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4gb RAM, 3 sticks vs 4 sticks

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I currently have 2GB of RAM in my computer and am considering grabbing another 2GB. There seem to be a lot more single 2GB sticks of RAM where I'm looking, which would make it a lot easier to obtain than two 1GBs. Plus I plan on upgrading to 64-bit Vista eventually (not for a few months though), so if there ever comes a reason for me to have over 4GB using a single 2GB stick would let me upgrade to 6GB, although I doubt that will happen for a long time, probably not even before Nehalem and it's switch to DDR3 anyways, so I guess this doesn't matter much.

Google only found me a couple sites with people thinking about this, probably because there are many other questions that can be asked with the same key words. It seems the main suggestion is to get the 2 stick sets to keep dual-channel, but I've never actually seen any benchmarks that show how big of an effect dual channel even has, and it seems like it would probably be almost negligible.

I use this computer almost exclusively for gaming by the way, so if it makes more of a difference in other things it probably won't affect me.

Does anyone here have any suggestions? Would there really be a large performance drop in getting just one stick?
    
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post #2 of 4
It would stress your NB more if you had 4x1GB compared to 2x2GB sticks. Also do not get one stick as it will throw your memory into single channel mode which will severely decrease your performance.
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EITM
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post #3 of 4
Most good mobos can handle 4x1GB without a problem, otherwise there would not by an option for 4 dimms. If you think you will ever need to upgrade then get 2x2GB, otherwise 4x1GB is fine. I had 4x1GB until I upgraded.
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post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Yes, but my question is how big is the difference between single and dual channel. Will keeping my 2x1GB and adding a 1x2GB to it harm my performance much compared to 4x1GB. Like the computer's already built, I'm just making some upgrades. I don't plan on getting rid of the ram that's already in there to go for 2x2GB.

I have only been able to find one benchmark which even remotely touches this (http://www.tcmagazine.com/articles.p...e=1&pagenum=13) and in it some of the times single channel actually wins. On top of that it was from back when the question was about DDR ram rather than DDR2, so it doesn't address whether the large increase in bandwidth created by doubling the ram speed from 400mhz to 800mhz has dulled the edge dual channel has had.

Does anyone actually know whether it makes a large difference or not, like has any one tested it themselves or know of some benchmarks floating around that could show the difference?

Sorry, just clarifying, thanks for trying though

EDIT: Like for example, one thing I've noticed is that overclocking to 825MHz from 667MHz, which I later brought down to 540MHz has had nearly no effect on things like 3Dmark06, it had about a 70 point/mark difference (i.e. 825MHz gave me ~70 more 3dmarks in 3dmark06 than 540MHz gave me, yes I know 3dmark is just a benchmark and not the best way to compare results, but it's an easy way), this kind of difference can occur just randomly between runs. So what I'm saying is it doesn't seem like memory bandwidth is too big of a performance drag in games right now, but I wanted to see if anyone could prove this wrong or at least make me believe otherwise.
Edited by Deathsnapper - 6/15/08 at 7:26pm
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q6600 @3.2ghz UD3P (F7 bios) Sapphire 4870 (512mb) 4gb Mushkin 800mhz 
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WD 640gb LG dvd writer? Whatever. Vista x64 business Acer x203 
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G15 (v2) 750TX Antec 900 intellimouse explorer 4 (whatever, works well). 
Mouse Pad
Really? Um some zboard pad I got free 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q6600 @3.2ghz UD3P (F7 bios) Sapphire 4870 (512mb) 4gb Mushkin 800mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 640gb LG dvd writer? Whatever. Vista x64 business Acer x203 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
G15 (v2) 750TX Antec 900 intellimouse explorer 4 (whatever, works well). 
Mouse Pad
Really? Um some zboard pad I got free 
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