My understanding is that you can install a single stick, two sticks or three And the platform will operate in single, dual or triple channel mode. Obviously atleast three sticks is ideal as it takes advantage of the triple channel memory controller for added bandwidth.
DDR3 will drop once it becomes practical to do so. I like Intel's pluck, trying to get people to upgrade. However, the heavy price of switching to the i7 platform (upgrading to DDR3, relatively pricey motherboards, and the processor itself) will be off-putting for many, especially considering the world's current economic climate and the fact that current processors do what 95% of users need.
"DDR3 prices have already started dropping and DDR2 prices are increasing now as production is shifted from the older DDR2 lines to new DDR3 chips increasing supply on the DDR3 and making DDR2 harder to find." DRAM business report issued yesterday. Module prices will lag for a while as inventories build and decline respectively.
When the DDR to DDR2 changeover happened it was pretty fast. First there was a glut of DDR2 and dumping with rapid price erosion (which I think happened over the last few months for DDR2). Then The old stuff price jumped and the newer memory price sat level for about six months. Finally the new memory price collapsed as produciton exceeded demand. Based on the over production capacity in the DRAM markets and the current recession, expect DDR3 prices to get really soft late spring.
I disagree 100%. I've been using Corsair in every rig I've built for the better part of a decade. I've only had -one- bad stick of memory from them, and never any stability issues. Corsair makes some of the best memory around, hands down.