Intel Dual Channel memory - always install matched pairs of DIMMs

By RufusG
Sep 7, 2005
  1. If you install a single DIMM in an Intel Dual Channel Memory system, you will achieve only half the Memory performance that should be possible.

    Installing matched pairs of DIMMs – in the correct sockets – will double the Memory Performance and increase the overall system performance by 10-25%, compared to systems with the single DIMM.


    For background information on the Intel Dual Channel Memory Architecture, please see these documents:

    Intel Dual Channel DDR Memory Architecture White Paper

    Dual Channel DDR400 memory can balance the performance of the Intel Pentium 4 processor with 800MHz front side bus.

    Personal Experience

    I bought a PC from a major manufacturer that had a single factory-fitted 256MB DIMM.

    I installed a matched pair of PC3200/DDR400 DIMMs - in the correct sockets - and measured the following memory performance improvement:

    Pentium 4, 3.2GHz
    Single DIMM 2947 MBytes / sec
    Dual DIMMs 4664 MBytes / sec
    ( SiSoft SANDRA benchmark )

    The Intel and Kingston documents suggest that this results in a 10-25% improvement in overall system performance.

    I did not learn about this possible performance improvement by reading the manufacturers literature, as this aspect was poorly documented, or by calling their Technical Support line.

    I hope that this helps users understand this subject better.
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