Dual-channel RAM -- more in channel 1 or 2? Does it matter?

By msmadilee · 17 replies
Mar 10, 2012
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  1. Hello,

    i understand how to set up dual channels with matching pairs - that is not my question. What i can't find the answer for is this:

    If i have a matching pair of 512 = 1g
    and a matching pair of 1g = 2g,..

    Does it make a difference which pair is in which channel? Should i have 2g in channel 1 and 1g in channel 2, or would this make no difference?

    thank you!!

  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    You can run different stick of RAM at the same time in Dual channel asynchronous, but I think they'll operate at single channel speeds.
    If you decide to run in asynchronous mode, I think that it doesn't matter.
  3. msmadilee

    msmadilee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks HelloKitty :)

    Yes, i am not concerned with transfer speed, voltage, or anything, and they do report to be running in dual/interleaved mode...i just wondered if the 1 gig would "fill up" and then 'spill' to the 2 gigs, thus slowing down, because the 1 gig is always 'full' ..or, the reverse of that..the 2 gigs only 'spilling' IF they get 'full'...what i question is whether the channels actually get used interchangeably and equally, or if channel one gets preference first.

    Anyway, right now, i have the 1 gig pair in channel one, and there doesnt seem to be any noticeable issues or loads in system monitors.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,408   +3,418

    I'm not absolutely sure but I don't think that would be an issue.
  5. drecked

    drecked TS Member Posts: 41

    ram slots

    If you are using XP 2GB Is the most you can use read your MB manual It explains the placement , but normaly there is four slots 2 blue 2 white try to use one and two
    which are usually the same colour in my case they were the two white ones!
  6. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Oh really? I didn't know that, could you explain to me why XP is limited to 2GB?
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,408   +3,418

    @dreck - The only Windows editions that is limited to or less than 2GB is the Starter editions.

    Memory Limits for Windows Releases

    Reading the motherboard manual will usually only explain motherboard limits.
  8. drecked

    drecked TS Member Posts: 41

    Well Clifford I was told this by a tech, > Reading My MB manual (I have 4 GB in mine)
    It say's:Due to windows 32-bit O/S limitation, when 4 GB of physical
    memory is in stalled, the actual memory size displayed will be less the 4 GB ! IT shows
    3.42 GB in mine, he say's 2GB is all you need : you can put 32 GB in mine but 2 GB is enough
    say's He. the moral of the story what you put in is one thing , what it makes use of is another.
    PS: mine works fine with 2 GB but I put the other one back in for safe keeping lol.
    this my explanation by the way > hellokitty[hk
  9. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Well using a 32 bit OS will limit you to about 3.5 GB, where does the 2GB limit come in...?
  10. drecked

    drecked TS Member Posts: 41

    they say you will never get to use over 2GB , But I already had the four before they
    pointed it out Capice! , but hey you can put as many sticks in as you like but your
    only wasting your money it seems.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,408   +3,418

    Memory usage depends on User usage. Just because average usage never exceeds 2GB doesn't mean possible usage will never exceed 2GB. You may be right about the OP never using more than 2GB but that will not be the case every time.
  12. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,004   +661

    There was a feature in an older Intel chipset i believe that allowed dual channel with mismatched density sticks, something Matrix Storage... I can't remember. Otherwise, you lose dual channel capability. I would run the stick/module with the highest density in the slot closest to the CPU, do a bandwidth and latency test with AID64, then run it with the lower density module in the first slot and retest, then go with the setup that gives you the most bandwidth and/or lowest latency, if its even possible it would be any different. I've always used matched modules. Also when it comes to RAM timings and clock frequencies , your RAM will only run as fast as the slowest module - if you didn't already know this.
  13. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,004   +661

    I think he/she is referring to the limit of a 32-bit program, which is 2GB, but that only affects a handful of CAD and video editing type programs, leaving most of that 2GB empty when you are not using said programs.

    2GB is more than enough for 90% of the people that are actually still running that ancient OS - no offence. :)
  14. drecked

    drecked TS Member Posts: 41

    héhéhéhéhé , hahahanoobs I put a new MB & i5-2400 CPU @3.10Ghz in not long ago and ddr 3 ram I has excellent on board Video and I don't see any advantage of building a beast unless I was going in to gaming, my gaming is done horizontally or on
    my PS2 which has not died yet UGH touch wood !
    I have windows 7 to but I really find XP simply the best it's a bit like hanging on to a nice GF who knows how get your motor running ! . But" > Ancient OS ? I'm away time for a brief Sulk > Why are people so unkind ? LOL
  15. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,797   +459

    You may get better stability and overclockability by having one pair in one channel rather than the other but apart from that, at stock speeds there shouldn't be a difference. Which way around is best is hard to say.

    At a guess I'd say the "worse" timings ram in the motherboard recommended channel is the way to go. E.g. if the mobo recommends you use channel 1 if you are only using 2 sticks, put the ram with the worse timings in that one.
  16. magaman598

    magaman598 TS Booster Posts: 188

    @Drecked I don't understand the significance of your post.

    Anyway, OP. it should work fine just keep in mind that the Motherboard will default to the lowest speeds with the RAM and make sure to have the 2GB matched set in the 1st channel. Also, after installing the RAM you should set the speed yourself in the BIOS and adjust the timings accordingly. Best of luck!
  17. drecked

    drecked TS Member Posts: 41

    Just a bit of humor when hahahanoobs said 90% of the people that are actually still running that ancient OS, by which he mean XP i guess ! Initially I was just saying to (hello kitty) if she was
    running XP 2 GB would be plenty ! >>> case closed for me.
  18. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    It really wont matter what size the matched banks are. Also, 32-bit OS's do have a 4GB address limit (less any option rom or address space used for example like a videocard's vram, etc.).

    The only thing you might be interested in doing is if you have single and dual-ranked memories, putting the single ranked in the lower bank might yield some smallish gain that would be likely unnoticeable.

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