Dimm memory slots?

So let’s say you have two dimm memory slots. Your running two sticks of RAM. I am wondering will one memory slot get more wear and tear? Say will the CPU use the first dimm slot more, or will it utilize the two memory slots equally?

Always use the larger module of RAM in the first slot. Same with Dual channel stuff. Check out Kingstson’s site (memory manufacturer) at http://www.kingston.com/products/default.asp. Match the spec of your RAM to theirs and ‘read all about’ yours. As far as 'wear ‘n tear’… keep your fingers off the contact surfaces and remove dust (vacuum if you must) before reinserting modules/ DIMMs/ whatever.

Further… in answer to your question. (Sorry about that) “Yes. The first slot is addressed first and ‘works’ more than the second one.” If system processing requires more memory, it addresses the second slot as and when it needs. Its a linear usage thing. Think of it like ‘filling up the first one first’ with things to juggle and then flowing into the next as need be. As far as wearing out the first DIMM more than the other, don’t worry about it. As long as the larger module is in the first slot, that’s the main concern.

Ranger thanks, I read alot of different places that two sticks of 512 dual RAM would be better than one Gig stick. This doesnt make sense to me if the first dimm slot is used more like you say. I am thinking that one gig RAM stick would be better as long as the CAS latency is just as low. Would this be correct? It seems you would have less compadability issues ( or quality control to deal with), and it would run smoother if it uses the first dimm first then goes to the second. That is of course is if you only wanted to used 1 gig of RAM. I pulled one of my RAM sticks out and it seems i’m getting better installs, and dvd rips. Two successfull glitch free rips in a row so i’m crossing my fingers, and a game I could never get to install. I literally wasted hundreds of dollars on good Ty, and Verb media, and drives trying to solve this problem ( no one should EVER go through that :)). What I did is pop the second dimm RAM out and used just the first. It seemed to work a little better this way, but I had faulty rips still. I then took out the first dimm RAM module and replaced it with the second one in the first dimm slot. Now I got all my games to install, and dvd rips are working better so far. I’m not gonna say this solved my problem just yet I will wait till after ten or so rips, because just when I think i’ve gotten rid of my problem along comes the blocky artifacts in my rip. The funny thing is it’s still takes the same exact amount of XP swipes before it boots up even at half the RAM. It’s almost like it didn’t change at all. I remember when it was new it took about 3 swipes and then it booted XP professional, and now it’s about 5. The 3 swipes didn’t last long, and that could of been just from a fresh new XP install. Or maybe one RAM module went bad real early on. More and more programs were installed is all I figured.

Hi Wheelz,

“…two sticks of 512 dual RAM would be better than one Gig stick.” Hmmm… I don’t have the knowledge to understand the reason behind this. What I believe however, is that it’s best to have the same brand and style of RAM i.e. single sided or double sided modules and don’t mix 'em up. How critical this is may vary from application to application. Burning CD’s maybe considered far more complex/ critical that copying files from one location to another on the same HDD.

My rule of thumb has been not to ‘mix up sticks’ of RAM. This is especially critical with Dual Channel memory, where the two slots in ‘bank 0’ must have identical RAM (brand, type and size). Dual Channel memory is sold in matched pairs. This is where I received the advice via a Kingston tech to place the larger capacity modules in ‘bank 0’ and the smaller one in ‘bank 1’ for example. In this situation, (with this this technology) he confidently advised me put the larger capacity matched pair of modules in the first bank.

Sorry I can’t be of more help. Good luck. Ranger


I’m new to this Q&A stuff. You said “…I am thinking that one gig RAM stick would be better as long as the CAS latency is just as low. Would this be correct?” I’d be inclined to agree with that.
I had a really neat AMD 550MHz (3DNow) CPU in an ASUS MB with its RAM completely maxed out to … wait for it, “Half a gig”. At one point I changed something and started having a problem with the RAM re-running its boot up memory check five times, unless you hit ESC of course.
A very good friend was/is an electronics engineer and a genuine computer wiz. Anyway, he solved my problem by recommending I use high quality, double sided RAM modules. From notes 22/3/2004… "Either Hynix or Infinion PC133 double sided SD-RAM modules. These are the only ones that Garry knows that work reliably with older 100Mhz motherboards."
As soon as I swapped the RAM modules for the seemingly better quality, double-sided ones, I had way less crashes and one check re-boots. I’ve still got this AMD, ASUS, Hynix system. It’s the Win98 fallback home PC. Regards.

Thanks Ranger that was helpfull. Both my memory modules were dual channel identical. Apparently one is just ever so slightly faulty, because everything works fine untill you see it in a dvd rip, or trying to install only certain games. Other than that viewing movies, listening to cd’s, ripping cd’s all that worked fine. That’s why it’s been so hard to track down my problem. I was kind of nervous to mess around with the RAM at first. Now that I’ve done it I can’t beleive how easy it is. I just set my Bios to spd. As far as I know the settings may be a tad aggressive but it’s working good so far. If and when I’m sure this fixed my dvd ripping problem I’m gonna get some better named brand RAM. I’m running the Kingmax stuff now.

just run a prog called memtest86 (google it) it will tell you if you have dodgy memory

Use 2 or 4 sticks (same capacity) if MB and CPU support dual channel memory.

Mr. Brownstone thanks, I looked a little into memtest86. I don’t have a floppy drive so I would have to go cd rom bootable ( dont’ really know how to do it yet). Not even sure if I have a burning software that will do that. All I have is IMGburn. So far everythings been pretty good I think it was the memory. We’ll see though.

furballi, This is what my motherboard instructioins say.

    The mainboard uses Double Data Rate Dula Inline Memory Modules ( DDR DIMM). It has two 184 pin Dimm sockets which support 2.5V ( power level) single sided or double sided pc2100 ( DDR266), pc2700 ( DDR333) or pc3200 ( DDR400) DDR Dimm modules up to 2gb.

Hi wheels!

I used memtest recently when trying (unsuccessfully) to overclock my crappy generic RAM. All you need do is download the bootable image, burn with ImgBurn on default settings and you’re good to go. Instant bootable disc.

As for maximising the potential performance of RAM installed in your MoBo, I’d personally go for either two 512 MB DIMMS or two 1GB DIMMS depending on your target total (1 or 2 GB). If you’re on a budget then Corsair Value Select is a good choice and usualy can be run at a decent overclock if that’s what you’re into. If you want the best and money’s no object then consider a set of G-Skill or OCZ Gold.

Timings are nigh on erelevant for realworld aplications unless you’re a hardcore gamer, when tight timings are worth paying extra for. Dual Channel functionality on the other hand can give a noticable performance boost, therefore installing in pairs makes practical sense. Setting the Command Rate to 1T in the BIOS will also increase system speed noticably in memory intensive tasks.

Kim Jong thank you. I will have to give it a try. Can you use cd-r with IMGburn? Or would I have to use a dvd-r? That’s the only media I have.

Yes, you can use cd-r no problem. I burned my copy onto cd-rw using imgburn.

From the ImgBurn website:

ImgBurn can write most types of CD / DVD images and it supports all the latest writers (including booktype / bitsetting on many of the major ones - i.e. BenQ, LiteOn, NEC, Plextor, Sony). You can even use ImgBurn to erase / format your rewritable media!

Kim Jong thanks, I got it figured out, and ran it. I don’t know how long your sussposed to run this test. I let it do 3 passes and working on the 4th for awhile. I gave up to report back. It took 1 hour and 23 minutes to do that with ( V3.2). It looked like it was just doing the same thing over and over. I’m not sure, but the good news is there were 0 errors during that time. Did I run the test long enough?

I’m not sure mine is a dual channel motherboard. Also it says 2.5V and most the RAM I see is 2.6V.

How long you would run the test will depend on the usage of your PC, and what you personally beleive to be an acceptable rate of errors. For example, when I tried overclocking my RAM, it was for two reasons. The first was to maximise performance in games (not my main activity) and the second to help speed up video encoding.

As encoding is a VERY time consuming task I wanted the best out of my DIMMS but would not tollerate a single error. In gaming, if my PC crashes it isn’t the end of the world for me.

Having said that, I was pushing my RAM beyond its intended use and expected errors if I pushed it too far. As you won’t be overclocking and will (presumably) be running your modules as rated, the only acceptable error rate is most definately zero. Memtest does use the same cycle of tests over and over, with the purpose of stressing your RAM. Its kind of like survival of the fittest, weeding out the slight flaws that cause random crashes.

If your target is a 24/7 stable PC, I would run the test for atleast 8-12 hours (I ran it for 36 hours) to allow the modules to come up to max operating temperature and work at that temp for as long as possible. If you are still experiencing instability after running tests for this amount of time, and no errors are reported then it’s time to look at other components in the system. The power supply would be the next port of call.

9 hours 20 minutes on 21 pass, with zero errors.

There is one more test to try using Memtest86. The test checks the ability of modules to retain the same data for a set amount of time without becoming corrupted. It’s quite time consuming and doesn’t automatically run with the other tests (probably for this reason). At the Memtest “runtime configuration” menu select option 9 - BitFade test. If after bitfade testing has finished (allow up to 3.5 hours) there are still no errors then there is a good chance your RAM is fine.

Are you testing the system with both memory modules in place or just the [suspected] faulty one? If the former, then run the same set of tests with just the suspect one installed. If there are still no errors, then I would broaden the range of the stress test to include motherboard-chipset and CPU. For this, research and then use Prime95 available here: http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm

A great explanation of Prime95’s functions can be found over at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime95

Actually i’m testing the one I think is good to narrow it down. I got the other one out right now. I could run a test on that one, but so far I got 3 dvd rips, encodes, burns looking great. I think if I get about 5 or so i’m good to go. Usually I get a glitch within that amount of dvd’s. I’m hoping everything worked out just by pulling the one bad one. Well the first Ram module wouldn’t install a couple games in the first slot like the second Ram module did in the first slot. So i’m assuming it is faulty. It was the first RAM that was bad I think I could test it. I put the second one in the first slot. It actually surprised me that I got this one game to install called Area-51, because it always said it was a corrupted file. I still should look into Prime95 so I can test other things, and be prepared for the future. Thanks alot Kim Jong so far things are looking good. It’s not guaranteed I will report back after a few more burns. Thanks for the links.

I couldn’t find the Bitfade test. Maybe my motherboard doesn’t support it, it said something like that when I opted for option 9. I downloaded prime 95. Still have to look into it. I did a brief read on it, but so far I’ve got 5 burns looking great. Here is the kicker if I can find the original packaging newegg may replace it. I’ve contacted Kingmax as well ( left a voice mail). So I should be back to a working gig of RAM hopefully sometime in the near future. Not sure I have the original packaging though it’s been so long. Another bummer is I will not have a working computer without any RAM when I RMA it. What’s a guy to do though? I’m half tempted to just keep it, because I know this stick is working good so far. It would be nice to be back up to a Gig again working properly. I see it’s good to just have an extra stick of RAM around just incase you may need it. You really never know.