Ram and Multiple Clock Speeds

Why you can mix and match Ram with different clock speeds

Steve Smith explains why you can mix and match Ram with different clock speeds, and why you may not want to.

Episode #3-18 released on January 27, 2013

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RAM, the short term memory of your computer, and one of the least expensive parts to upgrade usually comes in three flavors, and by flavors, we mean 3 different clock speeds. We have the economy clock speed, the standard clock speed, and the high performance clock speed model. For DDR3 this come down to 1066mhz, 1333mhz and 1600mhz from lowest quality and speed to highest.

RAM itself must always be installed correctly, and usually this is easy, provided you add sufficient pressure, is the right type and the RAM is positioned correctly. To prevent people from installing the wrong type of RAM, there are notches that are part of the standard that allow only for the correct type of RAM, and the correct installation of the RAM into it's slot.

Now, we must, also, understand that you have normal RAM, and RAM with features like ECC, or the ability to be overclocked. These features are normally reserved from the highest quality and speed RAM chips. It is, also, possible to install all three different types of speeds into the same computer.

Knowing that you can install every speed type of RAM, what do you think will happen you come to use the computer?

The computer will POST, which means power-on self test. Your operating system will load, and you shall be able to do everything you normally do. You may not even notice that you may be missing the kick you purchased from the computer store. The issue is quite simple. Clock speeds on multiple bars of RAM must run identically, even if they aren't made equally, the will run at the same speed, with all the same features, of the lowest speed of RAM. If you have lower speed RAM in your computer, and you want to make it faster, you are therefore required to remove all the slower RAM chips first. If you only seek more RAM, and speed is not an issue, you can leave all of them in your computer.

The choice is ultimately your own. However, my personal suggestion is the buy the higher speed bars of RAM, even if you can't afford the larger capacity memory chips, therefore, you will not be stuck running a computer at a slower rate of speed later on, when you get the budget to upgrade.

Next episode, I'll be talking about hard drives, their technologies, explaining what SMART is, and why you should be thinking about changing your hard drives more often.

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Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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