Questions regarding RAM upgrade for my T3400

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jmiles301, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. Hello all,

    Just have a few quick questions regarding a RAM upgrade for my Dell Workstation...

    I'm currently running 6-monitors and multiple programs on 6 GB of RAM (1GB x 2 of DDR PC2-5300 and 2GB x 2 of DDR PC2-6400), and while my computer has generally been running pretty smooth, my Esignal has been freezing up a little bit lately. Not only that, but I am constantly getting a Windows alert at the bottom of the screen that says my computer performance is running slow (using Windows 7 Pro 64-bit). I honestly haven't noticed many issues with my performance until just the past few days, so it doesn't seem like this is a major issue but I would still like to beef up my system a bit if it makes sense.

    I guess my question is... does it really matter what type of RAM I use for this machine for the upgrade? All I know is that I have 4 slots (all currently filled) and that I would like more, but I'm not very tech savvy and so I'm not entirely sure what sort of compatibility issues there may be (or if certain RAM would work better than others for this particular system).

    Anyone have any thoughts/insights on this before I make a purchase?

    Thanks -- I appreciate it.
  2. Did you do any software updates or changes about the time the problem started?

    Check your Task Manager and see how much RAM you're using at full load. I suspect more RAM won't help because you're probably not pressing the max capability of your present amount of RAM.

    You have mixed speeds of RAM... usually not critical, but not the best idea either (even if compatible). I'd get rid of the 5300. (With mixed speeds, the computer will scale down to run at the slowest speed of RAM... so your 6400 is running at 5300 speed.) If you add more RAM, it should be of the same brand and model of the 6400 you are currently using.
  3. Thank you very much for the reply.

    I didn't do any software updates to my system that I know of. The only potential change that I made was that my computer unexpectedly shut down and restarted in the middle of the night last night (has happened a few times in the past, but not in a while, so it's not a usual occurrence) and Windows was asking if I wanted to check for solutions to the problem when it restarted and I chose to do so. And in doing that I checked the option that would automatically send reports back to Microsoft instead of asking beforehand. I don't know if something like that would cause my Esignal to start acting weird, but I've already changed the error-reporting back to where it was.

    That could perhaps have been an issue because I didn't have a problem with Esignal throughout the latter part of today, after I made the change. But other than that, I haven't done anything differently to my system that would cause Esignal to all of a sudden stop responding.

    I just checked my Task Manager and it said I was using 3% CPU Usage and 3.2 GB of memory, but this is of course being read while the market is closed and Esignal isn't pulling in much information, so I should perhaps check it again tomorrow.

    So, should I change out my slower RAM regardless if this problem goes away? I don't want to harm my system in anyway, but I've had this RAM configuration for the past 2-yrs at least.

    Also, is there anyway to check what brand of RAM I am using on the system or can that only be done by opening up the tower and pulling out the slots? I don't really remember what brand I put in it a few years back.
  4. When you say same brand and model does that mean the exact same chips or could I accomplish that by getting the same model and speed but bigger GB ones? I currently have 2 x 2GB but if I make an upgrade I would like to get 2 x 4GB...
  5. If your computer is set on "automatic updates", something could have happened when you got your fixes Tues or Weds... I still suspect software, though hard to pin down.

    Yes, check tomorrow and see how much RAM is used when your computer is busy. If you're using 3GB and you have 6GB, that's not a sign you need to add more.

    Yes, you could replace all of your RAM with a 2x4GB kit... but you could also up your RAM to 8GB with another 2x2GB kit like you already have..

    If I were in your shoes, I'd get rid of the slow RAM. (Or... you could get rid of your 6400 and replace it with 5300. At least then it would all be the same speed.) Your slow RAM is slowing down your faster RAM. ALL of your RAM is running at 5300 speed.

    You could open the case and remove one of the RAM sticks* to identify it, or you could use a program like SIW... it will identify your present RAM, it's timings, speed, and voltage. If your RAM timings/voltage are not proper for your mobo, likely your computer won't run at all.... so don't just "buy any old RAM". It's not a MUST that you get the same brand as you currently have. It IS a must that you have proper timings and voltage on all of your RAM... the easy way to make sure you don't get the wrong stuff is to get more of what is already working in your machine.

    *Sounds like you don't get into your case very often... likely it needs to have the dust blown out, so now would be a good time. A good rule of thumb is to blow the dust out every 6 months.
  6. I was opening my case quite a bit a few months back when I was constantly changing out video cards to find a 6-monitor configuration that would work, but I haven't been in there in quite a while, so that's some useful advice.

    So having a 2 x 4GB + 2 x 2GB configuration is not ideal (even if it's the same brand and speed, with the only difference being the GB's)?
  7. From the description of the computer shutting down in middle of the night and then re-starting with some type of error message, it sounds like the PC had a failed Windows update, and then the later updates are triggering the re-boot and error message. One side effect of the entire scenario is reduced system performance.

    I would go to the Control Panel. Select Windows Update. Select "View Update History" on the left. See what Updates are failed in your history and try to re-apply them. I am betting that the Windows update from September 24th for "Configuration Manager Client Information" is the one that failed if the problems are recent and caused by Windows updates.
  8. That should be OK. However, most would usually go with 4x2GB or 4x4GB if you're going to use all the RAM slots.
  9. If I recall, 5300 was what Dell originally installed and recommends. Crucial is probably adhering to that.

    I used Corsair 6400 in mine... why don't you go to the Corsair site and see what their configurator says. You already know 6400 WILL work... so long as it has proper timings and voltage. (I just used SIW to check mine... 6400, 6-6-6-18 @ 1.8v. This particular RAM came from Dell; I didn't change it out myself. )
    #10     Oct 11, 2012