I Got More RAM!

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-04-30 | Last Updated: 2020-04-30

A few days ago, I posted about how I would sometimes run out of RAM while playing heavily modded video games like Minecraft and how this would cause my computer to completely lock up, requiring a full restart.

Well, some time ago I built and upgraded a couple of computers for a friend and they gave me their old set of 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DIMMs since they didn’t need them anymore and as thanks for helping them. I already have 2x8GB 3200MHz G.Skill Ripjaws V DIMMs in my computer which I got to run with my Ryzen 5 1600 at 2933MHz; first generation Ryzen is quite finicky when it comes to getting some memory to run at higher clock speeds and the XMP profile didn’t work. Usually, you either need to choose RAM that your motherboard vendor has tested and confirmed to work at certain speeds, or you need to spend some time tinkering to get the best possible results.

When I first got this RAM, I tried putting it in my computer but was only able to get it to run stably at a really low speed, something like one step above 2133MHz. I wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice for what I thought at the time was an unnecessary increase in RAM. However, with me constantly running up against my computers limits, I decided to give it another go.

I first tried keeping my settings the same and plugging in the two new modules into the two available slots on my motherboard. As expected, this failed to boot. Then, I tried a configuration where the two smaller capacity DIMMs were in the primary memory slots (A2 and B2) and were the only memory modules in the system. This, surprisingly, worked without any problems; the modules were running at 2933MHz and I had a total of 8GB of RAM.

Then, I reset my memory settings and I put the 16GB modules in the remaining slots (A1 and B1). The computer booted fine, with 24GB of RAM running at a stock speed of 2133MHz. Slowly, I increased the speed and upped the voltage until my motherboard threw a tantrum, beeped loudly at me, and reset my settings. I landed on 2866MHz at 1.25V but there was an instance where the motherboard failed to boot, but tried again and succeeded which made me up the voltage to 1.35V hoping that it was just a voltage problem.

So, as I am writing this, I have 24GB of RAM running at 2866MHz at 1.35V. Slots A2 and B2 are the Ripjaws 4 4GB DIMMs and slots A1 and B1 are the Ripjaws V 8GB DIMMs. I ran a few stress tests using stress and did a memory benchmark and things looked okay. Except that Firefox tabs keep crashing… and now the apt module in polybar is reporting “a corrupt package file or wrong hash”. Hmm…

Okay, I’m back! I dropped the speed down to 2800MHz at 1.35V and things seem to be running stable now. I tried dropping the voltage as well to reduce power consumption and heat generation but anything below 1.35V was not stable either.

Despite running the RAM 133MHz slower, there is not a noticeable difference in the responsiveness of my computer or the performance of my games. Then again, even if there’s something like a 5FPS drop in games, it’s worth it for the peace of mind of not running into OOM situations. I’ll see in the coming days if the current speed is causing instabilities and if I’ll have to drop it down even further (the next lowest mark is 2733MHz) but, for now, I’m just enjoying my extra 8GB of RAM.

(If you’re wondering, I arrived at a maximum voltage of 1.35V because that’s the voltage the XMP profile set and I didn’t want to risk going higher than that.)

This is my sixth post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.