Ralph III
1 Nickel

Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

Hello All,

 Can you mix a 1gb stick of RAM with a 256mb or 512mb stick of RAM in a Dell Dimension 3000?

I recently purchased 2 x 1gb sticks of RAM for my mother-in-laws Dell 2400, but it wouldn't work with 2gb total so I ended up installing a 1gb stick and an original 256mb stick.  The Dell 2400 is running perfectly and recognizes the RAM total correctly as 1.25gb on that machine. 

Anyhow, she wants to give the left over 1gb stick to a close friend who has a Dell Dimension 3000.  The RAM is compatible but the Dell 3000 instructions makes a note about avoiding "if possible" mixing new RAM with old RAM.  Is there really anything to that?  I know on my mother-in-laws Dell 2400 the 1gb stick had to go into the slot closest to the processor, as it wouldn't work when revesed with the 256mb stick but no issue other than that.   

Thanks, Ralph 

 

This is from Dell 3000 manual, no such denotation in 2400 manual.

"NOTICE: If you remove
your original memory modules from the computer during a memory upgrade, keep
them separate from any new modules that you may have, even if you purchased the
new modules from Dell. You should install your new memory modules in connectors
DIMM3 and DIMM4. If possible,
do not pair an original memory module with a new memory
module. Otherwise, your computer may not function at optimal performance."

 

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8 Replies
rdunnill
5 Rhenium

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

It might make it less stable, or slow the RAM speed.

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Ralph III
1 Nickel

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

  How would I determine such?  Is it just a matter of noticing the computer not functioning quite a normal or having abnormal lock-ups, etc?  Otherwise, is there any way of testing the RAM speed to see if they are functioning correctly?   I don't mean a utility as MemTest, which only checks the integrity of the RAM, but a simple utility that could check the system/ram for some sort of conflict.

Thanks, Ralph 

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Ralph III
1 Nickel

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

I guess I should add: 

 Is it possible the manual may just be saying that the best performance will be insured by using the exact RAM in each slot?  In other words, you may not get the optimal performance by mixing RAM sticks, but as long as they work together, then there is no real issue? 

 It will be obvious whether the system will work with both sticks in conjunction upon booting up, but I am inquiring whether the RAM can be damaged somehow with mixing them?

Thanks, Ralph

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Mary G
5 Iridium

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

It's better to leave out the old memory and use (and try) just the new 1 gb. Adding old 256 or 512 chip only slows the new chip. Memory will always run at the speed of the slowest chip. Try the 1 gb alone in the friends computer to see how it reacts or if it runs at all. Check the memory specs for the other computer at crucial.com to make sure the specs match.

PS I would even take out the 256 chip in Mom's computer. It is not adding much and is slowing it down.

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speedstep
6 Thallium

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

Different brands and density and speed mixing is not recommended.  It can be done but it will likely have issues.


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rdunnill
5 Rhenium

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

  How would I determine such?  Is it just a matter of noticing the computer not functioning quite a normal or having abnormal lock-ups, etc?  Otherwise, is there any way of testing the RAM speed to see if they are functioning correctly?   I don't mean a utility as MemTest, which only checks the integrity of the RAM, but a simple utility that could check the system/ram for some sort of conflict.

Thanks, Ralph 

As an example, I mixed two brands of PC3200 with a third party Socket 939 mainboard, and the memory speed reported on BIOS bootup dropped to 333Mhz from 400Mhz. Apart from that, the machine functioned properly.

 

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Ralph III
1 Nickel

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

Thanks for all the input but after more research, including threads on those who have resorted to mixing RAM, I don't think there will be an issue. 

Also, the manual only seems to be suggesting that optimal performance will be assured by using the exact same RAM in each slot.  If there is a compatability issue it will definetly show quickly, no matter.

Dell Dimension 3000

   "DDR memory modules should be installed in pairs of matched memory size.
This means that if you purchased your computer with 128 MB of memory installed
and you want to add another 128 MB of memory, you should install it in the
appropriate connector. If the DDR memory modules are not installed in matched
pairs, the computer will continue to operate, but with a slight reduction in
performance."

continuing....

" *If you install a mixed pair PC2700 (DDR 333-MHz) and PC3200 (DDR 400-MHz)
memory, the modules function at the slowest speed installed".

 

I cannot answer all the posts but will add the following.

1) I don't agree the computer will have such a degregation of performance, so as to make it disadvantageous in adding extra (albeit) mixed RAM.  The manual would have emphatically stated not to mix RAM otherwise, when in fact it does no such thing.    

2) I had my mother-in-laws computer for two weeks and thoroughly tested it, as I couldn't get it to work with 2gb total RAM in addition to having a bad cd drive.  I exhausted the former dilema though, which included starting a thread in regards.  Some manufacturers of RAM and/or varying Dimension 2400 system configurations just won't accept 2gb total.  

  Anyhow, after failing at 2 x 1gb sticks, I then attempted installing a 1gb and 256mb but it shut down with a "mixed ram" error.  I gave up on going any further and instead ran the computer for numerous days on the 1gb.  Then a poster noted I should have insured the 1gb stick was in the slot nearest the processor while putting the 256mb in the second slot.  So I tried it again and sure enough it booted up perfectly with that.  I had them reversed initially.

  I did notice a slight improvement in performance with the extra RAM added.  I'm confident in that, after having used her computer extensively for over two weeks.  I can definetly say there was not a degregation of performance!  Yes, it may not be running at the full potential of 1.25gb as the manual suggests but was still an improvement over 1.0gb. 

3)  I won't be there to install the RAM in the Dimension 3000 but will assist via phone.

 

God Bless

 

 

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Ralph III
1 Nickel

Re: Dell Dimension 3000, mixing RAM???

OOOPs, I left this out.  The RAM I purchased has the exact same specs, with exception of size (1gb), as the manufacturer RAM. Yes, I could have expected real issues if I had purchased RAM with varying specs or outside manufacturer recommendations, but this is not the case.

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