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Memory: dual channel vs single

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June 26, 2011 10:12:39 PM

Hello, I'm new to this forum.

I bought just one stick of the Corsair Vengeance 4GB PC12800 DDR3 1600MHz ram b/c of budget issues but plan on adding another soon. I noticed this stick was deemed 'single' channel, other 4GB sticks of same Family/Model were called 'Dual channel'...is this function the fact the other sticks came in pairs ("dual" ), or are they functionallly structured to operate different from say buying 2 4GB sticks of 'single' channel memory?

Will two 4 GB sticks of 'single' channel Corsair memory behave as dual channel if paired together?

If they are different, can you mix 'single' and 'dual' channel memory sticks? I'm told dual channel memory works faster.

excuse the novice-ness of the question but I'm painfully new to all of this terminology...but I'm find these forums fascinating, never knew they existed. All advice greatly appreciated.
June 26, 2011 10:24:17 PM

The "dual" or "single" channel has nothing (ok, very little) to do with the DIMM and everything to do with your CPU and motherboard. Dual channel RAM is memory that can be accessed via a 128-bit bus (dual 64 bit channels). But you must have at least two DIMMs to achieve this as each DIMM(for DDR3) can only be accessed via a 64 bit bus. So if you look at your motherboard, you'll see slots for memory; on most Intel boards the channels alternate so that if you wish to achieve dual channel operation you must populate the slots every-other; on AMD boards the first two slot are usually the ones to be populated.

Edit: Additional channels increase your theoretical memory bandwidth. (Bandwidth = Bus width x clock speed x transfers/cycle)
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June 26, 2011 11:13:50 PM

cuecuemore said:
The "dual" or "single" channel has nothing (ok, very little) to do with the DIMM and everything to do with your CPU and motherboard. Dual channel RAM is memory that can be accessed via a 128-bit bus (dual 64 bit channels). But you must have at least two DIMMs to achieve this as each DIMM(for DDR3) can only be accessed via a 64 bit bus. So if you look at your motherboard, you'll see slots for memory; on most Intel boards the channels alternate so that if you wish to achieve dual channel operation you must populate the slots every-other; on AMD boards the first two slot are usually the ones to be populated.

Edit: Additional channels increase your theoretical memory bandwidth. (Bandwidth = Bus width x clock speed x transfers/cycle)



Thanks for your help. I'll be saving for another stick. cheers, d
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