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Haswell Z87 motherboard i7 4770K processor RAM question

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November 5, 2013 10:34:51 AM

Hello I have just heard that the i7 4770K processor is only able to read 2 sticks of ram at a time (dual Channel), if so then I need to return the 4 sticks of RAM I just bought!, thanks Peeps.
November 5, 2013 10:42:11 AM

You can use 4 for capacity, but bandwidth will be the same as with 2.
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November 5, 2013 10:44:09 AM

You didn't list motherboard, so hopefully you have 4 slots.

If so you are fine. It is only capable of dual channel memory. You can populate all 4 slots they will just run in dual channel mode.

(on an x79 board 4 sticks would result in quad channel memory, similarly 8 sticks would still be quad channel)
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November 5, 2013 10:44:28 AM

Can you explain what that means please Mr Groomer?...I'm a noob, am I better off with 2 sticks of 8 GB?...
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November 5, 2013 10:46:10 AM

Eximo said:
You didn't list motherboard, so hopefully you have 4 slots.

If so you are fine. It is only capable of dual channel memory. You can populate all 4 slots they will just run in dual channel mode.

(on an x79 board 4 sticks would result in quad channel memory, similarly 8 sticks would still be quad channel)


I have the ASUS Maximus IV Hero and yes it has 4 slots
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November 5, 2013 11:19:16 AM

Dual channel memory is a somewhat simple concept but kind of complicated in execution, but lets start with what DDR is.

Double Data Rate memory describes memory that writes and reads on the rising and falling edge of the clock cycle pulse (a square wave).

800Mhz clock equals DDR 1600 as an example. DDR2, DDR3, each describe a generation of hardware. With each successive generation power consumption, ie temperatures, go down along with voltage. This allows for higher clock speeds.

Dual channel memory is the process of taking the same information and writing to both RAM modules simultaneously. In theory this can double bandwidth. In practice, not all data is the same, so it will take an extra cycle to write the different data.

If a 1 needs to be written to module 1, and a 1 needs to be written to module 2 it will do it at the same time. If they do not match is when it will need the extra cycle.

This is why memory is now commonly sold in matched sets. Dual, Triple, and Quad kits being available. Dual channel for modern consumer class motherboards. Triple channel for X58 professional class boards, and Quad channel for current X79 professional class boards. I believe Haswell-E is slated to introduce DDR4 quad channel sometime in 2014-2015.
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November 5, 2013 11:20:23 AM

Generally speaking, if you can afford it, your Operating System will run faster with the maximum amount of memory that your motherboard will hold. For your system I am assuming 32GB or 4x8Gb modules. Although depending on how much memory the applications you are running require, after a certain amount you get some diminishing returns the higher you go. If your budget dictates less, for example 16Gb, then your "two-channel" memory controller will access two 8GB sticks more efficiently than four 4GB sticks. Each memory channel controller can access a single module at a time. Think of them as two running in parallel. The hardware will not be able to access three or four sticks simultaneously, but it will still be on the order of a thousand times faster than accessing the hard drive for the data.

I assume you bought four sticks of 4GB. Those four sticks you have purchased will work fine, just not as efficiently (measured in nanoseconds). If it doesn't cost you anything to return them, trade them in for a pair of 8s. But I wouldn't sweat it if you can't.
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November 5, 2013 11:29:24 AM

Thanks for taking the time to explain something that I'm sure has been answered a thousand times already with the patience of Jobe, OK I will return the 4 sticks and swap them for 2, it will actually cost me less to return them and switch them over and have change. I'm just glad I happened across the information about the Haswell limitations now and not later, I only received them today and I have 14 days from the sale date to return them. Thanks people, this forum community is a Godsend!.
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