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Need advice for RAM upgrade

This is a discussion on Need advice for RAM upgrade within the RAM and Power Supply Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hello, I currently have 8GB (2x4GB sticks) of GSkill Ripjaws DDR3 RAM. I plan to upgrade this to 16GB, and


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Old 11-16-2014, 05:24 AM   #1
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Hello,

I currently have 8GB (2x4GB sticks) of GSkill Ripjaws DDR3 RAM.

I plan to upgrade this to 16GB, and the easiest and cheapest way of doing this seems to be by installing 2 more 4GB sticks.

So my first question: are there any drawbacks of having 4 sticks of RAM as opposed to 2? Does this cause a lot more heat etc.

Secondly, what makes RAM combatible for use with other RAM? I currently have these installed. Do I need to get this exact same RAM again? Can I get these similar sticks? Or could I even go for a different brand and speed, such as this?

Any advice and suggestions are much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:11 AM   #2
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are there any drawbacks of having 4 sticks of RAM as opposed to 2? No

Does this cause a lot more heat etc. "A lot more"? No. A few watts worth maybe, but you will never notice it.

For compatibility and best results, try to find the same model # from the same manufacturer. DIMMs from different manufacturers and will sometimes refuse to play together. Mixing speeds can also be a problem. Even if compatible, all will be downclocked to the speed of the slowest DIMM.

Using the 'GBXL' DIMMs with your current 'GBRL' set will not be a problem. Only real difference is the heat spreader.
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:30 AM   #3
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What you really need to do to ensure compatibility with your current RAM and your motherboard is visit your motherboard's website where you should find the QVL (qualified vendors list) of RAM for your specific board. This is a list of RAM the maker has tested and certified as compatible with that specific motherboard. Because there are too many RAM makers making too many models, the motherboard makers cannot test them all, so you don't have to buy listed RAM, but MUST buy RAM with the same specs as listed RAM.

Quote:
Secondly, what makes RAM combatible for use with other RAM?
Type, timings, speed, density, and quite often, strategic placement of tongue along with a little touch of "FM", where FM stands for a certain type of magic!

It is the last two in that list where gcavan's suggestion to get the same brand and model # comes into play. Technically, if the RAM "tightly" adheres to "industry standard" design specs, and the board/chipset is designed to be compatible with that RAM specification, all "should" be good, regardless the brand - in theory.

But theory and real-world don't always jive, and that's the problem. The RAM can test good, work fine by itself, then fail when put to real-world use and/or when paired with other, slightly different, but supposedly compatible RAM.

So again, in theory, you "should" be able to use one pair of one model of compatible RAM, and another pair of a different model of compatible RAM and they "should" work together. And there's a good chance they will, especially with the latest generation of motherboards and memory controllers - with are much more tolerant of mismatched RAM than just a few years ago. But there is still a chance they will not work together - so using the QVLs minimizes that risk.

Then there are the memory wizards. These are made by the RAM makers to match compatible RAM with your board. Most makers have them, with some being automated where they scan your computer for details, others require you to enter your motherboard details. The most popular is probably the Crucial Memory Advisor. G.Skill has the G.SKILL RAM Configurator.

For future reference, when upgrading your computer or building a new computer, board makers also have QVLs for CPUs - and unlike RAM, motherboards are CPU brand specific. That is, the motherboard will support ONLY Intel or ONLY AMD processors, and only those Intel or AMD CPUs with a specific socket type. That greatly limits the field making it easy for board makers to list all compatible CPUs for that board. Therefore, unlike RAM where you can go off-list, you must buy listed CPUs.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:15 AM   #4
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Thanks for the help both of you.

I've taken into account all that has been said, and have decided to get 2 more sticks of the same RAM to avoid any possible issues.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
to avoid any possible issues.
Which include increased blood pressure and receding hairlines! ;)
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:20 AM   #6
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Hi there,

Like the others have said, mixing different RAM brands can result in compatibility issues and such. G. Skill makes good RAM, hope everything works out well with the upgrade.
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