The problem with dual channel memory

A few problems have cropped up on my PC simultaneously, this is the first one…

I bought a 2 gig stick for my PC only to discover that the PC wouldn’t boot up with more than 2 sticks in the PC at once! It’s an ASUS M2N – it has 4 DDR2 slots for up to 8GB of RAM. Of course, you would need a 64-bit OS to address more than 4GB at once. I already had 2 sticks at 1GB each, so this new stick would have put me up to 4GB. But no matter what I tried, the board refuses to boot with more than 2 sticks in at a time.

I have narrowed the problem down to something called dual-channel architecture. The board has four slots, and thus two RAM channels (2 slots per channel). As long as I only use just one channel at a time i.e. put two RAM sticks on the slots of the same channel, the PC is fine. As soon as I put two sticks on different channels, the PC refuses to POST. So effectively I can never put in more than two sticks of RAM at once, so for time being I am stuck with just 3GB of RAM (2GB + 1GB).

I am considering selling the 2x1GB sticks and buying a single 2GB stick, but not sure yet. I’ve also been in contact with ASUS regarding this but so far they’ve not suggested anything that I’ve not yet tried (changing various settings in the BIOS etc.).

Lastly – I’ve also noticed that my Memory Speed rating in Vista Performance Index has suddenly dropped from a 5.9 to a 5.2!! I don’t know why. I even put the original memory sticks back into the PC and it made no difference. Weird.

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