11 Replies Latest reply on Sep 10, 2009 8:27 AM by nados

    Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?

    nados Level 1

      HI all,

       

      I know that the school of thought in buying matched pairs is that because they are matched, they will run better together. So say you buy 2 matched sets of 2gb DDR2 (2x2gb + 2x2gb) or DDR3 (3x2gb + 3x2gb) memory, you put them on the table and forget which sticks are paired and put them in the slots at random. Or, one goes bad and you replace the single stick instead of the pair.

       

      How is that any better than buying single 2gb sticks?

       

      Is the system going to under perform or be unstable?

       

      Personally, I think that matched pairs are just tested together and is more marketing than anything else and the chance that single sticks of ram with the same specs not  working together is very slim to none.

        • 1. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
          Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

          I do know this much, when I had a memory problem and to diagnose it had to pull a pair out, the manufacturer ask that I return both sticks even if I had the capability to pin-point one of the sticks.

           

          On the other side I just upgraded from 4 GB to 8 GB of FBDIMM which I could not find cost effective pairs and therefore bought 4 each 2 GB sticks and they work perfectly.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
            Jim_Simon Level 9

            Buy and use them matched.  Performance can suffer if they're not.

             

            That doesn't mean your computer will blow up on you.  But there's a decent chance your memory will not perform it's best when using unmatched modules in dual or triple channel configs.

            • 3. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
              nados Level 1

              Like i said, what if you take them out for some reason and mix them up then put them back in at random? Once they are mixed up you'll never be aqble to match them again!

              • 5. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
                nados Level 1

                I'm just not convinced. If matched sets are that important, all memory would come in sets and there would be notices on the packaging and sequence numbers on the sticks warning you against mixing them up and installing them out of sequence.

                 

                My guess is that single sticks most likely still out sell matched sets. While there may be some marginal advantage to buying matched sets, I'll bet its more marketing hype just to get you to buy up.

                • 6. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
                  John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  When I build an i7 computer with 12Gig of ram (sometime next year) I plan to buy 2 matched sets of 2gigx3sticks... that MAY not be necessary, but since I'm going to be spending about $2k before I'm done (including a CS5 upgrade) I'm not going to skimp a few dollars on memory

                   

                  The next time you build a computer, why don't you do it the single stick way... then report back with your experience

                  • 7. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
                    nados Level 1

                    It just so happens that i am building a new i7 920 system - now. Most of the components should arrive by the end of the week.

                     

                    Ironically, i did buy 2 - (3x2g) Crucial PC3 10600 kits from Newegg but only because they happened to be cheaper than buying 6 - 2g single sticks, they where on sale, but even without the sale the kits where cheaper than the singles. How about that!

                     

                    Each stick in the (3x2g) Crucial CT3KIT25664BA1339 kits  cost $32.66 ea. The single 2g Crucial CT25664BA1339 sticks cost $39.99 ea. I saved $43.96.

                     

                    But i do have another system that i'm replacing 1g sticks with 2g sticks. In this case, the single 2g Wintec sticks are $2.50 ea. cheaper than each stick in the (2x2g) Crucial kits. I'll go with the cheaper sticks.

                    • 8. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
                      Jim_Simon Level 9

                      If matched sets are that important, all memory would come in sets and there would be notices on the packaging and sequence numbers on the sticks warning you against mixing them up and installing them out of sequence.

                       

                      If/then arguments are a bad way to 'prove' a case.

                       

                      Benchmarks show that matched pairs can perform better in dual and triple channel configs.  Use them if you can.  If you can't, it's not a big deal.  But it is entirely possible you won't get the best performance out of your memory.

                       

                      (By the way, there's no admonition about which order to install the modules.  Only to use a matched set.  And don't mix sets.  If you buy one set of 3 GB now, buy the same exact set later when you double that to 6 GB.)

                       

                       

                       

                      I know you're trying to justify the money saved, and your method will likely work fine.  But it may not give you the best performance, and is just not recommended.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 9. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
                        nados Level 1
                        Benchmarks show that matched pairs can perform better in dual and triple channel configs.  Use them if you can.  If you can't, it's not a big deal.  But it is entirely possible you won't get the best performance out of your memory.

                         

                        Point well taken jim, and Not to beat a dead horse,  but neither has anyone posted numbers to 'prove' that your case shows enough performance gains to justify the additional expense. The operative words i keep seeing are; 'can perform', 'can suffer', 'it's not a big deal', 'may not give you the best', 'may not be necessary'...

                         

                        I know you're trying to justify the money saved, and your method will likely work fine.  But it may not give you the best performance, and is just not recommended.

                         

                        Granted i don't have any hard figures, but based on all i have read so far in this and other forums and articles... the performance and/or stability gains, if any, may be marginal at best and not justify the addition cost. I think It doesn't matter so much if they are sold as a matched pair or not, only that they match.

                        • 10. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                          Matched pairs only means that these sticks were from the same production batch and may have been tested occasionally. There is no guarantee they will perform better than sticks from different production batches. But the chance that different production batches differ more than sticks from one batch is also larger. Another consideration is that duo/tri or even hex packs are usually somewhat cheaper per stick than individual sticks. So why take the chance of using individual sticks and pay more than with tri packs or hex packs. It is also environmentally correct to buy tri packs or hex packs because of the lesser burden of packaging stuff on our environment.

                          • 11. Re: Does it really matter if you buy single sticks or matched sets?
                            nados Level 1

                            Harm,

                             

                            The best answer so far... it matches more closely to what i have read on the internet and thanks to all the others.

                             

                            I would still go with what's cheaper and matches since - at least in our community - we are recycling way more paper and plastic products than we did a year ago. If we where not recycling these plastic packagings, i'd pay a little extra and get the sets just to reduce the environmental impact.

                             

                            As a  family we have been recycling for years... and now that our community is excepting more stuff for recycling, it's amazing how much paper & plastic we have for recycling compared to food waste. we've had to get bigger containers to hold all the stuff.

                             

                            I love our planet!