Friday, February 5, 2016

Modern Day PowerPC Hardware Pt.2 --Memory

The easiest upgrade for the 11,2 is upgrading the memory, which will help ensure the system doesn't slow down as you open more applications and files.  Here are my recommendations for choosing the "right" amount of memory:  

  • 4 GB:  Normal use, web browsing, playing multimedia, some media creation, most gaming
  • 8 GB:  Heavier gaming, audio editing and creation, full length standard definition video or HD video clip editing and creation, heavy multitasking, compiling code, data analysis
  • 16 GB:  Heavy data analysis, full length HD video editing, RAMdisk use

Memory Considerations:  
  1. Here is the important thing about the memory in an 11,2:  You have to get precisely the correct type. The 11,2 uses PC2-4200 DDR2 memory.  DDR2 memory is supposed to be backwards compatible, so you will see PC2-6400 memory claiming to be compatible with PC2-4200 memory.  But, the 11,2 memory controller seems to be extremely picky, and when anything other than PC2-4200 memory is installed it will run all memory at PC2-3200 speeds.  I've purchased "PC2-4200 compatible" memory before only to see it reduce the system's memory access speed to PC2-3200.  I purchase all my memory from OWC now, and have never had this problem with memory purchased from them.  
  2. The 11,2 has 8 memory slots.  Memory is installed starting with the inner-most two slots and then working your way out to the outer-most slots.  Memory must be installed in pairs.  This means you cannot install a memory module on one side without a matching module on the other side.  For example, you cannot install 6 GB by using 3, 2 GB modules.  Instead, you would have to use two 2 GB modules and two 1 GB modules.  
  3. It is best to use fewer, higher capacity modules than more, lower capacity modules.  For example, it is better to use four 2 GB modules to equal 8 GB than to use eight 1 GB modules.  This is due to how the memory controller accesses the memory and is different than how x86 systems work.  
  4. Do not use ECC memory unless it is absolutely necessary for your type of work.  ECC memory is Error Correcting Code memory and it detects and corrects when data becomes corrupt in the system memory.  This happens at the bit level and normally is imperceptible to the user.  ECC memory only becomes important if you're doing complex scientific or financial calculations.  However, in addition to a higher cost, using ECC memory will slow memory access by 2-3%.  

Its easy!  
(Video courtesy of OWC)

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