Can I Use RAM with Two Different Capacity In The Same Laptop


I originally imagined that 8GB of ram should be enough for my daily task. However, when I opened my system monitor during my normal task, I realized that I am using 75% of my ram and 50% of my swap. I am not sure if it is bad or not, please let me know…

If that means I am not having enough ram, I would like to buy more. However, to be future-proof, I think I will buy a 16GB stick this time. I was wondering if I can put 16GB stick and 8GB stick in the same computer at the same time. They are both framework branded, so they should run at the same speed.


You probably should get more than 8GB and yes, you should be able to mix different sizes, but speed will not be optimal.

Do you have any idea, how “non-optimal” it will be? It will probably be way faster than single channel, right? How much will it be slower than optimal dual channel?

In the optimal case, the parts that are on matching RAM sticks will have dual channel speel, and anything left over will be single channel. So you’d have 16 GB dual channel and 8 GB single channel speed. However your OS doesn’t necessarily start allocating on the fast 16 GB block and the mismatched size can create other optimization issues.


My 11th gen i5 mainboard as a home server has mismatched SODIMM sticks in it. Different size, different brands, different CL values, but both DDR4-3200. Ran very thorough memtest86 diagnostics very early in that build process just to make sure I wasn’t setting myself up for a big headache. No issues in about a year of operation. IIRC, it basically just settled on running both sticks on the slowest value of each stick.

On a home server use case I’m way more limited by Wi-Fi and Ethernet speeds than the CL value of the RAM. But of course your experience may very much vary.

Hi @D.H @Jonathan_Haas Thank you guys for your input. If you guys are in my shoes, will you go for the 16GB stick (unmatching but more ram) or 8GB stick (matching but less ram)?

Thanks in advance for your help.

I think it really depends on your use case. If you’re just taking notes and browsing the web, I would just get the 8 gb stick but if you plan on doing more intensive tasks such as gaming, I would get the 16 gb stick.

Personally I rarely game, when I do I play casual games like “do not feed the monkey”. I also have a desktop with discrete graphics and 32GB of ram.

Most of my work are latex (vscode), very light coding (couple thousand lines of haskell max), slack, email (thunderbird), and youtube (freetube). I am guessing that is light workload hence two 8GB sticks should be enough?

I honestly havent expected ryzen to be this memory intensive, so I am not sure at this point.

I wouldn’t say Ryzen is necessarily RAM intensive. Rather, it depends on your OS and applications. Also check that the iGPU is set to “auto” in the BIOS as if you set it to game, it’ll eat up some RAM. I think 16 gb is more than enough for your use case.

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I’d probably either go with 2x8 or 2x16. I don’t think 8 GB alone is enough, my seven year old Dell laptop has only this much and it regularly starts swapping when only browsing (with many tabs open, tbh) with one or two other programs open (say email and office). It’s not great and one reason why I’ve upgraded to the Framework. 2x8 should be enough when only doing browsing and office and stuff and I would probably want to avoid problems that could be caused by mismatched ram. It’s just something that’s probably used very rarely and not tested much, even though it will probably work.

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I’ve got 1x16GB and 1x4GB. I haven’t bothered running any tests but I’ve never had any reason to complain.

My thinking on RAM really changed when I learned that OSs don’t just “put a program into RAM.” Rather, they normally budget programs a portion of the total RAM. This means that even not-particularly-large programs may be only partially in RAM, since the OS wants to leave memory available for new stuff. The upshot is that it’s often worthwhile to have more RAM even at the expense of memory speed, since increasing your memory capacity 10% may mean 10% more stuff in memory that otherwise wouldn’t be cached there at all.

There are, of course, many complications and exceptions to this. I merely present this heuristic for those of us who don’t have the time, expertise, or will to figure out a truly optimal RAM configuration. More RAM = more good!

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I got DDR 5 5600 MT for my Framework 16 one 16GB Stick and one 24 GB Stick.