I've got a ASUS P6T deluxe v2 mb and 4 dimms of 4 GB Corsair Dominator 1600MHz ram.
Right now I've installed all of the ram (i.e. 16 GB). The timings are manually set at 9-9-9-24-2T and they're running at 1603MHz.
According to the mb manual, triple channel is only available if three dimms are installed. I assume that the ram is presently running in dual channel mode (is there a way to check this?)
My question is whether I should stick with the 16GB (which really is overkill since I pretty much only game on this rig) or should I take out one dimm (with 12 GB) and get triple channel mode? Will this make a difference?
My ultimate goal is to make Skyrim run as smoothly as possible at 1920 x 1080 resolution...
I realize that I could run some bench marking tests but I was hoping to get some input/experience from the experts first.
In short, CPU-z should be able to verify what mode you're running in.
My advice for gamers and those not using virtual machines, databases, or other alike things, 8GB is enough - and ironically is faster for the system than more RAM.
So, in your case, 12GB would be more than enough, and in triple channel combined will be faster.
Keep that other stick for the future... just in case.
I was rather surprised by the real world performance gains going single to dual channel - maybe 10-15% at best. Going from dual to triple is likely similar. The cache in most cpus compensates for lower memory bandwidth. If gaming is your main concern, probably won't notice a difference.
The reason I have 4 sticks of 4GB ram is because when I built the rig (my first attempt) there wasn't any possibility to buy 3 X 4GB ram and I wanted more than 3 X 2GB. So I bought 2 X 4GB. I only recently decided to buy an additional 2 X 4GB kit because I didn't know if this particular type (Corsair Dominator 1600MHz DDR3) would be available for much longer.
I'll play around with some benchmarking and see what the difference is.
dish_moose is right, the delta here isn't going to be earth shattering - 10-15% at best, if you're lucky. BUT if you're trying to get Skyrim to the max potential of your system, I suspect the triple channel/12GB config will be slightly better for you.
But again, I'm not saying 100% better, but just a little higher setting(s) in your heavy games (e.g., Skyrim).