newbie with RAM questions

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Got a Intel D845GRG main board in my Gateway pc. It has 512mb RAM, and one
slot open. I'd like to add memory. Options seem to be another 512mb, or 1gb.

I find memory cards of both sizes that should work. So, the question is: do
I gain anything by adding 1gb to 512mb? Is there a problem doing that?
Should I just add 512mb?

A chart I consulted says I need DDR PC 2700 memory cards in order to add
RAM. On Ebay, I find cards with DDR PC 2700 labels, but having different
numbers of pins. How many pins do I need for compatability with my main

There are also some that say DDR PC 2700, but further indicate they're for
notebooks/laptops. Are these incompatible with my main board?

To add a memory card, do I just turn the pc off, remove it from the case,
plug the card in, button it up, and turn the power back on? Is it that

Re: newbie with RAM questions

On Fri, 15 Jun 2007 16:51:14 -0500, "rb"

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How long do you "think" you'll want to continue using this
system, and what are the largest jobs that you do on it?
When doing these jobs (finished doing them), what does your
Task Manager, "Commit Charge", "Peak" state?  If you leave
your system on for a long time, it would be better to reboot
it and let it run for a day or two before this memory check.
Then add at least 256MB to attain better performance from
file caching.  This total would be weighed against how much
memory you have presently, to determine how much more you
need for your present uses, and/or estimate how much more
demanding your furture uses would be.

Also consider whether you want to run Vista on it
eventually.  My recommendation would be, "don't", but if you
did, you should add at least 512MB to the above estimation.

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See above.  Some people with your system would be better off
adding one 512MB per their needs.  Others would be better
off adding one, 1GB module.  Others would be better off
adding 2 x 1GB modules and removing the 512MB module.

Also, PC2700-PC3200 DDR(1) type memory is still fairly
expensive but DDR2 memory has dropped (and is expected to
continue dropping) to a very low price soon, with next few
months.  The price difference between 2GB of DDR1 and DDR2
memory could be enough to justify simply replacing the whole
computer since it seems fairly low end with the board using
integrated video and only 512MB now.

What I really mean is, at least by replacing the motherboard
and CPU, to a motherboard that can use DDR2 memory, you
would be able to leverage the savings from buying DDR2
memory, towards funding a significant part of the cost of
the new motherboard and CPU.  This is assuming your system
case is reasonably standard and would accept a newer
standard motherboard.  A couple other issues would
(arguably) be loss of the OEM license for Windows and if the
factory installation was from a HDD image OEM CD instead of
full Windows OEM CD, definitely that CD would not work on
the new motherboard.

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You need PC2700.  There is only one # of pins for standard
desktop PC2700 memory.  It's 184 pin  

I recommend that you not buy this memory from anyone on ebay
that can't even manage to clearly describe what their memory
is.  Even then, ebay is an additional risk as your system
does not use proprietary memory.  You do not need some
special memory claimed "for Gateway model xyz" if replacing
both modules, but if you want a pair of identical modules
you still can't assume the memory is identical necessarily
(though one could hope so) unless they have a very clear
description that you can confirm as identical by looking at
the memory already in your system and it's label).

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yes, you need plain old PC2700, not an SO DIMM, which is
Small Outline like a notebook would use.

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- Gather all parts, leave memory packaged.

- Unplug the system from AC.

- Ground yourself, observe ESD precautions.

- Touch system case metal to achieve same voltage potential
between you and the system ground.

- Remove old memory module from motherboard.

- Unpack new memory and install.

- Replug AC into system.

- Put your Memtest86+ test media in the system. (this means
you had already determined how you'd run memtest86+,
prepared a boot media, and set your bios to try to boot to
that media first.

-  Turn system on, boot to Memtest86+, not Windows yet.

- Let Memtest86+ run for several hours.  If no errors found,
quit and boot windows.  If errors found (and assuming since
this is an OEM board, you have no BIOS options you can
change for memory) you will need to return the memory and
try some other modules, preferribly not the same brand and
type since it may be a brand and type incompability not just
damaged modules).  Because of these latter possiblity,
buying from ebay can again complicate the matter of returns
for incompatibility of working parts, yours vs. the

Re: newbie with RAM questions

Thanks for the response.  You're way over my head, but I followed some of

What's happening is this:    I'm working on our church office pc.  It's
WinXP, and won't be going to Vista.

It started off fine a couple years ago.  Recently, it got very sluggish and
slow.  There were indications it was out of memory.  For instance, when
trying to open an attachment in Outlook, we get an error message that the
attachment can't open because it's out of memory.

It had Norton A/V.  Norton can be a memory hog.  So, I removed it and put
AVG in.

The first thing I do on these things is clean up the pc.  I turn off
restore, and run Spybot and Adaware, then AVG.  Compact and defrag.  I use
ErrorClean and CrapCleaner.  Found 327 pests with combo of Spybot and
AdAware that were eliminated.  Finally, ran BitDefender and Panda online

The staff has loaded the pc with audio/visual stuff, and have used it as a
source for remote big screen projector feed.

It's still slow.  I conclude there is in fact a memory insufficiency now, so
was just wondering about the ins and outs of adding a chip.

BELARC tells me the mobo is Intel D845GRG, and the memory card is a 512mb
(no further info on the card without opening the case).  Other sources tell
me the pc uses PC2100 or PC2700 DDR memory chips.

I am wondering if just any PC2700 or PC2100 DDR 512mb or 1gb chip I get will
physically fit and work OK with the pc.  Or, do I need matched pairs (remove
the chip in there now and put a matched pair of chips in)?

Re: newbie with RAM questions

rb wrote:
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There are two kinds of 512MB modules. The most common is 16 chips of 32Mx8
each, which has been shipping for some time. Recently, a module with 8 chips
of 64Mx8 (basically a half populated 1GB module) has also started shipping
from the majors, to fill the need for 512MB of memory. Both types will work.

For 1GB modules, there are at least two types. One type is not likely to work
well - and that stuff is common on Ebay. A module can be constructed with
16 chips of 64Mx8 and that is the good stuff. The majors, like Crucial and
Kingston will sell you sticks like that. AFAIK, the second module type, uses
16 chips of 128Mx4, "high density" RAM, having a single rank per double sided
DIMM. It appears that this is a JEDEC approved format, but every datasheet
I can find from Intel, does not approve of it. The Ebay web pages selling
the bad stuff, usually lists "acceptable" chipsets for the use of the RAM.
So that is your warning to stay away.

This is a search on the Crucial site, for your board.
(Click the "show all" link, to see the cheaper options. Best price is
a 512MB PC2700 CAS Latency 2.5 stick for $42.99)

You can also look on the Kingston search engine. Kingston relies on
retailers, for their sales. You can get an even better price that

DDR memory is downward speed compatible, so as long as the BIOS doesn't
get worked into a lather, you could use PC3200 RAM, and most BIOS will be
happy to select DDR333 or DDR266 rates to run it. PC3200 will work all
the way down to PC1600 rates. So unless the BIOS is poorly written,
and craps out when it sees the faster RAM, a faster RAM product should
also work. Which is why the crazy Crucial search engine "recommends"
some of their PC4000 memory :-) But just select something that is
similar to what you've got, as that is likely to be cheaper anyway,
and less likely to throw a fit.


Re: newbie with RAM questions

rb wrote:
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Doubling your memory by adding 512 MB should give you enough memory. Add 1 GB if
it does not cost much more.
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PC2100 or PC2700 DDR desktop memory will work. You need 184 pin desktop memory,
not SoDIMM which is for laptop PCs. I always buy memory locally when it is on
sale. It is easier to return if it is defective or is not compatible with you
PC, which has been known to happen with Gateways.
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Yes, that is essentially all there is to it, but you should vacuum out the slot
first and be careful not to zap it with static electricity or knock any plugs

                   Mike Walsh
            West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

Re: newbie with RAM questions

Great info, guys.  Thanks.

Re: newbie with RAM questions

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Googling says that's a P4 MBRD

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either way would prob work and be good.

get good make of ram. Kingston or Crucial.
I think there is a thing (wouldn't call it an issue). That P4s are
better with 2 sticks than one. AMD Athlon XPs don't have a preference.

I guess if you put 3 or 4 sticks in there , making more memory than 2,
then it'd better than 2.

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It'd be the same number of pins.  There's only one type of DDR RAM.

There is DDR2. The notch is in a different place, DDR2 won't fit in a
DDR slot.

I think they're both 184 pins.

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 standard laptop DDR RAM is called SODIMM as oppose to DIMM.

It's far far smaller. Googling seems to show it as 200pin

So those are technical details you can use to distinguish them.

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yeah, But some are more cautious..

you can pull the power cord out of the computer
(so there's no power in the computer - allegedly !)
push the power button
(just to remove any remaining power. You may see a light for a moment
'cos there is remaining power! prob in capacitors)

So, now there's no more power.

Open the case, remove the old card, put the new card in.

You may want to leave the case open incase you find something went or
will go wrong and you'll have to open it again. So leave case open
until job is complete.

Install the drivers. It'll prob involve a restart.

if it worked (try meddling with changing windows resolutions). Close
the case

it may be that things go wrong with windows trying to detect the
device and windows installing drivers for the device, and them not
being quite right or not good enough for you.  So, in that case. You
may want to install drivers Before putting the card in.

With PCI cards, if you take the card out, I think it'll remove the
drivers that windows detects and puts in.  The entry dissapears from
device manager.  You don't have to scratch your head over how to
remove those drivers before installing new ones.

With USB devices I think they remain there after the device is
unplugged. But they can be removed manually from device manager.


I do it as you have said (though you didn't mention instaling
drivers). put card in. Then i'll install drivers.
If I had run into this problematic issue many times. Then maybe i'd do
it the other way around.  Maybe I should always do it the other way
around.  Doesn't matter too much!!

Ebay is fine. Just buy from soembody with lots of feedback so it's
like a shop. (or rather, as good/bad as a shop)
And remember. Good make of RAM.

Re: newbie with RAM questions

On Mon, 18 Jun 2007 08:57:57 -0700,

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Given the context, that this is an integrated video
motherboard and the most popular late Athlon XP integrated
video chipset was nForce2, yes it is a significant
performance benefit to have 2 modules for dual channel mode
on many such Athlon XP boards.  Without the integrated video
the difference was fairly minor, low-single-digit

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Being OEM it may not even have 4 slots, but today the
board/CPU isn't so valuable, I would think hard about paying
a lot to max out memory on such a platform given DDR2 is now
a lot cheaper (could be time to replace board and CPU

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DDR is 184, but DDR2 is 240 pins on a desktop board, 200 on
notebook SODIMM, (though less common notebook formats also
exist like 172 (DDR) or 214 (DDR2) pin for a
notebook/other-mini-devices microDIMM).

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There is no need to push the power button, the power would
have drained within a few seconds anyway after AC is

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???   How many PC systems have you found that needed drivers
installed when memory was added?

Re: newbie with RAM questions

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thanks for the corrections

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When writing it I had in mind video card.  Prob 'cos he wrote 'memory
card' and I don't usually use that term, I forgot he meant memory.

Given that he means memory. I'd add a few things!!
'cos it's not as easy as putting in a video card.

Memory is indeed a card, going into a slot.  The memory card has a
cut, the slot has a key. This is - meant - to ensure that the RAM goes
in right.

.I'm not a person that snaps motherboards or dents them or
intentionally blows up power supplies. But I have unintentionally
cracked the front of a plastic computer case, and I have Burnt DDR RAM
and Ruined a DDR Slot - smoky!.  It is possible to put DDR RAM in
wrong. And even have those plastic things clip onto the RAM, without
using much force. I don't know how I managed it but I did.  This
happened after I had successfully installed DDR RAM many times. When I
saw and smelt smoke, I thought the MBRD was at fault in that area.
THen it happened a second time and I realised it was me.  THough by
that point I had done it right probably 48/50 times.

I do know how to ensure that doesn't happen again.

Note: This particular problem hasn't happened to anybody else I know
of, or anybody else on the internet, so it probably won't happen to
you. Nevertheless, one can take measures to prevent it from happening,
as I do !

Notice that the side of the RAM on one side of the notch is smaller
than the side on the other.
Take note of the same fact, but on the Slot.

(note- i was aware of this myself!)

Take a Torch (torches are often very useful when building or fixing

(when i messed up, i didn't use a torch. My naked eye must've lied)

Time to make sure that when you put the RAM in, it will be aligned
Place the RAM over the slot - midair  - hold it upright, perpendicular
to the slot.

Make sure , under the light of the torch, that the short side is
aligned with the short side. Long side / Long side.

The torch thing is a bit of an eccentric addition. But you have to put
the RAM in like this..

Now you put the RAM in, but don't turn the RAM 180 degrees ;-)

To put the RAM in.. (and i've talked this through somebody over the
phone successfully).  The proper way to do it  is the RAM is held
perpendicular and pushed in.
No doubt it takes a little force. But it doesn't take *that* much
force. (the more force, the more suspicion!!)

You put your thumbs, the flat part of your thumbs over the RAM . One
thumb on each side. And push both sides down.

You see the 2 flaps on the socket. They should each clip up
automatically as you push the RAM card down.  You don't have to push
the clips up with your fingers. Though you can . But doing it
properly, they'll close on the RAM automatically.

Leave the case open.

Turn the computer on.
If you hear beeps, you screwed up.. If you don't, that's part 1.
Then next test is that you got the right amount of RAM in there. All

You can check that in the BIOS.
Or in windows.

Once that's all checked. That shows that the work inside is ok, or not
messed up. Close the case.

Whether the RAM speed is optimal or not is another matter.

It's possible to run RAM at lower speeds than it can run at -
underclocking it. Or higher, then it won't or may not  be stable.  You
prob don't want to do either of those things. Hopefully your BIOS, in
the RAM section, has the setting "SPD", which runs the memory bus, and
hence the RAM, at the speed that the RAM tells it to run at. I don't
know if SPD is "always" the default.

If you   mix different RAM speeds you I think would end up running all
RAM at the lower speed.

There's also issues of RAM timings. DDR RAM spec may list 4 digits
regarding that. I don't look into it..

You don't *need* to get PC 2700 . It's a speed. Speed the ram is
designed to operate stably at.  So you could put in ram specified as
PC xxxx where xxxx is higher or lower.  It's compatible. But if xxxx
is higher, it just means you've overspent on your RAM because it'll
only run as fast as the fastest your MBRD can run RAM, which I think
you said was PC 2700.  If xxxx is lower, , presuming you don't
overclock it - then your RAM isn't optimal for that MBRD. But it is
compatible. So, you could take DDR RAM out of another machine (desktop
DDR ram) and put it in that machine.
But if you want what's most efficient for your MBRD, then you're best
off getting the highest speed RAM supported,  (and of course running
the RAM at that speed). In your case, PC 2700.


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