constraints within paired sticks, the overall timing will be limited by the lowest speed RAM stick installed. For example, if you have 2x512MB PC2600 and 2x1GB PC3200, the system can operate in dual-channel mode but only at PC2600 speeds.

If your motherboard supports PC3200, then this paragraph is just for other users.
Even if your system only supports up to PC2600 memory, you can still install the faster spec'd PC3200 sticks...but, your system will still max-out at PC2600 speeds. In other words, it won't hurt to use the more expensive PC3200 sticks in a system designed for slower memory sticks...but it won't help the performance. The only advantage is you may be able to find PC3200 more readily than PC2600.

<1>Check mobo specs/manual to make sure it in fact supports dual-channel
<2>Check mobo specs/manual to make sure it in fact supports 2GB memory sticks



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