Triple-Channel Architecture

As you can assume by the name, the triple-channel architecture triples the available memory bandwidth. This is done by expanding the memory data bus to 192 bits, which is accomplished by accessing three memory modules at the same time.

Currently, this mode is available only on the Intel socket LGA1366 (LGA1366) platform. This means that you can only enable this mode on motherboards and Core i7 CPUs that use this socket. These processors support DDR3 memories up to 1,066 MHz.

You will need three identical memory modules. Six modules can be used on motherboards with six memory sockets, and each group of three modules can have different capacities, but the modules inside the same group must be identical. If you install two memory modules, they will be accessed in dual-channel mode. In this case, you won’t achieve the maximum performance of which your system is capable.

There are two kinds of socket LGA1366 motherboards available: those with four memory sockets and those with six or more memory sockets.

On motherboards with four memory sockets, you must install the memory modules sequentially, in the sockets with the same color. In fact, it is rather strange that these motherboards have four memory sockets, since if you install a memory module in the fourth memory socket, it will be accessed in single-channel mode. So, the fourth module will be left unused. See Figure 10.

Triple ChannelFigure 10: Socket LGA1366 motherboard with four memory sockets

Motherboards with six memory sockets use the traditional scheme used by motherboards targeted to Intel CPUs. You must install the memory modules in the first, third, and fifth memory sockets, and these sockets almost always will use the same color, while sockets two, four, and six will use a different color. Therefore, simply install the memory modules in sockets with the same color. See Figures 11 and 12.

Triple ChannelFigure 11: Install modules in sockets with the same color

Triple ChannelFigure 12: Triple-channel mode enabled on a socket LGA1366 motherboard with six memory sockets

If you want to install six memory modules, the second group of memory modules must be installed in sockets two, four, and six unless all six modules are identical, in which case you will fill all six memory sockets and won’t need to worry about which sockets to use.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.