Over the past few weeks I've been having a computer problem. Several times my system has halted on an unrecoverable RAM error (I have ECC RAM). Specifically, in my ca. 2008 Dell Precision T5400 system I currently have 8 x 2 GB FBDIMMs, one of which is apparently failing. In fact, the BIOS has pinpointed the fault to a pair - DIMMs 5 or 6.
I've done the basic maintenance, cleaning dust, making sure temperatures are good, reseating everything. I suspect it's just a module going bad. It happens.
The Dell steps its performance up to quad channel RAM access when it senses matched sets of 4 DIMMs, and I always regard failures as significant opportunities for improvement, so I'm considering buying either four or eight 4 GB DIMMs to replace the (smaller) faulting modules and some nearby. If I buy four (swapping out four 2 GB modules) I'll end up with 24 GB of RAM. If I buy eight I'll end up with 32 GB of RAM. Of course, I could just replace the pair of 2 GB DIMMs that has been identified as faulty.
At this point I really don't see problems working on documents of any size with "just" 16 GB of RAM (keep in mind my scratch files are on a fast SSD array), so I could just get a pair of 2 GB DIMMs (super cheap). However, the extra RAM will only improve Photoshop's performance...
Should I do a minimum cost replacement with no increase in resultant RAM size, get a set of four 4 GB DIMMs and increase to 24 GB, or get a set of 8 DIMMs and move up to 32 GB total? Basically the cost is 16 GB - $35, 24 GB - $330, or 32 GB -$660.
What would you suggest?
You spent thousands of dollars on SSDs and you have to ask?
That's a pertinent point, but if I were to upgrade to a new workstation those SSDs would be moved to the new system. The DDR2 RAM would not. DDR2 RAM is done and gone, as technology goes.
If the difference weren't $35 to just replace vs. nearly 10X that cost to add another 8 GB it would be a no-brainer.
ECC Ram that cheep back in the days you remember the cost. If you got the cash the 64bit OS can utilize the RAM these days.
Yes, more is better, and much more is much better.
If the system were struggling to get through anything I throw at it, the decision would be easier. But it's not, really.
Of course, I could toss out the pocket-change $35 now and revisit the decision in the future... Maybe prices will break even more.
OK - I've ordered 4GB of ECC DDR2 667MHz PC2-5300 as 2 x 2 GB FBDIMMs for $31.88 with free shipping. Even less than I expected it to cost.
That should get me back to stable operation. I think I'll save up for a dual Xeon E5-2687W system...