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I've added another gig of RAM and my computer is slower. What gives?
July 16, 2010 10:37 AM   Subscribe

I've added another gig of RAM and my computer is slower. What gives?

I've been editing audio for the last month on a Windows XP machine: 3.20GHz Intel Celeron with 2 x 512Mb sticks of RAM in there. The RAM sticks weren't matched – one's a Samsung PC2100 and one's a Swissbit PC3200.

I've just replaced those with 2x 1Gb sticks. They are a matching pair of ByteStor PC2100, bought from Amazon

Why is the machine more sluggish now than before? I can no longer run the same number of VST instruments before the audio starts to break up.

Thanks!
posted by Cantdosleepy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My guess would be that the computer is only using one of the new chips. Check the motherboard datasheet. Sometimes the different RAM slots have different maximum chip-sizes. Maybe one of the two slots can't take more than 512 Mb?

Do you know the make & model of your motherboard?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:53 AM on July 16, 2010


It looks like the RAM you got is DDR-266. I don't know about your older RAM, but perhaps it was faster? Memory speed does matter, especially if you weren't using all your RAM in the first place and you're doing latency-sensitive things like VST.
posted by neckro23 at 10:54 AM on July 16, 2010


Actually, you can check (I forget how in windows) how much ram your computer is seeing. I think you can also check in the BIOS what chips are installed.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:54 AM on July 16, 2010


Thanks for the responses guys.

In 'Control Panel -> System' it says it can see 1.96Gb RAM.

Given that it could see the old stick of PC3200 RAM, c/should I buy two sets of 3200? What's the fastest RAM that my board can handle? The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA–8S661FM (the S might be a 5).
posted by Cantdosleepy at 11:09 AM on July 16, 2010


DDR motherboards of that era were often very finicky about what slots different memory configurations should be in. If you didn't insert certain combinations of memory modules in the correct slots, one of two things could happen:

* One (or more) of the modules wouldn't be recognized
* The modules would all be recognized, but wouldn't be accessed simultaneously for fast data transfers

I suspect that you're seeing the latter, as that's the only real reason I can think of that your new configuration would seem slower overall than your older configuration. Unfortunately, I can't seem to quickly find a manual online to help you confirm that.
posted by eschatfische at 11:23 AM on July 16, 2010


A quick google of that motherboard indicates that it takes up to 2Gb of PC3200 memory so that what you should use. I'm surprised that the system is slower since with your old memory it would have run at the slowest memory bank speed e.g. 2100.
posted by Ferrari328 at 11:29 AM on July 16, 2010


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