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1.25GB Single channel vs 1GB Dual Channel 400MHz DDR1 RAM

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  • 1.25GB Single channel vs 1GB Dual Channel 400MHz DDR1 RAM

    I am considering a basic upgrade to my rig (in my sig).

    I am planning to buy an extra GB of RAM so that I can run KDE4.1 and other RAM intensive apps.

    I have 2 slots for DDR RAM, and one slot is occupied by a 256MB DDR1 400MHz stick. I want to know if I will get better performance by inserting 1GB in the other slot, or by removing current stick and going 512MB + 512MB dual channel.

    My motherboard has no expansion slots except two PCI slots and a PCIe x1 slot, and I have onboard GMA 900 Graphics. You can see that gaming is clearly not my priority, yet I older run games like Unreal Tournament 2004, Urban Terror, Quake 3, etc on linux and GTA 3/VC/SA, Halo, Counter Strike and DoTA on windows. But I care more about performance while compiling, opening lots of tabs in firefox, multitasking, etc than about gaming, unless I get a really huge boost while gaming.

    On linux, I currently manage to game at minimum settings on Urban Terror with 100FPS by launching it on archlinux from startx command by placing urban terror in .xinitrc. I know its somewhat cheap, but the performance boost is huge. I got a good boost by changing the VRAM in the BIOS from 8mb to 32mb and launching the game this crazy way to save resources.

    Other than gaming, I plan to shift to Gentoo 64bit and do a lot of compiling. I plan to use RatPoison, IceWM, Xfce and KDE4.1 as my WMs/DEs. I often do things like listening to music, running a download client, running firefox, running a bittorrent client, running system-updater, and a simple app in wine at the same time.

    Please advice, as I am going to buy the ram very soon.

  • artsci2
    replied
    I just replaced my Sempron 3400+ with an Athlon 5050e and repeated the 2 memory tests with bus speed set at 223Mhz

    using 2 sticks of 512M 533 ddr2 gives
    L1 23758MB/s
    L2 4425MB/s
    Mem 2516MB/s
    322Mhz DDR 644 4-4-4-11 DDR2 128bit

    one stick of 2GB 800 ddr2 gives
    L1 23757MB/s
    L2 4425MB/s
    Mem 2516MB/s
    322Mhz DDR 644 5-5-5-18 DDR2 64bit


    as before there is no apparent difference in payback of youtube between the two sets of memory but the change in CPU was a huge difference. This CP was $70 US at the egg.

    Almost exactly the same. but everything is faster than the 3400+ and it does really show up in playback of youtube.

    Leave a comment:


  • tuxdriver
    replied
    Dual channel makes a *huge* difference only if have onboard graphics which uses system memory or a graphics card with a small amount of VRAM (i.e. 64MB).

    The difference gets bigger as you increase the resolution of the games/apps you use. If you have a 32MB,64MB or even a 128MB card, you can also increase the GART size in the BIOS to at least double the amount of your VRAM for even better performance at higher resolutions.

    Dual channel RAM will also improve performance and reduce latencies if you use audio production software like Cubase,Sonar,Rosegarden,Ardour,Reaper,etc.

    For everything else,there's no difference.
    Last edited by tuxdriver; 02-13-2009, 01:56 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • leef
    replied
    I tried benchmarking memory when I got my Athlon64. Sure, dual channel boots faster and shows better memory benches, but real world (feel, non-memory benchmarks) it made no difference. With integrated memory controller, the only real factor is processor speed (which determines on chip cache speed).

    Until you run out of cache (or, yikes, have to swap).

    The Prescott with shared video ram is a whole different animal.

    As a guess, since you can get decent performance now, either of your upgrades would be better. I'd save up for a new mem/mobo/cpu and keep my eyes open for old machines to scavenge from.

    Leave a comment:


  • artsci2
    replied
    Originally posted by curaga View Post
    Since AMD cpus have the ram controller built in, perhaps your Sempron only supports 667Mhz max? I couldn't find this info anywhere, AMD really needs a similar processor spec finder as intel.
    That makes sense, it seems that there is some issue with the memory controller here. The boot screen reports that the memory is 64 bit on the single 2gb stick and 128bit on the dual 512Mb stick memory configuration. So there is something happening there but apparently not everything that needs to happen.

    I'm considering getting a new processor. There are some real cheap low power dual cores out there....

    Leave a comment:


  • curaga
    replied
    Since AMD cpus have the ram controller built in, perhaps your Sempron only supports 667Mhz max? I couldn't find this info anywhere, AMD really needs a similar processor spec finder as intel.

    Leave a comment:


  • artsci2
    replied
    I just repeated my memtes86 of a sempron 3400+

    The reported speed results were identical when using a single stick of 2Gb DDR2 800 cas 5-5-5-18 or 2 sticks of DDR2 667 512Mb 4-4-4-11 !!!!

    CPU 2007Mhz (FSB223)
    L1 16447 MB/s
    L2 3919MB/s
    MEM 2306MB/s

    The same! Wow it's something with CPU? Maybe the reason faster mem doesnt usually show up is that the faster mem cant be used by most processors?

    Leave a comment:


  • suokko
    replied
    DDR2 can only help speed up if you need large amount of data transfered between CPU and memory (which is very unusually in desktop use). In real world it is more important that memory has low latency to give applications performance gains.

    But of course also amount of memory is very important if multitasking ... you know how slow swapping is. I would choose more ram over a bit more expensive and a bit faster ram. Of course there is some limit to how much memory can be useful but if you use DVCS for a large size project it can be good idea to have 2G+ memory. That way repository and compiled files can be cached in memory same time giving huge speed when doing some hacking.

    Leave a comment:


  • artsci2
    replied
    I've tried several times to show significant improvement with going dual channel and have only seen a difference once on a low end onboard graphics machine when I went from single channel 266 to dual 400Mhz ddr.

    Swapping tyhe same sticks of mem in a system with a video card gave no noticeable difference.

    Leave a comment:


  • Fixxer_Linux
    replied
    Originally posted by RealNC View Post
    Anyway, to get back to the OP, more RAM is always better when you need to choose between dual channel and more RAM. Dual Channel is useless. Yes, I benchmarked it actually. No difference whatsoever, unless you call a 1% faster throughput a "difference".
    absolutely true.
    I did have a P4 3.0 HT on which the dual channel gain was supposed to be the most noticeable in real life.
    I changed for another P4 which wasn't dual channel and then I switched it back to dual channel after having picked up the memory sticks of my previous P4.
    Result : no visible difference. even in games (UT2K4).

    But, please, don't buy "no-name" memory. Go for any brand you like or you'll find at your favorite retailler (corsair, kingston, geil, g-skill, etc.), they all have value ram which is far enough good if you don't plan to overclock your rig.

    Leave a comment:

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