RAM Question

I’ve been running XP for a while now with only 512MB of RAM, yeah I know, I’m in the stone-age. I wanna drop some change and go for two sticks, my current memory is of the PC2100 DDR SDRAM flavor.

My question is, would it be worth the money to trash the current memory, buy two to go faster, or would I be better off buying another stick of the same speed?



Going with one stick is typically much more expensive than going with two sticks. For example, new egg has this Mushkin 1GB DDR 3200 for $225. While two sticks of 512MB DDR 3200 go for $68 a piece. So unless you think you are going to replace all your RAM slots with single 1GB sticks in the near future forcing you to throw away those two 512 sticks, I’d go with the two. Same speed, half the price.

Depending on your MB you might be able to buy faster ram for the second stick. Many motherboards will simply run the memory at the lowest speed.

Depends on your MB and CPU; but chances are if you’re running PC2100 RAM, your FSB is no more than 133MHz and faster RAM won’t help. [Or, more precisely, your MB would continue to run your RAM at the same speed, regardless of its rating.] OTOH, the price difference between PC3200 & PC2100 is pretty negligible; in theory, you could get a stick of PC3200 RAM to go with your PC2100 RAM and your MB would run both at 133MHz; then you could replace your PC2100 somewhere down the road (maybe when you switch to a faster MB / CPU combo).

I say “in theory” because some MBs can be a bit fussy about mix-n-matching RAM, especially if they have different SPD ratings, timings, etc. It shouldn’t be a problem, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t

More specific suggestions can be offered once you figure out what your MB is (brand & model).

Yeah you can mix and match speeds usually just fine but it can be a problem with some boards/ram. I have a stick of PC2100 and a stick of 3200 in my system (abit nforce2, mushkin ram) and both run at the lower 266mhz speed.