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Assuming a Core i7 with a x58 chipset (IOW, triple-channel is supported)... I'm trying to decide if I need to buy triple channel memory kits. The MB has 6 slots, and I will populate them all. So I've got two options:

1) Buy 2 triple-channel kits (3x2g sticks) identical kits

2) Buy 3 dual-channel kits (2x2g sticks) identical kits

Either way I have 6 identical sticks and 12Gig. And if the difference between dual and triple memory is in the controller, then I don't see the difference. Since I'm loading all 6 slots either way won't I end up with triple-channel access?

Everything I've seen on the net talks about 2 sticks vs. 3 sticks, and obviously 2 sticks can't do triple channel. However, with 6 sticks I should be ok regardless of how I buy them, yes?

FWIW, 12G purchased as 2 triple-channel kits will be ~$500, but 12G purchased as 3 dual-chanel kits would be $270. Big difference. Especially if I end up with triple-channel either way.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

At one point, at wholesale, memory makers were changing designs by the week (well, month, but it felt very quick!), so if you bought in bulk from a supplier, even buying smallish quantities such as 10 sticks, you could get three or four different designs - it was a nightmare as dual channel (back then) didn't always work as some designs were to different (but the majority did work - you just had to find the right combination).

Dual channel kits simply bypassed this as they "guarantee" compatibility.

However, things seem to have settled down, and if you buy from the same company at one time, you usually do get the same sticks.

If I was you, just buy whatever it takes to get the amount of memory you want the cheapest way - so go for the 3 dual channel kits, or even see if you can buy the memory as individual sticks as I have not run in to problems for the past few years.

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+1 for the "Dual channel kits simply bypassed this as they "guarantee" compatibility." statement. If the sticks are the same, they can do Dual and Triple channel. – Sivvy Dec 15 '09 at 15:42

It's just marketing. If they are identical model numbers, the only difference is the packaging.

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