Portal 2

A stalwart of the Source engine, Portal 2 is the big hit of 2011 following on from the original award-winning Portal.  In our testing suite, Portal 2 performance should be indicative of CS:GO performance to a certain extent.  Here we test Portal 2 at 1920x1080 with High/Very High graphical settings.

Portal 2 IGP, 1920x1080, Very High, 8xMSAA

Portal 2 mirrors previous testing, albeit our frame rate increases as a percentage are not that great – 1333 to 1600 is a 4.3% increase, but 1333 to 2400 is only an 8.8% increase.

Batman Arkham Asylum

Made in 2009, Batman:AA uses the Unreal Engine 3 to create what was called “the Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever”, awarded in the Guinness World Record books with an average score of 91.67 from reviewers.  The game boasts several awards including a BAFTA.  Here we use the in-game benchmark while at the lowest specification settings without PhysX at 1920x1080.  Results are reported to the nearest FPS, and as such we take 4 runs and take the average value of the final three, as the first result is sometimes +33% more than normal.

Batman: AA IGP, 1920x1080, Ultra Low

Batman: AA represents some of the best increases of any application in our testing.  Jumps from 1333 C9 to 1600 C9 and 1866 C9 gives an 8% then another 7% boost, ending with a 21% increase in frame rates moving from 1333 C9 to 2400 C10.

Overall IGP Results

Taking all our IGP results gives us the following graph:

The only game that beats the MemTweakIt predictions is Batman: AA, but most games follow the similar shape of increases just scaled differently.  Bearing in mind the price differences between the kits, if IGP is your goal then either the 1600 C9 or 1866 C9 seem best in terms of bang-for-buck, but 2133 C9 will provide extra performance if the budget stretches that far.

Gaming Tests: Metro 2033, Civilization V, Dirt 3 Input/Output Testing


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  • Senti - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    Well, my life taught me that it's well worth reducing number of memory chips on each channel as there are cases when 2+ modules per channel won't run without errors even on native speed while there are no problems with 1 module per channel. There is also concern of extensibility, but I guess it's less relevant now when you are already getting 16GB of ram in desktop.

    I don't have experience with "tweaked" Linpacks, but I see no much reason for such tweaks as Prime95 already does the job well and in practice it's easier to get stability when different tests stress different parts.

    About overclocking – there is difference in my case. 48% faster memory (from native DDR3-1066) can be felt in practice without synthetics and games in unpractical settings.

    As for gamers that can't even apply XMP, I seriously didn't thought it was the primary intended audience of Anandtech... Also, gamers with 5 fps in Metro2033, lol.

    For review of the kits themselves it was ok, but again quite useless for me as besides overclocking what is really interesting is how well do chips of different brands do compared with each other on equal price points.

    Overall, take my comments not as nitpicking about particular things, but rather that I hope to see here more in-depth articles.
  • IanCutress - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    I've reviewed 60+ motherboards at AnandTech since I started, and I the only issues I have running certain memory depends on the motherboard and how the manufacturer has optimised reading XMP profiles (e.g. some motherboard partners do not have G.Skill as a preferred memory partner, and thus do not work with them). The only thing I ever do is bump up the IMC voltage a little, and that alone is quite rare. The only issue running four modules rather than two that normally presents itself is overclocking - this is why ASUS started using T-Topology for their memory sub-system in order to remove any signalling irregularities when pushing a full set of modules to the limits.

    I agree that moving above 1066 makes a difference. That's not a point of contention. If in the current climate the machine you run offers 1866+ and people are choosing 1066 MHz memory, then that is your decision.

    Regarding AnandTech audiences, we have a wide range, from gamers to enthusiasts to engineers and financiers wanting to justify purchases. I would suspect that a fair few readers here build machines for friends and family, and are in all sorts of stages of understanding the technology under their feet. Hopefully everyone is applying XMP.

    Regarding overclocking, as always your mileage may vary. This was shown deeply in my Ivy Bridge overclocking article - many users reported worse than what I achieved and some performed better. Getting a good processor or set of memory sticks is like a chocolate chip cookie - if you take one out of the packet, some may have more chocolate chips in than others. We always hope the ones we get have the most chocolate chips, but sometimes we do not. When going from 1600 C9 to 1866 C10 for the most part the price difference in these kits (as well as the performance difference) is minimal - the main difference will be if the sub-timings are scaled accordingly, either by the BIOS on automatic or left at XMP settings. People are fooled that more MHz means better performance. In a couple of other kits I have coming up for review, (2400 C11 and 2666 C11), we see this is not always the case.

  • Swede(n) - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    I fail to see how much more percentage in real performance those memory's at different speed has, this in regards of how much the price is compare to the relative performance.

    Now, if I look at the different graphs I can see little or almost none real life app. performance benefit from going from a 1600 cl 9 memory and upwards.

    Instead the article fail to recognize the most frequent problem with fast memory's; instability and shortened life span of the memory controller if added multiple modules.

    Question: have this changed since the last memory test by AnandTech:
    Sandy Bridge Memory Scaling: Choosing the Best DDR3

  • IanCutress - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    Over my Z77/Ivy Bridge reviews I have used a quad module DDR3-2400 C9 kit throughout, without any reduction in stability from the IMC. In order to test what you ask would require a large sampling and long testing - one month on Prime95 at 50C ambient to burn out one processor IMC then move onto the next one. It isn't going to happen - not enough processors, and by the time the testing is complete the article wouldn't matter so much.

    With so many people in the world using modules, under all sorts of scenarios, yes things will happen and *some* trends could be construed from the data. We do not have access to the data, and thus 'the most frequent problem with fast memory is instability and shortened lifespan' is not the most frequent - it may be the problem you most hear about, but I bet you do not hear about the 100s of others that have no issue. We can't confirm that on our end, and we can't provide any numbers that do so as they are held tightly by the company that makes the memory.

    This is a review of memory kits, not an overview of fast memory, and such it has been treated that way and we draw the conclusions that we can from the results at hand. This is the difference between a scientific method and random stabs in the dark regarding what was posted on forums. I can confirm the former, but I'd steer away from the latter unless I could provide concrete numbers.

    In answer to your question - Sandy Bridge processors can handle up to 2133-2400 MHz memory, but Ivy Bridge can go one further in the fact that my processor can handle 2950 MHz or thereabouts. As a result, memory vendors bring out kits to sell at these higher frequencies. They need to be tested to let you guys and gals know if there is any reason to buy them, but first we need an overview to see where we stand. The article you link to is from a different editor at AT, and I needed a series of my own results for comparison (as well as confirming I had a proper set of benchmarks on my own end.)

  • Swede(n) - Sunday, October 21, 2012 - link

    Hi Ian, Thanks a lot for Your answer. That clarified things.
    Have a nice and relaxed day.

    Btw. I enjoy reading articles and reviews here at AnandTech since many years back and I think it is one of the very best sites out there.
  • JonnyDough - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    where are the non-overclocked, non-heatsinked modules? Reply
  • svdb - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    This article is pointless and debating is futile. Everybody knows that ORANGE memory modules are always faster than BLACK one, but not as fast as RED ones! Duh...
    The same with cars...
  • jonjonjonj - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    you keep saying that a big part of the heat sinks are too "prevent the competition from knowing what ICs are under the hood". do you really think if a competitor or anyone for that matter who wanted to know what ICs were being used are going to say damn we cant find out what the ICs are because the $45 memory has a heat sink? im pretty sure they are going to buy a kit and rip them apart. Reply

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