Dual Channel Mode..... what is it?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by macgeek2005, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. macgeek2005 macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2006
    We just ordered 3 new iMacs and accidentaly ordered them with 2x512mb of ram instead of 1x1GB, but before I cancel the order and re-order, I have to ask sumthin.

    I've heard something about Dual Channel mode or sumthin, where if you have identical ram chips in your computer (all of them being the same size) then you can run in dual channel mode. What is Dual Channel mode, and is it a good thing?

  2. macgeek2005 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2006
    If I don't get an answer soon, the iMacs might ship, and it'll be too late.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    In general - Dual Channel is a good thing -- it allows the machine to address two memory modules together as if they were one large one. The theoretical improvement in RAM access performance is around 30% -- BUT the real-life improvement in software performance is much less. Maybe 5% overall, but that's just a guess because it is highly dependant on what programs you are running and how they use the machine.

    Now, your present order:
    It depends on how much money you have to spend and what you want to do with the machines.

    If you are buying the RAM from Apple, cancel the order ASAP and reorder them with the stock 512.

    Then for the same money or about $20 more, order 1 Gb SODIMMs from a reputable third party supplier. This will get you 1.5 Gb of RAM total, which will give you greater performance than having 1 Gb in Dual Channel mode. It will make a difference to applications running under Rosetta especially.

    You then have the option of going to 2 Gb (matched 1 Gb modules) later, and you only have to sell off one 512 Mb module, not two.

    Starting off with both sockets filled with 512s is a dead end.

    But this is still dependant on your budget, and on the programs you will be using. I use Web and Graphic and Audio applications, so I wouldn't even try to run a machine with less than 1.5 Gb RAM. If these are only for word processing and email, 1 Gb may be OK.

    In that event I still lean toward going with a single 1 Gb, leaving your options open. Of course, as above if you are buying Apple's 1 Gb, then you could be getting 1.5 Gb for about the same money third party.
  4. Togglehead macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2006
    i thought dual channel was a PC thing.....

    ....pc's have a better performance gain from mem bandwidth as opposed to size increases.

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