Buy 1x 32 GB or 2x 16 GB RAM?

Both options cost the same. My first thought was it’s better to get one 32 GB stick so that in a few years you can just buy another one if you need more RAM. But surely it’s not so easy, otherwise nobody would buy 2x 16 GB and it’s offered for a reason. What’s better and why? Is 2x 16 GB faster because it can access two areas of storage at the same time?

This is for the AMD laptop if that matters

Edit: i read a bit about “dual channel” but also that it doesn’t matter unless the program specifically makes use of it. I don’t game so not sure what’s the best choice for me

Dual Channel memory isn’t something that needs to be programmed for. The CPU/Motherboard decides whether the OS gets that extra bandwidth or not. In day to day tasks, it’s not significant, but its definitely measurable, and theoretically the GPU would be affected most since VRAM is taken from normal system RAM and iGPUs are almost always hobbled by memory speed. Whether you will notice a general lack of system memory before you wish the GPU performed that little bit better is a question only you can answer.


Dual channel does work for all program and is handled by cpu (does not require any code support)
Today’s CPUs have large caches, good prefetch algorithm, and fast ram. The impact is minimal on “office uses” (browsing, editing text files, watching video/…). For those you can expect no measurable difference.
For high multiprocessing tasks (editing video files, building large code base/,…) you may see few percent diff.
when GPU compete access to ram (gaming, driving 3 4k screen with 3d animations,…) the impact is more sizable (10-30%).
I think another question to ask is: when i why you would add ram, if during an upgrade of the motherboard/cpu in 3-5years you will probably want newer faster/larger ram (i think we still have few generations of cpu with ddr5).


Thank you both. I’ll probably go with 2x 16 GB then. 32 GB should be enough for a few years and if it isn’t anymore, it’s probably time for a new motherboard/CPU and by that time DDR5 might be outdated already


With an AMD CPU definitely go with 2x16GB RAM. Using a single channel with AMD CPU’s results in a significant drop in performance. Intel CPU’s do not suffer to the same degree. If you read various reviews for AMD powered laptops you will see that this is a well known thing. Good luck.


Also, adding another stick later is not guaranteed to work. At the speed of current RAM, memory controllers do a lot of signal processing to get reliable signals, adapting to the individual sticks you use. The two memory sticks in kits have been tested and validated as a pair, so are guaranteed to work well together. If you buy two single 32GB sticks (possibly years apart and from different manufacturing batches), they may not behave exactly the same. I don’t think you will get support from the memory manufacturer or framework if they end up not working together.

1 Like