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Triple Channel vs. Dual Channel performance

Last response: in Memory
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November 28, 2009 4:30:02 PM

Hello,

I have a dilemma that i need more opinions on. I've not seen, or had experience with the triple channel RAM set up, therefor, i'm needing some more thoughts to help persuade my decision on what components to get for an upgrade.

In a standard motherboard with 4 memory slots, which spec will net the best performance:

Spec 1:
All 4 slots occupied with [?]gb sticks of RAM, running in dual channel.
Total of [?]gb of RAM, with 4 pools of RAM for data to draw from.

Spec 2:
3 slots occupied with [?]gb sticks of RAM, running in triple channel.
Total of [?]gb of RAM, with 3 pools of RAM for data to draw from.
(Also, does that leave the 4'th slot empty, or are you able to drop in an extra stick, running in single channel?)

My thoughts are that in a standard 4 slot motherboard, that the dual channel set up will outperform a triple channel setup, IF the 4'th slot has to be left empty in a triple channel set up.

And as a final note, i'm aware of the newer 6 slot motherboards are the way to go for a true triple channel set up, and will net better performance over the dual channel. But, i'm after the best all around performance on a 4 slot board (which i currently have, and about to upgrade)

Thank you for your time and help in advance, Brandon.
a c 80 } Memory
November 28, 2009 5:34:10 PM

Quote:
My thoughts are that in a standard 4 slot motherboard, that the dual channel set up will outperform a triple channel setup, IF the 4'th slot has to be left empty in a triple channel set up.
You are correct, but the difference is minimal. If you have a dual channel motherboard, then it makes sense to buy one or two dual channel kits. If you buy a triple channel kit, you normally can't buy a single module later.

Three modules on a dual channel motherboard should behave this way: 2 modules will operate in dual channel mode and one module in single channel mode.
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November 28, 2009 5:41:26 PM

After the release of Intel Lynnfield/Core i5 and I heard that Core i7 860 is beating Core i7 920, I think that Triple DDR3 Channels is more like marketing hype by Intel because it did not boost much performance for Core i7 920. Core i7 860 only uses Dual DDR3 Rams but it is slightly faster than Core i7 920 + X58/Core i7 system + Triple DDR3 Rams and Core i5 system is also much cheaper than X58/Core i7 system.

This is why I would not go with X58/Core i7 system with Triple DDR3 Channels.

http://en.expreview.com/2009/08/28/core-i7-860-tested-f...
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Related resources
November 28, 2009 5:47:56 PM

Core i5 system with Dual DDR3 Channels would normally go with either 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 Rams (2 sticks of DDR3 Ram).

Core i7 system with Triple DDR3 Channels would normally go with either 3GB or 6GB of DDR3 Rams (3 sticks of DDR3 Ram).
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November 28, 2009 6:09:20 PM

Thanks for the super quick responses.

Quote:
Three modules on a dual channel motherboard should behave this way: 2 modules will operate in dual channel mode and one module in single channel mode.


I see what you are saying about a 4 slot motherboard if it is dual channel support only.

In my original post, i didn't specify that the 4 slot motherboard in question would support triple channel. So, that fact in mind, just so i'll be clear, if you install a triple channel set up into this specific board, will the 4'th slot have to be left empty, or will you be able to insert an extra stick of RAM to run in single channel mode?

Again, thanks for your help and time in advance, Brandon.
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a c 80 } Memory
November 28, 2009 7:07:38 PM

If you are referring to an X58 motherboard like the GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R with 4 slots, then you are correct. The 4th slot will run in single channel mode.
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November 28, 2009 7:31:21 PM

Thanks again for the quick answers.

All of the information has been very helpful.
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November 28, 2009 7:37:45 PM

OCZ sells the same spec memory in a dual channel kit as well in a triple channel kit. They are the SAME 2 gig chips coming 2 or 3 to a package.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
Its not ideal to put odd sticks in either configuration, but Dell and HP do it all the time. Memory is fast, synthetic benchmarks would show differences not as easily noticed in the real world.
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Anonymous
a b } Memory
April 22, 2010 8:18:50 PM

I was told by Kingston Tech Support that triple-channel memory is not intended to run on dual channel boards. To quote,

"First off, you should not be using a triple channel kit for this board. This kit is made for boards that support triple channel. This board supports dual channel."

Butch
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Anonymous
a b } Memory
August 12, 2010 3:37:11 AM

Reply to anonymous post

dual channel or triple channel configuration depends on the motherboard or the procie your using e.g. core i7 920, amd phenom. you can use any memory on dual or triple channel. there is no such thing as dual or triple channel memory, only how you set it up. but just remember that triple channel set up can be made only with ddr3. you can also use ddr3 in dual mode.
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