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RAM for gaming on old system

PuppyBoss

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Nov 27, 2015
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Hi! A few months ago I had requested help on deciding a new GPU, and I was guided well by the community here. I just bought a 1080 Ti (EVGA FTW3). But I have an ancient system, and have a few questions regarding it.

First off, here's my current setup:

MoBo: Intel DH67BL
Processor: Intel i5 2500K @3.30 GHz (4 cores)
GPU: NVidia 1080 Ti (11GB, EVGA)
PSU: Seasonic 750W 80+ Bronze
RAM: 2 x 4GB Corsair XMS 3 1600MHz DDR3 1.65volts
HDD: 2 x 2TB Western Digital WD20EARS
Monitor: Dell 22" TFT
Keyboard: Logitech G510
Mouse: Dragon War Leviathan

As you can see, I have more GPU RAM than system RAM. With the above setup, would you advise me to buy more RAM? Before you answer that, please know that I plan to upgrade my Mobo, CPU, RAM, HDD and cabinet in maybe 6 months time. So, what I want to know is, will buying 8 more GB of RAM make a huge improvement in gaming? If it does, I'll buy it (and I'll have to discard it after 6 months). The older ddr3 RAM is still expensive, and if I want the same Corsair ddr3 xms3 ram, I'll have to import it from the US Amazon store. I was told not to change the RAM (ie use same RAM sticks if adding more RAM).

Also, I a bit cheaper if I buy a single 8gb stick... Can I have only 3 RAM sticks in the 4 RAM slots?

Please advise what I should do... Not buy the older ram and wait 6 months for the upgrade (if it won't affect my gaming too much... I don't want the GPU bottlenecked too much because of it) or is it a good idea to buy the same 2x4gb Corsair RAM, or buy other different ram?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 
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UsandThem

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Is your PC running out of available RAM now? If not, just save your money and use it when you replace your motherboard/CPU/RAM in 6 months. Or buy some used DDR3 if you feel you absolutely need it until then.

There's only a couple of games that use more than 8GB of memory right now, and if you were currently playing them, you wouldn't be asking this question. There is quite a bit of used DDR3 for sale, which keeps the price low. It doesn't make sense to buy expensive new DDR3 to use for a few months, and turn around and sell it for a loss.
 

vailr

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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RAM: 2 x 4GB Corsair XMS 3 1600MHz DDR3 1.65volts
......
Can I have only 3 RAM sticks in the 4 RAM slots?
......
Please advise what I should do... Not buy the older ram and wait 6 months for the upgrade (if it won't affect my gaming too much... I don't want the GPU bottlenecked too much because of it) or is it a good idea to buy the same 2x4gb Corsair RAM, or buy other different ram?
If you were to go ahead and buy some more DDR3, you'd want to end up with matched pairs of RAM, so that "3 RAM sticks in the 4 RAM slots" would not be a recommended configuration. Either 2x sticks or 4x sticks installed would be the preferred setup.
Also: the DDR3 "standard" voltage is actually 1.50 volts. So: 1.65 volts is also not exactly ideal.
Similarly, DDR4 "standard voltage" is 1.20 volts, even though many times 1.35 volts is offered instead, as being "close enough".
In either case, the ideal solution would be to install the RAM in matched pairs, and let the motherboard run the RAM at the default voltage: 1.50 volts for DDR3, or 1.20 volts for DDR4. That's why the default voltage specification for RAM needs to be considered before purchase.
Also: double-check at the motherboard web site for their list of supported memory.
 
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JackMDS

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Oct 25, 1999
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I have a computer with a i5 2500K and a New Computer that I built in the last few weeks (what I call Black Friday Computer ;)) with the current Hi-End components.

Putting aside Personal pride and Psychological Process, the new computer in real world may be performs 2-5% more then the older i5.

The only thing that is missing from your current computer list is a Good SSD. You can buy one and put the OS and main Apps on it.

The SSD, then can be use at time when it will make more sense to upgrade.

That said, psychological processes are important too. So 2x 8GB DDR3 can be found for less than $100 on eBay.


:cool:
 
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DaveSimmons

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Aug 12, 2001
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Since you have 2 free slots, a used 2 x 4 GB or or especially a 2 x 2 GB set might be pretty cheap. Check the FS/FT forums here along with eBay.

That's optional though. I was using a 2500 non-K with 8 GB for gaming up until xmas and had no memory problems with it. 8 GB is fine for 99% of games at 1080p, and for the other 1% you can always accept a lower setting or minor framerate dip now and then.

Unless you have some specific game that's causing you problems, and you're sure it's RAM that's at fault, I'd just leave it alone until you're ready to replace it.
 
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PuppyBoss

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Nov 27, 2015
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If you were to go ahead and buy some more DDR3, you'd want to end up with matched pairs of RAM, so that "3 RAM sticks in the 4 RAM slots" would not be a recommended configuration. Either 2x sticks or 4x sticks installed would be the preferred setup.
Good to know. So 3 out of 4 slots is out. Thanks.

Also: the DDR3 "standard" voltage is actually 1.50 volts. So: 1.65 volts is also not exactly ideal.
Similarly, DDR4 "standard voltage" is 1.20 volts, even though many times 1.35 volts is offered instead, as being "close enough".
In either case, the ideal solution would be to install the RAM in matched pairs, and let the motherboard run the RAM at the default voltage: 1.50 volts for DDR3, or 1.20 volts for DDR4. That's why the default voltage specification for RAM needs to be considered before purchase.
I am confused by that, yes. I did a bit of reading online, and I found out that 1.5v is a better option. I bought the RAM a long time ago, and I guess I didn't know about the voltages then. I just found this RAM in the shop & I knew Corsair was a good company so I bought it. So now, do I have to use the 1.65v RAM in case I add on more RAM? Because I found the 1.5v RAM is also available of the same company & make (Corsair 2x4GB DDR3 RAM, 1600MHz & 1.5V) at a slightly cheaper price. Is it possible to use 1.65v RAMs in 2 slots & 1.5v RAMs in the other 2 slots?

Also: double-check at the motherboard web site for their list of supported memory.
Yeah, I did. My MoBo only supports up to 1333MHz, and it says 32 GB RAM is supported (4x8GB, I assume). When buying (a long time ago) i thought I'll buy the 1600 version as in case I upgrade the MoBo, I can use the faster one on the new MoBo. That didn't happen lol. Apart from a slightly increased price, I was told that I'll not have problem running it, as the system will run the 1600MHz RAM at 1333MHz with no problems.

I have a computer with a i5 2500K and a New Computer that I built in the last few weeks (what I call Black Friday Computer ;)) with the current Hi-End components.

Putting aside Personal pride and Psychological Process, the new computer in real world may be performs 2-5% more then the older i5.
That's great to hear mate! I thought my MoBo & CPU were a laughing stock. Glad to hear it's not so bad.

The only thing that is missing from your current computer list is a Good SSD. You can buy one and put the OS and main Apps on it.
Yes, I agree my HDDs are bad. In fact, they may be damaged. They are very old, and copying stuff onto them is way too slow & it hangs up intermittently when doing so. The disc defragmenter says the HDDs are fine, and so does the disc checking utility (Ashampoo Winoptimizer suite). I dunno if the HDDs are at fault. This has been happening for a long time. I was thinking of getting rid of the 2x2TB HDDs and getting a single 4TB HDD. Also, with 2 HDDs, the "safely remove hardware" icon is always visible and shows the 2 HDDs as removable devices. I dunno how to remove that. See what I mean?


The SSD, then can be use at time when it will make more sense to upgrade.
I very much want to get an SSD, but I have no idea if my MoBo supports it? Do you need an SSD-compatible MoBo to use it, or can it be used normally in a SATA port? If so, I'll buy an SSD (to install Windows on & maybe a few high-requirement games) & also have a SATA HDD for storage. Please let me know. I can get an SSD as even if I upgrade my system, I can use it on the upgraded system.

Since you have 2 free slots, a used 2 x 4 GB or or especially a 2 x 2 GB set might be pretty cheap. Check the FS/FT forums here along with eBay.

That's optional though. I was using a 2500 non-K with 8 GB for gaming up until xmas and had no memory problems with it. 8 GB is fine for 99% of games at 1080p, and for the other 1% you can always accept a lower setting or minor framerate dip now and then.

Unless you have some specific game that's causing you problems, and you're sure it's RAM that's at fault, I'd just leave it alone until you're ready to replace it.
Thanks for that bit of info! I didn't know 8GB RAM was sufficient for most games. I only play at 1080x1920 res & i plan on running it at ultra high settings. If it runs fine at that settings, I'm happy. I don't intend to run 1440p or 4k. No dual monitors or such.

I still havent played any games on my new card. I was busy with formatting my HDDs ( to fix the slowness problem... It didn't help) and reinstalling windows & all softwares and restoring backups. I just ran Witcher 3 for like 5 mins to test the system, and I got 60fps in the beginning on ultra settings and hairworks on. Looks promising. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow I can start gaming on it.
Thanks to all your inputs, I'll not get the additional RAM for now. Please do let me know about the possibility of using an SSD on my MoBo.

Thanks guys, you're the best!!
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Good to know. So 3 out of 4 slots is out. Thanks.


I am confused by that, yes. I did a bit of reading online, and I found out that 1.5v is a better option. I bought the RAM a long time ago, and I guess I didn't know about the voltages then. I just found this RAM in the shop & I knew Corsair was a good company so I bought it. So now, do I have to use the 1.65v RAM in case I add on more RAM? Because I found the 1.5v RAM is also available of the same company & make (Corsair 2x4GB DDR3 RAM, 1600MHz & 1.5V) at a slightly cheaper price. Is it possible to use 1.65v RAMs in 2 slots & 1.5v RAMs in the other 2 slots?


Yeah, I did. My MoBo only supports up to 1333MHz, and it says 32 GB RAM is supported (4x8GB, I assume). When buying (a long time ago) i thought I'll buy the 1600 version as in case I upgrade the MoBo, I can use the faster one on the new MoBo. That didn't happen lol. Apart from a slightly increased price, I was told that I'll not have problem running it, as the system will run the 1600MHz RAM at 1333MHz with no problems.


That's great to hear mate! I thought my MoBo & CPU were a laughing stock. Glad to hear it's not so bad.


Yes, I agree my HDDs are bad. In fact, they may be damaged. They are very old, and copying stuff onto them is way too slow & it hangs up intermittently when doing so. The disc defragmenter says the HDDs are fine, and so does the disc checking utility (Ashampoo Winoptimizer suite). I dunno if the HDDs are at fault. This has been happening for a long time. I was thinking of getting rid of the 2x2TB HDDs and getting a single 4TB HDD. Also, with 2 HDDs, the "safely remove hardware" icon is always visible and shows the 2 HDDs as removable devices. I dunno how to remove that. See what I mean?



I very much want to get an SSD, but I have no idea if my MoBo supports it? Do you need an SSD-compatible MoBo to use it, or can it be used normally in a SATA port? If so, I'll buy an SSD (to install Windows on & maybe a few high-requirement games) & also have a SATA HDD for storage. Please let me know. I can get an SSD as even if I upgrade my system, I can use it on the upgraded system.


Thanks for that bit of info! I didn't know 8GB RAM was sufficient for most games. I only play at 1080x1920 res & i plan on running it at ultra high settings. If it runs fine at that settings, I'm happy. I don't intend to run 1440p or 4k. No dual monitors or such.

I still havent played any games on my new card. I was busy with formatting my HDDs ( to fix the slowness problem... It didn't help) and reinstalling windows & all softwares and restoring backups. I just ran Witcher 3 for like 5 mins to test the system, and I got 60fps in the beginning on ultra settings and hairworks on. Looks promising. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow I can start gaming on it.
Thanks to all your inputs, I'll not get the additional RAM for now. Please do let me know about the possibility of using an SSD on my MoBo.

Thanks guys, you're the best!!
PuppyBoss, you can just get a SATA SSD and it should work fine with your motherboard. And you should consider replace both HDDs with one larger HDD as well.
 
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PuppyBoss

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Nov 27, 2015
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PuppyBoss, you can just get a SATA SSD and it should work fine with your motherboard. And you should consider replace both HDDs with one larger HDD as well.
Thank you. Could you direct me to a few of these? I'm seeing SSD 1,2,3 etc and even SSHD (SSD hybrids?). What's the difference between them, which one should I buy? Are all SSDs SATA or is there a non-SATA SSD as well?
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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Your board should support SATA 3 and you will need a 2.5" SATA 3 SSD.The Crucial MX300 is a good choice as is the newer MX500. And yes there are also U.2 2.5" SSDs and gumstick size M.2 SDDs as well.
 
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DaveSimmons

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Aug 12, 2001
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The Crucial MX500 and Samsung Evo 850 are (in my opinion) the two best choices for a 2.5" SSD for normal use. (I buy Samsung, and their OS drive migration software works great.) After that is the older Crucial MX300. The prices of other "lesser" brands don't save you enough to be worth the drop in speed and quality unless maybe if you're on a super-tight budget or it's an upgrade for grandma.

If buying from Amazon or Newegg make sure the seller is Amazon or Newegg, not someone else, even if fulfilled by Amazon. Third-party sellers can have drives where some of the warranty has already expired.
 
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vailr

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Is it possible to use 1.65v RAMs in 2 slots & 1.5v RAMs in the other 2 slots?
Not recommended. Just get by with 2x of your existing DDR3 memory installed.
Simply upgrading the boot drive to an SSD will provide a noticeable speed boost, and will also be re-usable whenever the motherboard/CPU/DDR3 gets a future upgrade to newer parts. Otherwise, I would advise against wasting money on any other upgrades to your existing hardware.
 

PuppyBoss

Member
Nov 27, 2015
40
1
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The Crucial MX500 and Samsung Evo 850 are (in my opinion) the two best choices for a 2.5" SSD for normal use. (I buy Samsung, and their OS drive migration software works great.) After that is the older Crucial MX300. The prices of other "lesser" brands don't save you enough to be worth the drop in speed and quality unless maybe if you're on a super-tight budget or it's an upgrade for grandma.

If buying from Amazon or Newegg make sure the seller is Amazon or Newegg, not someone else, even if fulfilled by Amazon. Third-party sellers can have drives where some of the warranty has already expired.
Thanks for the info. I'm thinking of buying the Samsung Evo 850. There are 3 options: the 250GB, 500GB & 1 TB SSDs. Which would you suggest? Is it enough to just install Windows to the HDD & the games on the old SATA? Or do I have to install the games on SSD as well? If the latter is true, 250 GB won't be enough. But 1 TB is too expensive!
 

DaveSimmons

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Having the OS on the SSD will speed up booting, the swap file for virtual memory and switching between programs, temporary files created by all applications, and when Windows loads its own programs during the day. Things in general will be a bit more responsive.

Having games on the SSD will speed up the startup, and then loading levels and new open map areas, like when you move across a boundary in Skyrim or Fallout and it needs to load a bunch of new info. FPS is not increased but some delays are reduced, sometimes by a lot. In a lot of games the loading screen "tips" text flashes by before you can read it.

My gaming PC has 2 SSD - a small boot one and a big Steam / Origin / GOG installs one. You could just get a 250 GB one for now and save up for the 1 TB "Steam disk" as part of a later upgrade.

Also, mixing drives is not a problem. You can get a Samsung boot disk for the good free migration software and later get a Crucial 1 TB if it's cheaper than the Evo at the time.
 
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DaveSimmons

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Also, Steam does let you have multiple install folders, and you can manually copy between them if you read up on what to copy. So if there is one game you're playing that has annoying load times you could put that in your small Steam folder like C: > Steam while installing everything else to D: > Steam
 

PuppyBoss

Member
Nov 27, 2015
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Not recommended. Just get by with 2x of your existing DDR3 memory installed.
Simply upgrading the boot drive to an SSD will provide a noticeable speed boost, and will also be re-usable whenever the motherboard/CPU/DDR3 gets a future upgrade to newer parts. Otherwise, I would advise against wasting money on any other upgrades to your existing hardware.
Thanks for the info. I did as you said. Bought a 500GB Samsung EVO 850. Created 2 partitions. 80 GB for Windows, 350GB for games. Filled the game drive with games (I've installed steam there & will be installing all steam games in one place). I've only 30 GB left there now. The system seems is booting up so fast, and games are loading in just a second! (Tried Witcher 3 at max settings & 1080p). 1 of my older 2 HDDs was really damaged. I couldn't restore the data from them. Luckily I had a backup on my laptop. So I now have a SSD with partitions for Windows & Games. The remaining older WD 2 TB HDD is for storage purposes. I've created My Documents on that, and all save games go there. I hope having save games on this older HDD won't slow the games or bottleneck the SSD.
And thank you all for the info about the RAM. I guess I didn't need more RAM. Checked the RAM useage while playing The Witcher 3 at max settings. Only about 50-60% RAM was used constantly. Very good decision to buy the SSD instead! AnandTech & its members are awesome! You guys are great!

Having the OS on the SSD will speed up booting, the swap file for virtual memory and switching between programs, temporary files created by all applications, and when Windows loads its own programs during the day. Things in general will be a bit more responsive.

Having games on the SSD will speed up the startup, and then loading levels and new open map areas, like when you move across a boundary in Skyrim or Fallout and it needs to load a bunch of new info. FPS is not increased but some delays are reduced, sometimes by a lot. In a lot of games the loading screen "tips" text flashes by before you can read it.

My gaming PC has 2 SSD - a small boot one and a big Steam / Origin / GOG installs one. You could just get a 250 GB one for now and save up for the 1 TB "Steam disk" as part of a later upgrade.

Also, mixing drives is not a problem. You can get a Samsung boot disk for the good free migration software and later get a Crucial 1 TB if it's cheaper than the Evo at the time.
You were absolutely right! The SSD speeded up the booting up, starting & loading the games! A huuuuge & drastically improved load time! And yes, I was unable to read the game loading screen messages!
Having experienced SSDs now, I don't ever want to buy a non-SSD HDD now. In the future, I plan to replace my 2 TB HDD with an SSD. I hope SSD are as stable or more stable than regular HDDs? If they break down fast, then I'll have to use a regular HDD for data storage, & use the SSD only for OS & games.

Also, Steam does let you have multiple install folders, and you can manually copy between them if you read up on what to copy. So if there is one game you're playing that has annoying load times you could put that in your small Steam folder like C: > Steam while installing everything else to D: > Steam
Yes, I know how to move games. I had downloaded over 300 GB of games from steam on my HDD (luckily on the good HDD). Didn't want to download them again. So I moved them onto the steamapps/common folder on the newly installed steam on the SSD. Then I installed the game from steam. It checked the files present & finished installing without downloading anything :)
 

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