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Triple Channel Clarification

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March 16, 2012 12:12:28 PM

Alright,

I know you probably get this all the time but I did a search and couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. When my motherboard says that it is "triple channel", that means it is capable of operating in triple channel mode with 3 matched sets of RAM, correct?

My second question, is memory actually triple channel? or is it just DDR3 and the motherboard handles the number of channels?

Third question, I currently have 3 2GB sticks in my system, and I am capable of adding 3 more. If I purchase a set of 4 4GB sticks and use just 3 (I want 4 for when I upgrade my comp in the future). Will I be successful in upgrading from 6GB to 18GB (I do a lot of 3D CAD, so 18GB isn't overkill)?

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a c 347 } Memory
a c 717 V Motherboard
March 16, 2012 2:05:29 PM

Dual, Triple, or Quad channel memory architecture simply increases the 'memory bandwidth' to the CPU. The CPU's IMC can assess multiple channels to avoid 'bottlenecks.

Memory itself is simply a form of storage, so no the RAM itself has nothing to do with 'Channels.' However, the Kits themselves are encoded with 'SPD' and often 'XMP' Frequency, CAS Timings, and Voltages optimized for a particular platform and channel usage.

The third question goes back to the 2nd answer I provided and it's not going to be optimized for Triple Channel 'SPD'/'XMP' operation that's not to say it wont work, but it's best not to break a set and worst it's not good to Mix-Match kits.

It's very important that all of the RAM share similar if not identical IC's, and extremely important that they are all the SAME: Frequency, CAS Timings and Voltages. Therefore, I would either get an identical set of "I currently have 3 2GB sticks in my system" and the same family with different Density. You can have 3x2GB + 3x4GB of the SAME as I just mentioned. The 'Best Solution' is to purchase a fully matched set of 6x__GB RAM.

RAM is cheap and problems are expensive.

Example, $110 24GB kit of Patriot Viper II Sector 7 Edition 24GB (6 x 4GB)DDR3 1600 PV7324G1600ELHK - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <or> http://www.amazon.com/Patriot-PC3-12800-9-9-9-24-Enhanc...

CAD as you know eats RAM for lunch and the rendering is greatly increased proportional to the available RAM. So 18GB of RAM isn't too much, it depends entirely on the project size and it's complexity.
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March 16, 2012 2:15:32 PM

jaquith said:
Dual, Triple, or Quad channel memory architecture simply increases the 'memory bandwidth' to the CPU. The CPU's IMC can assess multiple channels to avoid 'bottlenecks.

Memory itself is simply a form of storage, so no the RAM itself has nothing to do with 'Channels.' However, the Kits themselves are encoded with 'SPD' and often 'XMP' Frequency, CAS Timings, and Voltages optimized for a particular platform and channel usage.

The third question goes back to the 2nd answer I provided and it's not going to be optimized for Triple Channel 'SPD'/'XMP' operation that's not to say it wont work, but it's best not to break a set and worst it's not good to Mix-Match kits.

It's very important that all of the RAM share similar if not identical IC's, and extremely important that they are all the SAME: Frequency, CAS Timings and Voltages. Therefore, I would either get an identical set of "I currently have 3 2GB sticks in my system" and the same family with different Density. You can have 3x2GB + 3x4GB of the SAME as I just mentioned. The 'Best Solution' is to purchase a fully matched set of 6x__GB RAM.

RAM is cheap and problems are expensive.

Example, $110 24GB kit of Patriot Viper II Sector 7 Edition 24GB (6 x 4GB)DDR3 1600 PV7324G1600ELHK - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <or> http://www.amazon.com/Patriot-PC3-12800-9-9-9-24-Enhanc...

CAD as you know eats RAM for lunch and the rendering is greatly increased proportional to the available RAM. So 18GB of RAM isn't too much, it depends entirely on the project size and it's complexity.


Well that was about the most useful answer I've ever gotten on any forum ever. Thank you.

Just a quick follow up question:

Since the 1366 platform is becoming obsolete (I have an i7-920), is it worthwhile to make the purchase if I plan on upgrading (in about a year) to a system that utilizes dual or quad channel memory?
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March 16, 2012 2:15:54 PM

Best answer selected by lumpyyyyy.
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a c 347 } Memory
a c 717 V Motherboard
March 16, 2012 2:28:19 PM

Is aggregated 3-digit of hours of your time in the meantime worth a $110~$130?

I have both the LGA 1366 an LGA 2011 and I have no plans to get rid of my LGA 1366 until the cost benefits say I need to replace LGA 1366. My plan is to wait for the Haswell or maybe the Broadwell possibly in 2014.

I see no reason to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading itself, if there a need or a cost benefit then I 'get' time + money.
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March 16, 2012 3:34:10 PM

There is rarely much benefit of triple or quad channel DDR3 over dual-channel DDR3 in most applications. I'm not sure of the advantages in your case, but upgrading for the sake of upgrading will NOT be much benefit for the short term.

DDR4 will be released within 2 years, it's all point-to-point (no dual, triple, or quad channel) and its low-end speeds are are the maximum/overclocked speeds of today's DDR3. I would not advise to jump to the next 'level' of DDR3 for minimal performance boost.

The best route would be to google 'dual vs triple channel memory' and whatever CAD application you use. See if there are any appreciable improvements. Then compare triple to quad.

I hope this is helpful.
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