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Does dual-channel memory make difference in gaming performance?



Available for years, the dual-channel architecture, in theory, doubles the RAM access bandwidth on your computer. On our today’s test, we will see if is there a significant impact on gaming performance when you enable the dual-channel mode.

To understand the theory under the dual-channel architecture and how to enable it, please read our tutorial  “Everything you need to know about the Dual-, Triple-, and Quad-Channel Memory Architectures”.

Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 8GB (2x4GB) 2666MHz PC4-21300 Dual...
  • Capacity: 8GB (2 x 4GB), Part Number PVE48G266C6KGY
  • Base Frequency: PC4-17000 (2133MHz), Tested Frequency: PC4-21300 (2666MHz)
  • Base Timings: 15-15-15-36, Tested Timings: 16-17-17-36

Every person with a good knowledge about computers will agree: if your computer supports dual-channel mode, it is better to buy two memory modules than a single module with twice the capacity. Doing so, the maximum bandwidth of the memory doubles, because both modules are accessed simultaneously. Tests prove that, in memory-intensive applications, the dual-channel mode can improve the computer performance.

But how about gaming performance? We know that, in many games, the performance is dictated almost exclusively by the video card, and only a few ones depend on a high-performance CPU. Will the dual-channel memory mode present any impact on gaming performance? This is what we are testing today.

In order to test this, we ran eight modern games on a typical high-end gaming computer, using two 8 GiB DDR3 memory modules (for a 16 GiB total RAM), first configured in single channel (using the two first memory slots of the motherboard) and then in dual-channel (skipping one slot, so using two slots of the same color). In both scenarios, we ensure the memory modules were running at the same speed and latencies. So, the only difference between the two tests was that memory configuration, on single or dual-channel mode.

Figure 1 shows the memory modules we used.

Does dual channel make difference in gaming performance?Figure 1: memory modules used on the test

In the next page, we will list the test configuration.