A bit of confusion with my RAM and BIOS

By Thalin
May 1, 2006
  1. Hey,

    I've had my ram in my motherboard for ages now, but my friend recently said that if I have them in different slots, my PC may run faster. I have 2 sticks of dual channel 512mb ram, and 1 normal 512mb stick. I have an A7N8X Deluxe motherboard, and on it there are 3 ram slots, 2 that are next to each other (1 of which is a black colour and one that is blue), and another that is further away (which is also blue). I am therefore confused as to where I should be putting the dual channel sticks, or does it not matter?
    At the moment they are in slot 1 and 2, which are the ones next to each other, however in CPU-Z its telling me the single 512mb stick is in slot 1 :/
    Should I be putting the two sticks in the slots that are the same colour then instead?

    I basically think this because seeing as they are dual channel, they may have to be in the right slots to actually act at their full potential. Am I correct?
  2. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    well there is actually no such thing as "dual channel memory" , as any two matched sticks can run in dual channel mode (even some non-matched sticks can as well)

    sometimes RAM sticks are sold in matched pairs and labeled "dual channel", this is simply a marketing gimick. they will not operate in dual channel unless the mobo supports it and they are installed properly.

    for your specific mobo... i beleive the A7N8X colors represent each channel, the blue slots are channel 1 and the black slot is channel 2.

    to operate in dual channel mode you cannot use all three of your RAM sticks. just use the 2 matched sticks (the ones you refer to as dual channel sticks), and leave out the 3rd stick (the one you refer to as single channel stick).

    once this is done, CPU-Z should indicate dual channel operation.
  3. unnua

    unnua TS Rookie

    What does "matched" sticks mean? If I just buy 2 identical ones, will that run in dual channel (my motherboard supports dual channel ddr400)? For instance, what if I bought 2 of these KVR400/512?

    Also, my mobo manufacturer has a list of recommended modules, and I noticed that the one I linked above (KVR400/512) is NOT on the list, but the KVR400/256 IS. I wonder why.
  4. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    matched means identical, so yes if they are matched then they should work fine.

    for your specific system, the link you gave for the RAM support list suggests that you have the K8T Neo-FIS2R. that is a socket 754 mobo, which means that it does not support dual channel.

    in AMD Athlon 64s, the memory controller is built into the CPU, not on the mobo. so it won't be the mobo that supports it or not, but the CPU itself. with Athlon64s... socket 754 is limited to single channel operation, and socket 939 supports it (dual channel support is the most significant difference between 754 and 939)
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

  6. unnua

    unnua TS Rookie

    Huh, I didn't even notice that it said "K8T Neo-FIS2R" at the top of that list. :rolleyes: My mobo is a MS-7093 (RS480M2-IL) and it says it supports dual channel ddr400 (In case you read the unedited version of this post, I was looking at the wrong link, RS480M-IL, but I really have a RS480M2-IL). Anyway the specs page for my mobo links to the same list for the K8T Neo-FIS2R.

    Thanks for explaining the socket thing, that's really helpful. I have now managed to find a list on the Kingston website that recommends memory for my particular mobo: Recommendations

    I would like at least 512MB but 1GB would cool too if I can afford it. So, um, on that Kingston list, the one I'm looking at is about 2/3rds of the way down the list:
    KVR400X64C3A/512 - 512MB 400MHz DDR Non-ECC CL3 (3-3-3) DIMM. If you look at the specs page for my mobo, it says "Please confirm and adjust your memory setting in the BIOS accordingly for better system stability. Example: Kingston HyperX DDR500 PC4000 operates at 2.65V, 3-4-4-8, CL=3."

    I see for the memory I'm looking at, it says 2.6V, 3-3-3, CL=3. So if I buy that one, do I have to check my BIOS and make sure it is set to that?
  7. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    chances are it will work reguardless of your BIOS settings, but to achieve the most stable operation then set the BIOS settings to the RAM manufacturer's recommended specs.

    one thing to note about RAM modules, the lower the timings, the faster the RAM. the RAM that you picked out is CL3, you may want to look for some RAM with a lower latency (CL2 or CL2.5)
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