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bad memory? and what makes Dual Channel Memory if such a thing


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i just bought a new motherboard: gigabyte GA-k8nxp-sli

processor AMD 64 3200+ ATHLON 939P

and dual channel Corsair memory vs512mb400c3 2 sticks total

when i have both sticks in the board pc just beeps at me according to MB book it says memory fatal error. so i took one out and it didnt boot just beeped. took other one out and put other one i had taken out and it boots just fine. so im assuming that the other stick is bad. i have talked to a guy that is a pc tech at Best Buy and he says that Dual channels sold in pairs or seperatly doesnt matter. i thought differant. im pretty good with computers and this is like the 5th pc i have built. can you please help me with these questions i have as far as the sli part im not running it yet as i need to get another pci express video card then add all the extra stuff that came with the mb to get the sli working. and yes the sli chip is set in the normal mode. thanks for your attention to this and look forward to hearing a response

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i have talked to a guy that is a pc tech at Best Buy and he says that Dual channels sold in pairs or seperatly doesnt matter.

BB Tech? 50/50 chance they know WTF they're talking about. Used to work at a BB in PC/HO sales, so I've got experience with this :)

 

There is no such thing as Dual Channel memory, as this is a property of the memory controller in how it handles memory. This is why you can place memory in different slot configurations on a motherboard and it will register as single or dual channel.

 

If one stick ran fine in one particular slot when by itself, but the other stick didn't run at all when by itself in the same slot (same timings, etc), then yeah, it's a bad stick.

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Yes and no. If you just need one stick by itsef, sure, that's fine. However the newer memory controllers are damned picky about mixing memory. They prefer sticks made with the same ICs/PCBs and with the same timings. That's why memory companies make pre-tested packs, to ensure compatibility. It's not recommended to mix memory of different revisions, or of different manufacturers. This is because even though there may be only a slight difference in the sticks, it may be enough to hinder performance and stability significantly. Now it is possible to mix memory of different revisions and/or manufacturers, but it's pretty much a gamble, and in favor of not working at all.

 

If one stick is bad, it's recommended to return the whole pack for another pack.

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buying a dual channel pack is not always necessary..having the same size along with close enough cas settings will help, and if you dont might hinder performance, but you do not need to buy ram in dual packs all the time-check out the pcmodder issue last month where they put this myth to the test.
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