I am planning to buy a new PC. The mainboard has 4 memory slots, The PC has Windows 7 64-bit installed.

Which approach is better regarding the performance buying:

  1. Two memory sticks of 2GB?
  2. One memory stick of 4GB?

I am also interested in dual channel memory architecture.

  • 2
    Wikipedia is a good place to read about Dual Channel. – Tamara Wijsman Nov 2 '11 at 12:42
  • 13
    4 sticks of 8GB. :-) – David Murdoch Jan 12 '12 at 15:34
  • @DavidMurdoch, Isn't there already 12 and 16 GB ram sticks now for laptops? – Pacerier Oct 24 '15 at 1:58

2 sticks in general because you get dual channeling. But more memory will always beat out dual channel for general workloads.

  • 11
    +1 For the same amount of memory, going for Dual Channel results in more performance. Please note although that when you need to upgrade your memory you will need to replace both sticks by 4 GB, so if you are low on budget or plan to do an upgrade in the near future you might want to consider a single stick 4 GB instead. – Tamara Wijsman Nov 2 '11 at 12:41
  • 4
    Dual for performance, ie Gaming, Video Editing etc Single for future proofing/future upgrade capacity and usually cost :) – HaydnWVN Nov 2 '11 at 13:24
  • 3
    I'd go for 4gb, and buy another 4gb when I have money again... My PC is on 16gb now, thanks to that I bought 4gb sticks. – sinni800 Nov 2 '11 at 13:37
  • @sinni800, You are wasting your money. You should instead go straight for 8GB sticks so that you won't reach the glass ceiling and find yourself having to throw away those 4GB sticks anyway. – Pacerier Oct 24 '15 at 2:08
  • @Pacerier Well 16 GB was really the limit of my rig back then. I also still have those sticks and I am not thinking about going beyond 16 GB right now... Until I do, DDR4 will be placed into my computer and then it stops mattering what I bought back then. It was a choice of "2x4 or 1x8?" and I chose Dual Channel speed because I couldn't just afford 2x8. – sinni800 Oct 26 '15 at 13:24

Buy the single stick of the largest possible (8GB currently) and upgrade later for even more performance to a second stick so you can get the dual channel feature.

  • Good point with "add another later" - especially on notebooks: with 2 sticks, you're usually at physical slot capacity. This may be a lesser concern on a desktop. (IMHO getting 2GB sticks won't last you for too long) – Piskvor left the building Nov 2 '11 at 10:09
  • This is wrong advice. You should buy single stick of 8GB straight away and getting another 8GB when money permits. This way you wouldn't find yourself throwing away those 4 GB later on. – Pacerier Oct 24 '15 at 2:11
  • @Pacerier - This was answered back in 2011 (and taking note of the question OP actually asks) 8GB wasn't even in the mindset. So the answer perfectly reflects the best advice, of the time. And as you can see, you're saying the same thing as me, just with a larger stick. – Matias Vad Oct 27 '15 at 11:13
  • @MatiasVad, Ic, so you actually meant the same thing. I've edited your answer to reflect that. – Pacerier Oct 29 '15 at 18:25

How 'bout 2 4GB sticks? It's not like it's expensive (<$50 right now on newegg).

Two sticks are nearly always better, as you'll be able to get dual channel mode.

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