Can I Use 2 Different Brands Of RAM? (Explained)

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Why Should You Buy Your Total RAM Capacity in a Single Kit?

Taking all the aforementioned factors into consideration, it is easy to see why many advocate for purchasing identical RAM sticks in a single kit, in order to achieve optimal performance.

Of course, this is easier said than done, as there will come a time when you will want to upgrade your system’s memory, and that entails increasing the RAM’s storage size or speed.

The best way to avoid these upgrade issues is to plan out and purchase your memory depending on what works best for your CPU model and workloads.

Fortunately, there are some guidelines that can he

Fortunately, there are some guidelines that can help you ascertain what will be the optimal RAM specifications for your CPU.

This way, when you do upgrade, you can simply buy more identical RAM sticks.

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How To Check RAM on Linux?

Before we explain how and why even relatively minor differences in RAM specifications affect performance and stability, we want to take a quick detour and explain how to check RAM on Linux so that you know what hardware you’re working with.

To check the current RAM available, you can use the “free” command with the “-h” option (to make the output more user friendly):

$ free -h total        used        free       shared  buff/ cache   available Mem:           7 ,8G        940M        5 ,2G         16M        1 ,7G        6 ,6G Swap:          2 ,0G          0B        2 ,0G

To find out useful information about your actual physical RAM sticks, you can use the “dmidecode” command (make sure to specify that you’re interested only in your memory using the “—type memory” flag). Here’s a small portion of our output:

$ sudo dmidecode –type memory

Handle 0x0085, DMI type 6 , 12 bytes Memory Module Information Socket Designation: RAM socket #0 Bank Connections: None Current Speed: Unknown Type: EDO DIMM Installed Size: 8192 MB ( Single-bank Connection) Enabled Size: 8192 MB ( Single-bank Connection) Error Status: OK

If entering terminal commands is not your favorite activity, then you can install a graphical system information tool like CPU-X:

Tools Required

We recommend the following programs to assist in testing your memory.

  • The latest version of CPU-Z from
  • Memtest86 from Follow the instructions to make a boot Floppy or bootable CD (optional).

Mixing RAM capacities

What if your PC has 8GB, comprised of a pair of 4GB chips? If you have a pair of spare memory slots, can you add two more 8GB chips to get to 24GB?

Generally, this should be OK, subject to sticking to one brand and spec. If sticking to one brand isn’t possible – I’d suggest pulling the memory that’s already there and adding new memory from scratch.

For example, rather than keep the pair of 4GB sticks, I’d replace them with a pair of 8GB and get my system up to 16GB or 32GB that way.

It’s worth noting, before you upgrade that different Windows 10 versions can use different amounts of memory.

The 32-bit version of Windows 10 can only use 4GB of memory.

With the various 64-bit versions

  • Windows 10 Home – 128 GB
  • Windows 10 Pro – 2TB
  • Windows 10 Pro for Workstations – 6TB
  • Windows 10 Enterprise – 6TB
  • Windows 10 Education – 2TB

Common RAM Sizes

If I remember correctly the original SIMMs came in 256KB, 512KB and 1MB packages and cost a small fortune. In the days of Windows 95 a computer would commonly have several 4MB or 8MB memory modules. By the time Windows 98 came out these had become 16MB or 32MB modules to make up around 64MB in a good system. For Windows XP computers 128MB is a workable minimum depending on what applications you want to run, modules tend to be 128MB, 256MB or 512MB. Currently systems routinely ship with 512MB sticks and 1GB sticks are becoming more common.

RAM module sizes always double: 4MB, 8MB, 16MB, 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, etc. (since strictly speaking 1GB = 1024MB) You wont find any 96MB RAM modules for example, but your system may have an “unusual” amount of total RAM for a couple of reasons

  • The system contains different sized RAM modules.
  • For example your system shows 192MB of RAM. Most likely this was a system that started life with 64MB of SDRAM and was upgraded by adding a 128MB module.
  •  
  • The system has onboard video.
  • When a system has onboard video the video ‘card’ is integrated into the motherboard, but no video memory is provided, instead the system reserves part of the system RAM to act as video memory. How much memory is reserved depends on settings in the BIOS and is usually any standard size from 4MB to 64MB. The ‘total’ amount of RAM that Windows sees is then the size of the RAM module, less the amount reserved for video. This can result in some very odd-looking amounts for total system RAM. For example a system’s total RAM may be reported as 352MB. This could be made up of one 128MB module plus one 256MB module less 32MB reserved for video.

RAM Size

RAM sticks are sold with 4 GB to 32 GB of memory. You can freely mix RAM sizes, but there’s one reason why you shouldn’t: dual-channel memory configuration.

You see, your CPU doesn’t communicate with your RAM sticks directly. Instead, it passes information through the so-called memory controller, which has two 64-bit (total 128-bit) channels at least on most motherboards.

If you buy a RAM kit that consists of two identical RAM sticks, your computer will almost certainly automatically default to a dual-channel configuration, essentially doubling the memory bandwidth. If you add a mismatched RAM stick, it will run in the single-channel (asymmetric) mode, which provides single-channel bandwidth and uses the slowest supported memory timing.

How Many Types of RAM?

Basically, there are two types of RAM, but depending on the function, there are different important types of RAM (Random Access Memory), which are given below.

  • SDRAM
  • RD RAM
  • DDR SDRAM
  • FPM DRAM
  • VRAM
  • EDO RAM

Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM)

  • Time in market: 1993 to present
  • Popular products using SDRAM: Computer memory, video game consoles

SDRAM is a classification of DRAM that operates in sync with the CPU clock, which means that it waits for the clock signal before responding to data input (e.g. user interface). By contrast, DRAM is asynchronous, which means it responds immediately to data input. But the benefit of synchronous operation is that a CPU can process overlapping instructions in parallel, also known as ‘pipelining’—the ability to receive (read) a new instruction before the previous instruction has been fully resolved (write).

Although pipelining doesn’t affect the time it takes to process instructions, it does allow more instructions to be completed simultaneously. Processing one read and one write instruction per clock cycle results in higher overall CPU transfer/performance rates. SDRAM supports pipelining due to the way its memory is divided into separate banks, which is what led to its widespread preference over basic DRAM.

RAM Speeds

When you’re selecting your RAM, you’ll likely notice a large number followed in MHz. This number, which represents the frequency of the RAM, is essentially its speed. How does this RAM speed affect your system? What does it do? We’ll talk about all these questions in detail here, as the answer is fairly complicated.

First off, you need to understand that determining the RAM’s actual speed takes some effort, as it depends on various factors alongside the aforementioned frequency. Although, that does have a significant impact. You also need to consider the CAS latency and clock speed.

However, most manufacturers don’t tend to add in the fine details of every RAM stick they provide, so you won’t be able to get the values for the last two. But, the frequency is still enough to give you a rough idea of the speed.

Now, let’s get onto the big question. What does RAM speed do? Well, it helps your computer runs smoother overall and benefits you largely when you’re multitasking. For instance, you can get a significant performance improvement if you do rendering or streaming with faster RAM.

There isn’t much value in higher RAM speeds for gamers, though. There’s rarely any differences in performance when it comes to videogames, as the CPU and GPU handle most of the heavy tasks.

Although, if you are considering getting faster speed for gaming, then you might notice slight improvements in the more modern games. If you need to have a better gaming experience by upgrading RAM, we’d suggest upgrading the memory capacity rather than the speed.

Recommended Reading: 11 Best laptops under 50000

Different Types of RAM in a Computer

There are 2 types of RAM memory, that are DRAM and SRAM. When you buy a RAM stick, it contains both SRAM and DRAM components.

SRAM (Static-RAM)

To avoid frequent recharging, Static RAMs do not use capacitors. One capacitor and one transistor combined can store 1 bit of data. But, as static RAM does not use capacitors, they need to use 4 transistors to store 1 bit of data. Therefore, the transistors need more physical space on the RAM stick, which results in having less storage space. 

DRAM (Dynamic-RAM)

Dynamic RAM uses transistors and Capacitors to store data. There are millions of transistors and capacitors in RAM. But, the capacitors can store data only for a few milliseconds. Therefore, it needs to be recharged very frequently.

Generation of Dynamic RAM:

The Old Generation of Dynamic RAM was not in sync with the CPU, so they were called Asynchronous DRAM. 

The next generation of RAM came with a solution for that. The SDRAM is now in sync with the CPU clock. This is the type of RAM used these days. The Input/Output Clock Frequency of the CPU is in sync with RAM internal clock Frequency.

Next came the SDR-SDRAM, which uses Single Data Rate to transfer data. The SDR-SDRAM had two notches on the RAM Stick.

The latest and current generation of Synchronous DRAM are DDR-SDRAM (DDR-Double Data Rate). The transfer rate is doubled in DDR.

There are Different Generations in DDR-SDRAM like DDR, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, and so on. Which we will discuss later in this article.

Difference Between DRAM Vs SRAM in Table Form:

DRAM (Dynamic RAM)SRAM (Static RAM)
Each chip contains several transistors and capacitorsContains only transistors to store data
SRAM needs an electric current to maintain its electrical stateStores data without any frequent recharging
Requires Frequent Refreshing. CPU cannot access the data in it when it is refreshed frequentlyDoes not require refreshing. Utilizes less power than DRAM
It is cheaperExpensive
More Storage but Slower than SRAMLess Storage but Faster than DRAM
Difference Between DRAM and SRAM in a Tabular Form

ECC Memory: 

There is another type of RAM, which is called ECC (Error Connecting Code) Memory.

You might have experienced system crashes in the past. Because the RAM Stick we use is Non-ECC Memory. As we have already discussed, that the CPU collects data from RAM, and RAM takes the data from your secondary storage device. But, sometimes, we might lose a little amount of data during the transfer, which would lead our system to hang, freeze, or crash.

However, data loss is not very critical for home users. But, it is critical for online services. ECC Memory prevents your system from crashing unexpectedly. Therefore, these types of RAM are mostly used in businesses and online data storage services. 

As you have seen in the above pics, the Standard RAM Stick has only 8 chips on it. Whereas, the ECC RAM will have nine. 

It is possible to install ECC RAM on your computer, but they are very expensive. Also, you might need a motherboard that supports ECC RAM Sticks. Moreover, the ECC RAM has to make extra calculations, so you will find a decline in performance as well.

Laptop RAMs:

The RAM pictures you saw above are Desktop RAMs. Laptop RAMs are smaller in size but contain the same amount of chips on them. RAM Manufacturers have reduced its size to fit into laptops. However, Laptop RAMs have fewer pins, which results in slow transfer rates compared to Desktop RAMs.

Gaming RAMs (RGB Types of RAMs):

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These days, RGB RAMs are getting very popular. Gaming RAMs are similar to the standard ones in terms of performance. The Gaming/RGB RAM has lights on its case, which looks appealing. It consumes more power and might even reduce the performance in rare cases.

RAM Generations

You can also classify different types of RAM based on their Generations. As we proceed into the modern era, manufacturing companies are trying their best to provide us a better version of RAM with every generation. There is no doubt that the latest version is better than the previous one. The new generation RAMs are not only better in performance but also consume less energy.

The RAM Generations are named DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, and so on. The specifications are always mentioned on the RAM Stick, as you can see in the below images. Sometimes the companies do not mention DDR type on it. Instead, they write PC, PC2, PC3, etc. PC3 indicates it is DDR3 gen RAM.

DDR3 and DDR4 RAM

DDR1-SDRAM:

The DDR RAM had large chips on it on both sides. DDR1-SDRAM is better than the SDR-SDRAM in terms of speed and power saving. 

  • The DDR1 RAM used 2.5 V.
  • The Maximum speed is 3200 MBPS

DDR2:

The next generation RAMs (DDR2) had smaller chips on both sides of the stick.

  • The DDR3 RAM used 1.8 V.
  • The Transfer speed is 3200 MBPS to 6400 MBPS
  • It has a 4-bit pre-fetch, while DDR1 had only 2-bit.

DDR3:

DDR3 RAMs have even smaller chips on both sides and were much faster than the previous version.

  • The DDR3 RAM uses only 1.5 V.
  • The Transfer speed is 6400 MBPS to 17000 MBPS
  • It has an 8-bit pre-fetch

DDR4:

The chips were further reduced in size in DDR4 and placed only on one side of the RAM stick.

  • The DDR3 RAM uses only 1.2 V.
  • The Bandwidth is 12800 to 25600 MBPS
  • The number of bit pre-fetch is the same as DDR3 RAM, which is 8 bit. 

DDR5:

Finally, the newly released DDR5 RAM Sticks are the fastest and consume very little power.

How to Identify the Type of RAM Generation:

You can also identify the RAM generation by looking at the notches on the RAM Stick. The Below image by alltechqueries.com shows the difference between DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4. 

You can see in the above picture, all types of RAM

You can see in the above picture, all types of RAM have a notch, that fits into the motherboard. As different types of RAM has different notches, there are also different types of RAM Slots on your motherboard. You can place DDR3 RAM in DDR3 Slot only.

That means, you cannot insert old ram into a new PC, and vice versa. Therefore, you need to buy a new and compatible motherboard if you wish to get the latest generation RAM.

How to Check the Type of RAM in your PC?

  1. Open Task Manager using the search menu or by holding Alt+Ctrl+Del keys.
  2. Now, go to the memory tab.
  3. It shows the size of RAM, type, speed, usage, and other details.
  4. However, it does not show the type of RAM in some Windows 10 computers. In such a case, you need to install a Third-Party app called CPU-Z.

RAM Manufacturing Brands:

Although several brands manufacture RAMs, here is the list of few popular brands.

  • Corsair
  • G-Skill
  • Kingston
  • Micron
  • Samsung
  • Crucial
  • ADATA
  • Patriot
  • Transcend
  • TeamGroup

Frequently Asked Questions:

RAM is Which Type of Memory? RAM is classified as Primary Memory aka Main Memory. Also Read   GPU Vs CPU – What are the primary differences between them? What is the use of RAM? CPU uses RAM to store the data temporarily to execute programs faster. Does adding more RAM make your computer faster? Yes, but not completely. You need to add the RAM your system requires to run the specific applications. If your computer is running slow, adding RAM would increase the speed. But, if your PC is already running all the required applications, then adding more RAM won’t make a significant difference. Can I use a computer without RAM? No. RAM is the Primary Memory of the computer. Your CPU will start beeping when you remove the RAM from the motherboard. It is possible to run a PC without a Hard Disk, but not without RAM. Does the size of RAM affect the speed of the computer? Your CPU stores data and information on the RAM. So, if you have more RAM, then the CPU can store more data and start applications faster. How much RAM do I really need for Gaming? In 2021, you would need 8-16 Gigabytes of RAM to play AAA Title games. So far, there aren’t any games that demand more than 16 GB. Which is most important in Gaming, RAM or graphics card? Graphics Card is most important for Gaming. However, you need to have at least 4 GB of DRAM as well. Can you increase the RAM in your laptop? In most cases, Yes. You need to check the laptop hardware to see if there are extra RAM slots on the motherboard. Most modern-day laptops have at least two RAM slots, with one of them pre-occupied. If there is an empty slot on your motherboard, then you can add the RAM. Which one can speed up a laptop better? RAM or SSD? Here is a simple answer. SSD helps applications to load faster (if you installed the apps on SSD). However, RAM allows you to run multiple applications at the same time without slowing down the PC. If you want to open multiple Chrome tabs or use several apps like word, image viewer, media player, and other apps, you need to upgrade the RAM.  What is the difference between DDR3 & DDR4 RAM? DDR4 is the new generation of RAM, which is faster and consumes less power. Can we use a pen drive as RAM? No. The RAM needs to be close to the CPU and connected with a high-speed bus. However, you can use a pen drive as Hard Disk. Can RAM affect FPS? If you are getting less than 20 FPS while Gaming, adding more RAM will definitely give better FPS. However, if you are getting 60 FPS, then adding more won’t further increase the FPS. Can RAM Bottleneck GPU? It depends on whether you have Integrated Graphics or Dedicated Graphics. If you are talking about a built-in GPU, then Yes. Because the built-in GPU uses system RAM and dedicated Graphics Card uses its own RAM.  What Type of RAM is compatible with your PC or Motherboard? For that, you need to check which RAM slots your motherboard has. (Like DDR3, DDR4, etc.). You can look into the motherboard specifications on the box, or check it online. It is hard to identify which RAM type your motherboard supports by looking at the hardware. Which RAM type is best? Dynamic RAMs are best compared to SRAM. Also, The latest Generation RAM is always better than the old generation. Which RAM is fastest? The DDR 5th Generation RAM is the fastest for now. However, the next generation’s RAMs will be even faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a best type of RAM? There isn't, because different kinds of RAM often have very different applications. But for a home computing user, today the best option by far is DDR4.
  • What's fastest: DDR2. DDR3. or DDR4? Each generation of RAM improves on the previous one, bringing faster speeds and more bandwidth to the table. The fastest RAM in the context of home computing is easily DDR4.

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