Question: Do I have to install identical pairs of memory modules to run in dual channel mode?

Read our answer below:

First and foremost it's vital to remember that only newer DDR based or more recent laptops actually support dual channel mode thus enhanced memory throughput. Secondly not all DDR based laptop support it! Thirdly, if your laptop does however support it (this is almost a fact a life in newer DDR2 and more recent laptops) then the best "good practise" is to always install two identical SODIMM's. In other words, they should feature the same capacity, timings, voltage and ideally be of the same brand.

The other truth to this matter is that while more recent laptops do support dual channel operation using non-identical memory modules, this mode of operation is still not recommended. In such cases the memory controller will only activate dual channel mode on some of all the memory installed, i.e. 2GB out of 1x1GB and1x2GB memory modules (3GB in total) will run as dual channel! The remaining 1GB will run in single channel mode and therefore yield slower memory throughput!

The easy non-nonsense way to ensure you buy two identical memory modules for your dual channel enabled laptop is to simply follow part 5 of the Laptop Memory Upgrades Guide where you can order your laptop memory upgrade in a few simple steps!

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