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Q: What is Matched or Certified Dual Channel Memory?

Companies like Corsair, Mushkin, OCZ, etc produce what they call "dual channel" memory, or Dual Channel Kits. These are sold in pairs, so for instance you might buy a 512MB or 2x256MB Dual Channel Kit, which consists of 2 sticks of 256MB DDR memory paired together by the manufacturer.

Companies don't just throw two sticks of RAM together to produce these kits, but they don't necessarily produce a totally different batch of RAM either. Testing or qualifying Dual Channel memory might involve something as simple as technicians booting up pairs of RAM in a Dual Channel motherboard and ensuring they work together under a set of conditions, or it could be more complicated, including so called "SPD" optimisation's and even chip selection (we're inclined not to put much trust in any of those claims ). For your purposes, you should assume that Dual Channel memory is qualified through testing as all companies will claim that every pair of Dual Channel memory is tested prior to being packaged.

Q: Will Non-Dual Channel Matched RAM work in my nforce2 motherboard?

It most certainly, will. As long as it fits the requirements of Dual Channel operation (two of the same types of memory, same size modules, speed, etc). Two modules of the same model/brand purchased from the same vendor at the same time is essentially as likely to work properly in a dual channel configuration as is a dual channel kit.

The ONLY thing you can lose by buying "single channel" memory for use in Dual Channel mode is that manufacturers may or may not provide support and replace your memory if it won't work in dual channel mode, whereas if Dual Channel memory fails to work in Dual Channel mode, the manufacturers will help you resolve the problem and possibly replace the memory to ensure proper Dual Channel operation.

There are instances of people using two different types of RAM together and have had no problems. You can't damage your motherboard or RAM just by trying to use two un-identical module in Dual Channel mode. But be advised that if the machine is unstable for any reason, it is entirely possible to corrupt your data upon operation of the machine. Mis-matched memory sticks in a dual channel configuration often produce unstable operation, so as with any new overclocking or upgrading venture make sure you have adequate backups so you can recover from a data loss.

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by Exit See Profile edited by FastEddie See Profile
last modified: 2004-02-08 18:36:56