Are the DIMMs on the Crucial websites the only Crucial ones that will work?

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Are the DIMMs suggested at the manuracturers' websites the only ones
that will work.  Or even the best ones?  (I hate to spend too much
money fixing up a computer that's 7 years old)

Looking at, for my Dell, Dimension 4600, for example, it
only recommends two 1-gb DIMM, pc2700, one 333 and one 400, but there
are others for sale used, by Crucial (not specifically for that
computer) with the same values but different part number.

Maybe I watch too many detective shows on tv, but I'm thinking they
make small, tiny, or no changes to the DIMMs just so they can give
them a new part number, so the competition from 2nd hand DIMMs won't
affect them so much.  Allthough in a way that seems silly, since how
much could used parts ever compete with new anyhow?

At any rate, if it's 1gig, 2700, DDR-333, 184 pins, non-buffered,
non-ECC, and non-parity, should it work fine on a desktop computer
that wants that?  

Alternatively, is there a good way to look up the dimms for sale to
see if the CL and voltage are the same?   Just googling them?   CL and
voltage don't seem to be listed in ads for used memory, it seems.


Re: Are the DIMMs on the Crucial websites the only Crucial ones that will work?

mm wrote:
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There are two kinds of DIMMs at that density.

High density:  (16) 128Mx4 chips
Low density:   2x(8) 64Mx8 chips

The first formulation, is one bank consisting of 16 chips,
spread over both sides of the module.

The second formulation is dual bank, eight chips per side.

The low density formulation, works in any DDR computer
that supports 1GB sticks. The high density, may work
in a DDR computer that supports 2GB sticks (due to the
row/column addressing difference). I wouldn't accept one
of the high density sticks, if you gave it to me for free.
Even on chipsets where it is "compatible", you may not
be able to fill the bus with them, and have them error free.

Generally, if you go to a site like Newegg, chances are
good they'll sell you a low density 1GB module.

Ebay was full of high density 1GB DDR sticks, with prices
that used to be $20 cheaper for the low density ones. So
consumers would be tempted to cut corners and get the high
density ones.

The best place for x4 memory chips, is on registered server
DIMMs, not on consumer desktop DIMMs. The companies that
make the high density DIMMs aren't proud of what they've done.
You can *never* get a datasheet for those x4 modules. And Intel,
in its datasheets, only claims x8 and x16 chips are compatible
in certain forms, with its desktop chipsets. You won't find x4
mentioned there.

I think I'd price around, and see if you can do better on
a retail site like Newegg. $50 per gigabyte sounds a bit high.

This 2x1GB kit is $75, so you can save about $25. Of course,
the shipping may differ from one company to the next.

The chipset on that motherboard, is 865G (based on checking an
Ebay advert for a 4600 motherboard). So I wouldn't expect
too much trouble from that (it's an Intel chipset). There
are occasionally server motherboards, that run the DIMM
slots precisely at 2.5V, and sometimes the RAM really
needs the 2.6 or 2.7V shown in the advert. As long as
the retailer offers a good return policy, you should be OK.


Re: Are the DIMMs on the Crucial websites the only Crucial ones that will work?

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Now I understand the terminology.
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Okay. No high density for me either.  Thanks.
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I woudl have been if I didnt' realize there was a difference.   FTR
there were still some low-density Crucial sticks for sale, and I
looked up the model number of one at Crucial and it has all the same
features as the stick their software recommends now.  Low-density,
no-ECC, CL=2.5, 2.5v, pc2700, 333.    
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I should ask you about the metal heat spreader.  Seems like a good
idea but Kingston and Crucial don't use them afaik.

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OT for this ng - I'm in "trouble" in another newsgroup because when
installing windows, I didn't install the Dell Chipset driver from the
CD that came with the computer.  Yet everything so far seem to be
working fine.  Should I install that driver now -- they say it has to
be done first?  Or format the partition and reinstall Windows, doing
that driver first?  This was meant to be a trial install anyhow.

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Good.  Thanks a lot.  

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Re: Are the DIMMs on the Crucial websites the only Crucial ones that will work?

mm wrote:

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In some cases, heat spreaders are used for the purpose, of hiding
the chip numbers. Or perhaps UTT RAM is under there (a lesser grade
of memory, where the testing is done by the module manufacturer).
The module maker, is never as good as the factory, at testing chips.

"What are UTT Memory ?"

Especially on DDR3, there probably is no need of a heat spreader.
Module power is around 2 watts or less. DDR2 is a similar situation.
Perhaps with an abusive level of VDimm applied to the module,
the spreader helps. But the spreader also blocks the air channel
between DIMM slots, so in fact the spreader, depending on design,
can actually work against keeping a reasonable chip temperature.

The only time a heat spreader was really mandatory, was with RDIMM
designs (RAMBUS). That is a different memory architecture, where
an individual chip on the module can be accessed, and that chip
gets hot. Due to the possibility of hot spots, RAMBUS modules have
heat spreaders riveted to the module. You get two functions that
way - chip numbers are hidden, but with the rivets, it's less
likely the user will remove the heat spreader.

(Chips were connected serially on those modules. One chip would respond
to a query. Continuous probing of a single chip, can cause the chip
to dissipate, maybe at a guess, about 4 watts. That was an estimate I
saw at the time, for how much power the package the chip was in,
would have to dissipate.)

( same as ,
   only the archived copy still has the picture )

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Chipset drivers can be bundled with the OS. If you had a WinXP SP3
installer CD for example, it's possible the release date of that,
might be "after 865G". In which case, the chipset driver might
already be there. The thing is, the only thing that has to be
immediately resolved, is storage driver. And that can be resolved
by pressing F6 and putting a custom driver into place (like if
your board had RAID, and you were doing an OS install to the RAID).

The other elements of chipset drivers, may include network interfaces,
something for the AGP slot, and so on. The reason the video can
start without it, is the hardware supports VESA mode and the video
card has a VESA BIOS, and the bus path to the video card (or built-in),
may have a "PCI look" to it. The end result, is the OS can work at 640x480
in low color, right after you install. It means, you can install
drivers out of order at that point in time, if you wish. The
operating system enforces proper resolution, via the number of
reboots. So if you do things in the wrong order, it probably
results in more reboots than are absolutely necessary.

As a result, I wouldn't say "chipset driver package is critical".
It is a component in making a "clean Device Manager", it can
enable some other components to work properly (and they will,
after enough reboots, that any dependencies can be recognized
and resolved). But you could run the OS with its 640x480 screen
and no working network if you wanted, and get some work done.
The question would be, whether you could get data back out of the
system when you wanted to. Perhaps a hard drive on a removable
tray, would be your data interface, as an example.

You could always make a claim, that just about any driver was
critical (if the function it provided was something you needed
at the moment). The chipset drivers have their place, but
there's no "emergency" there.

I've also read of suggestions, to install OS, install latest
service pack, and then install chipset drivers. That is on the
theory, that the chipset driver package behaves differently
when a later Service Pack is present. Perhaps, but I'm not
really sure that's true or not. But by delaying the chipset
installation, you'd sure be violating what the other people
were saying about installing them right away.

In my work with installing graphics drivers, I noticed that
the system remained working, no matter what order I did them
in. Once the "driver stack" realized the state of something
underneath it, had changed, on the next reboot, that layer
of the stack could take advantage of the change. So an AGP
card, operating in PCI mode, once the AGP driver was in place,
would then have the option of using AGP commands, using the
GART and so on. The clever people who designed this stuff,
set it up in such a way, that you'd always have some level
of functionality, and that level would improve, the more
drivers that got installed.

The reverse of that, happens with storage drivers. There,
the hardware manufacturers seem to be determined, to put
as many roadblocks in your path as possible. They make
it virtually impossible, to switch from IDE to RAID for
example. In that case, VEN/DEV/SUBSYS/ClassCode are used
like a stick, to beat the user into submission. That has
improved a tiny bit in Windows 7, where at least you
can "arm" the OS just before shutdown, to re-examine
the hardware and available driver on the next restart.
But many WinXP RAID situations, it can be very hard
to make changes like that. And since hacks exist, to make
it smoother, it implies there was no need to make it so
hard in the first place. Presumably, the belief was, by
preventing mode changes, between IDE, AHCI, RAID, there
would be fewer support phone calls.

Some chipset drivers are "stubs". What they do, is remove
the "whining" of the New Hardware wizard. The only tangible
thing they offer, is an identity string for Device Manager,
so the item gets a proper label. So not all components of
the chipset driver package, are significant from a technical

Take USB as an example. Microsoft "owns" the USB drivers. If
you examine one of those old chipset driver packages (like
the one you'll be using for your 865G), you'll find the
Intel USB driver, just "calls" the Microsoft driver, to
get any work done. In that case, Intel didn't "write code",
as much as just redirecting the installation to stuff
already built into Windows.

That's why, if you do this work all the time, it pays to
look at the INF files that are part of the chipset drivers.
They'll tell you a few things, about what is actually
going on, and how things get done. (When I look at them,
it's just a hobby.)


Re: Are the DIMMs on the Crucial websites the only Crucial ones that will work?

Paul wrote:
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I was gonna suggest getting the fastest ram you could find.
But I remembered that my dell GX270 SFF claims that it supports
up to 2GB of PC2700 but only 1GB of PC3200.  What's that all about?

Re: Are the DIMMs on the Crucial websites the only Crucial ones that will work?

mike wrote:

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The memory bus can be sensitive to loading. One stick can
be driven faster, than two sticks on a bus segment. They suggest
different clock speeds for them, to make them error free.

A retail motherboard, is more likely to have a BIOS setting,
to allow adjustment and tweaking of the speed setting. On
something like a Dell (not Alienware), you're more likely
for the speed to be fixed by the BIOS, and no adjustment
is shown. If they want to run four sticks slower, there's
nothing you can do about it.


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