Disputes among computer enthusiasts, which is better, single-channel or dual-channel RAM, have not subsided for many years. They are especially hot in the case of a motherboard with only two RAM slots. Make a two-channel right now or leave the second slot free for a future upgrade? A difficult dilemma …
In this article, we will give all the arguments for and against Single Vs Dual Channel Ram in order to help you make the right choice as much as possible.
Single Vs Dual Channel Ram
Two channels of RAM is far from the limit for modern PCs. Back in 2008, the first generation of Core i7 processors received an integrated three-channel RAM controller. And in 2011, Core i7 Extreme processors for the LGA2011 socket came out with a quad-channel memory controller. There are no rumors about the development of a five-channel memory controller at the moment.
However, it is the two channels of RAM that remain the most common to this day. This is the amount supported by most modern desktop and laptop processors from Intel and AMD. The width of one channel is 64 bits, and the bandwidth in the case of DDR4 memory with a frequency of 2400 MHz is 19.2 GB/s. Accordingly, two channels of similar memory are already 128 bits and 38.4 GB/s. Naturally, adjusted for the latency (latencies) of the memory controller of a particular processor: Intel has it faster on average than AMD. Best 16GB DDR4 RAM For Overclocking.
Popular models of single-channel RAM
- Kingston Fury Beast DDR4 2x8Gb
- Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2x8Gb
- Kingston Fury Beast DDR4 2x8Gb
- Kingston Fury Beast DDR4 2x8Gb
That is why AMD processors, both old FX and new Ryzen are more dependent on memory speed and get a significant performance boost from dual-channel memory operation. The number of channels does not always equal the number of DIMM slots. So, mid-price and top-end motherboards are equipped with four slots, which allows you to install the appropriate number of RAM sticks, but the operating mode will still be strictly two-channel.
Popular models of dual-channel RAM
- Kingston Fury Beast DDR4 2x16Gb
- Kingston Fury Renegade RGB DDR
- Kingston Fury Impact DDR4 2x16Gb
- Kingston Fury Renegade DDR4 2x16Gb
- G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 2x16Gb
- Crucial DDR4 SO-DIMM 1x16Gb
If there are four memory slots and only two slats, then they need to be installed through one slot. And it is better to use the second and fourth slots. Firstly, it will solve the problem of compatibility of high-radiator brackets with a large CPU cooler. Secondly, on some motherboards, it is the second and fourth slots that support higher-frequency memory than the first and third.
Silicon Power DDR4 Gaming 1x8Gb
Metal radiators, low height, good overclocking potential.
Only models with a frequency of 2400 MHz are available for sale.
Silicon Power DDR4 with Heatsink is a rare RAM today with a heatsink and no annoying LED backlighting. Moreover, the heatsink is made of really thick-walled sheet metal and protrudes only half a centimeter above the textolite of the memory module, so it will certainly not interfere with the installation of a tower cooler.
There are several Silicon Power DDR4 with Heatsink volume options to choose from: individual modules for 4, 8 or 16 GB or dual-module kits with a total capacity of up to 32 GB. The frequency is strictly 2400 MHz, and the supply voltage is 1.2 V. There are 1-die generation RAM chips under the metal radiators.
By increasing the voltage to 1.35 V, we managed to overclock the 2×8 GB kit to 2933 MHz, even with a partial reduction in timings (delays) – from 17-17-17-39 to 16-18-18-38. It turns out +533 MHz or +22 percent – not a record, but still a very worthy result. Perhaps you will come across a more successful copy that will chase up to 3000 MHz or even higher.
As a result, Silicon Power DDR4 with Heatsink is a nice looking and well-cooled memory for Intel LGA1151 and AMD AM4 platforms, from which you can squeeze more performance through manual overclocking. If you need a truly overclocking memory, we advise you to pay attention to the older models of Silicon Power: XPower AirCool and XPower Turbine with factory frequencies up to 4133 MHz.
Check out guide at Single Rank Vs Dual Rank Ram.
Single Vs Dual Channel Ram: Test stand configuration
- CPU AMD Ryzen 3 Raven Ridge 2200G BOX ;
- coolerEnermax ETS-N31-02;
- video card – built-in Vega 8;
- motherboard Biostar B450GT3 Ver. 6.x ;
- RAM Silicon Power DDR4 Gaming 1x8Gb;
- solid state drive Silicon Power Ace A55 512GB ;
- HDD Seagate BarraCuda Compute ST2000DM008 2TB 256/7200;
- power unit Cougar VTE VTE600.
Single Vs Dual Channel Ram: Benchmark results
We will compare the performance of the memory subsystem in single and dual-channel mode using the example of a computer with an AMD Ryzen 3 2200G chip. In addition to the four Zen processor cores, it also has a built-in Vega 8 graphics accelerator, which makes it as dependent on the speed of the RAM as possible.
We also overclocked the memory from 2400 to 2933 MHz to see if the single-channel mode compensates for the increased frequency. By the way, the opinion that one memory bar overclocks better than two has not been confirmed. More precisely, it may be true for two different RAM modules (model, volume, base frequency), but not in the case of absolutely identical strips from one ready-made set. Four RAM sticks, even the same ones, really create an increased load on the memory controller, forcing it to reduce the frequency.
But the dual-channel mode will work fine in the case of different modules. Moreover, if the volume of one module is, say, 8 GB, and the second – only 4 GB, then the two-channel system will work for half the volume of the first bar, and the second half will have to be content with the single-channel one.
AIDA64, WinRAR and Tomb Raider 2013 were used as benchmarks. The game was deliberately chosen relatively old so that it could be run on an integrated vidyukha. All measurements were carried out four times: in one and two-channel mode, with a frequency of 2400 and 2933 MHz.
So, in the AIDA64 Cache & Memory Benchmark test, overclocked single-channel memory showed lower (better) latency than non-overclocked dual-channel memory – 79 versus 89 ns. But in terms of the speed of reading, writing and copying data, the two-channel overtook the single-channel by half – an average of 34 versus 17 GB / s.
As for real applications, such as the popular WinRAR archiver, the overclocked single-channel turned out to be slightly faster than the two-channel – 4600 versus 4350 kB / s. But in the game Tomb Raider 2013, which is more dependent on the video card than on the processor, even non-overclocked dual-channel memory produced 34 FPS against only 26 FPS for the overclocked single-channel memory.
For Intel processors with integrated graphics and AMD processors, even without graphics, dual-channel RAM is more preferable. And for AMD APU chips with integration, dual-channel is generally critical. In this case, it is more reasonable to either immediately purchase two large modules (say, 2×8 GB), or for the first time limit yourself to two small strips (2×4 GB), but then you must take a motherboard with four DIMM slots. In the presence of a discrete video card with its own video memory, the junior Intel processors (Pentium and Core i3) will definitely have enough single-channel, thanks to which you can save on the motherboard. For the older Core i5, i7 and i9, it is desirable, if not immediately, then at least later to buy a second RAM module. Otherwise, it is the memory subsystem that will become the “weak link” of the entire PC.