Short Bytes: Few of you might have encountered this situation while building a new PC — Are two 4GB sticks of RAM better than four 2GB sticks? Which RAM configuration is better? While you might not notice much performance difference, lesser modules result in a more reliable system.
If you use your personal computer for many hours a day, there are chances that you might be checking the RAM and CPU usage many times a day. Some people even like to install dedicated programs to monitor the RAM usage and kill the memory-intensive programs.
Before going ahead and talking about the better RAM configuration, I would like to know how much RAM do you use? After reading the article, don’t forget to drop your views in the comments.
Having said that, recently, I came across one interesting question asked by a Fossbytes reader on our Facebook page. The user was building a new Core i5 system, and he wished to install 8GB memory on his system. He asked if it was okay to have four 2GB sticks instead of two 4GB sticks.
For those who don’t wish to know the details, 2x 4GB RAM is better than 4x 2GB RAM. While you won’t experience noticeable performance difference, the recommended configuration ensures a more reliable memory subsystem.
I found a detailed and more technical answer at Experts Exchange where garycase answered a similar query. The answer states that as most desktop systems deploy unbuffered RAM modules, there’s the issue of large loads on the address and data buses when there are more than 2 modules installed. Compared to 32 electrical loads with 2 double-sided modules, the 64 loads with 4 modules obviously sound bad.
To adjust for the higher load, many systems increase the voltage; others add a cycle to SPD’s latency settings; or reduce the clock frequency of the memory. The final two changes slightly slow down the memory.
To conclude, while there might not be any significant measurable difference between the two configurations, the memory with just 2 modules is more reliable.
Did you find this article on RAM configuration helpful? Don’t forget to share your views and feedback in the comments below.