Friday, June 27, 2008

Installing RAM modules having different frequencies- my experience

My problem is mentioned in detail here (it should be worthwhile to read this link prior to reading this post).

I now had 2 RAM modules
  1. A 512 MB 400 MHz module from Simmtronics.
  2. A 256 MB 333 MHz module from a lesser-known brand.
The 512 MB module was already present in the primary slot. I added the 256 MB module to the secondary slot. When I powered on my system, the BIOS began to give ominous beeps, indicating a problem. Naturally, it was due to the newly added RAM module. I suspected that this combination of 400 MHz and 333 MHz RAM modules isn't going to work on my system. Sigh...

As I was about to remove the 256 MB module, an idea flashed in my mind. I quickly swapped the positions of the modules and powered on my system once again, with higher hope. And guess what? It booted normally! The BIOS showed my system's memory speed as 333 MHz, and the total system memory as 768 MB.

I'm not sure why interchanging positions of the two RAM modules made things work, but what I suspect is this (and this is the idea that had flashed in my mind). Putting the 333 MHz RAM into the first slot caused its frequency to be set as the system's memory frequency, by the BIOS (during power on). And this frequency was imposed upon the module in second slot. Since in this case it was a module that supported higher frequency (400 MHz), it simply ran at a slower frequency, without any problems.

However, if the 400 MHz module is put in the first slot, 400 MHz is set as the system's memory frequency (by the BIOS), and the module in second slot isn't able to support it, triggering the error beep sequence.

I again emphasise that I'm not sure about what in reality is the reason for what happened, and that this is the idea that came in my mind. Most importantly, it worked!


  1. Nice blog dude. I think my problem has solved. But here is one more problem with me. Actully I have four slots in my motherboard and I have three rams with diffrent speeds. SO can I use three rams with together.

  2. Thank you!

    I believe you can use 3 RAM modules in a manner similar to my use of 2 RAM modules. Make sure that they are arranged in order of non-decreasing frequency (In simpler words, ensure that you insert the RAM modules in order of increasing frequency/speed). You also have to find out the arrangement of RAM slots in your motherboard, because only then will you be able to place the slowest RAM module in the first slot.

    Hope that helps!