If you want to get the best out of your RAM sticks, then they should operate in multi-channel mode. The higher the data channels, the better is the performance of the RAM sticks.
Most motherboards offer dual-channel technology. Therefore, the answer to your question “does my motherboard support quad channel memory?” is generally a no. An average commercial PC or even a gaming rig, does NOT support quad channel memory.
Quad channel memory configuration is found only on top of the line workstation grade motherboards.
In the following text, I will talk in detail about what multi-memory is, how it benefits and how to check if your motherboard supports Quad channel memory or not.
What is Multi Channel Memory?
Multi channel memory is basically a technology that increases the data transfer rate between the RAM sticks and the CPU.
Generally, each RAM stick is connected via a 64-bit bus. The more the channels the motherboard supports, the higher is the sets of buses a RAM connects to.
So a dual channel memory connects to two sets of 64-bit buses. A quad channel memory connects to four sets of 64-bit buses and so on.
Running your RAM in multi-channel configuration can drastically boost their performance.
GamersNexus.net has a comprehensive study on this whereby they noted a 30% improvement when running RAM in dual channel mode as compare to single channel.
Of course the actual difference in performance is determined by what program you run.
In some situations you will notice a huge difference in performance, while in others the performance will not be much noticeable.
It is NOT the RAM that Dictates Multi Channel Support
Often people believe that multi-channel i.e dual or quad channel support, is a function of the RAM stick.
That is not true. Whether your PC will support multi-channel memory technology and of what kind is determined by the CPU and the Motherboard.
So Does My Motherboard Support Quad Channel Memory?
Quad Channel memory technology is NOT supported by a majority of the commercial motherboards out there.
Hence, average motherboards intended for AMD Ryzen, AMD Athlon, Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium and Intel Core series do NOT support quad channel memory.
In other words, quad channel memory is supported ONLY by workstation grade motherboards. These include motherboards featuring:
- AMD TRX40 Chipset –
- Intel X299 Chipsets
As well as older gen workstation grade chipsets.
There are two very simple ways to identify whether your motherboard supports quad channel memory or not.
- Check the Technical Specsheet on Manufacturer’s Website
- Check the Amount of RAM Slots
1. Check the Technical Specsheet on Manufacturer’s Website
One of the easiest and the most definitive ways to check whether your motherboard has quad channel memory support or not is to head over to its manufacturer website.
Take for instance the specifications of the following motherboard, ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme:
You can see that in the memory section of the spec sheet it clearly indicates that this motherboard features quad channel memory.
2. Check the Amount of RAM Slots
Another very simple way to identify whether your motherboard has quad channel memory support or not is to check how many RAM slots it has.
Motherboards with quad channel memory support almost always have 8 or more RAM slots.
In majority of the cases, motherboard with quad channel memory support have 8 or more RAM slots.
Take for instance, ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme Alpha again, you can see that this motherboard has 8 memory slots.
Hence, it would be safe to assume without even looking at the specsheet that this would support quad channel memory.
The motherboard above has 8 RAM slots, 4 on each side of the CPU socket. This indicates that it would support quad channel memory.
How to Enable Quad Channel Memory?
You do not manually enable multi channel memory including quad channel memory.
In order to enable quad channel memory, you need,
- The right motherboard – Again, as explained earlier, these generally have 8 RAM slots.
- The right CPU – workstation CPU compatible with your motherboard
- 4 RAM sticks – at least and ideally of the same capacity, speed and brand.
Needless to say both the workstation grade motherboards and the CPUs that go with them are super-expensive.
Once you have the right motherboard and the right CPU, you will need to make sure that you plug your RAM sticks in the right slots to enable quad channel.
In other words, if you have 4 RAM sticks, you can’t just plug them in random slots and expect them to work in Quad channel.
Instead, you will need to consult the motherboard’s manual in order to figure out where to plug in the RAM sticks.
You basically need to look out for the labels on the RAM slots. For instance the following is the layout diagram for ASUS X299X Designare 10G motherboard.
The RAM slots have the following labels from Left to Right:
- DDR4 1_1B
- DDR4 3_2B
- DDR4 2_1A
- DDR4 4_2A
- DDR4 4_2C
- DDR4 2_1C
- DDR4 3_2D
- DDR4 1_1D
The manual then further goes on to tell you how to install the RAM sticks depending upon the number of sticks you have.
So if you have 4 RAM sticks, you can enable quad channel by installing your RAM sticks in:
- DDR4 1_1B
- DDR4 2_1A
- DDR4 2_1C
- DDR4 1_1D
Essentially, you are plugging one stick in each of the motherboards four channels i.e A, B, C, D. You are installing the RAM sticks in the FIRST socket of each channel i.e 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D
It is highly recommend that the installed RAM sticks are of the same capacity. In addition to that, the speed of the RAMs sticks should also ideally match.
And finally, while of a lesser importance, the brand of the RAM sticks should also be the same.
It should be noted that quad channel memory will only work if you have 4 or 8 memory sticks.
Once the RAM sticks are in the right slots, you do not need to do anything else. The BIOS will take care of the rest.
You can check what channel your memory is running at with a simple utility called CPU-Z.
Read in Detail: How to Check if RAM is Dual Channel?
Does a Motherboard with 4 Slots Support Quad Channel?
No, a motherboard with 4 RAM slots will not support memory in quad channel memory.
The maximum it will support is dual channel, given that the sticks are placed in the correct slots.
Does AMD Support Quad Channel?
Yes, a selection of workstation grade motherboards from AMD such as those featuring the TRX40 chipset do support quad channel memory.
So if you have a motherboard featuring commercial chipsets including the top of the line AMD X series or Intel Z series chipsets, then unfortunately, the answer to the question “does my motherboard support quad channel memory?” is a no.
You need to have workstation grade motherboard such as those featuring Intel X299 or the AMD TRX40 chipsets to find quad channel memory support.