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How Many DIMMs is Correct?

Last response: in Memory
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February 5, 2010 2:30:11 PM

Checking out OEM computers you often see that you can order the same amount of RAM in different configurations. For example, if you want 4GB of DDR3 you can get that as 4 X 1GB sticks or 2 X 2GB sticks.

There's a practical reason for that: If your motherboard has 4 slots and only two are filled, you can add memory without discarding your existing memory.

Beyond that practical consideration, is there anything else to be gained in choosing, for example, 2 X 2GB vs. 1 X 4GB? Better performance, for instance?

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February 5, 2010 3:51:57 PM

Well if you're only using one memory stick you're only going to have it in single channel mode which is less bandwidth then a 2x2gb setup. Typically the larger 4GB sticks cost more individually then a 2x2GB setup, also the w/ more memory modules you're using more power. As you said there is always the upgrade option to keep in mind.
February 5, 2010 5:28:00 PM

I would definitely say get the 2x2gb over the 4x1gb as it will be less stress on your memory controller.
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February 5, 2010 5:28:48 PM

I have found that the more sticks you have, the more you have to end up loosening your timings in order to get it stable.
February 5, 2010 6:25:29 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
2 x 2GB for 1156 boards
3 x 2GB for 1366 boards


Using an 1156 board as an example: Why would you prefer 2 x 2GB over 4 x 1GB? That's my real question.
February 5, 2010 6:35:22 PM

Oops -- sorry folks! As it turns out, this is such a widely discussed topic (including here at Tom's Forums.) I should have tried Google first. [Search term is 2 x 2GB or 4 x 1GB]

People overwhelmingly choose 2 x 2GB for LGA 1156 and 3 X 2GB for LGA 1366. The reasons for not filling all the slots:

1- Leaves room to add memory (which I already figured out);
2- Less heat; and
3- Less chance of read/write errors. This part I don't really understand so well.
!