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Re: Dell workstation offer on BALUG's hardware list

Quoting goossbears (acohen36@gmail.com):

> U2: Should whoever takes the Precision T5400 decide to max out the RAM
> with "eight 4GB ECC sticks, total 32GB", then am hoping that the taker
> will wish to further "pay it forward" by donating the pre-installed
> and unneeded DDR2 667 MHz ECC RAM sticks to Michael P in order to
> "Help upgrade hardware BALUG & SF-LUG runs on regularly but not most
> of the time" as per the very first wanted listing at
> https://www.wiki.balug.org/wiki/doku.php?id=balug:offered_wanted_hardware_etc 

That is a pleasant and generous-minded wish.  At the risk of pouring
cold-ish water on it, and _not_ knowing the particulars of the hardware
Michael Paoli runs the BALUG & SF-LUG VMs on:

Those four 1GB sticks illustrate a frequenly recurring awkward spot:
Computer users over time tend to accumulate low-density RAM sticks, that
pile up in drawers, because they end up being replaced in a limited
number of motherboard RAM sockets by higher-density sticks.  Your Dell
might be seen as a case in point.  I said upthread:

   Am guessing that you add RAM in banks of four matched sticks
   (eight sockets, and I assume they're currently each occupied by a 1GB
   stick of DDR2 (aka PC2-5300) fully-buffered 667MHz 240-pin 1.8 volt ECC

If I guessed right (based on long corporate experience), the original
purchaser went with a default low-spec RAM configuration that fully
populated _all eight_ available RAM sockets with lowest-density (1GB per
stick) DIMMs, as two matched sets of four.  _Thereafter_, any RAM
upgrade would require yanking either four or all eight of the existing
low-density RAM and tossing those in a drawer -- because their slots are
required for higher-density sticks.  The tossed ones tend to linger in
drawers, or eventually to be hopefully donated to a good cause, in hopes
that _somebody_ has empty (and compatible) RAM slots.

But most people, y'see, have done their initial planning in a similar
low-spec way, and all of _their_ motherboard RAM sockets are populated
with cheaper, lower-density sticks, too.  The end result is that many
people happily and generously seek to give away low-density sticks they
cannot use, but few other people are in a position to use them, and most
people smile and say 'Thanks but no.'  Or they say yes, but the RAM,
after contemplation, just lands in a different person's drawer.

The punch line:  All of the above, IMO, underlines niccely my opinion
that, on motherboards with RAM slots that can take RAM of several
different densities (as your Dell can accept 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB sticks
of a very specific type), the purchaser should strongly consider putting
_only_ the highest-density sticks into it.

E.g., if the original 2007 purchaser had been determined to save money
up-front on RAM, IMO the only rational way to do so would have been to
purchase 4 x 4GB PC2-5300 67MHz 240-pin 1.8 volt ECC SDRAM DIMMs -- 
for total system RAM of 16GB.  That way, later it would have been
possible to buy another set of those, maxing out at 32GB, _without_ 
tossing any RAM into a drawer and eating its acquisition cost.

Planning ahead, y'see.

_Current_ motherboards, though, especially for laptops, increasingly
have _no_ RAM sockets, only surface-mounted RAM installed onto the
motherboard during manufacturing, hence not upgradable at all.  Be aware
of that gotcha, when buying.

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