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Repairing and Upgrading Your PC by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Other Memory Issues

In addition to memory type, speed, and timings, there are several other issues to consider in choosing proper memory for your system. We'll examine each of those issues in the following sections.

Dual-channel operation

For best performance, modern processors require a great deal of memory bandwidth—more than can be provided by a single memory module. For example, an Intel Pentium 4 processor with an 800 MHz FSB can use memory bandwidth up to 6.4 GB/s, twice that provided by a single PC3200 DIMM. To accommodate this need for greater bandwidth, chipset engineers designed dual-channel memory controllers that recognize two physical memory modules as one logical memory module, effectively doubling the data transfer rate between the CPU and memory.

Dual-channel operation may or may not be important to system performance, depending on the processor you use. For example, the fastest Athlon XP processors use a 400 MHz FSB. Because the Athlon XP ...

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