Your RAM, Check It!

RAMHere’s a way to check if your computer RAM is having problem or it’s faulty.

Now usually there are signs that you should tell you that it leads to bad RAM. But if you are not sure what those signs are then it would take you a very long time since system diagnostics are pain! What would seem like a couple minutes of diagnosing would take about 2 hours or even days sometimes. You think you’ve located the problem and fixed it, later to find out that it leads to more problems, hence the cycle of diagnose, repair, testing repeats itself, you will find your self feeling nauseous.

The SIGNS of bad RAM

Remember when diagnosing PC components always start with the computer RAM.

  • If you are plagued by the dreaded blue screen of death (BSoD), this is the time you ask yourself, ” There must be something wrong with my RAM”.
  • Errors like PFN_LIST_CORRUPT and PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA and so on including include system stalls, reboots, and weird PC behavior are the signs of bad RAM.

If you think you have a problem with bad ram check it with these tools:

Speed Up My PC – (FREE Scan)

Uniblue’s Speed Up My PC repair tool will scan your RAM for errors plus automatically free up memory where it can on top of a slew of other very useful performance tweaks. It’s a free download so it is a great diagnostic tool to try before anything else.

Memtest86

It might be a little difficult or the average user, but it isn’t a bad way to check RAM. It is a useful tool, this app runs tests on your RAM, checking it out for errors.

Once you have the latest version of Memtest86, then make a diagnostic disk make it bootable, then boot from it. The cool thing about it is that it loads before the PC loads Windows drivers and such. Hence, No BSod! As Memtest86 run and diagnoses your PC, any suggestion or fixes it comes with would give a clear idea if you have bad or good RAM.

One last tip

Another thing to try would be to test one stick of RAM at a time. and test the stick(s) in each DIMM slot to rule out the possibility of a faulty slot, while also providing you with an opportunity to verify you’re using the correct slots for dual-channel operation.

Speed Up Vista Startup

Windows Vista spends a sweet time starting up. hehe “caching” those common files for quick access as if you need to wait right. You need ot be spontaneous you need to work now. If this affecting your hard disk, Disabling Readyboost will reduce the disk access at startup.
Even disabling Vista’s feature called Superfetch. Which can be done from the Services section of the Administrative Control Panel, which I recommend doing this if you’re an advanced user. Disabling Superfetch will greatly reduce the disk chatter at startup, but it will result in programs starting more slowly. I’d recommend leaving it enabled. Vista loves Ram. A 1GB is fine but If you want to pack more punch Try upgrading to more a bigger ram “THE BIGGER THE BETTER THE FASTER” If you want quicker performance overall, there’s really no substitute. There’s a big difference between 512MB and 1GB, or going from 1GB to 2GB. For a faster performance don’t take risk Upgrade and get more Ram!

DDR3 Won’t Be Mainstream Until 2009

If you’ve just recently bought a computer, chances are it’s probably using DDR2 memory sticks. As for me, two of my PCs use DDR1, while one of my older Macs still use SDRAM memory. But wait, when I check out prices for accessories and systems, I usually see DDR2 among the specifications. But with DDR3 expected to be announced soon, should we hold off on PC purchases to wait until DDR3 is available? Is it time to ditch our mobos and RAM modules for new memory?

Probably not, as Extreme Tech reasons. Bearlake chipsets intended for the desktop market will indeed be unveiled soon by Intel, and some predictions say motherboards with DDR3 support will soon be available by the second quarter of this year.

Market research firm DRAMeXchange says DDR3 is still too expensive for the mainstream market, and prices will likely go down by 2009. DDR3 module prices are currently in the $180 level, which is about eight times higher than DDR2. Factor in motherboard costs (for mobos that support DDR3), and this would definitely be a limiting factor for regular PC users.

More RAM vs. Faster RAM

When I bought my laptop late last year, came with only a 256 MB DDR1 memory runing at 333 MHz (PC2700). It was a low-end laptop, so I wouldn’t expect anything bigger or faster. But of course, upgrades were essential, so the day after I bought it, I immediately bought bigger RAM modules. This time, the upgrade was for an additional 512 MB, but running at 400 MHz (PC3200).

I was actually looking for something to match the 333, but since the price difference wasn’t much (and the shop actually ran out of PC2700 SODIMM chips), I went for the PC3200 one. Now one dilemma I had was whether to remove the existing PC2700 chip so I can enjoy the 512MB stick running at full speed on 400MHz.

Sure, putting in both RAM modules together will give me 768MB of RAM, but they would both run at 333MHz. I’m sure my laptop’s Itel 915GM based motherboard can run at 400MHz, so I was thinking of ditching the additional 256MB.

It’s a question of more slower RAM versus faster but less RAM.

But then most other laptop enthusiasts I asked told me I should stick to more RAM in this case. If you’re considering something below 1 GB, which for my purposes is already sufficient (I mostly do writing work and rarely any gaming nor video editing), you would be better off with more RAM rather than faster but less (i.e., 512MB running at 400 MHz). That’s because with less RAM, your system would most likely have to access the swap file more often. That means hard drive access, which is definitely slower than the slowest of RAM speeds.

If you’re considering something bigger than 1 GB of RAM, then you’re most likely doing some intensive gaming or video editing. For those applications faster RAM and more RAM are definitely a must. In that case, then you should probably spend the additional dough and get yourself more, faster RAM.

Dual Channel Vs. Single Memory Configuration

You often see it in marketing materials: DDRII. A lot of laptop and desktop manufacturers seem to flaunt dual channel DRAM these days. But what does it really mean? Should we succumb to marketing hype?

Theoretically, a dual channel configuration will reduce bottlenecks in processing since it will double the amount of available memory bandwidth. Instead of simply having a single channel through which data passes, a second parallel channel is opened. With these working simultaneously, the bottleneck problem is solved. However, in most real world applications (like productivity/office and even some gaming applications), this might not be such an issue.

Here’s a review on associatedcontent.com, where the author did some benchmarking between using a single 1 GB chip versus two 512 MB chips in dual channel configuration. The conclusion: the difference is negligible.

As you can see from the charts that the differences are there but they are not that earth shattering. The trend for the memory tests show the dual channel memory modules does make a difference between one single memory module and two in the dual channel sockets of the motherboard. The PCMark05 tests show not much of a difference in the total score between one set of memory modules or even the difference between the 1 gigabyte and 512 megabyte tests.

The biggest differences are the dual channel with two memory sticks but they do not necessarily need to be from the same company as the results of the two memory modules from separate companies show. In the PCMark05 tests the best scores came from the two memory modules regardless of brand. The one gigabyte of Crucial memory did do a little better than the single modules of 512MB memory but this test does not really measure the added memory just the performance of the memory.

So next time, be careful about the marketing hype. If you think you really need a dual channel configuration, you’re probably doing some high end gaming or video processing. Otherwise, single channel should suffice.

A good newbie resource

006.jpgI have always contended that there should always be a way to make it easier for a person to do research or to find the information that he needs without jumping from one website to another. The most rudimentary of researchers will already tell you that researching for needed information is not as easy as it looks. When you research on the internet you need to employ so many skills. You need analytical skills in order to think of the best words and phrases you can use as search strings for your research. After you have received the results, you will need to use your detective skills in order to pinpoint the information that you will really need amidst the tremendous amount of pages that could possibly be generated by your search.A central repository of needed information is thus a very welcome concept and one that I am constantly on the lookout for. Whenever I do encounter sites or pages like these I immediately bookmark it for future reference.

It was a pleasant surprise when I saw this particular forum section in ocforums.com. The series of FAQs on various important topics that are PC related will definitely be a great help for those who are still new to PCs. The various threads in the subsection tackle practically all of the important topics that newbies will likely ask, like questions regarding drivers, power, storage, memory, among others. This is a great resource especially for those who are still quite unfamiliar about how computers work. A good read of the threads would be enough for a person to actually learn the basics of at least taking care of their PCs.

Increase RAM by minimizing applications

RAM

A computer’s RAM plays a big role in how fast a system will respond. This is because information or data that is already in the RAM makes accessing that data faster than getting it from the hard drive. Of course, the more RAM is used by other applications, the smaller the amount of available RAM that a processor will use for other functions – and this will generally result in a general system slowdown.One way to make a system run faster is to get more RAM for your system. But this is an expensive solution. A far simpler and more cost effective method is by more conscientiously using the available RAM in your system.

In order to illustrate this, try to start any application. For example, Word. Open a few documents and then press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to access the Windows Task Manager. Go to Processes and then sort the list in a descending order based on Memory Usage. You will see that winword.exe (the executable file for Word) is near the top using a significant amount of RAM.

Now go to Word and then minimize the application. After doing this go back to Windows Task Manager and look for winword.exe again. You will immediately notice that the amount of used RAM by Word has drastically gone down.

So in order for you to maximize the usage of your computer’s RAM you should minimize each and every application that is not in use so that you can free up RAM space and thus result in a better performing system.