Dual Channel and Single Channel DDR

I apologize in advance if my question seems trivial. I have read several articles on benchmark results for dual channel vs single channel, but I am still not sure about what I want to know. Here goes. I just went from a Dell Optiplex GX110 with 256MB ram and PIII 666mhz processor to a GX270 with PIV 3Ghz, hyperthreading capable, and 512 MB of DDR PC3200 400Mhz CL3 ram. I purchased an additional 512MB as well before the computer was even delivered. What I did not know (since regular SDRAM is all I had ever dealt with) is the new dual capability that I ran across in the bios. After much reading, I am now familar with what it means and how it works. Unfortuneately, I am now stuck with 4 different sticks of ram. Luckily, 2 of the 256 sticks are compatible enough to run in dual mode. There is another 256Mb stick (all 3 256 sticks are single sided with 8 chips) and finally a 512 MB stick with 8 chips on both sides; and so as I understand it (and my computer verfies) is a deal breaker and reverts to single mode. The program I run a LOT is called Mathematica, a software for performing complex mathematical calculations (like factoring a 50 digit number for example). Based on the mathematical software I run, 1) What is best for me? Using two of my 256 Mb sticks (512MB) in dual mode, or using the 3 256 and 512 (1280MB) in single mode. I know 1.28G of memory is better than 512MB in terms of memory storage, but if the data can't get through the memory controller fast enough for the 800fsb - well, which is the better option? Way more memory single channel better, or dual channel way less memory better? I do not plan to buy any more, so I want to know which I should go with. Also question 2) Am I better of enabling or disabling hyperthreading in the bios? I read very conflicting opinions on hyperthreading. Thanks for your time with these now obsolete concepts (but new to me). Kindly, Chris.
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  1. go with the most ram that works and use hyperthreading.
  2. anonymous1 said:
    go with the most ram that works and use hyperthreading.

    Is this just an opinion? If not, what is your response based upon just out of curiosity? Incidentally, I finally broke down and just tried all 4 configurations: 512MB Dual and 1280MB Single with Hyperthreading enabled and disabled. I ran a lengthy computation within Mathematica. To my surprise there was virtually no change in output time (down to 1/10 of a second) between any of the 4 configurations. So shockingly it appears that there is no difference for my application. Another surprise is that the processor is only working at about 50%-60% regardless of the setup. I foolishly assumed that Mathematica would try to use all the processing speed (and RAM) available. This doesn't appear to be the case.
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