We've been talking about triple channel memory configurations a lot. This doesn't mean that 2 DIMMs wouldn't work in dual-channel configuration on a Core i7 platform, no Sir. So please understand that
you are not forced to a triple channel configuration. You can insert 2 sticks of memory as well, yet it would be configured in dual-channel mode.
The downside here is that you'll loose a third of your memory performance. However, since the memory isn't tied to the good old FSB anymore, a dual-channel memory configuration also reaps the fruits of the labor that is called the Core i7 processor memory controller.
We've been asked a couple of times if we where able to show you the differences, and surely we'll do so with a couple of benchmarks. Here we go:
So again we look at Sandra. We see 27.47 GB/sec peak bandwidth for the G.Skill memory setup in triple channel (3 modules) at 1600 MHz 9:9:9:24 timings.
Sandra is a synthetic benchmark, therefore it wioll also show the biggest difference. And once we have setup the memory exactly the same, now yet with two DIMMs inserted in the PC (Dual-Channel) we see a hefty drop in overall bandwidth performance.
We fire up a real-world application, WinRAR and test again and see there's a noticeable difference between the configuration at tripe and dual-channel setup.
There will be situations where the difference will be much smaller. We transcode a video again from a 1080P high definition VC-1 formatted source file towards the Windows WMV9 format. Now honestly, the difference is nearly to small to call. And that amazed me for sure.
The GPU bound fear again then .. we do see a slight drop in performance. But you'll agree with me, dual-channel configuration with a Core i7 processor certainly doesn't blow.
It surprised me as much as likely it did for you guys. But you can measure the bandwidth difference really, yet that doesn't mean it'll drag the overall pc performance down. If you like to save a nickel or two in the upgrade processes. It wouldn't be a shame really to go for dual-channel and if you already have DDR3 memory .. simply use that.
The reality is that you'll still have excellent performance in a dual-channel memory configuration ... yet to take it up that extra notch, I'd go straight away to triple channel.
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