Dual Channel Memory Question

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by hertzian56, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. hertzian56

    hertzian56 Notebook Evangelist

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    I've read that having two ram modules, for dual channel cpu interface speeds, increases gaming fps pretty well in certain games. I have only a single 8gb ddr4 3200 stick in my laptop and would want to stick a second stick in there.

    My question is does it matter if the two sticks are the same amount of memory to get this benefit or is it just that there are two sticks? I'm thinking of just getting a 4gb second matching stick instead of 8gb, in some cases it can be half the price instead of actually being more, and I think 12gb would be just fine.
     
  2. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    You'd think wrong. ;)

    16GB was needed in 2009. Today, 32GB is needed to browse with a fair number of browsers and tabs open.

    The cost-benefit comparison you're doing isn't doing justice to the benefit you'll see with 2x 8GB RAM modules or bigger.

    For mere pennies per day, over the lifecycle of the computer, max out the RAM, today.
     
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  3. hertzian56

    hertzian56 Notebook Evangelist

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    Disagree, I've had 8gb ram in a few computers and I've not noticed much difference in normal use. I've had 16gb as well in desktops and laptops, sure it's zippier I guess, ssd and debloated system makes much more difference though. Maybe more fps but overall not that big of deal.

    --The question was about dual sticks which in some configs will make for dual channel bandwidth, not about what the "proper" amount of ram is. And specifically if they need to be of the same amount of gb.

    This quora post seems to suggest that the sticks need to be matched size to get dual channel mode benefits though.

    https://www.quora.com/Dual-Ram-vs-Single-Ram
     
  4. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    Disagree all you want. What you may notice and what is happening are two different things.

    If you push a platform close to, or at, its limits, maxing out the RAM will increase those limits (this is reflected in more productivity, less stress on the SSD's (higher longevity, and more effortless multitasking, regardless of the background tasks the computer is doing), and the associated write/read/write dance they must do to be available for the user, not the system).

    An SSD and an optimized O/S (clean install) is a given today. Cheaping out on RAM is like putting Walmart tires on a Ferrari. If you want to go fast, you must pay the (small) price. And painting racing strips counts as much as stating 8GB is equivalent to 16GB or more. You need to push the system (not look at Task Manager) to see the benefits.
     
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  5. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    You need another 8GB stick of 3200MHz at the same CL.
     
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  6. Starlight5

    Starlight5 Yes, I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    It will work fine, but 16GB is the sweet spot for most tasks at the moment, including gaming. I'd get 8GB stick, or better 16GB stick, if I were you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  7. hertzian56

    hertzian56 Notebook Evangelist

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    Well apart from the strange ranting, thanks for the constructive on topic comments. 4gb can be had for a lot less than a single 8gb stick, like 15$ vs. $40, but 8gb has been totally fine for gaming etc. My usage is not having tons of windows open or heavier programs going all at once etc

    I haven't noticed a need for more than 8GB on my other CAD-use machine and it's pretty zippy especially with LTSC on there. Even if it doesn't use dual channel, 4gb would be a good cheap upgrade. I was just curious since I've read dual channel is a benefit but not specifically mentioned if the sticks had to be identical.
     
  8. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    2x 4GB of identical RAM would be beneficial and it will be dual-channel, with all the improvements (mostly on iGPU processes) that that may bring for your usage.

    Buying a 4GB stick right now in 2021 is a waste of $$, even if it is only $15. 2x 8GB @ $80 (or even better 2x 16GB or more) will give you more than 4x the benefits, overall, especially if you're planning to keep that (newer) platform for longer than anything over ~14 months.

    And you will be (finally) able to run multiple programs not only at full speed but even faster than what you think is full speed right now.

    A CAD machine with 8GB RAM? This is not used for work then. ;)

    And try taking the advice with the intent it is given, and not calling it strange ranting and trying to negate the learning that may occur. :)
     
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  9. Starlight5

    Starlight5 Yes, I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    @hertzian56 mixing ram sticks of different capacity results in asynchronous dual channel mode, where part of the RAM - two times the size of smaller stick - is dual channel, and the rest is single channel. Some modern games benefit greatly from at least 16GB of RAM.

    Any Windows 10 edition runs happily on machines with as low as 2GB RAM. It's not the OS itself responsible for high RAM consumption, but the software you run on it.
    While it's out of scope of your original post, @tilleroftheearth actually makes a good point here. Constantly paging to SSD due to low amount of RAM definitely doesn't make the system run faster. Once you get access to a Windows machine with 32GB+ RAM, try disabling pagefile completely, then running your usual software on it. You'll be amused.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  10. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    You need sticks with same size and timings. Probably the only sensible way to achieve this is to buy a kit. I would second the 2x16 suggestion, but even 16GB will give you a very noticeable system performance boost.
     
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