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I have always seen that the motherboard RAM slots are colored in pairs, but never knew what it meant. I just put the 2 RAM in, and after a few tries it always worked. But after I tried to install a third one it always throws me a blue screen of death. Is there an order how should I install RAM to the board? What do the colors mean? Do they indicate a performance boost opportunity or are they just a guide for installation?

Motherboard RAM slot colors

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Checking the manual for your motherboard can help with the supported memory configurations –  Ramhound Nov 8 '13 at 21:38
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Also just adding on to that comment but different manufactures have in the past used different layout rules so you really need to read carefully to make sure you are doing it right. –  Enigma Nov 8 '13 at 21:43
    
I just want to add that on my favorite MoBo manufacturer's boards - which I won't identify here because their boards are great and this is a minor annoyance - that their documentation no longer includes the DIMM order, and that one board that wanted two of four (if you only did two) to be in the same colour, in another board wants them to be installed in opposite colours starting at the CPU (you get RAM failure, doesn't even get to BSOD if you do it differently). Both 970 AMD boards. I've never (knock wood) killed a DRAM and I've flip-flopped them a lot. –  user274549 Nov 16 '13 at 6:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 32 down vote accepted

It means that the colored pair is a dual channel set and that you should install RAM as a pair to take advantage of it.

You should install 2 of the same sticks as a matching pair on the same color slots and then another 2 that are the same in the remaining two slots.

Ideally you want to have all memory be identical in a system or else you will end up with some memory being potentially downclocked (or voltage/multiplier) to the lowest sticks specifications.

Different manufactures have in the past used different layout rules so you really need to read carefully to make sure you are installing them in the right position/order.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254308-30-install-dual-channel

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-the-Dual-Triple-and-Quad-Channel-Memory-Architectures/133/5

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Be aware that, though this is the convention with modern motherboards, it is by no means required and reading the manual is the only way to be certain for a specific model. –  Bob Nov 9 '13 at 14:43
    
When you say "lowest common denominator", you are using the term lossely, right? For two memories not equal it'll go to the lowest option, but not less than that. Is that so? –  Alpha Nov 13 '13 at 0:01
    
@Alpha "For two memories not equal it'll go to the lowest option, but not less than that" - That is correct. I was using it as an expression but fixed it to be more clear. –  Enigma Nov 13 '13 at 14:41
    
Why don't they make the same colored pairs next to each other? The way it is now is pretty counter-intuitive. –  ceiling cat Nov 19 '13 at 15:48
    
@ceilingcat - It is up to the discretion of the manufacturer planning the board layout. I have seen boards designed both ways. I've always thought it was counter-intuitive to stripe them as well and laying two dual channel sticks next to each-other just makes more sense. I'm sure there are reasons to go one way or another but I don't have the answer to that. –  Enigma Nov 19 '13 at 16:06

Every slot color indicate that which type of Ram should be place in it.If there is two slots having same color then it implies that it support dual channel.

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The colors are nicely answered by Enigma. As for:

But after I tried to install a third one it always throws me a blue screen of death. Is there an order how should I install RAM to the board?

The answer is Yes, there is an order, and the details are found in your motherboard manual, which nearly always has detailed instructions for what order the memory slots should be filled, and which configurations will work, so you can simply put it in once and have it work, rather than

I just put the 2 RAM in, and after a few tries it always worked.

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protected by random Nov 17 '13 at 4:14

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