Single vs dual channel RAM in a laptop


  1. Posts : 137
    Windows 10 Pro 64bit
       #1

    Single vs dual channel RAM in a laptop


    I have a new Dell Vostro 5590 i7 10510U laptop with 8GB DDR4 RAM 2666 Mhz and a NVidia MX250 GPU with 2GB. Win10 Pro. NVMe SSD.

    The RAM is running in single channel currently. There is an available RAM slot that can be used to increase RAM. If I add another 8GB “stick’’ of DDR4 2666 MHz RAM (to total 16GB), I presume the RAM will then run in dual channel. Will this make the laptop faster overall?

    Not because the laptop is slow, but I want to get the most out of it.
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  2. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 1,344
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #2

    Real world...........you probably wouldn't notice the difference.

    You MIGHT notice a difference purely because you moved from 8 to 16, never mind the single/dual difference--------but you likely wouldn't notice that either UNLESS you are continually using all of your current 8. That's possible, but not typical.

    It would allow you to feel better about yourself because you done something to make it "faster", particularly if you are a benchmark type. Better than the opposite. Who would want to be "slower", when you could point to a benchmark that says otherwise?
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  3. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 24,152
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #3

    You might expect it to be- in practice for most 'normal' purposes you won't notice. You will see more of a difference in a benchmark.

    Comparison - gaming performance:
    Does dual-channel memory make difference in gaming performance? - Hardware Secrets

    RAM Performance Benchmark: Single-Channel vs. Dual-Channel - Does It Matter? | GamersNexus - Gaming PC Builds & Hardware Benchmarks

    The MSI reps noted that "in [their] testing, there was almost no difference between dual-channel performance and normal performance." I tested this upon return home (results published in that MSI link) and found that, from a very quick test, they looked to be right.
    Surmise:
    Single Channel vs. Dual Channel vs. Quad Channel Memory
    The only metric that really varied that isn’t shown in this graph, is that on the single channel memory configuration, the CPU usage was anywhere from 10-25% higher than on the dual channel configurations. So, I think what happens is that in dual and quad channel configurations, the extra available memory bus takes a bit of the workload off of the CPU. I could be wrong about that, but at first glance, that seems to be what is happening.
    Detailed architecture followed by benchmarks:
    Single Channel vs Dual Channel RAM [Buyer's Guide]
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  4. Posts : 32,374
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       #4

    The RAM can bottleneck the CPU when benchmark testing.
    In real world testing you won't notice the difference.
    You would need to push the computer to extremes.

    Most end users do not overclock laptops.
    So for the typical laptop you won't notice the difference again when using single as compared to dual channel.

    When adding or replacing RAM these are important:
    a) Use RAM that is displayed on the computer or motherboard manufacturers Qualified Vendor List (QVL)
    b) Always purchase in pairs with matching SKU (so that there are no compatibility problems)
    c) Consider RAM manufacturers offering lifetime warranty

    When adding or replacing RAM consider the pricing for two 8GB versus one 16 GB.
    If its a minor difference go with the two 8 GB.

    One other factor to consider is having four DIMM with 2 RAM modules.
    Typically adding only one RAM module converts dual channel into single channel.
    The single and dual channel refer to the function of the motherboard.
    In the owners manual it may indicate which DIMM to use when using one versus two RAM modules.


    Single Channel vs Dual Channel Memory: Which Is Better? | Beebom
    RAM Performance Benchmark: Single-Channel vs. Dual-Channel - Does It Matter? | GamersNexus - Gaming PC Builds & Hardware Benchmarks

    Consider using the Crucial scanner for available options:
    Crucial System Scanner
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  5. Posts : 137
    Windows 10 Pro 64bit
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Thanks for all the comments and those links on single vs. dual channel configurations. I am not after “benchmark scores”, but rather, considering that this laptop is already on the higher spec end, plus the fact that this is a relatively cheap and easy upgrade (my local PC store down the road sells the recommended compatible Crucial brand part), thought it might make sense.

    I guess then there is no harm in doing the upgrade but it comes down to cost vs reward which, it seems, is probably not going to be tangible. This is not a gaming laptop, used for business - Microsoft Office, some large Excel spreadsheets and also a bit of Photoshop work.
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  6. ThrashZone's Avatar
    Posts : 5,993
    3-Win-7Prox64 2-Win10Prox64
       #6

    Hi,
    I'd fill it up personally if cost wasn't stupid high

    Crucial System Scanner
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  7. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 8,085
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint, Win7 Pro
       #7

    This is not a gaming laptop, used for business - Microsoft Office, some large Excel spreadsheets and also a bit of Photoshop work.
    I go for the Dual-channel whenever possible, in some cases a performance improvement may be noticeable but it all depends upon what a user wants or needs in the way of programs, those mentioned probably would benefit. I haven't actually purchased any modules in awhile, have the advantage of salvaging usable parts when clients want to get rid of machines before putting in the landfill.
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  8. Posts : 137
    Windows 10 Pro 64bit
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Thanks for all the comments. I have gone ahead and bought the additional RAM. Too soon to say if there is any perceivable improvement but regardless, at least I know the system is a little more optimal now, running 16GB in dual channel.
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