I currently have 2 1gb sticks of DDR2 800 RAM and as I ordered that new motherboard I ordered a single 2 gb stick of the same brand and type of ram. I plan to buy a 2nd 2 gb stick to replace the 2 1 gbs, but in the meantime, how do I set the 3 sticks up to get optimal performance with dual channel? Thanks guys!
With 3 sticks of ram in a dual channal mobo it wont run to its optimal performance, you should buy ram in pairs ( 2 sticks of 1 gb each or or 2 sticks of 2 gb each ) adding a thrid stick in a dual channal mobo will slow you down.
While it is faster in dual channel mode, it is not a huge difference, at all. If you can get by just running 2 gig, that is fine. If you find that you are running short on memory and the PC is hitting the hard drive a lot, you may want to install the last stick of memory anyway. Even if it does slow you down not running dual channel, it will still be vastly faster than the PC using the hard drive for virtual memory.
What OS are you using? Unless you are running a 64 bit OS, it won't do you any good to install more than 4 gig.