Memory and Storage

Single Channel vs Dual Channel Memory: Which is Better for Gaming?

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Let’s do a more detailed test, this time with the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X. Unlike the Ryzen 7, the 3900X has two CCDs, connected by the Infinity Fabric. As such, the impact of memory speeds and dual-channel memory should be more prominent in this case. We’ll be testing Assassins’ Creed Origins, Ashes Escalation, The Division 2, and Metro Exodus at the highest quality preset at 1080p (paired with the GeForce RTX 2080 Super):

As expected, Assassins’ Creed chokes really hard when using a 2400MHz, single-channel configuration. Even the mighty 3900X can’t hit an average of 60 FPS (with an RTX 2080 Ti) at 1080p in Origins, with lows of just 20. Switching to a dual-channel config more than doubles the lows and pushes the average to over 80 FPS. It’s interesting to note that a dual-channel 2400MHz kit is better than a single-channel 3600MHz config.

Ashes Escalation shows similar results. The game is unplayable with a slower single-channel config, but switching to a faster memory module or a cheap dual-channel kit does the job. Once again, a cheaper dual-channel config is better than a pricey single-channel 3600MHz module.

The Division 2 and Metro Exodus behave a bit differently. Both the games perform better using the 3600MHz single-channel memory config compared to the 2400MHz dual-channel. Regardless, the difference between 3600MHz single-channel and 2400 MHz double-channel memory is marginal at best.

At the end of the day, it’s about the overall bandwidth (and latency), and the former delivers more data to the CPU, all the while keeping your budget reasonable. Going dual-channel is one of the simplest, most obvious upgrades you can make. You already have (at least) a single RAM module. You can double your memory bandwidth for the price of just one more and increase your framerate in some games by as much as you would when getting a new GPU.

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Areej Syed

Processors, PC gaming, and the past. I have written about computer hardware for over seven years with over 5000 published articles. I started during engineering college and haven't stopped since. On the side, I play RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Divinity, and Fallout. Contact:
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