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Can I mix single-channel and dual channel memory sticks?

Posted on 2011-09-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I currently have two 1 Gb memory sticks (1024 Mb 240 pin, PC400 DR2 667MZ).  I want to purchase two 2 Gb sticks of the same configuration.  I have 4 slots.  Can I mix them or will the dual channel revert to single channel?  Also, is this mother board dependent?
Question by:rmmarsh
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE
ID: 36491812

Author Comment

ID: 36491858
No it's not... this question is can I mix dual channel and single channel on the same motherboard...  I know the existing memory is NOT dual channel, but the memory I am buying is dual channel.

LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 36492206
Yes but it will all run in single channel mode. However the chipset you have(nvidia 680i) does support dual channel, im not sure why garycase(his info is usually spot on) said it doesn't because it does. Also are you running a 64-bit os?
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Author Comment

ID: 36492391
Yes, running Win 7 64-bit... I ran MemTest and the 1 Gb didn't show as dual, so I just assume it is single...I will remove the 1 Gb and just run the two sicks of 2 Gb until I get more money...
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

jamietoner earned 2000 total points
ID: 36492440
Try cpu-z to see if you are running in dual channel.
Click on the memory tab and after Channels it will say Dual or Single, my bet is it says dual as long as the memory is installed properly.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36492480
You are absolutely right!  It is dual!... thank you so much... now, I'll just add the two new sticks to what I have and I'll have 6 Gb of RAM... wheeeeeeee!
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 36492488
When you get the new ram install it in the first channel(slots 1 and 3) and the 1Gb sticks in the second channel(slots 2 and 4), for best performance.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 36493177
Well, I blew that one -- I depended on two things that both proved inaccurate in this case:  (1) MemTest+ wasn't showing dual channel mode (apparently doesn't recognize it for that chipset); and (2) Crucial indicated that it didn't support dual channel (a rare mistake).

One note, however, regarding the wording of the question [Can I mix single-channel and dual channel memory sticks?}  ==>  There is NO SUCH THING as "dual channel memory" -- that's a marketing phrase used to sell matching modules of memory for use in motherboards that support dual channel operation.

Your CURRENT 1GB modules will work in dual channel mode if installed correctly (as I outlined in the previous question -- but I mistakenly depended on MemTest to identify whether it was operating in the correct mode).

All you have to do to use all 4 modules in dual channel mode is be sure they're in matching pairs in the correct slots -- as jamietoner has already noted.

Author Comment

ID: 36495175
Thanks Gary... I appreciate the clarification.

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