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Discussion Starter #1
I have recently acquired a Dell Dimension 4500S desktop with 128Mb of ram.
The owners manual gives only the following specifications for additional memory:

266Mhz, 184 Pin, DDR SDRAM (PC2100), Non-ECC, Volt 2.5, CAS 2.5

(Max Cap.1 Gig)

Being a technical novice, but intending to purchase and install the RAM myself, I thought I'd better check on the following compatiblity issues;

1. Can I add any size chip to the second slot (128, 256, or 512)?
2. Is there any significance to "Unbuffered" vs. "Registered" designation?
3. What is ECC vs. Non - ECC?
4. What, if any, difference is there in memory labeled "DDR" (only) vs.
"DDR SDRAM" ....is the SDRAM an additional and necessary feature
necessary for compatibility?

Thank you !
 

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1. Can I add any size chip to the second slot (128, 256, or 512)?
Your motherboard is an Intel 845 which means it's a single channel motherboard. You don't have to install two memory sticks which are the same size. Dell's documentation says it supports "128-, 256-, 384-, 512-, or 768-MB, or 1-GB non-ECC DDR SDRAM". Note that 384 means a 128MB and a 256MB. 768 means a 256MB and 512MB so you can mix sticks. As far as I know there isn't any problem with mixing a 128MB and a 512MB. At least I haven't seen chipsets which had such a restriction in a long time. I assume they just left 640MB (128MB and 512MB) off of the list. Even if it can't accept that combination (which would be bizarre) then you're still probably best off getting a 512MB stick of RAM and then removing the 128MB if you have to.

2. Is there any significance to "Unbuffered" vs. "Registered" designation?
Your motherboard works with unbuffered RAM only. Registered RAM is usually used on server motherboards which need to hold many sticks of RAM.

3. What is ECC vs. Non - ECC?
ECC stands for Error Correcting Code. Your motherboard doesn't support it so you must get non-ECC RAM.

4. What, if any, difference is there in memory labeled "DDR" (only) vs.
"DDR SDRAM" ....is the SDRAM an additional and necessary feature
necessary for compatibility?

They both mean the same thing. DDR SDRAM is the more technically complete description but most people just call it DDR.

If you want to play it safe and go by the book then you could pay a little more and get matching RAM from crucial. They have a compatibility guarantee. You don't actually have to limit yourself to DDR266 RAM. Higher speed RAM like DDR400 with work at lower clock rates just fine and isn't any more expensive. DDR400 will be more useful if there's any chance the RAM might end up in another computer someday. Personally, I'd get something like this 512MB DDR400 Corsair. It's cheaper and quicker. It's the same voltage as your existing RAM (the most important thing to match). You may have to remove your old RAM stick but you'll still end up with 512MB.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Uncle Macro...I don't think I could have gotten a clearer or more
comprehensive answer to my questions. While I haven't donated yet...and there's a valid current reason...the donations will be forthcoming as soon as I am able. :grin:
 
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