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MEMORY

Dual Channel
By: jkabaseball
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  • Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 136
    2005-03-08

    Table of Contents:
  • Dual Channel
  • Why dual channeling makes a difference
  • Testing
  • Gaming Benchmarks
  • Taking the video card out of the equation

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    Dual Channel


    (Page 1 of 5 )

    You may have heard about the advantages of running dual channel memory, such as increasing the speed of your system, particularly for video games. Does dual channel memory really make that big a difference, or is that just a lot of hype? Jkabaseball explains how dual channel memory works, and finds out the truth by running some solid benchmarks.

    Have you been in the market for memory lately? You may notice that memory comes in standard, one memory modules, and also Dual Channel Kits. Whatís the difference? There is really no difference other then Dual Channel Kits are two modules instead of one. These are meant to be run in dual channel. You can still get two single modules and run them in dual channel. The kits are sold as tested to work in dual channel. If the memory stick of any kind of memory is compatible to be run at stock speed with stock latency, it will work in dual channel mode. The kits are sold more for the novice, so they know that they are getting what they need. I know when I bought my RAM there were no dual channel kits available for my memory; I bought two one stick packages and have experienced no problems with them.

    What is dual channel and what are the benefits? First you must see whether your current motherboard supports dual channeling. Whether or not your motherboard supports dual channel lies within the memory controller. Most modern day memory controllers support dual channeling, though there are a few which donít: the AMD Athlon 64 series with the 754 socket does not support dual channeling, but the newer 939 socket does. On the Athlon 64 series the memory controller lies within the CPU.

    Nearly all desktop Intel based PCs support dual channeling. Unlike the AMDs, the memory controller is located on the motherboard, in the North Bridge. The new NForce chipset for Intel motherboards is interesting; for more information, check out the review provided by DMOS here. The current plans are for the memory controller to be off of the North Bridge and located in its own chip. They claim that the current nForce boards that run on AMD donít need to have a memory controller on the motherboard. This chipset isnít currently available so nothing is set in stone. The only non-dual channel chipsets are for the mobile market. The current 400mhz FSB Pentium Mobiles do not support dual channel. The next version, however, which is going to hit the market soon, will.

    Now that we have done a quick run down of what is and is not supported, let's talk about what dual channeling really is. Dual channel memory doubles the pipelines available to the memory controller. This allows more information to be recalled from the memory faster.

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