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Incorporating extra memory to your Computer system can be a single of the most worthwhile updates you can make, ensuing in an prompt enhance in responsiveness, decreased loading situations, and the ability to hold much more purposes and internet browser tabs open up without the need of annoying slowdowns.

But RAM sticks come in several unique dimensions and from lots of distinctive models. As such, you have a excellent motive to surprise if using a random stick of RAM that is been sitting down in your drawer for ages or shopping for a discounted memory package alternatively of the a single which is presently on your pc is a great concept. The reply may surprise you.

TLDR: Can I Use Diverse Brand name and Measurement Ram Sticks Together?

Indeed, you can use various brand name RAM sticks jointly, even if they don’t have the similar measurement. Nonetheless, applying mismatched RAM modules may well negatively influence the general performance and security of your computer system for the motives we describe in element in this write-up.

How To Look at RAM on Linux?

Before we clarify how and why even comparatively insignificant variations in RAM specs have an impact on performance and stability, we want to take a quick detour and describe how to check out RAM on Linux so that you know what components you are doing the job with.

To test the current RAM accessible, you can use the “free” command with the “-h” possibility (to make the output additional consumer pleasant):

$ free -h

total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   offered

Mem:           7,8G        940M        5,2G         16M        1,7G        6,6G

Swap:          2,0G          0B        2,0G

To find out beneficial details about your precise actual physical RAM sticks, you can use the “dmidecode” command (make positive to specify that you’re intrigued only in your memory working with the “—type memory” flag). Here’s a small portion of our output:

$ sudo dmidecode –sort memory

Tackle 0x0085, DMI kind 6, 12 bytes

Memory Module Facts

Socket Designation: RAM socket #

Lender Connections: None

Present-day Speed: Not known

Type: EDO DIMM

Mounted Dimension: 8192 MB (One-bank Link)

Enabled Dimension: 8192 MB (Solitary-bank Relationship)

Error Status: Ok

If entering terminal commands is not your most loved action, then you can put in a graphical program facts resource like CPU-X:

Comprehension RAM Technical specs

While you could theoretically use any RAM adhere that loosely matches the specifications of your present RAM module or modules, you would most very likely compromise the general performance and security of your procedure. That’s mainly because there are fairly a several technical specs you need to fork out interest to, so let’s just take a closer glimpse at them in the order of their great importance.

Variety Aspect

Customer-grade RAM sticks are offered in two main form things:

  • DIMM (Twin In-Line Memory Module): This is the conventional RAM type element of desktop personal computers, and you can easily identify it by its duration (133.35 mm).
  • SO-DIMM (Compact Outline DIMM): This is the normal RAM type component of laptops and other compact computer systems, and its length is 67.6 mm.

Simply because DIMM sticks are pretty much two times as extensive as SO-DIMM sticks, the two kind elements are plainly not interchangeable.

Memory Technology

Even even though the significant RAM type elements have remained mostly the identical in excess of the yrs, the RAM sticks them selves have developed noticeably. There have now been five RAM generations:

  • DDR1 SDRAM: introduced in 2000  
  • DDR2 SDRAM: introduced in 2003
  • DDR3 SDRAM: released in 2007
  • DDR4 SDRAM: launched in 2014
  • DDR5 SDRAM: launched in 2020 

Considering the fact that there is no backward or ahead compatibility between unique RAM generations, you can not use a DDR4 memory adhere with, let us say, a DDR3 memory stick. You would not even be ready to insert a DDR4 memory stick into a DDR3 memory slot due to the fact they both use a unique amount of pins (240 versus 288).

RAM Pace

RAM speed boils down to two specifications: RAM frequency and CAS latency. Here’s a well-liked RAM package from a well-acknowledged manufacturer:

HyperX Fury Black 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 3200 CL16

RAM frequency is the 2nd to last selection (3200 MHz), though CAS latency is the past specification (CL16). But what do they suggest?

Nicely, RAM frequency is the number of cycles a RAM module can complete each 2nd. So, the HyperX Fury Black kit can execute 3.2 billion cycles per second. Commonly, the much more cycles for every next a RAM module can accomplish, the more rapidly it is.

CAS latency is the amount of time it requires a RAM module to react to a command. A RAM package with a CAS latency of 16 requires 16 cycles to respond to a command, while a RAM kit with a CAS of 8 will take just 8 cycles.

In some cases a RAM module with a reduced frequency but a quite quickly response time complete much better than a substantial-frequency module with a quite higher CAS.

When you blend RAM modules with various speeds, your personal computer will most likely operate just good, but it will execute to the speed of the slower RAM module by modifying its frequency, timing, and voltage.

What is even worse is that you may encounter random security challenges, which are nearly generally incredibly complicated to troubleshoot and correct without having replacing the mismatched module for a matching one.

RAM Sizing

RAM sticks are offered with 4 GB to 32 GB of memory. You can freely blend RAM sizes, but there’s just one explanation why you should not: twin-channel memory configuration.

You see, your CPU doesn’t talk with your RAM sticks directly. In its place, it passes information and facts by the so-known as memory controller, which has two 64-bit (overall 128-little bit) channels at the very least on most motherboards.

If you get a RAM package that is composed of two similar RAM sticks, your computer will almost certainly mechanically default to a dual-channel configuration, primarily doubling the memory bandwidth. If you increase a mismatched RAM stick, it will run in the single-channel (uneven) method, which gives solitary-channel bandwidth and utilizes the slowest supported memory timing.

RAM Manufacturers

In concept, two or a lot more distinct producers could manufacture the identical RAM modules and promote them in somewhat distinct packaging, and we’re guaranteed that this is happening to some extent.

The difficulty is that RAM manufacturers market not all RAM specs, allow alone stores. Even if you obtain two RAM modules with the similar size, frequency, timings, and voltage, the real memory and controller chips could be various, and the minute variations could manifest them selves as random freezes and crashes.

That’s why we advocate you stay clear of mixing RAM makes and sticking with just one particular maker. If your company no for a longer time sells the same RAM modules you have, contemplate hunting for utilised kinds on eBay or Craigslist.

Summary

As you can see, most RAM modules that share the similar type element and belong to the exact same era can be mixed and matched, but not without the need of some perhaps major repercussions. If dependability is important to you, you must use only equivalent RAM modules from the exact same maker. If, on the other hand, you price selling price earlier mentioned every little thing else, then grabbing that seriously discounted RAM module may well just turn out to be a fantastic conclusion.

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