Big difference between Single and Dual-channel RAM?

On Newegg a G.Skill 8GB DDR3-1600 stick is $40, basically the same price as 2 x 4GB. Since I'm build an mITX build (2 RAM slots), this will mean I can upgrade to 16GB later on without having to buy a completely new set of RAM.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231488

However it will mean that in the meanwhile, the 8GB stick will operate in single-channel mode, compared to dual channel for 2 x 4GB. So my question is: how big is the performance difference? (Planning i5-3570k + discrete GPU).
Reply to sabot00
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More about difference single dual channel
  1. Ignore anywhere it says single/dual/triple/quad channel on a package of RAM.

    There is pretty much zero difference between the different configurations.

    All you really need to know is to get a whole bunch of copies of the same exact part, if possible.

    All those things mean is basically that there are 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks of RAM in the package respectively.
    Reply to Raiddinn
  2. Right now on newegg the 16gb kit is $79.99 with a $10.00 off rebate with free shipping. Just put the two modules in and get it over with. You will be running in dual channel mode then.
    Reply to knightdog56
  3. What exactly are you trying to do with all this RAM anyway?
    Reply to Raiddinn
  4. I want 8GB RAM right now, I could either do 2 x 4GB or 1 x 8GB, since the RAM is basically identical, the only difference between those two configurations would be the number of channels. The 1 x 8 GB of RAM would allow me to add another stick of RAM in the future, something I think I might do for 16GB of RAM without having to replace the RAM.

    In terms of use: Streaming, Video Transcoding, and Game Design.
    Reply to sabot00
  5. agree,
    Don't rack your brain over this.
    Just get 16gb now.

    there isn't that much "savings" to be had, taking into consideration the price of your whole build.

    why are you beating yourself up over $30?
    Reply to raytseng
  6. For what you intend to do (Streaming, Video Transcoding, and Game Design) 16GB might be of some use, howerver if you are in the budge, then get the single 8GB stick, then you can get another in the future.
    Reply to jemm
  7. I don't think you will need more than 8 (or even close to 8 for that matter) with what you intend to do. Anything more is probably overkill anyway.

    I don't really have $30 to waste myself and if it was me I would get the 2x 4GBs in your situation.

    IMHO, the only reason to get more than 8 GBs is if you intend to do high end audio/video editing or if you want to have a RAM drive. The first doesn't really apply and an extra 8 GBs doesn't a good RAM drive make.
    Reply to Raiddinn
  8. Basically, I know for sure I won't need 8GB of RAM right now, but who knows what something like UDK will look like in 2 years (especially with Unreal Engine 4). In the past, my old Vista machine didn't need more than 2GB, but now its 4GB and its pushing that as well.

    If the difference between 1x8 and 2x4 is very small (like DDR3-1600+ speeds), then it seems to me that there is no reason to go 2x4 over 1x8.
    Reply to sabot00
  9. For gamers, things are unlikely to change.

    If studios start making 64 bit games then people with XP and people with vista or windows 7 32 bit won't be able to play them. A surprisingly large number of gamers are still on 32 bit versions of Windows right now.

    Also, if they make games require 8 or 16 GBs of RAM to play then all the people with less won't be able to play it. A pretty sizeable chunk of the Windows 7 64 bit owners still only have 4 GBs of RAM, so that would be another % gone out of the possible sales figures.

    With such a large amount gone out of the potential market, games wouldn't be able to recover their development cost with sales for a pretty long time, until nobody wanted to play the games anymore anyway.

    Long story short, games are likely to stay 32 bit for many more years, that means they can't use more than 2 GBs of RAM even if they want to and that gamers don't need more than 8 GB and most can get by with 4.
    Reply to Raiddinn
  10. You may not notice the performance difference between single and dual channel, but it is definitely something you will want eventually.

    Each memory kit is matched, tested, and guaranteed to work at optimal performance in a single computer. It is possible for the module you purchase in the future to be not fully compatible, so that is why we sell complete kits to avoid the possible problem. Yes, they are the same spec modules, but they are not always perfectly matched, which is what people don't understand. If there was no such issue, we would just sell one stick at a time and you can purchase however many you would like.

    If you can, I would just purchase the complete kit now, and not worry about it anymore. Otherwise, you can do one module at a time, even if you encounter a problem, we can take care of it, so it's win-win with G.Skill.

    Thank you
    GSKILL SUPPORT


    sabot00 said:
    On Newegg a G.Skill 8GB DDR3-1600 stick is $40, basically the same price as 2 x 4GB. Since I'm build an mITX build (2 RAM slots), this will mean I can upgrade to 16GB later on without having to buy a completely new set of RAM.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231488

    However it will mean that in the meanwhile, the 8GB stick will operate in single-channel mode, compared to dual channel for 2 x 4GB. So my question is: how big is the performance difference? (Planning i5-3570k + discrete GPU).
    Reply to gskill support
  11. Raiddinn said:
    Long story short, games are likely to stay 32 bit for many more years, that means they can't use more than 2 GBs of RAM even if they want to and that gamers don't need more than 8 GB and most can get by with 4.

    32bits applications can go all the way to almost 4GB if you enable the registry hack to reduce the memory-mapped IO range.

    Even if games/apps only use 2GB explicitly, Windows will use all remaining RAM for file cache which is going to improve reloading times and reduce the likelihood of HDD access lag. This can indirectly use as much RAM as the game's on-disk footprint is large.
    Reply to InvalidError
  12. Yes, there are ways to get around that which almost zero people ever actually use.

    If you just install a game and play it, then you are limited to 2GBs. If you are one of the few people on earth that likes to mess around in their registry, maybe - maybe - not.

    I maintain that above 8 GB isn't useful for gamers, in any event.

    G.Skill Guy - Its awesome that you are chiming in, I wish I saw more of that. However, I remain unconvinced that anywhere they write "channel" on the packages is not 100% marketing driven.

    I am quite confident that I bought 4 separate sticks of your RAM that are completely identical that I could put any two of them in and they would be recognized in dual channel, the same for triple and quad channel.

    Your RMA rates last I checked were hovering about 1.5% which is kinda low-ish and even though that is a per pack figure that's only 6% for the total and I am kinda unlucky, but not even that unlucky.

    If it didn't work, it would probably be because the stick itself is bad, not because it is "mismatched".

    I do a lot of support here and a lot of times people have asked me what stick to get and every time I told them to get a 2nd one of the exact same kind they already had they all worked dual channel just fine.
    Reply to Raiddinn
  13. Even still you wouldn't need more than 8 GBs for that.
    Reply to Raiddinn
  14. Raiddinn said:
    Yes, there are ways to get around that which almost zero people ever actually use.

    Windows caching game data to RAM so the game does not need to wait for the HDD every time you have to reload a level, teleport, run around a zone, etc. happens automatically without any user intervention.
    Reply to InvalidError
  15. Raiddinn said:
    Even still you wouldn't need more than 8 GBs for that.

    Depends on how much stuff he wants to run in the background. I know that for my typical usage, less than 8GB would quickly make my life miserable.

    Since OP has a mini-ITX board with only two DIMM slots, it is cheaper overall to go with OP's intended configuration of 2x8GB up-front than fudge around with throw-away DIMMs.
    Reply to InvalidError
  16. Don't get me wrong, mis-matched kits are rare especially with lower frequency kits <DDR3-1600, but once you dwell into DDR3-1866+, then it is exponentially more critical. Rarely will you find successful cases of mix matching two DDR3-2133 or DDR3-2400 in the same system. Each kit will work to specification, but when paired with another kit, frequency must be reduced and/or timings need to be increased. Trust me, we don't play marketing games; if you ask any extreme overclocker, they will tell you the same. You do not get maximum results by mix matching kits. This is why high capacity and high frequency kits are priced higher, you can't purchase 4 kits of 16GB DDR3-2400+ and just power away 64GB overclocked to DDR3-2400+, if only it did work that way.. Unfortunately some people don't believe us, or don't know, so they find out the hard way. You can try it for yourself too :D

    But like you said, most people you encounter don't have an issue because they are in the DDR3-1600 range, but we simply can't recommend it since there is that slight possibility of incompatibility. If one really needs to mix match for whatever reason, that's no problem, but just be aware that you can, and it is possible, to encounter a problem. We simply want people to be aware of possible issues, and if you want a perfectly matched kit, a complete fully tested kit should be used. We also understand people may already have memory and are just looking to add on, so like I told the OP, either way, we will do our best to make sure G.Skill memory, in the capacity you need, is working flawlessly in your computer. ;)

    Thank you
    GSKILL SUPPORT


    Raiddinn said:
    Yes, there are ways to get around that which almost zero people ever actually use.

    If you just install a game and play it, then you are limited to 2GBs. If you are one of the few people on earth that likes to mess around in their registry, maybe - maybe - not.

    I maintain that above 8 GB isn't useful for gamers, in any event.

    G.Skill Guy - Its awesome that you are chiming in, I wish I saw more of that. However, I remain unconvinced that anywhere they write "channel" on the packages is not 100% marketing driven.

    I am quite confident that I bought 4 separate sticks of your RAM that are completely identical that I could put any two of them in and they would be recognized in dual channel, the same for triple and quad channel.

    Your RMA rates last I checked were hovering about 1.5% which is kinda low-ish and even though that is a per pack figure that's only 6% for the total and I am kinda unlucky, but not even that unlucky.

    If it didn't work, it would probably be because the stick itself is bad, not because it is "mismatched".

    I do a lot of support here and a lot of times people have asked me what stick to get and every time I told them to get a 2nd one of the exact same kind they already had they all worked dual channel just fine.
    Reply to gskill support
  17. way too much debate over $30.

    Eat some pb&j sandwiches for a week, and then max out your ram and the whole thing is a moot point.

    If you think you might want it, and can't afford it, you shouldn't be building a new computer in the first place.

    innane discussions ftw...
    Reply to raytseng
  18. When I talked about Unreal Engine 4, I meant how much RAM Unreal Development Kit (UDK) could use, not games using UE4.

    Anyways, my concern isn't on whether I can use 16GB of RAM now (or in 2 years), it's mainly how big the performance difference between 2x4 and 1x8 is.
    This is the first time I've heard of the "matching" issue with high-speed RAM, but the G.Skill rep did give a guarantee that G.Skill would fix it if it came to that, so thank you.


    raytseng said:
    way too much debate over $30.

    Eat some pb&j sandwiches for a week, and then max out your ram and the whole thing is a moot point.

    If you think you might want it, and can't afford it, you shouldn't be building a new computer in the first place.

    innane discussions ftw...


    What is your problem? If you can't add anything positive to my thread, please don't respond.

    I never said that I can't afford $30, but why would I want to if I know for sure that I won't need 16GB right now?

    Think of it this way, two computers are exactly the same and cost $1000 each, but one has a free slot of RAM, why wouldn't you buy that one? In the same vein, if I know for sure that a 7870 will be plenty for me right now, I might want 2x7870's if I plan to do triple-monitor or such gaming. If two motherboards cost the same and have an identical feature set, why wouldn't I spring for the one with another PCI-E x16 slot and SLI/CF support?

    In this case, I see a potential downside to the 1x8 setup and so I inquired into the performance difference.
    Reply to sabot00
  19. gskill support said:
    You can try it for yourself too :D


    Send me 4 kits of 1x of whatever you think isn't going to work together well and I will shove them in my PC.

    Per my signature, I have a 3570k and an Asrock Z77 Pro4-M motherboard. There should be plenty of RAM that G.Skill makes that is compatible with the board that is up there at 2133-2800 mhz since its a pretty common sort.

    I am callin your bluff.

    I think it is more about selling the whole amount up front in order to make sure that 2nd 8GB gets sold, because if they just buy 1x 8GBs they will find out that they really don't need that 2nd stick.

    - Edit - OP, The performance difference between 1x 8GB and 2x 4GB is very small. Small enough as to be a non-factor. IMHO, if you seriously think that you can break the 8GB barrier, get the 1x 8GBs then, but its rare that this happens.
    Reply to Raiddinn
  20. You concern about multi-channel memory architecture is very relevante, in theory.

    The main assumption of this technology is that each memory channel added to the motherboard, multiplies the data rate by the same number of channels. For instance, in your case, you have a motherboard with dual channel memory technology, so the promise is that it would double the data transfer rate, if you polpulate both channels.

    If you believe in what has been said above, then you are correct when you said that "I see a potential downside to the 1x8 setup".

    On the other hand, the practise shows us that it is not quite true, as benchmarks tells a completelly different history.

    Test Results: Single Vs. Dual Channel RAM http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/PARALLEL-PROCESSING,1705-11.html

    In my opinion what limits the multi-channel memory technology is the memory chip controller. There is an amount of date that integrated memory controller inside the CPU is able to handle, even if a dual channel memory technology can delivery double transfer rate.

    I have a triple channel plataform (X58), and Intel says that I can not populate all slots with 1600MHz sticks, as the integrated memory controller would not be able to handle the extra load. So, in my case, I use 6x 2GB 1600MHz, making it 12GB, but following Intel´s advise I downgrade the memory frequency to 1333MHz.

    Mind that each plataform handles multi-channel memory architecture in a different way.

    I hop it helps.
    Reply to jemm
  21. I am SOOOO sick of this dual-triple-quad V's Single dimm RAM argument. MANY MANY reviews have tested real world results using different channel configurations. It is proven beyond doubt that dual is no better than single. The memory controller most likely within the CPU controls Ram usage and despite filling ram banks no real world performance improvement is possible. In fact many of the reviews show optimal performance in single channel operation due we suspect to lower latentcies. LOOK HERE --- http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/does-dual-channel-memory-make-difference-in-gaming-performance/7/ Hopefully this will end the BULLDUST marketing attempts by greedy multinationals to make you buy more ram for no reason. Windows 8.1 /10 require at least 8 gig for functionality and 16 gig for virtual memory free computing with no page file is the fastest way to improve performance. Anyone with test results showing improvement in games on dual channel need please publish.
    Reply to Dean_32
  22. Don't read articles, run your own tests.
    Reply to gskill support
  23. I have run my own tests. 4x 8gig Kingston Value Ram @1600 (similar production date x two 16 gb kits)... exact same frame rate on 3d Mark11 and score. 5 times single v's full banks. Same performance games wise.// give us hex channel and it still wont improve and latentcies will become the slowing. Latentcies and high latentcies per cycle is a killer of performance. Better to run 1600 ddr3 at Cl8 and Cl9 than DDR4 at CL30 and Cl26+ . Provided you have ample bandwidth say 1600 mhz v's unneeded as yet 3000 odd mhz why choose the slower cycle. It will be many years before developers use prgramming which requires 3000 mhz memory. So the trade off is latentcy speed v's throughput. No point throughputting 3000 at a slower pace than 1600 due to theoretically ddr 3 cycle cl8 can move 3200mhz at cl16 which is much faster than DDR4 moving 3000mhz odd per cycle at +25-30. Mathematicaly it is slower. Wider bandwidth does reduce this slowness somewhat but is entirely CPU ,board and Ram dependant. So upgrading to a mass mover which is slow and bulky seems retarded when a quick fast and acceptable platform is in place can only be marketing driven , marketing and nothing else.
    Reply to Dean_32
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