What size memory can my computer use?
That’s an important question when you want to expand your computer or when you are building a new computer.
There are also other considerations than the size of the memory modules.
Subscriber Thomas Loy wrote to ask a question about a very nice PC that he’s planning to build:
I have been a long time reader of your news letter. I’m doing a build and have a question about memory.
Thanks in advance for any guidance that you might have for me.
That’s a nice motherboard and CPU that Tom’s considering. NewEgg.com has this to say about the motherboard:
It supports Core i7 (LGA1366) and delivers better overclocking capabilities with less power consumption.
It features Triple channel DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1333/1066 memory support and breaks the boundaries to bring you the multi-GPU choice of either SLI or CrossFireX.
In addition, TurboV helps you to overclock easily without the need of experience! ASUS is an industry leader known for making innovative and reliable motherboards. Bring home the experience and craftsmanship of ASUS and build your next system in confidence today!
South Bridge: Intel ICH10R Number of Memory Slots: 6×240pin Memory Standard: DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 PCI Express 2.0 x16: 3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (at x16/x8/x8 or x16/x16/x1 mode) Onboard Video Chipset: None Audio Chipset: Realtek ALC889 Max LAN Speed: Dual 10/100/1000Mbps SATA 3Gb/s: 6
I wrote back to Tom to observe and comment that, since he’s talking about triple-channel memory, with either 2 sets of 3 banks of memory modules or 1 set of 3 banks, he obviously will have to install in groups of 3 memory modules.
Conventional wisdom says that the memory access time is better in the higher density chips, which would mean that the memory size choice of 3x4GB choice would give better results.
However, I have read of one instance where the write reported that more, smaller modules performed better than fewer, larger modules.
Unfortunately, I don’t recall where I read that or whether it had to do with specific memory modules or specific motherboards.
The most significant difference, from my point of view, is that if you choose the 3x4GB option, your initial cost is likely to be significantly higher.
Not only because the 4GB memory modules will be more than double the price of 2GB modules, but also because memory prices tend to drop over time.
Larger memory sizes are always more expensive. Additional memory purchased later is probably going to be cheaper than the same memory purchased now.
Offsetting the added cost of purchasing the 4GB memory size now, Thomas should have the other 3 memory slots available for additional memory expansion.
I wondered if the P5X58D supports 4GB memory modules and over 12 GB memory. I was wondering if maximizing the memory size would mean that he couldn’t use all the memory slots (it’s happened before…).
I checked its specifications and found that it has 6 memory slots and supports up to 24 GB memory.