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1 gig dual channel vs 2 gigs non dual channel

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November 14, 2006 1:58:30 PM

I have 1 gig (2x512) of Corsair modules running in dual channel mode.
A friend upgraded his pc and is offering me 1 gig (2x512) of Patriot ram.
(I don't have the specifics on either of the modules - I have to pop my case open). Let's assume timing etc are the same.

My motherboard has 4 slots so I could put in the patriot ram along side the corsair, but it would negate the dual channel mode.

Is 1 gig of the same type of mem running in dual channel "better" than 2 gigs of mixed ram in non-dual channel?

What about 2 gigs of the same mem (4x512)?

And by better I mean games - Morrowind, Madden '06, and Civ 4.

MSI 9800xt
AsRock DualSata 939
AMD 64 3000+
November 14, 2006 2:14:27 PM

Quote:
My motherboard has 4 slots so I could put in the patriot ram along side the corsair, but it would negate the dual channel mode.


No it wouldn't. Slots 1&3 would be dual channel and so would slots 2&4
November 14, 2006 2:19:05 PM

sruane-

So if I put the corsair in slots 1&3 and the patriot in slots 2&4 it would give me 2 gigs working dual channel?
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November 14, 2006 2:20:50 PM

Quote:
sruane-

So if I put the corsair in slots 1&3 and the patriot in slots 2&4 it would give me 2 gigs working dual channel?



Yup.
November 14, 2006 2:29:11 PM

Just refer to your mb booklet or download CPU-Z to verify that your ram is indeed working in dual channel mode when you're done.
November 14, 2006 2:30:12 PM

can we get a second opinion to confirm this finding

because i didn't know 2 different brands of memory could be dual channel
November 14, 2006 2:34:14 PM

Quote:
can we get a second opinion to confirm this finding

because i didn't know 2 different brands of memory could be dual channel


My understanding is in order to have dual channel, the RAM must be the same capacity and speed. E.g., it all should be 512 MB PC3200. If it's 4x512, but 2 are 3200 and 2 are 2700, it won't run dual.

Also, it's not necessarily slots 1-3 and 2-4. Some boards (like mine) run slots 1-2 and 3-4 for dual channel.
November 14, 2006 2:44:17 PM

I've heard of it being done.

BUT the point should surely be that 1Gb of Dual offers less performance than 2Gb of Single, saving a couple of disk swaps is worth a lot of memory speed?

The only significant performance issue the OP might have is if they are a slower speed, 333 vs 400 for example, in which case the loss in RAM speed might outweigh the increase in size.

With regards to 4 sticks in dual channel, some mobo's only offer dual channel in certain combinations, i.e. my old Abit AN7 would only allow 3 out of 4 slots to be used if the first 2 were populated with 1GB sticks. Just a thought to be wary of.
November 14, 2006 2:50:20 PM

The ram will work at the lowest speed of any module anyway. Since you have 4 slots, with 4X512Mb modules you will get dual-channel operation no matter what. It's common sense really.

2 Gigs of PC2700 in dual channel will still be much better (especially in future applications and for Vista) than 1 gig of PC3200. The memory, in it's entireity, will run at the most "common denominator" settings of any of your ram modules. That means it'l run at the highest column/row strobe setup speeds, highest cycle times, and lowest common frequency.
November 14, 2006 2:53:45 PM

Quote:
can we get a second opinion to confirm this finding

because i didn't know 2 different brands of memory could be dual channel


Yes they can! And I know this because I have two different 1gig sticks in my system. One being Buffalo Technologies, and the other I can't think of the name right now. But I have Dual Channel. Pops up everyday when I turn on the machine.

I'm sure that your MB decides if your ram will work in dual channel. Since the ram is made to work with AMD or Intel specs! As long as there are two or four sticks, you will have Dual Channel.......
November 14, 2006 2:56:05 PM

Quote:
2 Gigs of PC2700 in dual channel will still be much better (especially in future applications and for Vista) than 1 gig of PC3200. The memory, in it's entireity, will run at the most "common denominator" settings of any of your ram modules. That means it'l run at the highest column/row strobe setup speeds, highest cycle times, and lowest common frequency.


Redwing,

if you have 2700 & 3200, it will slow the 3200 and run DC at 2700? If so, that's a nice tool to have.
November 14, 2006 3:02:18 PM

If your memory can operate at lower speeds than it's designed for (in 99% of the cases it can), than yes.

There may be issues with older boards, where the RAM speeds/timings are not properly detected, causing instability issues. In this case you'll need to go into bios and manually adjust the ram timings to those of your SLOWEST ram (find the exact specs for your RAM). That should not be necessary though.

This is just my opinion, but considering your video card and CPU, I think your system may require a major upgrade before you'll see any games that can really take advantage of that 2 gigs. If you can get the ram for cheap though, then definitely go for it :) 
Well on the other hand your CPU (if OC'd) is quite decent, but a video card upgrade will give you more visible benefits than an extra gig of ram, at this point.

Cheers
November 14, 2006 3:09:53 PM

At one point, when I added 2x512 PC3200 (non-dual channel pair, but same model modules) to a system with 2x256 PC2700 (dual channel pair), and it ran dual channel at 533MHz bus speed (1.5GB totaled). But then my system kept crashing and I found out one of the new 512MB RAM was bad. I don't know if I killed it by trying to run it in dual channel mode or the RAM was bad to begin with. I RMA'ed it and they gave me a different model of RAM in exchange. So now I don't have dual channel. :( 

Is it better to have my system (WinXP) running with 2x256 (512MB) in dual channel mode or with 2x512 and 2x256 (1.5GB) in non-dual channel?

This computer is mostly for word processing and Internet and maybe some home video editing. (P4 2.66GHz - 533MHz bus)

And what about this thread's former question? Is it better to have a gaming system with 2x512 (1GB) in dual channel or with 4x512 (2GB) in non-dual channel?
November 14, 2006 3:09:59 PM

Speaking of cheap RAM, Tiger has sticks of 512 for $10.

Cheeeep RAM

But it ends soon. And it's OnRebate. And they suck. But it's cheap. I have Ultra. Suits my needs, for now.
November 14, 2006 3:20:49 PM

Quote:

...
This is just my opinion, but considering your video card and CPU, I think your system may require a major upgrade before you'll see any games that can really take advantage of that 2 gigs. If you can get the ram for cheap though, then definitely go for it :) 

Well on the other hand your CPU (if OC'd) is quite decent, but a video card upgrade will give you more visible benefits than an extra gig of ram, at this point.
Cheers


Thanks for the info.
I'm going to grab the mem sticks as it's seems like they'll only help plus they're free :D 


And I'm planning on a vid card upgrade - just as soon as the x1950xtx goes down to about $200 - probably in June!
November 14, 2006 3:22:11 PM

Quote:
Is it better to have my system (WinXP) running with 2x256 (512MB) in dual channel mode or with 2x512 and 2x256 (1.5GB) in non-dual channel?


I'd go for the 1.5G. It doesn't get the advantage of the extra bandwidth, but it still is triple the RAM.
!