Trying to Understand What Memory I Need

Halasham

n00b
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
19
I'm looking into getting more memory for my PC for the first time ever and want to make sure I'm getting the right thing as it looks like there's a lot different stuff.
According to System Information by PC has:
BaseBoard Manufacturer: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
BaseBoard Product: 970A-DS3P
BaseBoard Version: x.x

I went to Gigabyte's website and looked up the 970A-DS3P and found three versions, 1.0, 2.x, 2.1
All of them list DDR3 DIMM memory, four ports, and support for DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules, and a maximum RAM of 64GB.
However the 1.0 version has a further specification of 1.5V DDR3 DIMM.
So, from this I gather that I need DDR3 DIMM memory between 1866 and 1066 MHz. It there anything more I need to know or could I buy a pair of anything within that range?
 
D

Deleted member 289973

Guest
Are you adding RAM sticks or replacing the existing ones with new ones?
 

BlueLineSwinger

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
1,274
I'm guessing you're looking to upgrade? You sure it's worth it to dump cash into such an old system?

Generally speaking, any RAM in the same spec should work fine. All desktop DDR-3 is 1.5v. Gigabyte's support pages for that mainboard has a list of tested memory. Also, RAM producers (e.g, Crucial) will often have lookup features.
 

Halasham

n00b
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
19
I'm guessing you're looking to upgrade? You sure it's worth it to dump cash into such an old system?

Generally speaking, any RAM in the same spec should work fine. All desktop DDR-3 is 1.5v. Gigabyte's support pages for that mainboard has a list of tested memory. Also, RAM producers (e.g, Crucial) will often have lookup features.
Yeah, I'm looking to upgrade. I don't think I could afford to replace it... is the system really that old?
 

BlueLineSwinger

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
1,274
Yeah, I'm looking to upgrade. I don't think I could afford to replace it... is the system really that old?

The manual for v2.x of that mainboard would seem to put it at 2016. However, at least according to Wikipedia, the chipset that mainboard is based around goes back to 2011. And AMD CPUs from that era weren't that great to begin with compared to Intel's offerings (but at least they were generally priced accordingly).

What are the specs for the rest of the system (CPU, RAM, GPU, storage, etc.)? What are you using it for?
 
D

Deleted member 289973

Guest
Generally speaking, any RAM in the same spec should work fine. All desktop DDR-3 is 1.5v. Gigabyte's support pages for that mainboard has a list of tested memory. Also, RAM producers (e.g, Crucial) will often have lookup features.
This is on point. If you're adding and not replacing sticks, you generally want to add RAM that is as similar to what you have as can be reasonably done. There are some nuances, and some flexibility, but you'll lose a bit when it comes to efficiency if the RAM is too different.
I don't think I could afford to replace it
It depends on what you might need or want to change out if upgrading isn't viable. We need to know the rest of what components you have, and then go from there.
 

Halasham

n00b
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
19
The manual for v2.x of that mainboard would seem to put it at 2016. However, at least according to Wikipedia, the chipset that mainboard is based around goes back to 2011. And AMD CPUs from that era weren't that great to begin with compared to Intel's offerings (but at least they were generally priced accordingly).

What are the specs for the rest of the system (CPU, RAM, GPU, storage, etc.)? What are you using it for?
CPU: AMD FX(tm)-6300 Six-Core Processor, 3500 Mhz, 3 Core(s), 6 Logical Processor(s)
RAM: Installed Physical: 8GB, Total Physical: 7.96GB, Available Physical: 2.0GB, Total Virtual: 25GB, Available Virtual: 8.30GB
GPU: AMD Radeon(TM) RX 560 Series
GPU Adaptor: AMD Radeon Graphics Processor (0x67EF), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. compatible
The harddrive is 1TB IIRC but I'm having trouble finding the specifics in System Info, sorry, still very new to screwing with my PC's hardware.
What else is relevant?

This is primarily my gaming PC and I use if for some schoolwork.
 

BlueLineSwinger

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
1,274
CPU: AMD FX(tm)-6300 Six-Core Processor, 3500 Mhz, 3 Core(s), 6 Logical Processor(s)
RAM: Installed Physical: 8GB, Total Physical: 7.96GB, Available Physical: 2.0GB, Total Virtual: 25GB, Available Virtual: 8.30GB
GPU: AMD Radeon(TM) RX 560 Series
GPU Adaptor: AMD Radeon Graphics Processor (0x67EF), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. compatible
The harddrive is 1TB IIRC but I'm having trouble finding the specifics in System Info, sorry, still very new to screwing with my PC's hardware.
What else is relevant?

This is primarily my gaming PC and I use if for some schoolwork.

Yeah, given what's reported for virtual RAM you may well be choked there. If you really have no other option, dropping in another 8 GB should be reasonable. If you currently have two 4 GB DIMMs installed, then you'll want another 4 GB pair. If you only have a single 8 GB DIMM installed, then you'll want another one of those instead. If you're not sure, run wmic memorychip get BankLabel,DeviceLocator,Capacity from the command line.

Is the OS volume a hard disk drive (HDD) or SSD? If it's the former, that's a huge impediment, and I'd start with upgrading that. Run wmic diskdrive get model,size,mediaType from the command line to get some basic info about the system's drives. A good 1 TB SATA SSD like the Crucial MX500 can be had for <$90 (and at least that, unlike RAM, can be moved to a new desktop system when the time comes).
 

Halasham

n00b
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
19
Yeah, given what's reported for virtual RAM you may well be choked there. If you really have no other option, dropping in another 8 GB should be reasonable. If you currently have two 4 GB DIMMs installed, then you'll want another 4 GB pair. If you only have a single 8 GB DIMM installed, then you'll want another one of those instead. If you're not sure, run wmic memorychip get BankLabel,DeviceLocator,Capacity from the command line.

Is the OS volume a hard disk drive (HDD) or SSD? If it's the former, that's a huge impediment, and I'd start with upgrading that. Run wmic diskdrive get model,size,mediaType from the command line to get some basic info about the system's drives. A good 1 TB SATA SSD like the Crucial MX500 can be had for <$90 (and at least that, unlike RAM, can be moved to a new desktop system when the time comes).
First command resulted in:
BankLabel Capacity DeviceLocator
Node0_Bank0 4294967296 Node0_Dimm0
Node0_Bank0 4294967296 Node0_Dimm2
If I understand this correctly that means I've got a pair of 4GBs, which would mean I'd want another pair of them as you've said.
Second command got:
MediaType Model Size
Fixed hard disk media WDC WD10EZEX-08WN4A0 1000202273280

So, it's a hard disk. Not a solid-state.
 
Joined
May 17, 2005
Messages
4
I have the following computer.

MBD: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 (1.0)
CPU: AMD FX-8350
RAM: GSKILL Ripjaw-X DDR3-1600 8GB (2x4GB)
GPU: ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1060 6GB
DSK1: Samsung 870 EVO 1TB 2.5" SATA SSD
DSK2: WD Blue 1TB 3.5" SATA HDD
DSK3: WD Blue 1TB 3.5" SATA HDD

It made a big difference when I replaced the original boot HDD with an SSD. It not only booted a lot faster but was a lot more responsive at the desktop.
 
D

Deleted member 289973

Guest
It made a big difference when I replaced the original boot HDD with an SSD. It not only booted a lot faster but was a lot more responsive at the desktop.
Not to go too off topic, but this is a good point. You can get a cheap 500GB SSD to install your OS and boot from it, and use the physical disk drives for high capacity storage if need be. I use only SSDs now for everything, but that's a matter of preference.

Back to the RAM question, yes, you have a pair of 4GB sticks. You should be able to see the sticks on the MB, they should be in alternating slots (this is important!) and you'll add the two new ones in the empty slots.

If you can find out the RAM speed (1866, 1600, etc.) you currently have, plus the first word latency, CAS latency, and the timing (i.e. 16-18-18-36), then try to pick up a pair that matches all of these values as close as possible, if it's a reasonable cost to you. They don't all have to be exact, but the RAM speed and CAS should match if possible. Otherwise the faster RAM could be slowed down to match the other set.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, I did some quick research before I wrote this.
 

Halasham

n00b
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
19
Not to go too off topic, but this is a good point. You can get a cheap 500GB SSD to install your OS and boot from it, and use the physical disk drives for high capacity storage if need be. I use only SSDs now for everything, but that's a matter of preference.

Back to the RAM question, yes, you have a pair of 4GB sticks. You should be able to see the sticks on the MB, they should be in alternating slots (this is important!) and you'll add the two new ones in the empty slots.

If you can find out the RAM speed (1866, 1600, etc.) you currently have, plus the first word latency, CAS latency, and the timing (i.e. 16-18-18-36), then try to pick up a pair that matches all of these values as close as possible, if it's a reasonable cost to you. They don't all have to be exact, but the RAM speed and CAS should match if possible. Otherwise the faster RAM could be slowed down to match the other set.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, I did some quick research before I wrote this.
Is there a way to get the specifics of my RAM sticks without opening the case?
I'm still very new to this and a bit leery of unnecessarily opening it. Really wish I had taken down the specifics of the product when I bought the PC.
 

pitingres

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
346
Download CPU-Z and install it. There's a memory tab that will tell you what the memory is, close enough for your needs.
 

BlueLineSwinger

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
1,274
Is there a way to get the specifics of my RAM sticks without opening the case?
I'm still very new to this and a bit leery of unnecessarily opening it. Really wish I had taken down the specifics of the product when I bought the PC.

Really, I wouldn't worry too much about matching the CAS timings.

If you want to try, A tweak to the command I gave earlier might help: wmic memorychip get BankLabel,DeviceLocator,Capacity,Speed,partnumber. It won't give you the CAS speeds directly, but if it does produce the proper part number then you can proceed from there.

There's also utilities such as HWinfo, which should be able to cough up lots of info.
 

Halasham

n00b
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
19
Really, I wouldn't worry too much about matching the CAS timings.

If you want to try, A tweak to the command I gave earlier might help: wmic memorychip get BankLabel,DeviceLocator,Capacity,Speed,partnumber. It won't give you the CAS speeds directly, but if it does produce the proper part number then you can proceed from there.

There's also utilities such as HWinfo, which should be able to cough up lots of info.
Thanks, I've found the specifics of what I've found:
My RAM is Ramos Technology EWB4GB681PAE-16IC 4GB, two of them.
They're PC3-12800 1.5V, and 800 speed.

To summarize everything:
CPU: AMD FX(tm)-6300 Six-Core Processor, 3500 Mhz, 3 Core(s), 6 Logical Processor(s)
RAM: Installed Physical: 8GB, Total Physical: 7.96GB, Available Physical: 2.0GB, Total Virtual: 25GB, Available Virtual: 8.30GB
GPU: AMD Radeon(TM) RX 560 Series
GPU Adaptor: AMD Radeon Graphics Processor (0x67EF), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. compatible
RAM: Ramos Technology EWB4GB681PAE-16IC 4GB x2

Now as a final sanity check, to put my mind at ease making the purchase I've found what looks like a great deal on a 4 pack of chips, so I'd be adding and replacing with them:
CORSAIR Vengeance Performance 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model CMZ32GX3M4A1866C9
Timing 9-10-9-27
CAS Latency 9
Voltage 1.5V

Does anything immediately stand out as a red flag with trying to add these chips to that setup?
 
D

Deleted member 289973

Guest
What you've found is a good set, but I suggest you think about something first.

Not sure what a 'great deal' is, but hopefully not more than about $100. Newegg is listing these around 120 as of now. Honestly, you probably don't need 32GB in a system as old as yours, unless you are doing a lot of memory-intensive tasks for your schoolwork or things such as image/video editing, rendering, etc. Gaming on your system shouldn't need more than 16 (even on the newest systems it's still somewhat a subject of debate if 32 is necessary). If you're content with 16, you could save around half your money by simply buying a 2x4GB set. If you really want 32, get what you suggested and maybe find a way to sell the old sticks. (No need for eWaste and it could help offset some of the cost for you.)
Another thing to consider is what your plans for the long term are. You've got a fairly good GPU, but if the time comes to upgrade pretty much any other core component, it's gonna end up being a major swap. You probably won't be able to carry over your new RAM onto a new MB should the time come to upgrade or replace it. If you could, with today's tech, you will probably be significantly limited by it. You might want to consider looking at that from a cost-value perspective. It might not make sense to spend a chunk of money on all new RAM that you can't use if you decide to upgrade other components within the next year or so. If you're gonna run your system until it dies out, then by all means go for it.
 

BlueLineSwinger

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
1,274
I still think, if you're insistent on upgrading this system, the best place to start is replacing the HDD with a SSD, like the Crucial I linked above.

If you do decide to upgrade the RAM, 32 GB is massive overkill for this system. Very few games can make use of that much, and the few that do would be seriously hamstrung by your CPU anyways. A pair of 4 GB DDR3-1600 DIMMs (same as what's currently installed) to get you to 16 GB is plenty. Don't even worry about the CAS ratings, you'll see no real-world difference if they don't quite match up.
 

BlueLineSwinger

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
1,274
Top