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  1. #1

    dual channel memory vs single channel memory?

    Hi all,

    What's the difference between dual channel memory and single channel memory on a motherboard, and what is it's advantages and disadvantages? If anyone can provide a good detailed answer that would be great, thanks!!

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member elroy's Avatar
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    Oct 2001
    Running in dual channel mode is slightly faster. Maybe 5% or a little more. To run dual channel you need 2 sticks of identical DDR ram. There are no disadvantages that I am aware of.

  3. #3
    Ultimate Member
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    Oct 2001
    Augsburg, Germany
    The main advantage, apart from being faster, is that you can have more DIMMs.

  4. #4
    ph34r t3h g04t Whir's Avatar
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    Oct 2001
    Kingsford, MI
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    And you don't necessarily need identical chips. They will run at the worst settings of the two chips if you let the system go automatic, usually, I think. I've got CAS 2 and CAS 2.5 but I'm running both sticks at CAS 2 via BIOS settings.

    Real world performance increase is supposedly pretty negligable for the average user, I've heard. I sure haven't noticed a difference.

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member
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    Oct 2001
    Augsburg, Germany
    The DIMMs must be identical in size and internal geometry. Differing speed grades indeed do not necessarily matter.

  6. #6
    Ultimate Member
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    Oct 2001
    Essentially, dual channel means that you have two channels/pathways for your CPU to access your RAM rather than one in single channel. It's kinda like having a 2 lane highway versus a 1 lane highway to drive on. Think increased space for data flow. More space, more data. It improves performance but whether you see it or not depends on what you're doing.
    Last edited by Chiguy; November 24th, 2004 at 05:56 AM.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    May 2008

    is memory specifically sold as dual channel different?

    I see tirgerdirect for example sells dual channel DDR kits with 2 sticks of identical memory, but if I already have 1 512MB Ultra pc3200 stick, if I get another single one, will I then be dual channel, or do you need to buy special dual channel memory?

    Also there are places for 4 sticks of memory I have in my computer dell dimension 4600, which is dual channel capable. The maximum memory is 2GBs can I achieve dual channel with either 2 identical 1GB sticks or 4 identical 512MB sticks?

  8. #8
    Instigator Atomic Rooster's Avatar
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    Oct 2001
    Healdsburg, CA
    connectgo -
    Yes, can can get another matching stick of memory for your computer and have it run in dual channel. You do not need to get "dual channel" memory per se as that's mainly a marketing gimmick.

    As for your second question, you can achieve dual channel operation with either 2 1GB sticks or 4 512MB sticks of identical memory.
    Unofficial TechIMO record holder for the number of times being added and removed from beemer's ignore list.

  9. #9
    Smile. It's easy. :) paul9's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    Gateshead U.K.
    With a kit, you are guaranteed a pair which will run dual channel though. Sometimes if you buy separately, you will get a second stick which will not work in dual channel mode.

  10. #10
    I got this #43 fan's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by paul9 View Post
    With a kit, you are guaranteed a pair which will run dual channel though. Sometimes if you buy separately, you will get a second stick which will not work in dual channel mode.
    However, if you buy the same model, they will almost always work as dual channel.

  11. #11
    Perfetc Member VHockey86's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Maryland Suburbia
    Provides more effective bandwidth between the CPU cache and the main system memory (accessed through either hypertransport on AMD or front-side-bus on intel).

    First intuition would make you think that doubling the bandwidth would have great performance improvements (since main memory is the biggest bottleneck in the classicl von neuman architecture), however its the access latency (typically 100x your L1 cache latency on modern systems) - not the bandwidth that bites you.

    So for a few applications where you're streaming a lot of memory and utilizing more bandwidth it helps - for the most part it does nothing though.

    LOL wow, just realized how old this thread was that got revived (serves me right for not reading the whole thing before posting)

  12. #12
    Banned by everybody Ultima's Avatar
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    Oct 2001
    I have yet to see that 2 sticks of ram won't run dual channel together.

    I have put 2 sticks of 512MB on a board, 1 was DDR400 and the other was DDR333, they were different brands and different speed and still they ran just fine in dual channel.

    It just depends on what board you have whether it will accept 2 different sticks.
    2 x Opteron 4280 2.8Ghz, Asus KCMA-D8, 32GB DDR3 1600, Asus 6950 DCII 1GB 2 x M4 64GB SATA600, Caviar Black 640GB, Seagate 1TB, 27"syncmaster

  13. #13

    Dual channel replacement for single channel?

    My HP laptop came OEm with a 4GB single-channel (I assume) RAM stick, with an expansion slot to a max of 8GB. I want to upgrade to 8GB and am considering a pair of "CL9 Dual Channel" sticks. Can they be used instead of the OEM RAM?


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