Buying Memory Kits

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/10/2011
Posts: 7

A while back I read somewhere in a different forum (can't remember which), someone advised that when buying memory, its best to buy the amount you want/need as one kit, rather than two or three separate kits. So if you needed say 16GB, instead of buying 2 - 8GB (2 sticks of 4 each) kits or 4 - 4GB (2 sticks of 2 each) kits, just buy 1 - 16GB kit. I think the explained reason behind this advise was that each kit is made "slightly different" if bought separately: in a 1 - 16GB kit all 4 sticks come from 1 batch, whereas 2 - 8GB kits, each set of 2 sticks comes from 2 different batches.

Is there any truth to this? I wondering because the new Vengeance LP by Corsair, 1 - 8GB kit is priced @ $65, whereas 1 - 16GB kit is priced @ $145. So doing the math, its cheaper to buy 2 - 8GB kits than 1 - 16GB kit; but I'm curious to know if what I read is true, who possible problems can I run into? Did Corsair price it this way because there's slight truth to this?

Also I'd prefer to buy 1 - 8GB kit first to test out, if its not enough I can always add, but again if problems can arise from using two separate kits, then I guess I have no choice.

Joined: 05/20/2011
Posts: 59

I've heard the same thing several times, basically most RAM makers test the kits, not a combination of the kits. So say if your 8GB RAM kit is rated to run at 2133 MHz with 9-11-10-28 timings at 1.65V then that means that you can run that kit at those speeds, if you slap two of those kits together in the same board then they may not all run at those timings. Let me restate that I have heard about this happening but I have never run in to the problem myself, for example in my most recent build I have 16GB of mushkin redline 2133MHz RAM and I used 2 8GB kits and got the timings and speed that the kits were rated for.

And for your second question, 8GB is enough RAM for most builds unless you will be doing video editing/transcoding, then you might want to ramp it up to 16GB for better performance in those tasks.

Hope this helps :)

eire1274's picture
Joined: 09/12/2003
Posts: 1135

The idea applies to dual channel or tri channel memory operations. If you are running single channel, then there is little issue moving from a DIMM clocking at 1066.575Mhz and it's adjoining DIMM clocking at 1065.995Mhz. Memory times off of a pulse from the motherboard, but due to changes in manufacturing method (or even chip maker in cases of many brands) there is a high likelihood that separately purchased memory modules will not clock the same. Buying in kits (16Gb = 4Gb x 4) gets you 4 modules in a single package, and all modules are from the same batch and have identical timings.

Nick McDermott