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Question Is one stick of RAM in a slot now okay?

Harry_Wild

Senior member
Dec 14, 2012
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I see many new prebuilt desktop PC having only one memory stick of RAM in one of the four slots. I was told that you need a dual memory combo to optimize the RAM.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
15,032
5,209
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I see many new prebuilt desktop PC having only one memory stick of RAM in one of the four slots. I was told that you need a dual memory combo to optimize the RAM.
It depends what the user is going to be doing with it really. A single modern memory module can push many gigabytes of data per second. With dual-channel RAM, it can be doubled. The question is whether the typical usage scenario will benefit from that. 3D gaming, most likely.
 
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kschendel

Member
Aug 1, 2018
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Prebuilts often use just one stick because it's a (small) cost savings, and the performance penalty isn't dire. Typical gaming results seem to be on the order of a few percentage points penalty for running just a single channel; of course, it will vary from game to game. Non-gaming results may be better or worse depending on how memory-intensive and cache-[un]friendly the application is.

If you're building your own, you'll want two sticks, since at retail 2x8 is about the same price as 1x16. I imagine the economics are a little different when buying hundreds or thousands of sticks to go into prebuilts.
 
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Spikke

Member
Jun 23, 2007
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2 sticks is always better (and significantly better on Ryzen systems), the big system builders just like to cheap out and cut corners.
 
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Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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If possible always use dual channel. It's not more expensive for a given capacity, and the performance benefit is worth it.

For best results use dual rank memory too, particularly on AMD platforms. They really like it.

If we get into the esoteric, dual channel quad rank is best for bandwidth, while dual channel single rank is best for latency. Choose which is more appropriate for a given workload.
 
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mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,561
860
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This is the way I want it, spec'd capacity only uses a single memory module then I save money adding 2nd module over buying with it already included, unless it's a particularly burdensome to disassemble (to add memory), laptop design where you have to pull the whole mainboard out for access.
 

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