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Dual Channel Dilemma

Discussion in 'PC hardware help' started by bigfoot18, Mar 27, 2004.

  1. bigfoot18

    bigfoot18 Member

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    Hi,
    I have an MSI K7N2 Delta Mainboard, with an nForce 2 Chipset. The board has 3 DDR RAM slots. I am currently running two SINGLE SIDED 256MB DDR333 modules in dual channel mode. I want to upgrade to 1GB of RAM, but I want to keep dual channel mode, and, if possible, not replace my 2x256.
    So: my question is, if I put in a DOUBLE SIDED 512 MB module, and pair it with the 2x256MB SINGLE SIDED modules, will the whole setup run in dual channel?
    Thanks in advance for your help. Any links would be appreciated.
     
  2. Nephilim

    Nephilim Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't quote me on it, but I remember reading that if you fill the third slot you lose dual-channel function.
     
  3. vurbal

    vurbal Administrator Staff Member

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    Last edited: Mar 29, 2004
  4. bigfoot18

    bigfoot18 Member

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    Thanks for your replies.

    Nephilim (Member) 29 March 2004 11:16
    "Don't quote me on it, but I remember reading that if you fill the third slot you lose dual-channel function."

    The way it is at the moment, my motherboard is running in dual channel mode with one stick in slot 1 and one stick in slot 3... what i plan to do, if possible, is put them both in 1 and 2 (the grouped slots), and put a double sided 512mb stick in slot 3 - therefore, i will have two single-sided 256 sticks on one channel, and the equivalent of two single sided 256 sticks on the other channel... right? I want to be certain before i spend any money..
    Thanks
     
  5. vurbal

    vurbal Administrator Staff Member

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    I seem to remember reading something when the nForce2 chipset first came out that said you could only use 2 single sided memory sticks in 2 channel mode, but that was for a specific motherboard. I did a little research just now and found an article saying that the chipset supports dual channel mode with 3 DIMMs, but says the amount of memory actually used is limited to 2x the amount in the first slot. That would suggest that as long as the MB supports it you can do what you want, but you need to put the big DIMM in the first slot.

    You should probably try to contact MSI just to see what they say. I downloaded the manual and it doesn't say, so I can see why you're unsure.

    Edit: Here's a link to the article I mentioned. I can't verify it's accuracy, so take it with a grain of salt.
    http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/nforce2-1vs2channels/
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]Learn AviSynth The Easy Way: http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/avisynth_tutorial.cfm
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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2004
  6. bigfoot18

    bigfoot18 Member

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    Thanks vurbal, a great help :)
    I'll try to borrow a 512MB module from one of my friends to test it out, but now I'm far more confident that it's worth the time and effort, rather than buying 2x 512MB and forgetting about the 2x 256MB.

    [bold]Thanks to all![/bold]
     
  7. ganz

    ganz Guest

    I'm pretty sure that any performance gain by adding 512 MB of ram will be much, much greater than sticking with the current dual channel mode... In my motherboard's manual it says that three sticks will not run dual channel. How much performance gain do you get with dual channel memory as opposed to a single stick? Is this like running a processor with HT??
     
  8. vurbal

    vurbal Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, adding more RAM will definitely do more for you than the dual channel mode. From the tests I've seen (mostly synthetic benchmarks so take with a grain of salt) the performance boost is only in the 3%-5% range from dual channel mode, and obviously using more RAM and less pagefile can give you a better boost than that, especially with memory intensive processes. Where the nForce chipset really makes the best use of it is when onboard video is used. Then it can make a much bigger difference.

    Keep in mind that even dual channel memory is limited by the bus speed, so if the application is using a lot of memory the bus is probably nearly always full anyway and if it's not it doesn't make much (if any) difference anyway.
    _
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]Learn AviSynth The Easy Way: http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/avisynth_tutorial.cfm
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    Last edited: Mar 31, 2004
  9. bigfoot18

    bigfoot18 Member

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    Thanks very much guys, I hadn't really considered the limitations of the 333MHz bus... Naturally, I'd still prefer dual channel for the performance boost, as little as it may be, but if I end up with single channel, I'll be happy in the knowledge that it's still faster than it used to be :)
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat...[/small]
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2004

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