Tech Support Hotline

Was going to ask this in Shrike’s recent upgrade advice thread, but thought MEW could do with a thread for random, small tech support type questions.
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So here’s my first fully noob question:
I want to add RAM to my PC. It currently has 2 x G.Skill 8GB DDR4 2400Mhz modules in it. I know ideally I should add identical modules, but I can’t find them cos they’re old and slow.

If I can find DDR4-2400 modules, is there anything I should look out for or be aware of?

Alternatively, what would be the impact of putting in faster modules, say 2666Mhz which I can find?

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From my limited knowledge I know that if you mix and match they will all operate at the slowest slowest RAM speed that you stick in there.

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A tech support thread is a great idea! Count me in.

As for the RAM question: Lots of what-ifs to consider.

  • If your system has enough RAM to run your applications / games without resorting to disk swap files, adding more RAM will mostly not result in any noticeable performance benefit. It won’t hurt either though.
  • If you have applications that are very sensitive to memory speed, you may benefit from faster RAM. As @czc rightly says though, all modules will run at the speed of the slowest module, so you would then need to replace the existing RAM, not add to it.
  • Ryzen 1st and 2nd gen gaming performance has proven to be quite sensitive to memory speed, so 3000 will perform better in games than 2400, for example. However, we’re talking about single-digit gains here, not a day-vs-night improvement.

So, the question is, why do you think you need more / faster RAM to begin with?

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Don’t we all want more and faster of everything? :joy:

Seriously though, it’s more a case of “want” than “need”. I’ve lately been struggling a lot with some of the CPU intensive things I want to do on my machine - encoding HD quality videos; streaming and recording gameplay, with a bunch of added tools and overlays running at same time, etc.

I was thinking of quick and easy ways to reduce the CPU load without having to pretty much shut everything else down just to get a video to encode, or to be able to stream anything more than just the single unadorned game screen.

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OK, so if you say “lately”, are you having issues with tasks that used to run better? Or are you just trying to do more multitasking?

Adding more RAM is unlikely to unload your CPU. It may be that you just don’t have enough cores / threads for everything you’re trying to run at the same time. Game streaming especially can be every CPU intensive, which is one of the reasons Ryzen made such a huge impact in the enthusiast market; lots of cores for cheap.

Have you checked CPU load and RAM usage while streaming and encoding? What CPU is it?

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This one. As I get better at these things, I always want to do more with them. Like streaming. Started as a simple broadcast through the Windows Game Bar. Now it’s a full on OBS thing with multiple scenes, and multiple layers in scenes, static overlays, a web cam, a mic, a bunch of browser sources for things like Discord integration, on-screen chat, Streamlabs for notifications, a separate Bot application, 3 browsers to the stream, dual monitors running, etc, etc, etc. I get one thing right then want to throw more stuff into the mix to see what happens.

My CPU is a Ryzen 7 - 1700 on an Asus Prime X370 board.

Oh, and… Have you checked CPU load and RAM usage while streaming and encoding? Honestly, not closely enough, but I intend to do that as well.

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  1. Refer to your motherboard manual for a list of recommended modules and speeds (e.g. https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/LGA1151/ROG_STRIX_Z370-E_GAMING/ROG_STRIX_Z370-E_GAMING-DRAM_QVL_20190220.pdf)
  2. Cross-reference this with your CPU (e.g. https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/129937/intel-core-i5-8600-processor-9m-cache-up-to-4-30-ghz.html)
  3. Look for a deal. I prefer buying memory in kits, so if I want 16GB it will be either 2x8GB or 4x4GB modules.
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Interesting. You shouldn’t be struggling on the core count then.

Start off by checking your system resources, I would suggest. It may be that certain cores are being overloaded due to multiple applications trying to hog the same one, but provided your Windows is reasonably up to date, this shouldn’t be a problem.

The other possibility is that disk IO is holding you back. Ideally you should be running everything off an SSD, but I expect your games will still be on an old platter drive. Windows and your streaming / encoding apps should be on an SSD if you have one though.

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On this point: I assume you’ve got enough upload bandwidth for this? 10Mbps or better? Have you checked the quality settings of your encoding and streaming? Reducing these slightly could have huge performance benefits.

Steve from GN made a ton of streaming test videos when Ryzen first launched. Maybe check these out for some tips.

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Yip, 50/50 fibre line, so that shouldn’t be an issue there. I’m fairly sure it’s a processor load thing though.

Like a couple of nights ago I did a test stream with of just the game with my static overlay image and it worked fine - was actually impressed by the quality of the VOD afterwards. Then last night, same game but with all the bells and whistles turned on, and I was getting “Encoder overloaded” error messages and huge frame drops in OBS almost immediately.

Same thing with the video’s. First couple were pretty straightforward - just 2/3 clips stuck together. No problem encoding them. Then I had to go all fancy for video three. Custom text on each of the clips, video transitions between them, separate and individual music tracks for each clip, and the clips themselves converted to a much better quality and resolution than the first times. End result - was hard locked system, hanging frozen applications, encoding that would get stuck halfway through, etc.

If you are using software encoding in OBS, maybe try use a different setting (fastest, faster, fast etc) to reduce CPU load. Or try switch to NVENC if you have an Nvidia graphics card

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Well… Maybe a 3900X is in your future then instead of more RAM. :grin:

Definitely worth looking into.

I suddenly have much less sympathy for your plight.

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It’s like the internet can read your mind…

This is more relevant for 3rd gen Ryzen, but some useful info in there nonetheless.

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@GregRedd, any update on this issue?

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Sort of shoved it to the background for a while, so not t really, no. My daughter’s boyfriend thinks he has a couple of 2400Mhz RAM modules at his place from an old bitcoin miner he no longer uses. He’s away traveling at the moment, but when he gets back we’ll be able to check if it’s compatible. Until then, I’m chill with what I have.

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