Which RAM Slot To Use and How Does It Matter?

Do you wandering about which RAM slot to use and does it matter and how? One of the most commonly used and seemingly basic components of a computer is RAM. There are several dos and don’ts that you should be aware of while assembling a new PC. Installing RAM modules on your motherboard is one such major concern. Which RAM slot to be used it as first?

Basically, everything depends on the motherboard you have and the number of RAM modules you have. It wouldn’t matter which RAM stick you used initially if you only had one. Due to Dual Channel technology, the slots do become important with two or more sticks. Which RAM slot to use is detailed below.

But in short, if your motherboard has four RAM slots, use the second slot, then, if you have another stick, the fourth slot, the first stick, and finally the third stick. To find the precise slots that would enable dual channel, however, your motherboard’s manual is actually your best mate in this situation. The RAM sticks need to be inserted into the correct slots in order for Dual Channel technology to function.

It doesn’t matter which RAM slot to use if your computer has two RAM slots, but if it has four or more, it matters. Dual Channel is simply a method that speeds up how quickly the CPU can access RAM modules.

I go into greater depth on which RAM slot to use and whether it makes a difference which RAM slot use you select for your modules in the article that follows.

What Is Dual Channel RAM Technology And How Does It Works?

Dual Channel, as the title implies, is a technology that allows the CPU to access memory across two separate 64-bit buses, or, to put it simply, information highways. The more general phrase of “Multi-Channel memory technology” basically encompasses Dual-Channel.
Data can be sent between the CPU and Dual Channel memory more quickly than it can between Single Channel memory.

Additionally, there are RAM technologies with three and four channels. However, as far as commercial PCs are concerned, nearly none of them support memory other than dual channel.

The following conditions must be met in order for Dual Channel technology to work with:

  • Two RAM sticks should be DDR, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, or DDR5 based.
  • A CPU that is compatible with dual-channel technology.
  • A Motherboard that is compatible with dual-channel technology.
  • Put the two RAM sticks in the proper RAM slots.

Performance Comparison Of The Single Vs Dual Channel Memory

When it comes to performance, dual channel RAM does not offer twice as much of a speed boost as single channel RAM. GamersNexus.net, to the contrary hand, had conducted a thorough investigation on this. The MaxxMem benchmark, which measures memory bandwidth, write, read, and copy speeds, was used to test the performance of single and dual channel RAM.

However, according to the MaxxMem results, using Dual Channel memory over Single Channel improves performance by about 30%, therefore it would be a waste not to use it if your motherboard and CPU allow it.

The important thing to remember is that using Dual Channel would not have to cost you any more money. Of course, the performance difference depends on the application and task you run, and it won’t always be an optimistic 30% improvement.

Simply having two RAM sticks plugged into the proper slots will do.

Which RAM Slot is Better To Use And Why?

As I already said that, everything depends on the motherboard you have and the number of RAM modules you have. So, Let’s have a look!

  • Motherboards with up to 4 slots
  • Motherboards with more than 4 slots

If You Have Motherboard With Up To 4 Slots

Checking your motherboard manual is the safest and most efficient technique to figure out which RAM slots you should use because each motherboard’s instructions can vary.

However, the general principle is as follows:

  • If you just have one RAM stick, you should install it in the one that is farthest from the CPU socket, no matter how many RAM slots your motherboard have. The most clearance for your CPU cooler setup will be provided by doing this.
  • If you have two RAM sticks, place one in the slot closest to the CPU socket and the other one in the position one slot away.
  • If you have three RAM sticks, you, have to use the three slots that are farthest from the CPU socket.
  • If you have four RAM sticks, you can just put all four RAM sticks into the four slots

If You Have Motherboard With More Than 4 Slots

If your motherboard has more than four slots, you either have a server motherboard or a highly expensive, high end desktop or workstation motherboard. The number of RAM slots on a high-end motherboard is usually eight, which is double the number of RAM slots found on ordinary motherboards.

The image above is the ASUS motherboard compatible with quad or triple channel RAM. Whatever the case, everything I’ve said before also holds true here: Check the instruction manual first. In every manual, you’ll find a table like this one:

Following it is your best option to have a seamless experience because it will most likely feature a table like this indicating how and where to install your RAM.

However, generally:

  • If you are limited to only one RAM stick, it can be placed wherever.
  • If you have two RAM sticks, place them so that they have the most clearance from the CPU in the slots that are farthest from the CPU. However, make sure that the both sticks are only one slot away.
  • If you have three RAM sticks, simply place them next to one another in the farthest slots.
  • If you have four RAM sticks, you can arrange them symmetrically or next to each other. It could be necessary for you to arrange the RAM sticks in a specific pattern if your motherboard supports quad-channel memory.

For the following criteria, you must refer to the manual.

  • If you have five RAM sticks, same as you do with 4 RAM sticks, then the extra one RAM should be placed in between the other four.
  • If you have six RAM sticks, symmetrically place three on each side.
  • If you have seven RAM sticks, same as you do with 5 RAM sticks, Put the additional RAM stick in there someplace.
  • If you have eight RAM sticks, simply put all those sticks.
Having stated that, I strongly advise against using unequal RAM stick configurations (3, 5, 7).

For settings like that, you’ll probably mix and match RAM, therefore the likelihood of encountering problems is higher. Additionally, if you use an uneven amount of RAM modules, the multi-channel arrangement will be ruined. I would advise getting a package of four or eight RAM sticks if you have a motherboard of this level instead.

If your motherboard has more RAM slots than those mentioned above, it’s likely a professional or server-grade motherboard with one or more CPU slots. I strongly advise you to consult your manual in this situation.

Although what I mentioned earlier for motherboards with eight RAM slots may still be relevant, it could also result in instability—especially if you have odd numbers of RAM, like three, five, or seven. If your motherboard supports dual CPUs, I highly doubt it. Each CPU in a motherboard like this is in charge of half the RAM slots.

This implies that if you only fill up a few of the slots, let’s say four RAM slots on the first CPU’s side, the second CPU won’t have any RAM of its own and will have to travel through the first CPU to receive any RAM for the tasks that it might be conducting, which might cause significant slowdowns. So it’s wise to read the instructions first. Due to the large number of possible configurations, it is challenging to provide information regarding motherboards in this manner.

How Does It Matter?

If you just have one RAM stick, it doesn’t matter where you’ve to place it. But it does matter, where in what order you place your RAM sticks if you have more than one.

This is due to a phenomenon known as multi-channel memory architecture, which is just a fancy way of saying that if you have two or more sticks of memory, they may be utilized together to function in tandem (dual-channel, triple-channel, quad-channel, etc.) quicker than they could if they were used alone. It effectively increases the data rate at which your CPU can access the information stored in your RAM by two (or three, or four, or—you get the idea).

For common applications, this does not imply a performance increase of double. Depending on how memory-intensive the application is, you’ll undoubtedly notice performance increases, but alas, it doesn’t scale linearly. You must make sure that the RAM Modules are inserted into the correct slots for this operation to succeed—you cannot utilize any old RAM slot. Therefore, if you use non-compatible RAM slots on a motherboard with dual or more channels, you’ll end up operating in single-channel mode and lose a lot of performance.

Conclusion On Which RAM Slot To Use and How Does It Matter

Hopefully, you’ve cleared your query – Which RAM slot to use and how does it matter – when it comes to RAM slots. Although installing RAM is a very easy process, but you’ll need to ensure which type of motherboard you’ve, you must use appropriate RAM modules or else your computer might not start. To take advantage of dual-channel support, it’s also crucial to know which channels are coupled together.

If you have any queries, feel free to drop a comment below.

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