Dual Channel vs Quad Channel RAM question

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mgookin, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Does everyone agree that this "channel" bullshit is bullshit? Doesn't it just mean "tested at the factory as a matched set"?

    If you have four slots and your mobo is a few years old and says "dual channel" and you buy a quad channel kit, you're fine; right?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. GTS


    Bullshit Marketing

    Might be worth considering if you were going to overclock your rig and wanted to push it the absolute limits but otherwise just ignore it
  3. Thanks GTS. No OC here; just duable powerhouses all at factory settings and purring like a kitten. We run large data sets in Excel x64 and once in a while get the memory full notification running with 8GB.

    FYI: You can get 4x4GB DDR3 1600 for $104 Free Shipping with a free 4GB SD card from Newegg. If anyone's interested: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...m_sp=Cat_Memory-_-Featured_Brand-_-20-231-429

    That's quite a benefit for $100.
  4. I don't think that's quite right. The "channel" business has to do with the mobo. I hadn't heard of "quad channel", but "dual channel" and "triple channel" were the deal since X38 chipset for sure, and perhaps even back into the P4 days. Assuming all the RAM is the same speed, the mobo instructions will tell you which memory configurations will run "dual" or "triple"... other configurations will run as though single channel.
  5. Yes, a matched set. The KEY here is the word KIT.

    e.g. (2) sticks = dual channel kit, (3) sticks = triple channel kit, (4) sticks = quad channel kit and (6) sticks = hexa channel kit

    It's also important to note, these kits (sets) are guaranteed to perform at advertised specifications AS A SET.
  6. And in proper configuration/specs for the motherboard.
  7. Yes that's true. So a person could buy a quad kit (4 sticks) of triple channel RAM or a hexa kit (6 sticks) of dual channel RAM.

    It's kinda like semi-boneless chicken. :)
  8. It's not the RAM itself which is "channel" anything.... it's the mobo. A "RAM kit" is merely sticks which have been spec'd to operate together properly when used in a proper configuration for the mobo.

    For example... in my Gigabyte X58 mobo and recalling from memory it lists something like...

    1 stick in slot 1 = single channel
    sticks in slots 1 & 2, single channel
    sticks in slots 1 & 3 = dual channel
    sticks in slots 1, 3, 5 = triple channel
    sticks in slots 1, 2, 3, 4, = single channel
    sticks in slots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 = single channel
    sticks in slots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 = triple channel

    When a user has an "extra" stick.. and using it is going to slow his RAM from dual/triple channel down to single channel, he has to weigh the advantage of having more memory vs. slowing it down. Best of course would be to run one of the dual/triple channel configurations supported.

    Users should check the mobo specs to see how various configurations work, then buy their RAM accordingly. Each mobo model has its own memory specifications.
  9. I recently went to the Crucial website and downloaded their scanner to find compatible ram. Upgraded a machine from 4 to 8gb and it was ridiculously easy and cheap. Programmers are getting lazy with ram and it is now assumed that you have more. It was not long ago that 2gb was normal and now a 64 bit operating system and 6 or 8gb is normal.
  10. Yes, agree. When I built my box the 4 DIMM slots on the Mobo (MSI 890FXA-GD70) were supported with dual memory mode. However, my manual reads, "Due to chipset resource deployment, the system density will only be detected up 15+GB (not full 16GB) when each DIMM is installed with a 4GB memory module."

    So as you described, due to limitations of my Mobo I gave up 1GB of my 4/4GB (quad "channel" kit) to have 15GB of working dual memory.

    Your post describes an excellent example of the Mobo's limitations, very helpful. As previously mentioned I believe the true confusion of this matter is the marketing term bla bla bla "channel" kit.
    #10     Oct 12, 2011