Just curious, but what exactly is the difference with dual and triple channel RAM? I do a lot of work in photoshop and game extensively.
It is NOT dual channel or triple channel "RAM". It is dual or triple channel "memory architecture"
- a function and design of motherboards, not RAM. So a motherboard will support single, dual or triple channel memory.
There is absolutely nothing
special about dual channel RAM or triple channel RAM. Those are simply, and ONLY "marketing
" terms used to describe how their RAM is packaged and sold - that is, in sets of two or three.
Understand that dual channel has been around for 10 years or more. In the beginning, RAM was finicky and motherboard memory controllers where not very sophisticated (compared to today). It was common for RAM modules, even the exact same brand and model number, to not play well together in dual-channel mode. The memory controllers of the day were unable to get the two sticks to cooperate in dual-channel mode, so they would kick the motherboard back into single mode.
The problem was, is, and probably always will be caused by Man being unable to create perfection, 100% of the time. No two memory modules are exactly alike. Remember, it takes 1 transistor and 1 capacitor for each "bit" (1 or 0) - so that's 100s of billions of little tiny transistors and capacitors in these RAM sticks - and all it takes is 1 in a sensitive spot... .
So to ensure "identical" sticks did play well together on dual-channel motherboards, RAM makers had to test each stick individually then match, package, and sell the matched pairs together - an expensive process!
Flash forward 10 years. Raw materials are more pure and RAM manufacturing techniques have vastly improved. Man still can't create perfection 100% of the time, but we are getting pretty close. RAM tolerances are so close, they no longer have to be individually tested and matched. I note it is hard to find any brand of RAM that is not warrantied for life. And memory controllers on today's motherboard's are much more capable of forcing mismatched RAM to cooperate. In fact, many of the latest motherboard manuals merely recommend using the same brand, speed and size.
So when selling and buying RAM today, the maker will sell packages of singles, pairs ("marketed" as "dual-channel"), and triplets ("marketed" as "triple-channel"), but the sticks inside are essentially identical sticks that all came from the same pile. Obviously, selling 2 or 3 at a time in a single box is a profitable win for the RAM makers. And it is good for the environment. I hope they are passing some of that savings on to us.
As far as modular PSUs - I am not sold on them. If you chose your case carefully, it will provide good cable management features, like being able to run cables behind the motherboard. But with any case, you can tie back extra cables, or stuff them in an empty drive bay to keep them from restricting air flow, and to look "tidy".
I'm an electronics technician by trade, so I may look at hardware a bit differently. I expect my computer to sit quietly and discreetly off to the size so aesthetics take a backseat with me and that's about all I see modulars PSUs good for. But also, I have several problems with modular PSUs, from an electronics standpoint.
- ANY time you have a break in a conductor, you increase resistance in the circuit. On a modular power supply, each modular connection introduces three breaks (source wire to male connector, male connector to female connector, female connector to destination (wire, circuit board, transformer winding, etc.). Three unnecessary breaks, potential points of failure.
- ANY time you have a semi-permanent mechanical connection (such as a plug and socket connection) - ESPECIALLY a connection that is not sealed and is in a windy environment, containments such as moisture, dust, smoke, hair, hair oil, dander, microscopic critters that eat dander (allergy sufferers UNITE!) and the "stuff they leave behind , and potato chip crumbs get in the connection and on the contacts, creating not only more resistance, but possible corrosion.
- Stuff happens. A 4-pin wire-to-wire modular connector has at least 10 parts. The 6 and 8 pins use many more. Even the most reputable brand PSU makers have a failure rate greater than 0. And any connector is subject to damage during manufacturing, transit or user abuse.
- There is no industry standard for modular cables! So Antec cables may not fit a Corsair PSU. OCZ 350W cables may not fit OCZ 850W PSU. This means you must keep track of each set of cables individually, and carefully for every PSU you are responsible for - that's a real PITA if you are responsible for several or more computers. Where do you store the cables you don't use? Users (even experts) lose installation disks, license keys. Things get lost during moves or accidentally tossed, or buried under years of old computer junk. What does the user do 4 years from now when the new graphics card he buys needs a separate power cable and he can't find the cables? The only safe place is in a big ziplock bag stuffed inside the bottom of the case.
- Finally, modular PSUs cost more yet provide absolutely no extra power for the money and do absolutely nothing for the PC's performance. At best, all I'm paying for is it looking a little nicer inside - if I shine a flashlight up there. Not worth it to me. I only look inside my case once a month to make sure my fans are spinning and the air filter is doing its job. Otherwise, I'm looking at my monitors. I'd rather put my money in more RAM or better graphics, or a case with better cable management.