Dual Channel RAM questions.

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Hi all,

Dual Channel RAM: Is it a worthwhile exercise? Tomshardware's previous
comparison suggests that it's barely worth it but my hardware doesn't
reflect normal circumstances: Day to day I use a pc with an
Athlon 64 2000+, A K8 architecture cpu but with an AM2+ socket
arrangement, designed for low power consumption (8W TDP). This is fine
for wordprocessing, web browsing, viewing photos and depending on
software choice, playing HD video because it's coupled with a 780G
chipset. However if there is some performance gain to be had by going
dual channel I'd like to do it.

A single personal experience of moving between single and dual channel
was positive with the only benchmark being the ability to play
supertuxkart with ease (stuttery and unplayable to very smooth with dual
channel), but this was with a P4 3.8Ghz Prescott (and this was doubling
the Ram as opposed to splitting existing ram over separate channels).

So, the real question is: Will I see a similar, but relative, magnitude
of performace gain using dual channel (again, doubling the amount of ram)
with the low powered Athlon 64 2000+ as I did with the P4? Or put another
way, will the k8 architecture and or low power design of the cpu see a
benefit from the dual channel or be a bottleneck? Note: the Athlon 64 2000
+ does have an onboard dual channel controller chip.

Thanks for you advice.

Re: Dual Channel RAM questions.

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1. Do it (dual channel) as every gain in velocity is... gain.
2. You had a good experience with a other cpu, other mobo and with
double the amount of memory, so in a difficultly comparable situation.

Was the double amount of memory causing Supertuxkart to work properly?
Very well possible. In that case doubling the amount of memory now
could cause your application to work properly too with the Athlon (and
will at any rate cause a overall better performance to your system)

But... your Athlon is designed for low power consumption, so will
probably have less power than the Prescott.
Conclusion: it remains to be seen. ;-)

So I would say:
1. Do double channel
2. double the amount of memory

The overall performance of your system will undoubtedly be better, but
no specific promises.


Re: Dual Channel RAM questions.

Keiron wrote:

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Dual channel mode, according to the benchmarks, gave me all of 7-11%
speed boost (it varied with every test but the average was around
there).  Do I see the speed boost in real use?  Nope.  

Would I add more memory to my host that would end up disabling dual
channel mode?  Nope, but not because I'd fear losing dual channel mode.
My old mobo only has 3 memory slots.  I could add another 1GB to get up
to a total of 3GB but I would lose some far more valuable than dual
channel mode: bus clock rate.  According to the manual, if I populate
all 3 slots than I cannot use the 400Mhz clock rate (that I now have
with 2 memory sticks in dual channel mode).  I'd have to lower the clock
to 333MHz.  The reduction in clock rate would far more impact the speed
of my host under real use than of losing dual channel mode.

So I have to stick with 2 memory sticks to keep the clock at max and
that happens to also give me dual channel mode.  If I had 4 memory
slots, I still wouldn't get another pair of memory sticks if it meant
having to lower the clock speed.  If I didn't lose on clock speed, yeah,
I'd add more memory and sacrifice the little if any boost from dual
channel mode.

It depends on whether or not you really need to add more memory.  If you
have unused or reserve memory under your normal or high loads then
adding more memory gives you nothing.  I would like to run more virtual
machines which would also get more memory allocated to them so more
memory would help with that; however, I'm not using VMs all the time and
the loss in clock rate would definitely impact my host.

What is best for memory configuration depends on what motherboard you
are using but never mentioned.  Read its manual to determine if upping
the memory lets you keep the highest clock rate or if you have to reduce
it.  If you get the keep the highest clock rate then as a secondary
consideration think about dual channel mode.

Re: Dual Channel RAM questions.

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You would not remark the gain in speed in real use but would still
profit from it: being more productive in the same time span.

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Ah! It has only 3 mem slots; that makes a difference of course as to
the possibility of using dual channel.

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Still another new factor that was not mentioned in the original
posting... ;-)

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Of course, of course.
I could not react on info nog given in the original posting could I?


Re: Dual Channel RAM questions.

Massimo wrote:

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I didn't reply to you, did I?

I provide other background info because the OP did not provide the
details necessary to analyze his situation.  This background showed why
other choices might need consideration other than just jumping to the
dual channel mode choice.  I was responding to the OP, not you.

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