Tri-Channel Memory… What is all the hype about?
By Patriot Engineering

If you have been reading up on computer technology the past few months, chances are you have heard the buzz surrounding: tri-channel memory, Core™ i7, Nehalem, and the Intel® X58 chipset. For the casual computer user, what does it all mean? Today we will take a look into this bleeding edge technology and look to answer the following question… “What is all the hype about?”

In this age of multi-tasking; demand for faster more efficient systems have never been greater. As a general overview, a computer works by receiving power and communicating data within all of its components. The CPU processes information to and from the Northbridge and Southbridge, which controls various other parts of your motherboard. The Northbridge controls the memory controller and video card. The Southbridge controls PCI buses, Hard drive controllers, usb and other devices.

How fast it does all this depends on how much data your CPU & memory can transfer. The “faster” the memory (and more of it) means an overall effective performing system.
Memory is what drives the speed of information accessed from the CPU to other components. The CPU needs to access the latencies (through the Northbridge) from the memory controller to the memory to do all of this. Think of it like an assembly line that operates like a well-oiled machine. Lower latencies from the memory at a stable speed, means the assembly lines are operating faster.

However like a factory, things might not always run smooth as it should. In some cases, the CPU will transfer data much faster than the memory can handle, creating a ‘bottleneck’. To solve this issue, “Dual-Channel” technology was created. Dual-Channel opens up another parallel channel for the data to travel. When utilizing two sticks of identical configurations, (i.e. two 64x8, two 128x8, etc.) it open up more bandwidth for the data to travel. This allows the memory and the CPU to communicate more effectively.

Now let’s take a look at the changes made in the Intel’s® X58 chipset… Instead of data having to travel to the Northbridge to access the memory controller, the memory controller now resides on the CPU itself. The Core™ i7 also uses four cores on a single die, as opposed to two cores communicating with each other as in previous generations. This means faster communication between the cores within the CPU, memory to other parts of the system.

As in the case of going from single channel to dual-channel, a third channel was necessary on the Intel® X58 chipset. The abundance of bandwidth and memory latencies is needed to keep bottlenecks from forming. When utilized in all three-channels, the Core™ i7 brings the effectiveness of a server to mainstream desktops, and for a fraction of the price. It allows for CPU-intensive programs to be run much more smoothly.

Patriot Memory recognized the need for Tri-Channel memory with the release of the Intel® X58 chipset and Core™ i7 processor. We offer several lines compatible with several X58 Motherboard manufactures and certified with Intel®. Each kit is hand-tested and XMP enabled, which makes overclocking on the X58 platforms able to be done easily.