all of the sticks will work with the same settings/channels/voltages etc...
1 stick in single channel mode only,
2 sticks in dual channel, even if inserted in a three channel mobo (or in single if dual is not supported by the mobo, like really old systems..).
3 sticks in either single or tripple channel mode, cant do dual.
4 sticks will work in dual channel mode (or in single channel mode).
edit just to add
5 sticks in single channel (this would be pretty darn stupid lol)
6 sticks in tripple channel (thou there is one new lga1156 mobo from gigabyte that can do dual channel with 6 sticks, 3 in both channels, but haven't seen any others)
my question is how is the motherboard going to accuses these ram sticks if the number of sticks are not the ones that it supports(thought not sure if it does) i know this question is hardly known or ever been asked in here, but i really would like to know as it will help me alot in getting the best out of the ram and to know how they work.
on a dual channel mode, if i put 3 sticks of ram, would 2 of them operate as dual while the other as a single, or would all of them operate as single?
There are no dual channel supported chipsets that support 4 DIMMS that will operate with 3 DIMM slots filled. 1,2 or 4 DIMMS, but not three.
on a triple channel mode, if i put 2 sticks would they operate as dual? or triple channel motherboards only support triple channel?
Depends on the chipset supporting dual and/or triple channel at all. Socket 754 can support three DIMMS, but in single channel only. I'm sure the latest chipsets support dual/triple channel. See MB chipset specs. MB manual.
if i put 4 sticks of ram in a triple channel, would 3 operate as triple channel while the other as a single, or would they all operate at dual channel, or would they all operate at single channel?
What does the chipset tell you regarding support of 4 DIMMS in a triple channel config?
all of the tripple channel mobos support dual channel and single channel modes as well, and dual channel mobos support single channel mode. just make sure you insert them in the right ram slots on the mobo or it will only work in single channel...
edit. just to make it absolutely clear, you'll need even number of sticks (2, 4 or that odd 6) for dual channel mode, 3 or 6 for tripple channel mode, everything else will only work in single channel mode or if inserted in wrong slotts.
Most of the modern mobos support dual channel and sinle channel modes, only X58 can do tripple as well, really old ones like the amd 754 support only single channel
1. If you put 3 sticks on dual channel m/b on some m/b it 2 will work as dual and 1 on single cannel, on other m/b all will work on single channel, depends on m/b(chipset).
2. On tripple channel m/b 2 sticks will work either on dual channel or single channel depending which slots you put them in.
3. 4 sticks on triple channel depends which slots you put them in. You can definately get them in dual channel if plugged correctly, I am not sure but I think you could get it in 3 channel +1 on single, and probably force them into single channel. I would probably put htem in 2x2.