Hey is there a performance difference between having 4x256 or 2x512? if so, is it a big one? I bought corsair twin-x3200 which is a 2x256, but now im thinking i should of bought the 2x512. should i return it, and get the 1 gig, or just order another 512mb? thanks
There is actually quite a good performance difference expecially on 865/75 chipset. Sorry can post any url but some ppl digged up some article about this a while ago. Also wether your Mem modules are single sided or doubled sided as an impact(I think twinx are single sided so dont worry about that). If I recall correctly, performance difference could reach over 10-15% in some case. Wether you should return it or not is up to you, but if the store doesnt give you to much trouble Id suggest doing so. I also suggest to wait some ppl will probly come up with a link with hard numbers to help you make up your mind.
Higher data density (a fewer number of higher capacity memory modules) is always preferable. Likewise, on a single module, having a smaller number of higher capacity chips is more efficient. The less circuitry you have, the less capacitance is involved, and that means less power consumption, less heat, and (if I understand it correctly) fewer internal addressing lines within the module, which probably means a very slight performance increase by itself.
So, for a system that has a single memory channel controller, you ideally want a single, high capacity memory module. For a dual channel memory controller like an nForce board, for example, you want to cram as much memory as you can into two modules. The increase in bandwidth far outweighs any performance decrease due to the lower density of the memory. I'm a little behind on my reading, but as far as I know there are no quad channel DDR controllers available for motherboards yet (I think VIA was planning one but abandoned it or pushed it back to the 64-bit platform), so I don't see any advantage to having four modules unless you need a tremendous quantity of memory and can't get it any other way.
Also, it bears pointing out that on the AMD front, at least, most motherboards only have 3 memory slots, including *all* nforce and nforce2 boards. I've also heard of what Labbbby mentioned regarding the 865/75 Intel chipsets. Initial reports were pretty heavily exaggerated, but it appears that there is a significant performance hit when you fill all 4 slots with high-density memory on those chipsets. I'm not sure about the extent of the problem or if 256MB modules qualify for "high density" in that scenario, though. I don't really keep up with the Intel platform, I'm afraid.
All things considered, it's not ideal, but I wouldn't commit sepuku over it. In most cases, I doubt the difference would be more than 5%, but I don't have any hard numbers to back that up.
Anandtech reported a significant performance GAIN with all 4 slots filled!
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