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3 sticks of ram vs. 4

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Anonymous
a b $ Windows 7
a b V Motherboard
June 25, 2010 10:22:31 PM

Hello,
My motherboard has four slots and I am running Windows 7 64 bit. Can I buy 3 sticks of ram (2gb each) and use only 3 of the slots (total of 6gb), or do I need to buy 2 pairs (total of 8gb)?

More about : sticks ram

a b V Motherboard
June 25, 2010 10:29:53 PM

DDR 2 or DDR3?

dual or tri-channel mobo?

the only current reason to have 6GB of RAM is you have a tri-channel mobo. every test done between 4GB and 4GB+ has shown 4GB is more then enough.
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a b $ Windows 7
a b V Motherboard
June 25, 2010 11:50:51 PM

Check your mobo manual. It should have a "graph" of what and how many RAM stick you can put in.

If you don't have a manual, look online for it. Find out your manuafacter and model number.

BUT, I think NO! It's gonna be either 2 or 4, not 1 or 3 sticks. And they all haveta match (well maybe not).
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 238 V Motherboard
June 26, 2010 12:01:07 AM

Quote:
Hello,
My motherboard has four slots and I am running Windows 7 64 bit. Can I buy 3 sticks of ram (2gb each) and use only 3 of the slots (total of 6gb), or do I need to buy 2 pairs (total of 8gb)?


Read your motherboard manual. Most likely, you are supported. The first two sticks should operate in dual channel mode, and the orphan stick will be in single channel mode. That is not bad since i5/i7 memory controllers are very good, and your speed will not change noticeably. You are likely to get more benefit from the extra 2gb than any speed decrease. I happen to like 6gb as a ram size. It allows a full 32 bit program to operate while multitasking apps in the background will not interfere.
It is a reasonable solution if you already have the 3 sticks, perhaps from a 1366 build. But... since ram is relatively cheap and windows-7 knows how tu take advantage of extra ram, why not get a 8gb kit?
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a b V Motherboard
June 26, 2010 12:49:11 AM

foscooter said:
BUT, I think NO! It's gonna be either 2 or 4, not 1 or 3 sticks. And they all haveta match (well maybe not).

Matching and having 2 is only if you want a dual channel setup (three for triple channel). This is so common today though, that people have lost sight of the fact that having that configuration doesn't really make too big of a difference in the speed of the memory access.

The first two sticks should operate in dual channel mode, and the orphan stick will be in single channel mode.

No. They will all function in single channel mode.
Can I buy 3 sticks of ram (2gb each) and use only 3 of the slots (total of 6gb)?
Yes. But if you want to keep dual channel, buying two sticks of 2GB each and 2 sticks of 1GB each will also result in 6GB total still in dual channel configuration. I am of course assuming you have a motherboard that is either socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, 775, or 1156.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 238 V Motherboard
June 26, 2010 2:32:16 AM

@enzo: In my P6T(which has 3 channels and 6 slots) manual p. 2-13, It says that you can install varying memory sizes in channels A,B,C. The system maps the total size of the lower sized channel for dual or triple channel operation, and any excess memory from the higher sized channel is mapped for single channel operation.

This may be specific to the motherboard, or chipset which is why we need to read the manual for the motherboard of interest.
The OP should identify the motherboard to be certain. Most 4 slot motherboards are dual channel, which I suppose is the case here. There are some 4 slot boards that suppport 3 channel like some Intel X58.
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July 8, 2013 8:09:34 PM

I don't know the correct answer, but if you got 4 you shouldn't get 2 'pairs' (2 kits of 2) of sticks get a single kit with 4 sticks
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