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Thread: 12GB Dual-Channel vs 16GB Single-Channel...which is the better choice?

  1. #1

    12GB Dual-Channel vs 16GB Single-Channel...which is the better choice?

    Greetings!

    So a little over a year ago I built a PC on a budget with the idea being that I would have a decent amount of power to begin with and plenty of room to expand. As of right now I'm not doing anything that particularly requires that I begin the upgrading process, but some extra RAM would be nice to go ahead and get in there so that video editing/rendering (which I do a lot of, in both the 2D and 3D varieties) can benefit from it ahead of the rest of the game, as these are the only things which truly fill up my current RAM.

    As of right now, the PC has 4GB of RAM (2x2GB, DDR3 10600 Kingston ValueRAM) and two open slots. Originally I had believed my mobo to support 32GB of RAM and so I was going to get a pair of 8GB sticks to go for a total of 20GB, but when looking back through the specs I discovered it actually only supports 16GB.

    So here's my question: would I get better performance going with 12GB of RAM total with 2 more 4GB sticks working in dual-channel or maxing out the 16GB with one 4GB stick and one 8GB stick, which obviously could not work in dual-channel? Is the speed tradeoff really that significant versus the spare few gigs of memory the latter option would provide?

    I have no interest in overclocking, so I don't care if the RAM sticks a bottleneck on me in that regard.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Dump the 2x2GB you have now and go with 4x4GB sticks. $80 for 16GB is not much of an investment. Seems like you were going to spend that much anyway with 1x8 and 1x4GB.

    Or if your board supports it you can probably get DDR-1600 for a few bucks more. But 1333 is fine too. Edit- $10 more for 1600.

    Also, I am assuming you are running 64bit version of windows? If not, more than 4GB won't be worth anything.

    Edit - Going with single channel ram cuts your ram performance in half. Not ideal at all. If you were talking maybe going with a slightly slower speed it would be one thing, but cutting it in half is pretty dramatic. There are times when more ram is better than faster ram. But why worry about it when ram prices are so good these days?
    Last edited by jlreich; 02-08-2012 at 10:58 PM.
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  3. #3
    Wow, I was thinking I'd be able to save money by keeping the original sticks, but those links are both half the price I was looking at spending! Even if I tacked on the cost of the original RAM, it would still be about the same or less, so I'm not really at a loss there at all.

    And yes, I am using 64-bit Windows 7/Ubuntu, so no issues there.

    My mobo doesn't support speeds in excess of 1333 without overclocking, so looks like I'm going with the 1333 RAM!

    Thanks a million!

  4. #4
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    Glad I could help.
    8 Pro 64bit
    AMD FX 8350
    Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0
    24GB GSkill/Corsair 1866MHz
    2x XFX 6870 1GB
    SSD - OCZ V4 128GB/Kingston 120GB
    HDD - 3TB/2x 750GB/500GB/250GB
    Corsair TX850M
    Cooler Master HAF 932 Red
    CM Hyper 212 EVO w/2x SickleFlow 120mm Red
    12x BD-ROM
    Logitech X540 5.1 Surround
    2X Acer 23" LED - Eyefinity: 3840x1080
    Microsoft Sidewinder x4 KB

    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein

  5. #5
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    RAM bandwidth = CPU efficiency! If you are ever faced with cutting RAM bandwidth, SAY NO!!!

    Besides, with a 16GB limit on your mobo over four RAM slots, a single 8GB stick would not have worked anyway. The 16GB limit is spread evenly over those four slots, so... yeah...

  6. #6
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    Saph!!!! Welcome back. So good to see you.
    8 Pro 64bit
    AMD FX 8350
    Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0
    24GB GSkill/Corsair 1866MHz
    2x XFX 6870 1GB
    SSD - OCZ V4 128GB/Kingston 120GB
    HDD - 3TB/2x 750GB/500GB/250GB
    Corsair TX850M
    Cooler Master HAF 932 Red
    CM Hyper 212 EVO w/2x SickleFlow 120mm Red
    12x BD-ROM
    Logitech X540 5.1 Surround
    2X Acer 23" LED - Eyefinity: 3840x1080
    Microsoft Sidewinder x4 KB

    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein

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