Single Channel vs Dual Channel Memory – Laptop Gaming and CPU Benchmarks


Throughout my laptop reviews you may have
noticed that I’m not particularly a fan of single channel memory, as typically you’ll
get more performance out of dual channel, but by how much? In this video I’ve tested
16 different games at all setting levels, as well as 9 CPU benchmarks to show you the
differences in performance between single channel and dual channel memory in a laptop. Generally when people talk about memory they
focus on total size, such as 8gb vs 16gb, or even speeds like 2400mhz vs 2666mhz. While
these are important, they aren’t what we’re talking about here. So just a quick explanation of what single
and dual channel memory actually means. The simplest way of understanding it, is that
single channel memory is where you run one physical stick of memory, while dual channel
is where you have two physical sticks of memory installed, there’s more to it than that
but that’s the simplest way to understand it in a laptop, as pretty much all motherboards
these days should have support for dual channel. As a common misconception it’s also worth
noting that single or dual channel memory has nothing to do with the memory sticks themselves,
so you don’t buy single or dual channel memory, it depends on how many channels the
platform supports. In a dual channel configuration the memory bandwidth is doubled, which is
what we’re testing here. To test this out I’ve used the Metabox P950EP
laptop which I recently reviewed, when arranging for the laptop to be sent over I asked if
I could get two 8gb sticks and one 16gb stick of DDR4 memory to do this testing and they
were happy to help out. The laptop has an Intel i7-8750H CPU along
with Nvidia 1060 6GB graphics, and the memory was running at 2,400MHz speeds in both single
and dual configurations, so same speeds and same total size of memory, all we’re changing
is single to dual channel. All tests were completed with the exact same
Windows updates, Nvidia drivers, and game updates applied, literally the only thing
changing between my tests was swapping out the memory sticks. We’ll start with the gaming
results then work our way into the CPU application tests after. Starting out with Fortnite we’re getting
pretty nice results with both configurations, however there’s a noticeable difference
when stepping up to dual channel, with an 8% boost on average at max settings and even
larger at lower settings. Overwatch was tested playing with the bots,
and at max settings there’s just a 3% boost on the averages, but a 16% boost in 1% lows,
and again much larger increases as we drop down in settings. PUBG was tested using the replay feature,
so the exact same replay was tested in both memory configurations. At Ultra settings we’re
seeing a 14% improvement to the averages, and a 34% improvement to the 1% lows. CS:GO was tested using the ulletical benchmark,
and with maximum settings there was just a 4% performance improvement, but this increases
up to 13% in the averages at minimum settings. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built
in benchmark, and at max settings there was just under a 3% improvement but over a 17%
improvement in average frame rates with low settings. Battlefield 1 was tested in the first campaign
mission and at ultra settings there was a 17% performance improvement in the average
frame rates, but more importantly a 47% improvement in 1% lows, and once more this increases as
we lower the settings. Far Cry 5 was tested with the built in benchmark,
and while there was only a 3% improvement to the averages at ultra settings there’s
a much larger 25% to the 1% lows, which again rises at the lower levels. Assassin’s Creed Origins was also tested
with the built in benchmark, but we’re seeing a much larger performance increase in this
game, over 31% better averages at max settings DOOM was tested using Vulkan, and in this
game we’re only seeing a very small difference in performance, which rises a little more
at the lowest level. In The Witcher 3 there’s basically no difference
in terms of the averages at max settings, but the 1% lows are seeing more improvements,
and this seems to apply to the other settings too. Ashes of the Singularity was tested as more
of a CPU intensive game, and in this one there was just a 4% improvement to the averages
at max settings, but this rose up to 43% at low settings. Ghost Recon saw similar results, the same
1% lows at max settings with almost no difference in the averages, but this rises to around
20% at low settings. Dota2 was tested using a fairly intensive
replay, and at ultra settings we’re getting just under a 30% improvement to the average
frame rates. Rise of the Tomb Raider was tested using the
built in benchmark, and at ultra settings there was just a 3% boost to the averages,
which increases to 16% at the lowest settings. Shadow of War was also tested with the built
in benchmark, and at max settings the results were basically the same, and slowly grew apart
as we move down in setting levels where there was a 15% improvement with dual channel at
minimum. Watchdogs 2 is a fairly resource intensive
game, and at max settings dual channel memory was giving us close to a 10% improvement on
the averages, and up to 43% of an increase to the averages at low settings. In general we saw larger performance increases
at the lower setting levels, which makes sense as the CPU is used more at lower setting levels
while the graphics are actually better utilized at the higher setting levels. Additionally,
the dual channel configuration seems to have made nice improvements to the 1% lows, which
received larger improvements than the average frame rates. Now onto the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested
Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, and VRMark
from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results, but for
the most part in these tests there wasn’t very much difference with single or dual channel
configurations. While I expected better results running in
dual channel going into this testing, I didn’t expect anywhere near this much of a performance
boost in the games. I tried to test as many games as I had available at all setting levels
to try and give the best coverage, and all tests are the average result of multiple runs,
so I was consistently seeing these differences. Now let’s check out some more CPU specific
workloads. Starting out with Cinebench there was basically
no difference at all, realistically these results are within margin of error ranges,
both single and dual channel results are the averages of 5 tests. In Adobe Premiere I’ve rendered my review
video on the ASUS Zephyrus GX501 gaming laptop, which goes for around 10 minutes at 1080p,
using the h264 high bitrate preset. No GPUs were in use for the test, these results are
CPU tests only, and the export completed about 13% faster with the dual channel configuration. A similar result was noted in Handbrake. I’ve
encoded a 4K video file to 1080p, and a separate 1080p video file to 720p using the HQ presets.
There 1080p export completed 8% faster with the dual channel configuration, while the
4K export was just 2% quicker. The 7-Zip benchmark was used to test compression
and decompression speeds, and the additional memory bandwidth seems to help out a lot with
compression, with almost a 40% boost to the compression speeds, but almost no difference
in decompression. The VeraCrypt benchmark was used to test the
AES encryption and decryption speeds, and in the dual channel configuration we’re
seeing a 35% improvement to both of these tasks. In the PassMark 9 benchmark the single core
results were basically the same, with a much larger difference in the multicore test, which
scored about 17% better with dual channel memory. Geekbench 4 showed similar results, not too
much of a difference at single core, then just under a 17% improvement in the multi
core test. The Corona benchmark renders a scene using
the CPU, and was just under 5% quicker in dual channel configuration. The V-Ray benchmark was also run, and in this
particular workload there was almost no real difference between single and dual channel
configurations. In these CPU specific tests overall dual channel
configurations were performing better, although it varied quite a lot as it greatly depends
on the specific task and how much it depends on the memory bandwidth performance. Should you upgrade to dual channel memory
in your laptop? If you’ve got a spare memory slot free and want to boost performance, then
it can definitely help out in some workloads, especially games. Even though the price of
memory is currently quite high, in most modern laptops you aren’t able to upgrade the CPU
or graphics, typically you’ll just have the option of changing the memory or drives.
Yeah, some laptops do allow you to swap out the CPU or GPU, but it’s far less common. If you’re buying a new laptop and have the
option of selecting single channel memory or paying a bit more for dual channel, then
I think it’s definitely worth considering paying the extra for a dual channel configuration,
though of course it depends on exactly how much. If your laptop has integrated memory that’s
soldered to the motherboard, like the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 I recently reviewed for example,
then unfortunately you’re out of luck and are not able to easily upgrade. The best way
to know for sure would be to check the manual for your specific model of laptop on the vendor’s
website, or even just simply open up the laptop and see how many slots you have and what memory
sticks are currently in place. You can definitely use software like HWInfo to check, but occasionally
I’ve found some laptops to report incorrect information that does not match up to the
physically available memory slots when opening it up, so probably worth actually checking
and confirming before buying some shiny new RAM. There’s also the issue of mismatching memory.
Typically if you’re already running in single channel it would make sense to simply buy
another stick of the same size to move to dual channel, rather than buying two new sticks
and wasting your existing stick of memory. While mismatching memory doesn’t seem to be
as big of an issue these days as it was in the past, generally where possible it seems
to be recommend to use the same sticks of memory in dual channel for best compatibility,
I don’t personally have any experience running mismatched memory in laptops so I can’t
speak from experience on this topic. I’ve been asked in previous videos if additional
memory will increase heat, technically I suppose it would, as there’s an additional component
that requires power to run, but realistically I doubt it will make any negative difference
to performance and offset the gains to be had, especially as thermal throttling in the
CPU/GPU is generally what you worry about with heat and those components aren’t directly
connected to the heatpipes anyway so it really shouldn’t matter. So there you have it, in general a dual channel
memory configuration will give you decent improvements in gaming, but it of course depends
on the specific game and settings used. As we saw here bigger gains can be had at the
lower setting levels, presumably because the CPU is actually doing more work as discussed.
As for other applications, it will depend on whether or not the specific workload will
benefit from increased memory bandwidth, but in general where possible I’d definitely
suggest running in dual channel where possible for best performance. So do you guys run in single or dual channel,
if you’ve just got single what’s stopping you from upgrading? Let me know your thoughts
down in the comments, and leave a like if you found all the benchmarks useful, and consider
sharing the video with someone that’s interested in this topic, I’d greatly appreciate it
as this video took a long time to make due to all the benchmarks. Thanks for watching,
and don’t forget to subscribe for future tech videos like this one.

100 comments

  1. I recently built an i5 9600k PC on my channel and I used just a 16gb single stick of DDR4. The slots can use 16gb each so I planned to fill them slowly.

    I didn't realise a single channel config would hurt performance so much, I researched this and after Gamers Nexus video I thought the difference was within margin of error.

    Ill pick up another matching stick, the small gains from dual channel and the small gains for more ram should make a difference.

  2. I bought a new motherboard and channel A doesn't work so I have both my RAM sticks on the same channel. Watching this makes me sad. Getting a replacement soon.

  3. My laptop currently has a 4gb 2666 stick in it while the second is slot empty. Is it okay to insert a 16gb 2666 stick on the second slot? I'm a bit worried about the compatibility issues I've read online.w

  4. Thank you! I have been telling my friends for 2 years and they still did not believe me that Dual Channel helps in every configuration, i was telling them to get 2X 8GB instead of 1X 16GB … I saw huge improvements in PUBG the suttering is non existent anymore and i don't get any fps dips anymore, it helped with avg. fps in every game that i play, i get a lot more fps now and there is no more stuttering and there are no more fps dips.

  5. When GPU bound, dual-channel versus single-channel memory isn't as significant of importance versus when CPU-bound. Good video!

  6. Hmm I am not implying anything but this is one of the few videos where ram does substantially increase fps so makes me think it might be a platform thing..usually fps gains are seen only in 120hz panels because cpu usage but 60hz wow..I am uograding ram after this video really do hope I will see the 5fps gains it is exactly what I need to kick the ultra settings above 60fps..

  7. i have two doubts bro.
    1.can we mix one 4gb stick with another 8gb stick to make 12gb ram.
    2.can we mix one ram with single channel and other with dual channel in the same pc.

  8. Thank you so much for this video man!!! I had a single 16gb stick and added one more single 8gb stick from a compatible brand and my fps in benchmark for CPU limited games (Far Cry Primal and Rise of The Tomb Raider) went up by around 8-10 fps!! You would probably get even more gains with another 16gb stick (instead of the unmatching size 8gb), but it's pretty pricey and I'm happy with the performance boost!!

  9. Just watch two of your video (the video comparison between i5 8 gen vs i7 7 gen + this one) and nothing can stop me from subscribing this great channel. I would like to see another great video in the future, keep it up!

  10. My motherboard supports dual channel. Right now i have 8gb of RAM DDR4, a friend told me i should have put 4+4 instead of 8 but i made the argument that i will just add 8 more in the future and take advantage of the dual channel support and ill have more free slots for future ram additions. I wasn't wrong in my line of thinking was i?.

  11. Hey bro,I need some help.

    I'm running a i3-4130 ( dual core hylerthreaded @3.4ghz) and GTX 750ti

    I have 8gb DDR3 1600mhz,if I add another stick,will the performance boost will be more,less or roughly equivalent to what you've benchmarked.

    Love your content.Keep it up👍👌

  12. Hmm 😑
    So while it’s definitely worth having dual channel. Your unlikely going to get the full advantage of gains if you have a high end machine on ultra.
    But if you got a weaker gpu forcing you to use medium or below then dual channel will definitely benefit.
    In this case I’d say if you got a top end machine and going dual channel. Try to go for the “fastest” ram. It’s been proven that faster ram gives gains so that’s my focus now.

  13. Hi, so I have a Dell G3 with an i5-8300h and a GTX 1050 4gb and I was wondering if there would be an improvement from going from 1×8 gb 2666 mhz to 2×4 gb 2400 mhz. Thanks! Oh and I also usually only play Fortnite on all low settings.

  14. Wow! I couldnt even think on that difference. I'm wondering about DDR3 too. I have friends that have DDR3 systems with 8GB in Single Channel Mode. That's a huge surprise!

  15. Can I make a single channel ram laptop (OMEN by HP 15-dc1006tx) with 1×16 GB dual channel by adding a 8GB stick ?

  16. Someone do a Dual Channel (Two Rams) Single Rank vs Single Channel (One Ram) Dual Rank video already

  17. Thank you for this video , you rock man … now my laptop is a beast 🙂 i went from 130 FPS to 250-290 in CS GO with my ASUS 17`3 RTX 2070/32GB RAM DUAL.

  18. This video was freaking brilliant!! Amazing how much of a difference this makes. I only today realised I had my desktop PC's RAM put in single channel on my motherboard. Changed it to dual channel and now very excited to get a performance boost in my games (I don't like playing at max settings and low frames, so medium to high settings are what I use).

  19. So does dual channel matter even more on systems with weaker GPUs? I've only got a 1050ti and a 7700HQ so I can't max out the settings in most games. Would a second RAM stick benefit me the same way?
    Glad if someone could help 🙂

  20. I'm going to buy a Fx505gm with a single 8gb 2666hz ram. What happen if I plug one more 8gb but only 2400 ? Could they run in dual channel, please answer.

  21. Hey Jarrod or anybody who knows about this stuff. I have the same specs i7-8750h, GTX 1060 6GB, infact my ram is 16GB(2×8)@2666Mhz vs 2400 in the video, but my average on CS:GO Ulletical benchmark (low settings) is alway 176 fps. One thing I noticed though with CPU-Z it shows dual channel memory but in Task Manager it says only on slot is used? Any help is appreciated, thanks.

  22. Thanks for the help!!! I was wondering why i was only getting 100fps on csgo on my new rtx 2070 i7 8750h gaming laptop

  23. I bought a single 16gb RAM for my PC, as I want to upgrade it later to 32Gb. I’d have to throw out / sell the 2x8GB if I’d have bought dual channels…

  24. Thanks for this video, I have a laptop with that particular specs, the only difference is That I have i7 7700 HQ but only one 16 Gb ram at 2400 GHz, now I know I have to buy the other ram to finish that bottleneck

  25. So i was shitting on my i5 7300hq laptop for it's poor performance for 1 year without knowing i could simply make it more efficient by making it dual channel. I'm retarded af 🤦‍♂️

  26. So I'm running an OMEN laptop, and from factory (according to CPU-Z) I’m running two single channel RAM stickys (two 8gb DDR4) and CPU-Z identifies as dual channel.. according to the video I’ll be better upgrading to 2*8GB dual channel sticks, right?

  27. Your voice intonation is quite distracting. I believe you would have greater success if you strived to reduce that ondulation near the end of your sentences. No hating here, just constructive criticism. Cheers!

  28. I have a question though, does G Sync renders dual channel in gaming useless? I heard many people tell me that, could you explain?

  29. Upgraded 8*2 dual channel config from 8gb stick. Finally fixed stuttering on Forza Horizon 4. For obvious reason that game needs 12gb and not 8gb minimum irrespective of what ever the minimum configuration states. Dual channel works. 8Gb is a joke on Windows 10 as the OS hogs up 35-45% memory at idle.

  30. I have tight budget for my asus rog gl503ge's upgrade, which one should i buy first? Nvme or ram?

  31. what about low end gamers like me..i have and i5 5200u laptop with 1x8gddr3 1600mhz ram and amd r7 m260..if I add another 8gd ram will I get a noticable increase in fps like even 5-10?

  32. Thanks for this video.I have been gaming on a MSI gl63 8se i5-8300h 8GB 2166mhz single channel RTX 2060 laptop and have been experiencing very bad fps drops. I at first thought my cpu was the bottle neck but it runs at max 61% in Apex. On seeing the results in the video i will try dual channel.

  33. So if a laptop has two slots, and I decide to fill it with 4 and 8 GB ram of 2666 MHz, will it become dual channel configuration?

  34. The improvements in lower settings are a non-factor since with these specs everyone will play on high/ultra. However, Assassins Creed Origins, a game well known for its use of the CPU, showed massive differences in FPS even in high/ultra settings, which confirms that dual channel really matters most when CPU is the bottleneck rather than the GPU (this also makes sense since the 6GB VRAM handles only GPU related usage).

  35. Sorry i can ask.
    i have laptop Asus TUF FX505GE (i5-8300H & 1050Ti) with one 8Gb ram channel CL19-19-19-43 – 2T, 2666MHz, 1333MHz (Frequency). If i want to add 8Gb ram with the same specifications or can with other specifications?

  36. i have a laptop with 1 ram stick 8gb(2400mhz). im thinking of upgrading to 12 gb with a 4gb 2400mhz stck. will my i get more cpu performance if i spend more money and go for an a 8bg stick 2400mhz istead of the 4gb ? ( my cpu is ryzen 5 3550h if that makes a difference)

  37. I mismatch brand, speed, and size. 8 Gb DDR 2666+ 16 Gb DDR 2400 on Dell XPS 15 laptop. The dual channel performance is determined by the smallest and slowest RAM. In my case if slot 1 8Gb, slot 2 16 Gb, the performance is the same as 2×8 Gb performance in the first 16Gb. Basically it runs dual channel up to 16 Gb, the remaining 8 Gb is in single channel, the bandwidth is about 28Gb/s in the first 16Gb. However if I installed slot 1 16 Gb and slot 2 8 Gb, Entire 24 Gb is interleave 1.5 channel, the bandwidth is about 22 Gb/s. On my HP desktop with Ryzen 5 2400G, It only works with Interleave 1.5 Channel because the biggest RAM has to be in the Slot 1. STABILITY is no difference than using pair identical RAM because I used Crucial + Gskill DDR4, both are lifetime warranty and really good customer service.

  38. i was thinking of adding 1 more ram to my laptop, my laptop already have 4GB ddr3 1119 MHZ, im thinking of an 8GB ddr4 2600MHZ, do you think it go well together? I do have 2 slot, acer nitro 5 amd fx

  39. @Jorrod'sTech Iv got a laptop thats dual channel but only has 1×16 gigs of ram. now if i want more performance should i get rid of the ram and get 2×8 gigs instead or just get another 16 gigs? (so 2×16 which is 32 in total) will i see the same performance increases from both options?

  40. What would be the effects of 2×8 GB vs 1×16 GB ram on i7 U series CPU in terms of heat and load? I want to upgrade to dual channel but I am not sure whether my 8565u processor can handle.

  41. Hi! I have 4gb x 2 RAM and i wanted to have 16gb+ memory.

    The problem is, only 1 slot is given to me as the other 4gb is soldered into the MB.
    Is it worth for me to remove my 4gb and place a 16gb onto it? resulting in a 20gb RAM.
    I worry about losing my "dual channel effect"

  42. I run on single channel and can't upgrade cuz of : 1 prices
    2 my laptop is so difficult to get to (the rams needs the removal of the entire motherboard )

  43. I'm Just wondering about…
    i have 8gb 2666mhz, if i add 16gb 2666mhz can both of them run properly? what about cl17/cl19

  44. See how single/dual channel memory affect AMD 3750H laptops here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOtmR4opHzU

  45. Hi Jarrod. I recently bought a laptop with only a single channel with an 8GB 2400mz memory. Is it worth the upgrade to 16GB? Since I am a total newbie with laptops, I was not aware that there are single and dual channel laptops.

  46. So a technical question my hp omen 15t qith rtx2070 max q has a 16 gig HP ram sodimm stick i want to go to 32 gigs so can i buy 1 stick of ram 16 gig or should i buy 2 sticks so i would not mix ram brands and if it is ok to buy one can u recommend me a certin one

  47. But using a 8Gb plus 4Gb dual channel in a PCspecialist laptop exactly the same brand model and latency numbers will this be okay in dual channel with different capacities?
    Thank you for your help….

  48. The ROG Zephyrus S GX502, a laptop I'm considering buying, comes with 16GB RAM soldered onto the motherboard but has one additional RAM slot for dual-channel capability. I personally think 32GB RAM just to achieve dual-channel is a bit overkill, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

  49. I currently have a stick of 8GB of memory running at 2667MHz. Should I just add another 8GB or go all out and buy a 32GB kit? I use my laptop for gaming and some photo and video editing.

  50. CPU and GPU will both likely show slight increases in temperature as you are increasing workload with two pipes.

  51. i have 4gb ddr4 2400mhz inbuilt ram, should i go for another 4gb ram or 8gb? so far what i understand it seems 4+4gb makes beter performance than 4+8gb. Also consider max limit is 12gb and i wanna play some medium games like fifa 19.

  52. How do I know if a laptop has a single or dual channel in it? I mean what is it called when I look at the spec of a laptop. Sorry I'm not really good at all this

  53. Shud both the sticks be the same company???
    Or just same clock speed and capacity??

    I'm planning for predator helios 300 here in India
    The RGB keyboard version
    i7 and 1660ti 144hz
    But it comes with single 16gb stick

  54. I'm runnun 32 gig mismatched 16 of Samsung and 16 of sk hynix I assume it's in dulachannel according to hwinfo , aida64 , CPUz both stick have exactly the same frequency and timing like exactly to the tit . I used to have a Lenovo laptop with 2 mismatched sticks 8by 8 and I'm pretty sure that was in dual channel mode as for the specs seen in hwinfo64

  55. I am using Dual channel of 24GB i.e. two sticks of 16 & 8GB respectively. By your experience jarrod.
    Is this a bad idea? oa good one or is it just neutral?

  56. Is it the same for laptops and desktops, where dual channel memory means 1 channel has 2 slots for ram sticks, so a dual channel has 4 slots for ram sticks?

  57. The difference is even bigger when using only integrated graphics. Like more than twice the fps. If an Intel UHD 630 could use quad channel on a mobile processor It would probably overpower a U series.

  58. I have a gtx 1650 8gb ram single channel. How much fps can increase by using a dual channel of 8gb ram??(approx.) Also, is gtx 1060 better than the 1650gtx?? 1060 has 6gb vram so i feel like its alil slower than i expected on some of the games, considering the 16gb ram used!!!

  59. hey , v.nice video very informative ,
    i never been a fan of laptops but currently in a situation where i have to use one ,
    Model and windows : HP 640 G1 , Win7
    Cpu : i3 4000m , gpu : intel hd 4600 , ram : 4gb single channel
    Well about the gpu it has 200 mhz core speed up to 1350 boost clock , the question how to increase it to 1000 or anywhere above 200-300 of usage because that's the max im getting while playing.
    Games i play just league of legends "40-50fps v.low 720p" and pubg mobile "20-30fps" and im quite upset with the performance , is that normal ? or i can someone boost the gpu above 200 – 300 so i have a better experience , do i need dual channel ram to make it work ? or what im missing :?!
    any idea what to do or that is the max im going to get from this laptop 😕

  60. For people using integrated graphics, dual channel will quite literally double your performance because in most games we're gpu bound. Since igpu use system memory which is much slower than modern vram, dual channel's double memory bandwidth vastly improves performance.

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