2 x 2GB or 4 x 1GB sticks. What's better now?

VERTIGGO

Senior member
Apr 29, 2005
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4 x 1 seems to be a bit cheaper and lower latency still. Is there a performance hit running 4 sticks on Intel like the A64s had? What's better at this point?
 

Sylvanas

Diamond Member
Jan 20, 2004
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I dont think there is a performance hit as such, either way is fine. But if you plan to overclock, a 4x1 stick setup will give you 4 variables opposed to 2 in which one of the three sticks may hit a ceiling before the others, thus limiting your overclock. I would just go for the best deal you can find (preferably with the Micron D9 chips).
 

VERTIGGO

Senior member
Apr 29, 2005
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From what I've seen the 4 sticks have better timings and overclock better; wouldn't that mean that you would hypothetically reach better speeds with 4 as long as the worst one is not unusually bad? But then what's the point of 2GB sticks unless it's for 8GB setups?
 

alaricljs

Golden Member
May 11, 2005
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With the same exact RAM, 4 will OC less than 2 sticks. There's a thread authored by lopri where he goes from 2 sticks to 4 and has discussion about the extra voltage necessary for the OC simply because of additional sticks.
 

AdamK47

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
14,007
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I have 4 1GB D9 sticks that seem to do well together. I currently have them at 500 MHz (1000 DDR) with 5-5-5-15 timings at 2.0V. They can run at 1200 DDR with 2.4V at 5-5-5-15 timings. I feel safer at 1000 DDR though.
 

aka1nas

Diamond Member
Aug 30, 2001
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Adding more sticks will cause greater load on the memory bus, which in practical terms requires you to increase voltage to get a clean signal through and ends up limiting your overclock somewhat.
 

firewolfsm

Golden Member
Oct 16, 2005
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4 Sticks loads your chipset more and reduces your overclock at the chipset level, it won't matter how good the ram is. On the other hand, 2GB don't overclock much either...

Just go with what's cheaper.
 

aka1nas

Diamond Member
Aug 30, 2001
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It can somewhat affect the CPU overclock in that you might not be able to hit the same FSB on a given board. Also, CPUs like the K8 with an IMC tend to be finicky with more strenuous RAM loadouts when overclocked.
 

Yellowbeard

Golden Member
Sep 9, 2003
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From what I am seeing, each successive Intel chipset from the 875P upwards has been handling 4 DIMMs better and better than each predecessor. There is not near the performance hit there used to be. The 680i chipsets seem to a little more finicky to tune and require a bit more voltage bump but it is not hard to do with a bit of patience.

And, latencies don't seem to matter so much on C2D. So, you can run a PC6400 2 x 2gb kit at about 1.8 to 1.9v while OCing the CPU to 400+ FSB. Most people don't go too far past 400FSB anyway.

That said, it is still easier for the "average" guy to simply plug in 2 x 2gb DIMMs, run stock voltages on the chipset, and have his system run longer with less voltage and heat. OCers are an entirely different animal. There's no wrong answer here and currently, 4 x 1gb is a bit cheaper but not much.

And, chipset limitations are not the only factors to figure into using 4 DIMMs. Consider you will likely need better cooling and in some cases aftermarket cooling on the chipset depending on the board you get. Longevity may play in so your MOBO might "only" last 4 years OCed instead of 7 with stock chipset voltages. The system will consume more power and there are 2x as many DIMMs to fail.
 

Nnyan

Senior member
May 30, 2003
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not sure about other 650i mobos but the Gigabyte GA-N650SLI-DS4 has issues overclocking if you use all 4 memory slots (1GB sticks) using all the released bios (F4, F5 and F7). Added volts don't seem to help any.
 

VERTIGGO

Senior member
Apr 29, 2005
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well I'm far more concerned with getting a high cpu clock (and therefore FSB) than getting my ram to reach impressive speeds. I've seen very little real benefit to ocing my ram. So I'm getting that if I invest a little more in 2x2 and running dividers then I'll be happier than running similar ram in a 4x1 config.
 

doggyfromplanetwoof

Senior member
Feb 7, 2005
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2x1gb 4 ranks two per stick
2x2gb 4 ranks two per stick

4x1gb doubles the number of ranks, it allows for 8 way interleaving. In turn, increase performance.

Tighter timings, cheaper, better control of flow. 4x1gb. The chip set problems with full memory banks loaded is a thing of the pass.
 

Yellowbeard

Golden Member
Sep 9, 2003
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Tighter timings, cheaper, better control of flow. 4x1gb. The chip set problems with full memory banks loaded is a thing of the pass.
It's not totally gone. It's not as bad as it used to be but there are still some limitations over various chipsets and MOBOs.
 

Allio

Golden Member
Jul 9, 2002
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So if 4x 1GB DDR2-800 sticks are $200 and 2x 2GB DDR2-800 sticks are $400 it's probably a no-brainer, right? (man this country is weird)

I'm not quite ready to move to C2D yet (waiting for the price drops next month) but with memory so cheap, I'm probably going to pounce on 4GB worth if prices show a sign of moving up. If I can get 4 sticks and not be hamstrung then that makes things much more affordable...
 

Yellowbeard

Golden Member
Sep 9, 2003
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Originally posted by: Allio
So if 4x 1GB DDR2-800 sticks are $200 and 2x 2GB DDR2-800 sticks are $400 it's probably a no-brainer, right? (man this country is weird)

I'm not quite ready to move to C2D yet (waiting for the price drops next month) but with memory so cheap, I'm probably going to pounce on 4GB worth if prices show a sign of moving up. If I can get 4 sticks and not be hamstrung then that makes things much more affordable...
You can get 2 x 2gb kits for about $225.
 

Allio

Golden Member
Jul 9, 2002
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Originally posted by: Yellowbeard
You can get 2 x 2gb kits for about $225.
Nah, I live in New Zealand. Low ram prices and a low USD seem to have affected the price of 1GB sticks but not 2GB ones.
 

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