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2 4gb sticks or 1 8gb stick?

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October 8, 2012 10:28:48 PM

Here's my build http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jH2J

Is there any difference between 2 4gb sticks and 1 8gb stick? I'm only asking because of the possibility of upgrading to 16gb in the future.

More about : 4gb sticks 8gb stick

a b } Memory
October 8, 2012 11:15:44 PM

If you upgrade to 16gb later on then just add 2 more 4gb sticks. You can get the one 8gb stick and it would make no difference.
October 8, 2012 11:49:36 PM

inzone said:
If you upgrade to 16gb later on then just add 2 more 4gb sticks. You can get the one 8gb stick and it would make no difference.

Well the motherboard is dual channel so I thought having two cards would be slightly better than one card.
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a b } Memory
October 9, 2012 2:09:50 AM

It doesn't work that way, the dual channel is in the design of the memory controller and the ram chips.
a c 149 } Memory
October 9, 2012 3:51:17 AM

^ Incorrect.

To run in dual channel you need 2 matched sticks of RAM running in matched slots. A single stick of RAM can not run in dual channel. Now you only gain a 3% to 5% performance increase running dual over single channel.

The main argument to get 2 x 4GB over 1 x 8GB is if you want to upgrade later. 8GB stick are notoriously picky about playing nice with any but identical sticks. Even a similar stick will have slightly different timings and can cause errors. So the only way I recommend 8GB sticks is in matched sets. 4GB sticks are more forgiving if you wanted to add a second kit later.
October 9, 2012 5:07:15 AM

anort3 said:
^ Incorrect.

To run in dual channel you need 2 matched sticks of RAM running in matched slots. A single stick of RAM can not run in dual channel. Now you only gain a 3% to 5% performance increase running dual over single channel.

The main argument to get 2 x 4GB over 1 x 8GB is if you want to upgrade later. 8GB stick are notoriously picky about playing nice with any but identical sticks. Even a similar stick will have slightly different timings and can cause errors. So the only way I recommend 8GB sticks is in matched sets. 4GB sticks are more forgiving if you wanted to add a second kit later.

So I guess the question is, when does having more than 8gb of RAM = more performance?

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a c 149 } Memory
October 9, 2012 5:47:20 AM
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You only need more than 8GB if you use high end video and photo editing/processing software, if you run CAD or other modeling/design programs or if you run a mulitple VM environment. For a general use or gaming computer 8GB is fine. Really 4GB is fine for 95% of the time even in that situation but RAM is dirt cheap right now and unlikely to get cheaper. If anything when DDR4 is released next year DDR3 will go up in price.
October 19, 2012 7:06:35 AM

Best answer selected by gravytrain.
April 19, 2013 7:08:54 PM

anort3 said:
If anything when DDR4 is released next year DDR3 will go up in price.


huh? Usually, when a technology is getting superseded, the hardware becomes cheaper... Why would it be different with RAM?
a c 149 } Memory
April 19, 2013 7:53:16 PM

Market saturation. DDR2 is very expensive now and has been for a few years compared to DDR3 because almost all RAM production lines are making DDR3. The same will happen when DDR4 comes out. It will actually be next year not this year since Intel announced it will be for Broadwell not Haswell as was thought 6 months ago when I answered this post. DDR3 prices are already on the upswing and according to what I have read prices are unlikely to drop in the next year due to lowered production.
April 20, 2013 12:56:50 PM

anort3 said:
prices are unlikely to drop in the next year due to lowered production.


interesting. So, if I'm shopping for a MoBo, I suppose I need to ensure its DDR4-compatible then? Or will DDR4 be able to work on DDR3 slots?
a c 149 } Memory
April 20, 2013 1:16:46 PM

DDR4 will not be available before 2014 with Broadwell. It will not work with DDR3 motherboards.
April 29, 2013 1:06:07 PM

Assuming you have a good graphic/video card, for best performance in high end video and photo editing/processing software (e.g. Adobe CS6), go for 8GB x 2.

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