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Difference between triple channel and dual channel DDR3 RAM?


New Member
Jun 21, 2008
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I have already asked a question of this nature in a much more quiet section of this forum, but since time is off the essence, I am bringing my woes here.

I have just purchased this RAM mistakenly believing that 2600K CPU mobo took triple channel kits.

Having discovered that the 2600K mobos actually take dual channel DDR3 kits, I have arranged to RMA the triple channel kit and am now about to buy this RAM.

Both RAM kits are Corsair vengeance and both have similar specs, but with the Dual channel kit being rated at 1866MHz whilst the triple channel RAM is rated at 1600MHz.

However, I am thinking that these kits are infact just the same thing, except sold in either twos or threes, and that the higher clock rating for the dual channel kit is simply a matter of how these RAM sticks run in dual channel configurations, whereas in a triple channel config, these stick are tested to run only at 1600MHz.

If anyone knows (as oppossed to just guessing) if this is infact the case then it would prevent me from running around like a headless chicken with RMAs and repurchasing potentially the same thing but in a pack of two......and not much cheaper by the time new postage is paid.

If on the otherhand I will get better performance from getting the dual channel kit rated at 1866MHz, instead of using two of the triple kit rated at 1600MHz, then obvioulsy the dual kit is the way to go.
Nov 15, 2005
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No one is going to know for absolute certain but Corsair themselves. What speeds they have spec'd for the RAM is what they guarantee the sticks can run. You are right in that the only difference in the triple and dual channel kits is merely the number of sticks you get.
Apr 2, 2011
2,442 (1.00/day)
Single channel = Dual = Tri = Quad.

The prefixes just imply how many RAM modules you get. What is of concern is the 1600 vs. 1866 MHz. Assuming that you have the same timings, the 1866 will work slightly faster. This slight difference is unlikely to be felt, so keeping what you have (tri), and getting a single extra stick with the same qualities, will let you populate all the RAM channels without any issues.

Edit: Ram speed is what they tested at. A RAM stick rated at 1600 MHz could well go up to 2000+ MHz, but the producer does not certify this. Whether you want to boost the frequency and see if it is still stable is up to you.
Nov 26, 2004
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Honestly your Triple Channel Kit would be more than fine(I know I run it as a Dual)Your just getting one extra stick with a Triple Channel kit. But not much you can do with that extra stick with Sandybridge I guess is the only issue.

I know that people have easily managed to get the 1600's up to 1866. I only briefly messed around with that myself and it was throwing errors pretty quickly and I didn't feel like messing around to get them stable as 1600 is more than enough IMO.