RAM upgrade compatibility

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RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:57 am

Hello,

I've been thinking about upgrading the RAM on my desktop machine. I originally bought it for gaming and figured 4 gb of RAM was plenty; now I do a lot more numerical simulation than gaming, and 4gb is looking rather tight.

The motherboard is an Asus P8P67, and I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium. I just wanted to check quickly if there would be any compatibility issues if I purchase two sticks of 4gb each (bringing me to 12 gb total) if they have the same voltage, timings and frequency as what I'm currently running? I assume I don't need to purchase identical (ie. same part number) DIMMs?

Please let me know if I have this right. Thanks!
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:13 am

You want to use an even numbered amount of DIMMs (i.e., 2x4gb) in order to enable dual channel mode. I can't tell if you are currently using 2 2Gb DIMMs, but I thought I would bring this up.

There shouldn't be any problem using a different brand of RAM. You can make sure that it will be compatible with your board by checking the Qualified Vendor List.
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:55 am

You're running the 64-bit flavor of Windows, yes?
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:33 am

Yes, it is 64 bit.

kumori wrote:There shouldn't be any problem using a different brand of RAM. You can make sure that it will be compatible with your board by checking the Qualified Vendor List.


About this: does it have to be the exact model number specified in the QVL, or is it fine as long as it's the brand, timing, voltage and frequency listed in the QVL?
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:19 am

DF bobo wrote:Yes, it is 64 bit.

kumori wrote:There shouldn't be any problem using a different brand of RAM. You can make sure that it will be compatible with your board by checking the Qualified Vendor List.


About this: does it have to be the exact model number specified in the QVL, or is it fine as long as it's the brand, timing, voltage and frequency listed in the QVL?


In theory they have to match exactly... the point of the QVL is that they've actually tested those sticks with that board. Of course in practice you'll never find the exact models on the QVL this long after the board was sold so you'll have to get something similar from the same manufacturer and cross your fingers (not that incompatibility is really that common but it does still happen).
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:06 am

You can probably mix and match memory. I did, with 2x4 gb Kingston and 2x4gb Corsair.
Usually it works like a charm, and if it doesn't, just swap the memory for something else.
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:55 am

cheesyking wrote:In theory they have to match exactly... the point of the QVL is that they've actually tested those sticks with that board. Of course in practice you'll never find the exact models on the QVL this long after the board was sold so you'll have to get something similar from the same manufacturer and cross your fingers (not that incompatibility is really that common but it does still happen).

I never pay attention to QVL's for RAM on aftermarket motherboards (ie. Asus, Gigabyte, AsRock, MSI, etc etc). Haven't had a problem yet, but I have a relatively small sample size (approx. 12). I would just buy a kit with the same voltage/speed/timings as the one you already have. If the price is competitive, I'd buy the same manufacturer/series (G-Skill Ripjaws for example) so all the DIMMs look the same, but I don't think it's a big deal if they don't.
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:06 am

DPete27 wrote:
cheesyking wrote:In theory they have to match exactly... the point of the QVL is that they've actually tested those sticks with that board. Of course in practice you'll never find the exact models on the QVL this long after the board was sold so you'll have to get something similar from the same manufacturer and cross your fingers (not that incompatibility is really that common but it does still happen).

I never pay attention to QVL's for RAM on aftermarket motherboards (ie. Asus, Gigabyte, AsRock, MSI, etc etc). Haven't had a problem yet, but I have a relatively small sample size (approx. 12). I would just buy a kit with the same voltage/speed/timings as the one you already have. If the price is competitive, I'd buy the same manufacturer/series (G-Skill Ripjaws for example) so all the DIMMs look the same, but I don't think it's a big deal if they don't.


Yes I should probably have said something like "incompatibility is really very rare but it does still happen". In all my years of building PCs I've only ever looked at a QVL for ram once or twice and I think they were for server builds.
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:23 am

The QVL isn't necessary to follow, but recommended. Manufacturers don't have the time to test every stick and considering that all RAM should be equal, it shouldn't matter either as long as one set is built to the same or similar standards of another set.

As far as using a mismatched number of RAM slots, I personally do not like doing that, but that's because I like even numbers. :D

There are advantages of using dual or quad channel slots, but those advantages seem really small and in some cases non existent.
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Re: RAM upgrade compatibility

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:30 am

cheesyking wrote:In all my years of building PCs I've only ever looked at a QVL for ram once or twice and I think they were for server builds.

Server builds would certainly warrant an extra level of caution, even if it is just superstition...couldn't tell by me, I don't build servers.

But, I also have the general notion (superstition?) that OEM desktops (Dell, HP, etc) are a little more finicky with RAM compatability than aftermarket mobos. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from mixing and matching RAM from multiple manufacturers that I have sitting around into recycled Dell systems without any negative consequences. If I'm buying the RAM for those systems, I'm more choosey. Mostly because I HATE returning online purchases.

Like cheesyking said though, finding the exact matching numbers corresponding to the QVL is oftentimes a wild goose chase even if you have the best intentions.
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