Memory Q: 1gb dual channel 320mhz or 2gb single channel 266mhz?

Discussion in 'Asus' started by KenV, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. KenV

    KenV Guest

    This one isn't a problem, just sort of a thought experiment, if you enjoy this
    sort of thing..

    I have a P4P800E-Deluxe with a P4 2.8c processor. (Some of this has been
    discussed in another thread concerning dual channels.)

    Finally, after much soul-searching :) I have decided to replace or maybe
    supplement my old Crucial PC2700 512mb mismatched (one single bank, other dual
    bank) sticks with a matched set of Crucial PC3200 512mb sticks, which I will
    then place in the blue slots.

    Now, should I expect to get better performance with only those two sticks in
    place, 1 gb of 333mhz (really 320mhz) dual channel, or if I add the two 512
    PC2700 mismatched 512 sticks in the black slots, thus giving a total of 2gb
    memory, but which will revert the system to single channel mode running at
    266mhz. Does it depend upon the application? For example, when I use Ghost to
    make backups, it slows the computer down tremendously, and according to the Task
    Manager uses about 75% of the memory while it is working. If I double the
    memory, will it still use the same 75%?

    How could I test this other than judging by the "feel" of the computer?

    KenV, Jan 3, 2006
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  2. KenV

    Paul Guest

    To measure the available bandwidth on the memory, I use
    the bandwidth display item in the upper left hand corner
    of the memtest86+ memory test program. SiSoft Sandra has
    a memory bandwidth benchmark that people use as well.

    On my P4C800-E, memory plugged in a single channel config
    measures 1681MB/sec, while the same memory with the same
    timings measures 2732MB/sec in dual channel mode. That may
    seem like a large difference, but the application impact
    will be a lot less. In a way, this kind of bandwidth
    measurement is useless, except to quantify the impact
    that various features make to memory performance. On some
    of the enthusiast sites, it is also fun to compare numbers
    with your friends :)

    If you are transcoding a movie, or doing something with
    a long run time, using a stopwatch will tell you the
    impact of your two configurations.

    I cannot say that I'm particularly impressed with a
    number of benchmark programs they use on the popular
    sites like Anandtech. Does PCMark reflect what I do ?
    Do the descriptions of what is being modelled in some
    of the other tests seem like realistic scenarios ? I think
    it is better to rely on things you can measure, on
    the applications you own and use every day.

    Photoshop is likely to see a measurable difference
    between the two configurations. To make the comparison
    really fair, so you are measuring the diff between
    single and dual channel, I would crank the RAM to PC2700
    rates for both tests, and use 1GB SC and 1GB DC
    configs for your two tests. Otherwise, Photoshop may
    benefit from having the extra GB of RAM in one of your
    cases. There are Photoshop "action" scripts that will
    run an automated set of commands, and are used as
    benchmarks by Photoshop users. Timing those would
    show you the impact of SC versus DC when using a
    memory intensive program.

    Since my normal usage pattern hardly makes a dent
    in my 2x512MB config, I'd have to say I'd
    pick the 2x512MB PC3200 DC config. Doing Photoshop
    type things happens seldom enough that I don't
    think I'd plan my memory config around that
    usage. I'd need to be using very big images
    before I'd plug in the rest of the RAM.

    Your Ghost experience seems strange. Have you
    ever tried to find the reason for the large
    memory consumption ? Maybe it is a bug and
    Symantec has a fix for it.

    Paul, Jan 4, 2006
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  3. KenV

    Egil Solberg Guest

    I have 1GB RAM installed. As judging by taskmgr, I have never used that
    much, at most 6-700MB. If it is the same for you, the 1GB DC setup will be
    fastest. If you need to use more than 1GB RAM often, running 2GB SC will be
    fastest. The question is: Do you need over 1GB RAM? For all other purposes
    the 1GB DC setup will be much faster.
    Egil Solberg, Jan 4, 2006
  4. KenV

    KenV Guest

    Egil and Paul,

    Thanks! Very useful information, and it makes total sense that it's better
    to have 1 gb of fast memory than 2gb of slower memory if you're not using
    more than 1 gb of memory in the first place.

    I am going to contact Symantec about the Ghost problem. I suspect they are
    going to tell me to buy their version 10.0 which, unlike the 9.0 I have,
    apparently has a priority setting where you can more or less control the
    memory usage. Whether it's worth the $50 or so for the upgrade is another

    KenV, Jan 4, 2006
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