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Old 03-03-2013, 07:43 PM   #1
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


I have a ten year old Gateway Desktop PC. It has four memory slots and the original memory was two 256 MB modules. The PC ran pretty well with an occasional slow down now and then and I figured it was due to the memory since I would get one of those PC warning messages saying my virtual memory was really low. Well, I recently installed a new anti-virus program and this McAfee internet security was totally bogging down my PC with its constant scanning. Sure, I turned that off but it would also check and send me reminders and all that. McAfee recommended that I install new memory.

So I just took out the two 256 MB modules and replaced them with two 1 GB modules and the computer is running like a sprinter on steroids now and I love it. I now have the two older 256 MB modules and am wondering if I can just insert them into the remaining two modules. I am a little concerned about how it would interact with the two new 1 GB modules and if that would create a problem. I would seriously consider adding two more 1 GB modules but from what I understand, the PC can only realistically handle 3-3.5 GB of memory properly even though it is formatted to handle up to 4 GB. I was told this from Crucial (suppliers of the new memory) themselves. So if I add in the two older modules will that cause any problems? I figured I may as well do something with these two older modules and I have two open slots so that would give me 2.5 GB of RAM which should be even better.

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Old 03-04-2013, 05:16 AM   #2
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Being that you said you had a 4gb cap, I am going to assume you're running WinXP. What Mobo do you have? I've always been told not to mix different brands of memory. Memory is cheap now. I'd just go for the full 4gb.

Crucial is good. I've not had a problem with it. I have 16gb of Crucial memory in mine.

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Old 03-04-2013, 09:12 AM   #3
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Ten years is pushing the lifespan of that motherboard & power supply. What is the model# of the old Gateway?
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:30 AM   #4
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Is no need to, will it work? Good chance it will.
I want to take a guess here, ask what crucial sold you for ram.
My guess is ddr 400, then what speed is the old 256 sticks? Probably ddr 2700. or similar.

In most cases, will run with the mixed ram, some times not at all. put it in and try?
What happens when you put the slower 2700 in with the faster 400, the pc manages it and will run all the ram at the slower 2700 speed.

So any advantage you will get from the extra 1/2 gig, will lose in slower speed.
And 2 gigs is a respectable amount for that machine, I would leave as is.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:35 AM   #5
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Two things .

1. Get rid of the McAfee garbage. If you're running XP on an older machine, just use Windows Security Essentials and be done with it. I'ts the least hassle.

2. You CAN generally mix and match memories, HOWEVER in general they will all run at the speed of the SLOWEST DIMM. So if you have some nice new fast memory in there, and you stick in some old slow memory, it'll run at th eold slow speed. Your speedup is PROBABLY more due to having more memory, not FASTER memory, so maybe it won't matter -- you could just try it and see.

I say you can GENERALLY mix memories because there are certainly situations where you can't. However, there's nothing electrically dangerous about trying it - at worst your computer just won't boot up, will probably throw some sort of BIOS memory error, and you can take the offending DIMMs back out.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:00 AM   #6
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


I would not invest any money in a 10 year old machine.....

For a few hundred dollars you can get a 64bit computer with 4G of ram with Win7 or 8 and get another 10 years of service.

Now...if this is a beater computer (for the kids)....instead of ram...buy a SSD (Solid State Drive). You can get a 128G for about $100 and it will substantially improve the performance. Chances are your HD is tired....and one of the weak points...so a SSD would be a good performance upgrade.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:46 AM   #7
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
What is the model# of the old Gateway?
According to my original paperwork from Gateway, it is a Gateway 500XL PC. However, when crucial scanned my PC to find the compatible memory, they listed it as a Gateway E-4100 Series Desktop/PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by funfool View Post
I want to take a guess here, ask what crucial sold you for ram.
My guess is ddr 400, then what speed is the old 256 sticks? Probably ddr 2700. or similar.
This is what I bought: DDR (184-Pin SDRAM) DDR 333 (PC 2700) and the Crucial scan revealed that my PC is "DDR PC2700, DDR PC3200" so I assume it would accept either of those.

According to my original Gateway paperwork, I had two 256 MB modules of 400MHz DDR SDRAM in there originally.

The 333 MHz and 400 MHz appears to be the only difference between the older and newer RAM.

Would you expect any problems if I add in the extra 512 MB of RAM?
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:56 AM   #8
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
I would not invest any money in a 10 year old machine.....

Chances are your HD is tired....and one of the weak points...so a SSD would be a good performance upgrade.
I didn't mind spending $50 on the new memory. It was easy to replace and I spent a lot on this Gateway PC back in 2003...way more than I want to mention...but it has lasted me this long and hopefully goes longer. It satisfies my limited needs. I replaced the original hard drive around year 7 on this PC.

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Originally Posted by TheBobmanNH View Post
Get rid of the McAfee garbage. If you're running XP on an older machine, just use Windows Security Essentials and be done with it. I'ts the least hassle.
Thanks for the tip. I may in fact dump this McAfee garbage and try the Windows Security Essentials. The McAfee was free anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by r0ckstarr View Post
Being that you said you had a 4gb cap, I am going to assume you're running WinXP. What Mobo do you have?
Yes, it is Windows XP. According to the Gateway paperwork, the Motherboard is an "Intel 865G" for a 6-Bay Case.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:08 AM   #9
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle One View Post
Thanks for the tip. I may in fact dump this McAfee garbage and try the Windows Security Essentials. The McAfee was free anyway.
Yeah, the McAffee is free but they hassle you constantly. They claim it's AntiVirus but with the amount of pestering over upgrades and whatnot, it's basically its own virus!!!!


Again, you'll have no problem mixing those RAM DIMMs, but they'll run at the slower speed. Try it out and see if you notice it being faster / slower / the same. Only you can tell if it's an improvement or not. Like you said, ti's easy enough to try.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


I agree with everything stated above. I would put the 2 extra mem modules in and try it. Best case is it works and you have more memory. Worst case is it won't boot up. If so, just take it back out and you are good again. BTW, $50 is pretty expensive for that memory. That probably is the new price, but most businesses are literally throwing that stuff away (well, actually recycling it). We donate our old computers to a computer recycler. If you were to go to one in your town, you could probably find 2 1GB sticks for $5 or $10 total, tops. I upgraded an older XP machine with a SSD drive and it doubled the performance. Not bad for around $60. I got it from Newegg. I also support MS Security Essentials.

One last thing is you may not have your computer set up properly to use the RAM. Look here:

1) Right click on "my computer". Choose "properties".
2) Go to "Advanced System Settings".
3) Choose "Advanced" tab.
4) On the Advanced tab, click "settings" under "Performance" category.
5) Click the "Advanced" tab.
6) In the "Virtual Memory" area, click "Change".
7) Make sure for the "C:" drive that you have "System managed size" set. If not do so and then click the "set" button.
8) Now click "OK" on everything to back out. You will be prompted to reboot.

These technically are the Windows 7 directions, but if I remember correctly, XP is the same or very similar.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:06 AM   #11
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


you will be fine using the old ram. As noted above worse is it would not boot, just pull it back out.
Just kinda scratching my head, wondering why crucial sold you the slower 333, when you already had 400 installed.
So in my theory above, your older ram would cause the new ram to be clocked at the slowest speed, in this case, your old ram will be clocked to the slower speed of the new ram, causing no slow down.

I also agree with the others about mcafee, same with norton.
If I am asked to clean up a computer filled with malware, virus and such. If I see mcafee installed, is first thing I am going to remove.
It is a pig and I consider it worse then some of the malware my job is to remove.
Norton is even worse then mcafee.

I just use mse and safe internet habits and never have a problem with it.
No anti virus is 100% all of the time, but mse is good, it has a light foot print and not a resource hog, it is free from microsoft.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:41 AM   #12
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_b View Post
BTW, $50 is pretty expensive for that memory. That probably is the new price, but most businesses are literally throwing that stuff away (well, actually recycling it). We donate our old computers to a computer recycler. If you were to go to one in your town, you could probably find 2 1GB sticks for $5 or $10 total, tops.
DOH!! I wish I had thought of that BEFORE! Great advice. I will keep in mind the next time I need a part, although I would have to do some digging to find a local recycler in the DC metro area here.

Also, I went ahead and checked out the settings for the virtual memory and found something interesting. The setting was on "CUSTOM SIZE" and it had parameters for Initial Size at 768 MB and Maximum Size at 1536 MB. I changed it to system managed like you said. Should this improve things even more? Should I have had it on 'System Managed' all along even with the smaller RAM? Just curious....
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:37 PM   #13
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


It should help a little. No miracles, but in the right direction. I've seen when memory is fixed in size like what you had and then you are using the PC with a lot of apps open, that it would really bog down when it had used up all of the swap space. Changing the setting to system managed lets it expand the swap space as needed.
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:56 PM   #14
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle One View Post

Also, I went ahead and checked out the settings for the virtual memory and found something interesting. The setting was on "CUSTOM SIZE" and it had parameters for Initial Size at 768 MB and Maximum Size at 1536 MB. I changed it to system managed like you said. Should this improve things even more? Should I have had it on 'System Managed' all along even with the smaller RAM? Just curious....
This will definitely help out with the error about Virtual Memory. If you have enough Hard Drive space - I would set it a min of 4 Gig.
I also agree with everyone on McAfee. Microsoft security Essentials is the way to go.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:41 PM   #15
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Can I add older RAM modules with new RAM modules?


It will most likely run even faster without the MaCafee. It and Norton are just space hogs. If you want something besides essentials, run either free Avast or free AVG.

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