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Dual Channel Memory Question

Discussion in 'AMD Thunderbird' started by CiRcUiT, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    I took the plunge and bought the following;

    Aopen AK79D-400VN NForce2 Ultra 400 MB
    AMD Barton 2500+
    2x256MB DDR400 PC3200

    Everything works excellent. Right now, as I'm typing this, it just got done
    it's burn in (Sandra) at 11x200 (2.2 GHz or 3200+ speeds) at a maximum temp
    of 47ºC. Average was 44.5ºC. This is with the original AMD HSF! Can't wait
    for water cooling! =D

    My only question is that I bought 2 sticks on RAM for dual channel support
    but when I populate DIMM1 and DIMM3 it won't even POST. It just sits there
    beeping one long beep which I assume means there is a memory problem. Is it
    that dual channel needs all the slots populated? If so I will go out and get
    a 512 stick to populate DIMM3. The only way I can get it to POST is with the
    256 sticks in D1 & D2. I am not new to computers, just the NForce2 chipset.

    Thanks for your help.

    Just in case my systems is:
    AMD Barton 2500+ at 3200+ (11x200)
    2x256MB PC3200 DDR400 in Dimm1 and Dimm2
    Aopen AK79D-400VN
    MSI GeForce4 Ti4200 128MB (300 core/530 memory)
    Creative Soundblaster Live! 5.1 (Need the line in and mic connectors w/5.1
    speakers and onboard sound can't do it)
    WD 80GB
    Seagate 15GB
    LG 40x12x40 CD-RW
    CiRcUiT, Sep 7, 2003
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  2. CiRcUiT

    Nystagmus Guest

    I have the AOpen AK79G Max which is close to your mainboard and according to
    Aopen's website share the same BIOS. I have two sticks of Apacer 256MB of
    PC3200. First stick in DIMM 1 and the second stick in DIMM 3. When you
    first boot up your computer in the BIOS screen just above the memory check
    you should see a line that says, "Dual Boot Enabled" or something like that.
    That is how you know it is enabled. If you don't see it then....

    You didn't list the make of your RAM sticks. Are you using AOpen's
    recommended PC3200? When PC3200 first came out there was no standard for it
    so all makers of PC3200 used differing specs. The following link will take
    you AOpen's web page listing the tested RAM that works for your mainboard.


    I use Apacer RAM and it is working well in my system. You can find Apacer
    RAM at


    Good luck
    Nystagmus, Sep 7, 2003
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  3. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    I cheaped out and didn't buy the 2x256 in a matched kit thinking it should
    work. My ram is made by "elixer" and is not listed in that report. I'm going
    to go back and get a matched pair if it's worth the hassle and the price
    difference for dual channel. I'm going there next weekend anyway for a
    better PSU and a neon to replace the one I broke when putting this thing
    back together. :( (Do NOT lean on the neon tube... Do NOT lean on the neon
    tube... Do NOT lean on the broken glass tube... ARG!)

    I'm still not entirely sold on the benefits I would see in "real-world"
    applications and games with dual-channel.
    CiRcUiT, Sep 7, 2003
  4. CiRcUiT

    Doughnut Guest

    Using 2 sticks of ram will enable Dual Channel, Dual channel is a feature
    of the motherboard not the ram.
    I guess your mainboard will be similar in that the ram slots have 2 together
    and one on its own, 1 stick of ram in the single slot and 1 stick in the one
    of the other 2 will enable dual channel.

    Doughnut, Sep 7, 2003
  5. CiRcUiT

    J.Clarke Guest

    FWIW, the tests on the aopen site that say which slots were used use 1
    and 3 mostly.
    J.Clarke, Sep 7, 2003
  6. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    Yes, my mb has 3 DIMM slots with 2 together and 1 seperated from the others.
    Two are blue and the one next to DIMM1 is black. (As in
    Blue/Black/Space/Blue) I put the RAM in 1 and 2 and everything works great
    but no dual channel (as I expected). I put the RAM in 1 and 3 and can get
    the board to post but not boot into XP. It resets before the loading screen
    appears. Maybe I'm not seating the RAM properly. The store I go to has
    matched kits of RAM specifically for Dual Channel (also with CL2) but these
    sets are twice as much. If I can't get it to work by next weekend I'll just
    bring this RAM back and get the matched set. I still don't see why it won't
    work. Maybe I'll play with my RAM settings also... I'll keep this thread

    In the end is all this trouble even worth it? Will dual channel really make
    a difference?
    CiRcUiT, Sep 7, 2003
  7. CiRcUiT

    Nystagmus Guest

    You don't need to purchase matched kits of RAM. They cost too much and
    don't offer any "real world" advantage. Just purchase two sticks of the
    same RAM at the same time. Again, make sure the RAM is approved for your

    There have been many posts stating that the difference between Dual and non
    Dual is marginal in day to day computing. In gaming and OC'ing the answer
    may be different. I don't game much other than Diablo II or Myst like games
    and I don't OC since a AMD 2500 Barton Core is fast enough for everything I

    Nystagmus, Sep 7, 2003
  8. CiRcUiT

    Ben Pope Guest

    Don't pay a premium for "Dual Channel Ram" or "Matched pairs", just buy two
    the same.

    I purchased Corsair TwinX 'cos it was cheaper than 2 seperate modules.

    Don't buy cheap ram either.

    Have you tried slots 2 and 3? (where slot 1 is closest to CPU, slot 3 is

    Have you tried increasing the latency? Are you running in synch? (ram at
    100% of FSB speed)

    Ben Pope, Sep 7, 2003
  9. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    I haven't tried DIMM2 and DIMM3. I never thought to try it. D1 & D3 will
    post but won't even load XP even with lower RAM timings. I'll try D2 & D3
    and see. It would be better if I could find RAM that has been approved by
    Aopen for the board but the brand of RAM they sell is "elixer" which hasn't
    been tested by Aopen.

    This system got a little flakey today at 200x11 so I put the vcore to 1.65
    and it seems stable again. Just ran 3Dmark2k3 and got 1711. 3Dmark2k1 is
    CiRcUiT, Sep 8, 2003
  10. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    Didn't work... Same as usual. Will POST but no xp. I'm just going to bite
    the bullet and buy the matched pair next weekend. They better exchange this
    cheap ass ram ($75/stick=$150 CND) for the matched pair ($240 CND) though.
    They are pretty good about that sort of thing. I buy alot from them as I
    build systems for family and friends and friends of theirs and etc... So
    much for my adventures is dual channel for now.

    CiRcUiT, Sep 8, 2003
  11. CiRcUiT

    Ben Pope Guest

    What WAS vcore? It should be 1.65V...

    Ben Pope, Sep 9, 2003
  12. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    1.50V for some reason. I may have changed it by accident but I doubt it.

    I still don't know if it worth the hassle to get better RAM for dual channel
    or not... any suggestions from anyone?
    CiRcUiT, Sep 9, 2003
  13. CiRcUiT

    Ben Pope Guest

    The answer is the same as the asnwer to this question:
    Do you use onboard video?

    Ben Pope, Sep 9, 2003
  14. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    Not at all. In fact I purposely didn't get onboard video.

    Thanks for the help. Now I think I'm going to try and return the 2x256 and
    get 2x512 instead and not worry about dual channel at all.
    CiRcUiT, Sep 10, 2003
  15. CiRcUiT

    Ben Pope Guest

    Then you will gain very little by going dual channel.

    Err... with 2 DIMMS you can get Dual channel. (Motherboard dependant,

    Ben Pope, Sep 10, 2003
  16. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    But if I don't get the right brand then it won't work. I'm going to bring a
    print out of the DDR test report from Aopen's site and see if they have any
    of the brands tested. If so then I'll get 2 512MB DIMMS. Otherwise I will
    try and get 1 1024MB DIMM so later I can upgrade if I want to.
    CiRcUiT, Sep 11, 2003
  17. CiRcUiT

    YanquiDawg Guest

    Of course it will. Any two DIMMs of the same size and make will do dual channel
    if the mobo has that feature.
    The Dual channel packaged sets are guaranteed but it's mostly marketing.
    YanquiDawg, Sep 17, 2003
  18. CiRcUiT

    Ben Pope Guest

    It doesn't matter how many times you tell people not to buy crap ram... they
    continue to do it and then complain that it doesn't perform as well as it
    should and usually blame the motherboard.

    Ben Pope, Sep 17, 2003
  19. CiRcUiT

    CiRcUiT Guest

    YanquiDawg: Then you come over here and see for yourself that it doesn't
    work... The MB supports dual channel just the memory I have doesn't like it.
    It POSTs but won't boot XP.

    Ben: As far as buying cheap RAM, here were my choices... Pay $145/stick so
    $290 or pay $425 (all CND$ w/o tax) for a matched pair. There was no choice
    in what brand name I bought. I'm not ordering through the mail and these are
    the only options at my store of choice. I don't blame the MB... The RAM is
    branded "elixer" (even the chips) which I've never heard of before so I
    didn't expect anything special.

    In the end the machine is faster than I need, and I am a gamer, so I'm happy
    with what I have and that is all that matters to me.
    CiRcUiT, Sep 19, 2003
  20. CiRcUiT

    Ben Pope Guest

    It can't be the memory not liking it, the memory doesn't know if it's in
    dual channel or not.
    I've already said there is no reason to pay a premium for a matched pair...
    just get two the same. If thats what you did, then the "matched pair" will
    perform no differently.
    Oh... I thought you were complaining that it doesn't work :)

    It surprises me that it won't work, even with relaxed timings.

    But hey, as long as you're happy... there's not a lot of gain in using dual
    channel, certainly not at the expense of relaxing timings. (since you're
    not using onboard video)

    Ben Pope, Sep 19, 2003
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