384 or 512? my dilemma

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by blue&whiteman, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    I have a total of 512 mb ram which consists of a 256 mb pc133 stick (apple spec), 2 64mb pc 100 sticks (both apple spec) and a generic 128 mb stick of pc100 (bought this at a pc store).

    the 128 generic stick is slow. when I take it out and do an xbench memory test I always get about 5 points higher and things like fill go from 250 up to about 300+. this really says something about that stick since in benchmarks at least my mac is faster with less ram because all the ram left is faster.

    my question is performance wise would it be better to leave this generic 128mb stick out and run with 384mb or to put it back it and run at 512mb.
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    That's a tough question. It depends on what you're actually running. If you don't need all the memory for what you run, you might get some performance improvement. However, since most people really do use at least 512MB of memory, the slow memory will still be faster than paging/swapping.

    I suspect you'd be better off leaving it in. Or better yet, if you can afford another 256 or 512 MB module, replace the slow stick.
  3. blue&whiteman thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    the blue&white towers have 4 ram slots and can take a max of 256 in each. i'm buying an ata/133 card soon and after that i'm going to buy a 256 stick of apple spec each month for 3 months and then have 1gb. so all I will keep of my current ram is the 1 256 stick.
  4. Sparky's macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    I wish I had the mag in front of me I'm about to quote but I can give the name and month. In Mac Addict April 2003 there was a How To article based on RAM chips, and they stated that chips have a speed rating on them in the serial number printed on the chip. I can't remember specifically how the number appears but the speed rating was a 3 digit umber such as 2,3,2 or 1,1,2 etc. the higher the number the higher the speed rating. Based on that they said that the computer will only access RAM at the overall slowest speed of any one RAM chip. If that makes sense then shut down and check the chips in your system and realize that it will only read at the slowest chip you have installed.
  5. stoid macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    I remember reading somewhere that the placement of the chips within the computer could also affect overall speed. Unless the 128MB chip is faulty, it shouldn't slow the system down. Try rearranging the chips inside to see if that makes a difference.
  6. josepho macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Yeah, I read that too. The reason, I imagine, might be this:
    If you place the faster sticks first, in a position where they'll be the first to be used, then unless the computer needed more RAM memory than they could handle, it wouldn't use the slower sticks... However, I'm also pretty sure that memory causes a "only as slow as the slowest member" syndrome - which is totally contradictory.

    Face it, I don't know! :confused:
  7. mms macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2003
    Fortunately, I have little experience with bad RAM, but I can say that for everyday tasks, 384MB of RAM is sufficient. Although more is better, and this always depends on what you do, this works perfectly fine for me. iBook G4 800mhz, 384MB RAM.
  8. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    What you're thinking of is CAS latency. Also appears as 3.0 (slowest), 2.5 (most common), 2.0 (faster, more expensive), etc. Just like with 66 vs. 100 MHz RAM speeds, the system will lower itself to the slowest speeds. So if one of your chips is PC133 CAS 2.5, but the other is 66 3.0, all of your RAM will run at 66 MHz with 3.0 latency.

    Just get some PC100 (or 133, doesn't matter) with CAS 2.5 and that should be fine for a B&W G3. I'd suggest www.newegg.com for some good deals. Just read the reviews first. RAM is not always RAM. Some of it is cheap crap that would barely work in a cheapy PC with Win98. You can send it back for an exchange or refund, but it's better to get it right the first time.

    Or just go with OWC. They guarantee Mac compatibility.
  9. blue&whiteman thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    not true. all the memory you have can only run as fast as the slowest stick. so when that slow 128 stick is in there is slows all my faster ram down to its speed. this is why I don't know what to do. for now its out and the system feels a slight slight bit faster. not sure if this small of a boost is worth losing 128mb.
  10. jane doe macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2004
    I say keep it, the slowest ram is still faster then the HD if it has to cache to it cause your low on ram....


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