Dual channel RAM in single channel mode

By vwdevotee
Mar 13, 2009
  1. Is it possible to fill all of the memory slots on a motherboard that supports dual channel with non-matching ram (one chip at a time as I need/afford it)? If I just put more ram in will the motherboard recognise all of it and just not take advantage of the second channel, or will it not recognise that non-matching ram in the second channel sockets?

  2. redk

    redk TS Rookie Posts: 91

    It will recognize it but not run in dual channel if the pair are mismatched.
    Ps; The pair don't have to be exact matches by the way, same speed, type, size, and timings allow for two different brands to run in dual channel.
  3. vwdevotee

    vwdevotee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So it will find all of the memory, just not make it all available to me? If the modules aren't sufficiently similar, they won't run in dual channel mode, but they also won't run in single channel mode? Will they just sit there and look pretty then?

    If I just get all the same part number, even if it's not at the same time I should be fine and stuff will play nice together?
  4. redk

    redk TS Rookie Posts: 91

    Okay. Let me be more clear.
    If you buy, say, a 1 gb stick, and it goes in slot 1A, then you get another nearly identical 1 gb stick, and it goes in slot 2A, you'll run in dual channel and have 2GB of RAM total.

    If, however, you bought a 512MB stick as your second stick, there is no way to run it in dual channel with the Stick in 1A, so you'd have it running in single channel, and have a total of 2 GB of RAM.

    Do you get where I'm going with this?
  5. vwdevotee

    vwdevotee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think I get it now. If just using very similar ram is sufficient, why is there such a big push by manufacturers for dual and triple channel memory kits? Is it just a convenience thing? When you said matching timing, is that just the latency of the modules?

    Thanks a lot.
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    the dual channel kits are just that.kits. all the kits are is ram modules that were manufactured at the same time, by the same manufacturer that have been supposedly plugged in and tested to make sure they are compatible to work in dual channel mode. as long as they are the same size module go ahead and try them together, it wont hurt anything, the worst thing that will happen is that it will revert to single channel mode you can even run different speed modules, they will just work at the speed of the slowest module. although they recommend identical modules, many times very different ram modules will activate the dual channel function. remember, there is no such thing as 'dual channel ram" Dual channel is a motherboard architecture, not a type of ram. If you can afford it however, identical modules is the best option, but trying mixed modules will not hurt anything.
  7. Tedster

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

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