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View Full Version : upgrading ram on a msi gnb max



mcgirk
09-14-2004, 02:40 AM
i currently have one 512MB stick of pc2100 level2 mushkin ram in my p4 system.

i have a msi gnb max mobo that supports dual channel ddr.

i am wondering if i should buy pc3200 dual channel kit, or stick with pc2100 (which is what my board supports) ??

i realize pc 3200 would be better for future upgrades, but with ddr2 in the mix now, spending the extra $ on pc3200 might not be a wise idea?

i read recently that cas latency isn't as important as memory speed, but if my board will only run it at pc2100 why get anything faster?

my board has some o/c'ing capabilities, but i don't have agp or pci locks, which i think would limit my overclocking.

any thoughts?

Yawgm0th
09-14-2004, 07:22 AM
Your CPU can't really rake advantage of PC3200 as it is, so I'd say don't bother.

wayout44
09-14-2004, 08:27 AM
For dual memory setups its best and recommended to use the exact make and model memory modules (a dual module kit isn't a necessary requirement), so can you still get another memory module the same make and model as you already have?
Another consideration atm is that PC2100 costs just as much as PC2700 and PC3200 modules but I don't remember that mainboard having voltage adjustment for the memory so don't get any high performance modules that require more than the standard 2.5v to operate.

mcgirk
09-14-2004, 10:28 AM
For dual memory setups its best and recommended to use the exact make and model memory modules (a dual module kit isn't a necessary requirement), so can you still get another memory module the same make and model as you already have?
Another consideration atm is that PC2100 costs just as much as PC2700 and PC3200 modules but I don't remember that mainboard having voltage adjustment for the memory so don't get any high performance modules that require more than the standard 2.5v to operate.

i can get another stick of what i have, but it would cost me nearly the same to or more that to buy a dual channel kit off of ebay. i was thinking of getting a DC kit and selling my other 51MB stick. i have found in my searching that pc 2100 is the cheapest and pc 3200 and up is more expensive. if they were all evenly priced i would buy the pc 3200 and let it run at pc 2100. yes you are correct about my mobo, it doesn't have voltage adjustments for memory.



Your CPU can't really rake advantage of PC3200 as it is, so I'd say don't bother.

could you elaborate on this for me please? i trust in what you are saying , but i do not understand why?

would you both agree that doubling my memory and going dual channel will make a boost in performance?


option "C" is for me to get a new cpu,mobo and ram and sell my current stuff to my step father, who is badly needing an upgrade.

Yawgm0th
09-14-2004, 11:01 AM
Your CPU bus speed runs at 133MHz FSBx4 for a total of 533MHz. While the total speed of PC3200 memory is 400MHz, the actual FSB is 200. The FSB of PC2100 is 133MHz, which is the most your processor can handle. This makes the P4 quite bandwidth-starved, which is can be countered by running dual-channel RAM. This is way dual-channel makes under 5% difference on AMD systems and large differences on Intel systems, for the most part.

In terms of price, the different speeds below PC3700 are almost identically priced. While quality CAS 2 PC3200 will be more expensive than a PC2100 equivelent, the value prices are almost exactly the same. Go to Newegg.com and compare the prices on the PC2100 and PC3200 RAM modules. You'll find the cheapest PC2100 RAM is $70, while the cheapest PC3200 is $1. The way prices change, this equates to meaning abosolutely nothing.

Here's what I suggest: Either upgrade now and replace in the near future, or just replace the whoel thing now. If your current RAM doesn't run at CAS 2, get some value (less than $100 U.S.) PC3500 rated at the same latency (CAS at least, but you don't want to buy 2.5-4-4 RAM and mix it with RAM that will run at 2.5-3-3 or something) as your current RAM. Use it like this until you feel like replacing everything. Running it in dual-channel should be okay, although you should use the same make and model in normal situations. When you replace, transfer the new RAM to the new computer and give the old stuff to your stepdad. PC3200 and PC3500 are not standards that you will see drop anytime soon, so don't worry about that. In fact, they have much more upgrading potential than DDR2 modules, plus they're much better for the money.

I think replacing everytihng is the better option, though. This little RAM upgrade won't make much difference in games (assuming you play games, since you do have a video card useless for someone who doesn't play games) due to your video card (which is in desperate need of replacement), and it won't make that 2.4B be something other than a slow 2.4B. A brand new Athlon 64 system (although you can keep everything but the motherboard, CPU, and RAM) won't be too incredibly expensive for you, depending partly on where you live.

mcgirk
09-14-2004, 02:45 PM
Thank you for elaborating on my cpu's FSB issues when compared to ram. i understand now.
this link is from a CDN retailer. i feel that there is a significant difference in prices on memory: http://www.atic.ca/index.php?page=Products&cat=4&PHPSESSID=51739b12fa59c02f31f105d4c9739b14

Although my best option would be to replace my system, this is not finacially possible. i have $250 CDN plus the $50 i got for my old vid card and approx $125 i'm hoping to get for my ram. i think i should be able to pick up an ati 9800 and a 1GB dual channel kit for $400-450. this should tide me over until i am able to make a full system upgrade. i'm also considering bypassing the desktop and going mobile, but either way, this will not be for a year or so.

as mentioned earlier, i am from Canada and haven't found a lot of cheap retailers. going to the US causes me more grieve with custom fees and brokerage fees.

thank you for taking the time to explain things to me as well as offer your advice.

mcgirk
09-14-2004, 02:54 PM
one more quick question. which brand name should i look for?

mushkin, corsair, kingston, ocz, samsung???

mcgirk
09-15-2004, 07:42 AM
I think replacing everytihng is the better option, though. This little RAM upgrade won't make much difference in games (assuming you play games, since you do have a video card useless for someone who doesn't play games) due to your video card (which is in desperate need of replacement), and it won't make that 2.4B be something other than a slow 2.4B. A brand new Athlon 64 system (although you can keep everything but the motherboard, CPU, and RAM) won't be too incredibly expensive for you, depending partly on where you live.

i just got a call today from my step dad. he wants a new system. he currently has a 266 or 300 MHz system and wants to get into burning music and stuff. i was thinking of selling him my system and keeping my case, then putting all my stuff in a new case for him. what would my system be worth to him minus the case?
as for me, what would it cost to get into a new athlon 64 system with a gig of high speed brand name RAM, a newer video card and a good overclocking mobo? i was also thinking of going SATA for a hard drive?? as well, what is a good dual format dvd-writer?
i will do some searching on my own, but if you could offer some advice and some good parts, please do

thanks

Yawgm0th
09-15-2004, 07:44 AM
Those are good brands. Some really good value brands are Kingmax, Kreton, and Crucial.

Edit: You can skip to the bottom since you posted while I was typing.

I wouldn't buy a 1GB dual channel kit. A GB of RAM won't make a huge difference on that system. I'd say either keep your RAM and get a single 512MB stick, or sell your RAM and get a dual-pack (or just two of the same thing) of 2x256MB PC3200. Make sure you get PC3200 or greater, too, because you'll acutally be able to use it when you do upgrade.

By not getting 2x512MB (which really won't be much better in most applications, including games), you can get a GeForce 6800 (or at least I could; Canadian prices differ from American. The 6800 is $270 U.S. and a 9800 Pro is $190, but it might be different for you). That would actually have some use in the future, while you may be wanting to upgrade that 9800 when yuo do the rest of your system. at the very least, get a 9800 Pro instead of the NP. If it's gaming performance you are going for, just upgrade the video card and wait on the RAM, if you need to. Your gaming performance will more than double with a 9800 Pro or 6800, but dual-channel RAM wouldn't do anything for gaming with your old card. If you do a lot of other intensive application (video encoding is really what I'm thinking of), then the RAM becomes extremely important, while the card becomes irrelevant.

Bascially, go for a regular GeForce 6800 (non-GT, non-Ultra), unless X800 Pros are somehow cheaper (I doubt it) if gaming is your main thing, with the RAM being a side thing to try to fit in the budget. If you do video encoding, maybe CAD, and just lots of multitasking in general, just be good with a stick of 512MB and a 9800 Pro.

I can't give any good Canadian online retailers, but eBay would be a great place to get the RAM and save yourself some money.

Edit: Damnit. Hold on, I'll edit in my respone to your new post when I'm done reading it. :yawn:

I'm thinking somewhere around $250-$350 U.S., since there's no video card. Convert it to Canadian and add about 5%.

Hardware choices? That's easy. The cheapest thing I would suggest would be this:
Athlon 64 2800
Chaintech VNF3-250
512MB PC3200 or PC3500 (any of the brands, but go for value RAM with CAS 2.5; many CAS 2 modules won't run at CAS 2 in A64 system and it doesn't matter much, anyway). Get a GB instead of 512MB if you can afford it. Dual-Channel isn't an option, but 512MB sticks will probably be cheapest anyway.
GeForce 6800 (you really should cut corners to get this or an X800 Pro)
An 80GB Seagate SATA drive or a 120GB 8MB cache Seagate IDE, depending on what you need. (Seagate has a five-year warranty compared to a 3-year from WD and 1-year from Maxtor)
A 420W+ PSU. Thermaltake easily has the best bang-for-buck here. If it's not the same for you, Antec also makes great PSUs.
Can't tell about the burner, though. Hell, I don't even own a DVD burner, just yet.

mcgirk
09-15-2004, 08:07 AM
WOW!

thanks for the fast reply!

i will probably keep my antec amg case and psu. it would be to big for my step dad. i was thinking of getting a 350watt or 400watt mid tower for him for around $40.

i guess i should look into the 6800? i really don't like new vid cards because they change so fast :(

is there much performance gain from going SATA as to regular IDE? i'll look into prices on those products.

tom's harware recently wrote on the unimportance of cas latency when compared to ddr speed. i think corsair has some value ram that is ddr400?

i'll lookinto the chaintech mobo. does it have many o/c'ing options?

sorry you had to write all that before you were able to read my latest post :)

Yawgm0th
09-15-2004, 08:50 AM
No problem. :)

I assumed you were selling the PSU, but keeping it would be smarter anyway.

Corair makes value PC3200, but I would suggest seeing if Kreton or Kingmax have something cheaper with the same latency. I would actually suggest value PC3500, though, as it's almost a must for OCing and not much more expensive.

The Chaintech is regarded as one of the three best overclocking and performance motherboards. The difference is that the competition is about 50% more expensive (over here, at least).

There is a noticable gain in going to SATA, but IDE equivelents are cheapr and aren't exactly slow. I'd rather have a 120GB IDE than an 80GB if I might use all that space, and they're almost the same price.

BTW, make sure you get a decent PSU for your stepdad (or make sure hes get himself one, anyway). I'd say a quality 350W ought to be good enough for him.

Also, the video cards don't change quite as much as everyone seems to think. The 9800 Pro was where the GeForce 6800 is now for well over a year (perhaps two years.. whenever the XT came out, don't recall). The 6800 will be the bottom of the high-end range for quite some time (12-24 months, I'd guess), and the bottom of the high-end range is better than the middle of the mid-range (9800).

mcgirk
09-15-2004, 01:02 PM
i suppose i'm a bit prejudice to video cards because of my experience. when i bought my accelerator, pc gaming was relatively new to the high end demand. now that it is more mainstream, the technology is slowing down some.

i'll do some researching on the products you mentioned. i am still waiting for some income tax return funds as well as some other income coming to me. i probably have about 3-4 weeks before i have the cash in hand. mind you, after checking into all this new stuff will give me a chubby to get it right away :), so i may even have to use the LOC

thanks again.

do you know of any sites, offhand, that have reviewed and compared p4 and amd athlon 64?

Yawgm0th
09-15-2004, 01:49 PM
Anandtech, HardOCP, Tom's Hardware Guide; take your pick. There are a few particular ones at Anandtech that I find to be good.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=1941
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2002
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2038
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2065
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=1937
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2149

The last one is particular interesting as a $146 processor finds itself being superior to a $1000 processor.

mcgirk
09-15-2004, 02:33 PM
thanks for the links

i'll check them out as well as the sites you listed.

mcgirk
09-15-2004, 02:58 PM
what's the difference between giga bit lan and reg 10/100

wayout44
09-15-2004, 06:24 PM
Gigabit is 1000mbps so in reg terms, 10/100/1000 in most cases now.

mcgirk
09-15-2004, 11:40 PM
what are other great o/c'ing boards? i am having trouble finding CDN retailers that carry the chaintech model.
how is MSI for overclocking?

Yawgm0th
09-16-2004, 11:08 AM
The MSI K8N Neo Platinum and Epox 8KDA3J+ (that's off the top of my head; I could be wrong on the models) are the oter choices. Those two and the Chaintech are pretty much the best OCing and performance boards out there, minus a new DFI board (could be considered the best overclocking board ever, but probably pricy...) that isn't widely available just yet (you'd be lucky to find it at all in Canada).

mcgirk
09-16-2004, 01:43 PM
it's funny you should mention the DFI board. i just finished reading the Anandtech review. SWEET!
and to top it off, i found a CDN retailer whos sells it for $160 CDN !!

i think that's what the MSI bpard is going for.

also read that SATA drives have o/c issues. thankfully Anandtech mentioned they had no troubles with this.

i have to wait till the end of the month before the DFI board is available. i did a quick shopping cart at the site to see what kind of $ i was looking at; came in around $1,300 plus a caase and decent power supply for the step dad.
maybe by then there will be other nf3 boards out there to choose from

Yawgm0th
09-17-2004, 01:44 AM
There are plenty of boards to choose from, and the ones I listed (that's the
EPoX EP-8KDA3+, MSI K8N Neo Platinum, Chaintech VNF3-250) should be available in Canada and might be cheaper than the DFI. If getting a motherboard that might overclock just a bit better (you'll have to invest more in cooling to really take advantage of it) is worth the time, then wait. Otherwise, look around for those boards.

mcgirk
09-18-2004, 05:20 AM
being as have decided to go with the DFI board, i thought i would check into a bit. i am confused with what the online manual says about memory configurations?

what is single rank and what is double rank? the online manual says that using all 3 dimms in single rank, i can get ddr 400 speeds. if all 3 dimms are double rank i can only get ddr 333 speeds?

i am looking at 1.5GB of Kingston HyperX DDR500. i can get a pretty good deal on them. i know the spec sheet says these modules need +2.6 volts, so there shouldn't be a problem with them on the DFI board as it supports dram voltage control.

here's the link to the pdf manual for the DFI board:

http://www.dfi.com.tw/Upload/Manual/lp%20ut%20nf3%20250gb%2081000414-r.pdf

i am ok to buy these ram modules?

mcgirk
09-22-2004, 10:01 PM
update:

i bought 1.5GB of kingston hyperx gaming ram. it is pc4000 or ddr500.

i've read that running more than one dimm of ram will limit my overclock, but being a gamer mostly i thought it would be OK.

i bought the ram off ebay (i know many will frown on this) the seller guaranteed the dimms to be not DOA. i snatched them up as these dimms would cost me over $800 CDN and i paid only $390 CDN

just waiting for my DFI board to be instock and then i'll pick up the rest of my components :)

mcgirk
09-27-2004, 04:40 PM
OK guys, I have bought parts for my new rig and they are shipped out and will be here this week.

i finally decided on this:

AMD Athlon 64 2800+
DFI Lanpart UT NF3 250BG
Kingston HyperX PC4000 3x512MB
Chaintech 6800GT 256MB
Seagate SATA 120GB 8MB cache
Vantec Iceberg copper chipset cooler
Pioneer DVR 108 DL writer

I was recommended to look into different memory beacuse it didn't have Samsung TSTD memory chips?? Not sure what the difference is. I'm hoping I will be able to O/C this setup.

I appreciate all you replies and especially Yawgm0th for getting me on doing a total system upgrade instead of doing a RAM and video card only update. My PC's have always been 12 months behind current technolgy, or upgraded video only, or new RAM and chipset technology with crappy mid-range video card. Never the whole deal. I'd better be happy because with 1 kid now and plans for another, there won't be any funds for dad's PC :D

Yawgm0th
09-27-2004, 04:58 PM
This thing will last you a while. You will be able to overclock it very far. With enough overclocking, expect to see the numbers of these systems in the Hardocp Doom 3 hardware guide:
http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NjQ0LDE5
http://www.hardocp.com/images/articles/1090787143TO62AMOEWX_19_1.gif
If you hit 2.4GHz with the 2800 and Ultra speeds with the 6800 GT (and I think you can do that, or at least come close), those are your numbers. Not too shabby, not to mention all of the other games that will be maxed out entirely... I think this will last you a little longer than twelve months. :nerd:

mcgirk
09-28-2004, 05:50 AM
Those #'s are sick!! I'm pretty sure that means good ;)

I'd be happy with that.

the only things I thought of adding were a CPU cooler and a vid card Cooler. the vid card already has, what looks like, a decent cooler. Besides, i don't have a lot of room to play with.
I wasn't sure about CPU as i didn't find too much while searching for this type of cooling.
I probably won't go for a high O/C right away, so i'll have some time before i need to worry.
I'll post some 3DMark scores once i get it set up.
No comments on the memory? Is it **** or not?

Yawgm0th
09-28-2004, 07:15 AM
Oh, it's good memory, but not very pointful for an A64. The fact that you got it at under half price makes it worth it. Basically, it will let you overclock very high with the RAM speed and CPU base clock (FSB on other CPUs). That doesn't mean much extra performance on an A64 over running, say, the RAM well below the base clock. You could run the RAM below rated speeds and possibly get some really good timings with it, which would be best for performance. If it won't go below stock timings, than just overclcok as much as possible.

Also, a good CPU cooler would be smart. It won't be necessary, but heat will be your main cooling issue, so it'll be a good idea somewhere down the road.

mcgirkz
10-01-2004, 05:42 PM
so far so good. my new ram isn't here yet, so i'm using my single 512MB.
man this thing is flying now! I've been playing far cry and i can't get enough.
max everything at 1280x1024 w/ aa

the extra mem will be nice for loading times.