The two or four sticks of RAM debate can be confusing, but it all comes down to usage patterns. And no matter what people say, there will always be a small performance gap between the two. For example, using 4 RAM sticks can improve performance by up to 5-7% compared to 2 RAM sticks.
Additionally, four RAM sticks provide additional bandwidth capabilities. That said, other differences can influence decision-making. Simply put, 4 RAM sticks will perform slightly better than 2. However, there isn’t much difference in price, and the difference isn’t that big, so most users end up setting up their two RAMs.
But a common misconception about RAM is that you can put any RAM in any slot. It can be done, but it doesn’t work or has no effect. If you have 4 RAM slots, always buy the same pair of RAM (two sticks from the same company, same speed, and same capacity) for the best results.
Table of Contents
- Having 4 Sticks or 2 Sticks RAM – The Number of RAM Sticks Matters
- Is It Worth Having 4 Sticks Of RAM?
Having 4 Sticks or 2 Sticks RAM – The Number of RAM Sticks Matters
Did you ever wonder what those “D”s in “DDR4 RAM” or “DDR5 RAM” actually mean?
DDR stands for “Double Data Rate”, and it refers to the unique ability of DDR RAM to double its effective speed by having at least one other identically-specced RAM stick to synchronize with.
This means if you paid for 3200 MHz RAM but only have a single stick, you’re actually running at 1600 MHz…or worse, if you didn’t also enable XMP or your equivalent setting. In order for RAM to run at its proper speed, it needs to be at the very least in a Dual Channel configuration with 2 or 4 sticks.
Technically, even a decent 2-stick RAM kit advertised with numbers like 3200MHz won’t actually run at 3200MHz. What’s really happening is that each stick runs at 1600MHz, but the “double data rate” allows for a final effective speed of 3200 MT/s, or mega transfers per second. However, most companies prefer to publish their final MT/s values as MHz to avoid end-user confusion.
When You Should Choose 2 Sticks?
If you have a weaker GPU than your CPU, you may not see a performance gap when changing from 2 sticks to 4 sticks of RAM. Even 20% of the time, the system didn’t show any noticeable improvement when running the game.
If your total storage capacity is insufficient, you may be planning to increase it. But be careful in this case. Instead of 4x4GB he can install 2x8GB. This trick gives you two extra free slots. This will help you increase capacity later.
In general, two sticks he is significantly cheaper than four. Therefore, most users do not believe the price difference is worth the 5-7% improvement in performance.
When You Should Choose 4 Sticks?
Most users wouldn’t consider paying more for, say, a 5% profit, but if you’re in the esports community, the extra money is worth it. Also, in the 4 free slots, if you install 4 sticks, you will not be able to increase the storage capacity in the future.
Is It Worth Having 4 Sticks Of RAM?
Installing four memory modules in a dual-channel system may improve performance in certain scenarios. However, it should be made clear that this does not automatically improve game performance by 5-7%.
Are Four Sticks Faster Than Two Sticks?
Most processors on the market have dual-channel memory controllers where each channel can hold two memory sticks. You can get maximum performance while using all memory channels. However, even if you have 4 slots, installing 4 memory sticks does not necessarily mean better performance. Also, an additional memory channel can help transfer data to the CPU core.
How Are 4 Sticks of RAM Better than 2?
Sometimes 4 RAM sticks are better, but not always. Most processors on the market come with dual memory channel controllers, so most people will find no need to use more than two RAM sticks to improve performance. However, this concept is not entirely correct.
1. Improved Efficiency
Actually, it does not match the survey results. According to theory, only AMD ThreadRipper or Intel Cascade Lake-x processors can use four RAM bars for a significant performance boost. Still, efficiency improvements were seen for the majority of other everyday users. Some of the most popular games and CPUs tested with 2 and 4 slots. Testing showed an improvement of around 80% with four sticks.
2. Better FPS From 4 Sticks
Additionally, 4 slots performed about 5-7% better in terms of his FPS. But mostly it happened when the game was blocked by the CPU instead of the GPU. On the contrary, when the CPU was more powerful than the GPU, users hardly noticed any change. This test finds no difference in almost 20% of cases.
3. A Few Drawbacks
However, some theorize that having two or more sticks attached to a dual memory channel controller is somewhat detrimental. This is because using two or more sticks doubles the number of signals going back and forth between the CPU socket and the memory slots. Under such circumstances, the CPU controller has to do more work.
Which RAM Slots To Fill First?
When installing memory on a dual-channel memory motherboard, install memory modules in pairs, with the lowest numbered slots first. For example, if your motherboard has two Channel A and two Channel B slots numbered 0 and 1, fill the Channel A slot 0 and Channel B slot 0 slots first.
The difference between 2 and 4 RAM sticks is fairly small. However, if you have to choose between the two, it makes more sense to work with two sticks. Because using 4 sticks doesn’t mean you will get much better performance. Other than a slightly wider range, there’s nothing to set them apart. But, if you’re an avid gamer and the extra cost doesn’t strain your wallet, feel free to add two more.