Question Dual VS Single Channel

Chernabog

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Feb 17, 2014
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Hey everyone,
I accidentally bought a single 32gb stick rather than 2-dual channel 16gb sticks of RAM.
Now, I did not notice when I purchased it on amazon cause the product was indeed 2 sticks of 16 at 3200mhz, so when I decided to go with 3600 instead, it was single channel and I did not see it in the title.
My bad.
Now my question is, should I have it replaced with the previous 2 sticks at 3200mhz, or keep the single one at 3600? It doesn't look like Patriot Vipers are available in dual channel at 3600mhz (16gb*2).

Thanks in advance for your wisdom
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
Depends, what is the make and model of your motherboard and the processor that's paired with it? 2x16GB DDR4-3600MHz sounds interesting/enticing but if your platform can't take advantage of more than DDR4-3200MHz, then there's no point getting the higher frequency kit.
 

geofelt

Titan
Can you return your purchase to Amazon and do it right?

Dual channel is particularly important for graphics performance if you are using integrated graphics.

For cpu performance, dual channel does make a difference, but it depends on the app.

Be aware that for ram to run properly, it must all come from the same matched kit.
The internal workings, even from the same part number may be different.

Do the safe and best thing and buy the dual channel kit.

If you think you might ever need 64gb, buy 64gb up front, or plan on replacing the 32gb at the time you need 64gb.
 

Chernabog

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Feb 17, 2014
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I'm using it with an rtx 3060, so no integrated graphics. I will see if I can get amazon to replace it, though it's technically my mistake. Wouldn't adding another one of the same exact sticks make it dual channel, 64gb though? I don't think I need as much ram at the moment, but it might be a future proof investment if they don't let me rma it
 

geofelt

Titan
I'm using it with an rtx 3060, so no integrated graphics. I will see if I can get amazon to replace it, though it's technically my mistake. Wouldn't adding another one of the same exact sticks make it dual channel, 64gb though? I don't think I need as much ram at the moment, but it might be a future proof investment if they don't let me rma it
The problem is that you can not buy another exact matching stick.
The internal workings are designed for the capacity of the kit.
Ram from the same vendor, part number and batch can be made up of differing performance characteristics due to silicon quality variables.
 
This is to shed light on the whole "you must have matched memory to run them in dual channel". The tl;dw is
  • Yes, you can run mixed memory modules in dual channel
  • No, there is no appreciable performance loss
  • Yes, things get tricky if the modules don't have matched specs
  • Yes, you can use RAM of different speeds, but you shouldn't expect the slower one to match the higher one
  • Yes, you can use RAM of different capacities, but performance will degrade the moment more RAM than 2x the lower capacity is used (heck, this is a somewhat common configuration in laptops now)
  • Yes, you can use an odd number of RAM modules, and it may work, but it's not recommended
Otherwise, to answer this question:
Now my question is, should I have it replaced with the previous 2 sticks at 3200mhz, or keep the single one at 3600? It doesn't look like Patriot Vipers are available in dual channel at 3600mhz (16gb*2).
If it were me, I would return the single stick and get a 2 stick configuration, since getting another 32GB module is overkill.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
With ram in mixed kits it's quite simple, only 3 outcomes. It works, it works after tinkering/adjustments, it doesn't work.

Many ppl have no idea what to do with ram adjustments, they just set xmp and freak out when it goes wrong. Which it stands a good chance of doing.

Buying the kit you want, in the size and speeds you want is always the safe bet, any discrepancies being taken care of by the factory whom has thousands of sticks to make combinations from. You have 1 stick extra and no other options.

Your choice. Ryzens bahave better with dual channel ram, and it does offer a safety and convenience aspect, if one stick dies, you can get by with the other temporarily. If all you have is one stick, it has the same chances (if not more) of disruption, in which case your pc is down until repaired, as soon a s you can figure out that the ram is the issue, not the mobo/cpu/gpu/storage or psu.
 
I don't think I need as much ram at the moment, but it might be a future proof investment if they don't let me rma it
Realistically, I doubt you are going to have any need for more than 32GB for a number of years to come, unless you have some specific niche usage scenario in mind (like certain high-resolution video editing workloads) that can potentially benefit from having access to more RAM. If you are just gaming or something, then today's games generally don't tend to benefit much from having more than 16GB installed, at least if you are not multitasking with other RAM-hungry applications open in the background. So unless something drastically changes with memory usage in games, 32GB will likely provide a decent amount of "future-proofing" as it is, and is arguably a good amount to build a gaming system with today.

If you are concerned about paying an extra $12 for a dual channel kit, then it's questionable whether it would be worth paying around ten times as much for additional RAM that might potentially sit completely unused for the life of the system. And even if you eventually find need for more than 32GB years down the line, it's very possible that the upgrade might cost less then, particular if you consider the used market.
 

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