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Is it better to use 2x 2GB or 1x 4GB RAM with a i7 2600k Sandy Bridge performance-wise for:

  1. Applications?
  2. Games?
  3. Both?
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@SimonSheehan Does this count as a "shopping question"? He's not asking if he should buy Processor Brand X or Processor Brand Y, he's asking about the difference between RAM on a single stick and on two sticks (it so happens he's asking with a specific processor in mind). –  Michael McGowan Oct 21 '11 at 19:50
    
@MichaelMcGowan Perhaps you are right, now that i read it again –  Simon Sheehan Oct 21 '11 at 19:52
    
@SimonSheehan The linked question and answers don't apply here. The other topic completely misses dual/triple channel, since they only consider 2 or 4 modules. Nominating to reopen. We need a better reason to close this question than the linked topic. –  Daniel Beck Oct 22 '11 at 11:13
    
How is that even remotely duplicate? Are you guys for real? I asked whether it's better to have 1 single RAM module or 2 RAM modules. Exactly what does it have to do with 4x2GB or 2x4GB?! –  Don Salva Oct 22 '11 at 18:39
    
@DonSalva Calm down, we're in the process of fixing it. Takes some time though. –  Daniel Beck Oct 23 '11 at 2:44

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Quoting here:

All Sandy Bridge designs also incorporate a dual-channel DDR3 controller, suggesting that the triple-channel system used by the LGA 1366 platform is being sidelined.

“We’ve found a very high percentage of clients will only tolerate two memory channels,” explained Opher Kahn, senior principal engineer for Sandy Bridge. “OEMs wanting to build for three channels need to use chips that aren’t based on this design. It’s a small market that we’re not going to separate out of this chip design.”

So it's a dual channel architecture and you should get better performance with two RAM modules.

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2x2GB will provide better performance in all applications because it will allow you to place an equal amount of RAM on each channel of the memory controller. However, 1x4GB will leave more slots available for future expansion.

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