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  • BrianInfo - Thursday, July 30, 2009 - link

    1.) The recommended DDR3-1066 Patriot PSD36G1066KH is non-ECC and unbuffered. Will this be an issue for the personal desktop use, mainly for video/audio transcoding/muxing?

    2.) The article does not specify how to achieve the CAS5. Does anyone succeed the CAS5 with this Patriot DDR3-1066 and/or overclocked DDR3-1200?

    3.) Is it possible to achieve the CAS5 with other brand, such as GeIL CAS7 GV36GB1066C7TC or Crucial CT3KIT25664BA1067??

    4.) According to Tom's Hardware, not all the X58 motherboards support CAS5">
    so does it mean I cant obtain the ideal performance with the combination of "ASRock X58 Extreme" motherboard with "Patriot PSD36G1066KH" Tweaked-CAS5 DDR3? I really like the Asus P6T SE but the layout of the two (blue) PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, too close to each other is killing me:(

  • iwodo - Sunday, June 28, 2009 - link

    Spend the extra money on an SSD rather then faster Memory. Although i would love to see how Tri Channel differs from Dual Channel. ( Same results? )
    And how integrated Graphics differs in memory speed.
  • lemonadesoda - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    Gary, you obviously get paid by wordcount. Too much waffle. Get to the meat faster.

    And what about this $200 between cheap and expensive DDR3 kits? How about seeing WHERE that $200 could have been spent in OTHER upgrades, ie. CPU or GPU, and running benchmark comparisons against THAT setup vs. the first.

    Otherwise, thanks for running all the tests and creating the data for us to review :-)
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    As soon as I looked at the chart on the first page of the article, it was clear that the DDR3-1600 C9 memory would represent the best bang for the buck. It was only marginally higher priced than the DDR3-1066 C7 (and the DDR3-1066 C5 doesn't count as you overclocked the DDR3-1066 C7 for that purpose), and was sure to perform at least as good, and probably better than significantly higher priced DDR3-1333 modules at C8, and almost as good as the DDR3-1333 C7.

    Given that faster memory modules only ever have a negligible effect on real-world performance (unless you are a pirate and spend a lot of time using PAR2 checkers to rebuild damaged files from newsgroups, or WinRAR to then extract the original files, the sort of stuff I certainly won't say I do), then you may as well get the cheapest brand-name memory available. If you're spending in the upper mid-range on your CPU, then go for slightly faster (like the 1600 C9) but still quite cheap memory-modules. The only people who should be getting those top-of-the-range modules or anything close to that price level are those who have already decided on the fastest Core i7 CPU avilable (i7 975 currently), as otherwise they're wasting their money on the wrong bit of hardware.
  • Souka - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    I'm more confused than ever... what to buy?

    Putting together a new system...
    Win7 or Vista x64
    i7-920 CPU
    x58 MB
    ATI 4890 video

    Memory? I'd like to go with 6GB (3x2gb), thought I had my choices narrowed down to:
    Opt1: $138 mushkin 6GB(3x2GB) 1333(PC3 10666) Model 998706, Cas6, 6-7-6-18
    Opt2: $175 mushkin 6GB(3x2GB) 1600(PC3 12800) Model 998691. Cas6, 6-7-6-18

    But after reading this article, and your comments... I'm very!
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    Given a choice between either DDR3-1333 or 1600 memory with identical timings (6-7-6-18), but a $37 price difference, I'd probably go for the 1333, especially as you have decided on an i7-920. If you want to spend a little more to improve yours sytem performance, the memory speed is the last place to look at to do so. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Sunday, July 05, 2009 - link

    I took just the opposite from it - he has a 4980 there - overclockable nicely, is saving quite a bit with lower cpu, and what else can get him another 2,5,7,14 % in framerates, especially minimum in some cases ? I think the higher ram is much better and worth it after seeing this articles results.
    He will OC the 4890 and the cpu likely, so that fast ram will give it that great finisging kick and make it awesome.
    Spend the $37 and be happy - definitely.
  • Hrel - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    G.Skill 1.5-1.6v 1333 Cas 8-8-8-21 = 65
    Crucial 1.8v 1333 Cas 6-6-6-20 = 64 (sold out right now)

    OCZ 1.9v 1600 Cas 7-7-7-24 = 54 (after 20 mail in rebate)
    Patriot 1.9v 1600 Cas 7-7-7-20 = 95 (free shipping)
    Patriot 2.0v 1600 Cas 7-7-7-20 = 100 (Green, which I like)

    So basically, it really ONLY makes sense to buy the OCZ 1600 Cas 7 for 54 bucks, why pay more for less?!!!
  • sonci - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    Really boring for me,
    lucky, I didnt read it all
  • StraightPipe - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    cough * troll* Reply
  • sonci - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    The title was enough,
    and yours is too..
  • goinginstyle - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I have no idea where you have been hiding Gary but it is great to see you back. I look forward to the AMD article and the individual module tests. If they are half as good as this, I will be one happy person. Any chance or comments on Virtualization benches under WIn7 with XP? Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    very nice article with real world applications, now can you pls do the same with amount of dimms used and finally kill this marketing hype? Reply
  • vailr - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    "Current JDEC specifications list 1.50V as the official voltage specification for DDR3 with a move to 1.35V in the near future and eventually to 1.20V."
    How does DDR5 (already being used on some video cards) voltages compare with those numbers?
    Any predictions on when DDR5 memory modules for main boards might be introduced?
    Are lower latency DDR3 modules "in the works"?
    Maybe such a thing as:
    1333 MHz @4-4-4-12 & 1.20v, for example?
    Also: Intel promotes the benefits of using Hafnium when producing their CPU's. Would Hafnium also benefit memory chips?
  • GourdFreeMan - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    The video cards you are thinking of use GDDR, not DDR. You will never find GDDR packaged on DIMMs for motherboard memory slots, but rather only as individual chips for graphics boards and consoles. Though they share some technologies, you would need a different memory controller to make use of it. Typically GDDR5 runs from 1V to 1.4V (the GDDR5 on the stock Radeon HD 4770 runs at 1.263V for example). Hafnium dioxide has already been used by some manufacturers as the dielectric material in DRAM capacitors, and I know NEC, at least, has already used Hafnium in transistor gates for embedded DRAM. As for higher speed and lower latency RAM, that is pretty much always in the works... Reply
  • Zorlac - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I have thought this all along, but was too lazy to prove it. Thanks Anand!!! :)

    Any idea when we will start seeing 4GB DIMMs for running 3x4GB kits?
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    We just finished testing a 12GB 1600 C9 kit from Kingston, but the street price is $1400. I also have a 24GB kit from Corsair, but I will not even mention the cost on that one. We should see affordable (compared to buying 6x2GB) 12GB kits later this year in the 1333 C8 variety without ECC. I do have a 12GB ECC Kingston 1066 C8 kit arriving shortly, retail is about $320, to test in some workstation products. Reply
  • DXRick - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    It looks like the sweet spot is 1600 C8 at around $100 for a 6BG kit. Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    agreed --- those saying 1333 really are saving the buck

    I would still like to see SuperPi tests, since they are a mathematical approach to memory performance.
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    Super Pi results will come in Raja's 2000 shootout. However, most of the Super Pi program runs in cache and when it goes outside of it,it only hits a couple of ranks in short bursts (why bandwidth matters) and as a result a proper loading of the entire memory subsystem is not really tested thoroughly. That said, we will have a complete subsection on Super Pi for the overclocking crowd. :) Reply
  • ilkhan - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    running a small cross section of the tests in dual channel mode would be the improvement I can see. Awesome article. Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    We will have dual channel results in the 3GB, 4GB, 6GB, 12GB article in a couple of weeks. Right now, you are not giving up that much if any at all in most of these apps with a dual channel 4GB/8GB setup. Reply
  • The0ne - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    The use of percentages and the comments made for them is vastly different than comments made for video cards. A 14% gain in minimal FPS isn’t much, especially for Dawn of War II. To state the game is a “stutter fest” from a low of 12FPS to “smooth” of a high 17FPS is really exaggerating the picture. 17FPS is still a “stutter fest.”
    From the data collected it really can be said, much like video card reviews is, that if you have the money and want the best then buy the faster memory, otherwise it is a waste of your hard earn money. My point of posting this comment is that the objectivity should not be any different when talking about FPS gains. Here it appears to sound more pleasing even though the numbers don’t show much gain at all.
  • GourdFreeMan - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    For nearly all human beings the perception of motion as opposed to a progression of still frames lies in the 8-20 fps range. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Gary's perception of stutter is from crossing this threshold at least momentarily while playing Dawn of War II. Of course, you could probably more cheaply improve your minimum frame rate by buying a better video card than faster RAM unless the game really is (CPU) memory bound. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Sunday, July 05, 2009 - link

    I kind of thought the opposite of the two prior comment (except I agree it may have been exagerrated to go with smooth as silk)- it seems to me that 2%-5%-7%-14% framerate gains are usually considered quite impressive and quite a win in videocard comparisons, and especially in minimum framerate areas, that would be quite nice.
    I understand it's a different review person, hence perspective and emphasis to a large degree, but it impressed me in the sense that those sized percentages are the end all and be all in video card comparisons - oh golly the declatory winners with that kind of spread based on just videocard performance... so discounting it here - no way.
    So, except for the statement that overclocking the cpu is as much or more a gain and overpowers and negates ram timings to a degree (if I caught that latter part intent correctly in the article), I'd have to say the ram advantage is very important to the hardcore videocard shoppers - it can really add quite an edge - as much as a videocard / head to head choice based on benches. Maybe enough to wait for higher clocked ram prices to drop, or score that great deal on overclockable ram.
    I enjoyed the article mainly because of those FPS benches shown.
  • fishbits - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    "Of course, those that are doing all of these activities and more will benefit from purchasing fast low-latency memory and we even suggest getting 12GB while you are at it."

    How much of a performance hit (if any) is there typically in populating 6 banks on an i7 system versus 3?
  • bh192012 - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I'm not sure I understand the conclusion. You recommend DDR3-1333 C6 for people who want a little more speed, but it seems to me that your data shows that DDR3-1600 C9 is faster and cheaper?


    1066 c5 / min fps H.A.W.X. 80/50 = 1.60$ per frame
    1333 c6 / min fps H.A.W.X. 125/52 = 2.40$ per frame
    1600 c9 / min fps H.A.W.X. 85/54 = 1.58$ per frame (winner)
    1600 c6 / min fps H.A.W.X. 175/56 = 3.13$ per frame
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I would have to assume that you are doing your calculations on the Min frame rate?

    Personally, I would look at that and see that they are about equal at the minimum, but 1333c6 is almost 50% faster on average!
    I'd suggest redoing your $/fps with the average rates.
  • bh192012 - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    Where is 1333 c6 50% faster than 1600 c9? I think you have confused the price chart with a benchmark or something. Also, min FPS are more important. Reply
  • DLeRium - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    Uhh obviously no one read this article really because Page 11 is supposed to be about choosing a kit, yet it has 3D rendering benchmarks which should be on page 12.... Yeah.. Reply
  • Seikent - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I'm not very sure if it's relevant, but I missed a load times comparation. I know that the bottleneck there should be the hdd, but I still think that there can be a performance boost. Reply
  • deputc26 - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    ave and min lines are mixed up. Reply
  • MadBoris - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I'll be considering upgrading in October at the same time I go from XP to Win 7.
    So this is good to know if/when I go Core I7.

    I guess I can see how Winrar RAM workload sdtays high since it grabs the buffers of compressed data chunks and writes them to disk as fast as the HW permits, so bandwidth matters then.
    While it looks like very few apps can saturate the bandwidth latency benefits/penalties are always having an effect as usual.

    Maybe I missed it but I didn't see anywhere in the article that tried to explain the technical reasons "why" 2000 doesn't provide advantage over 1066.

    I understand the differences of latency and bandwidth. Is it really because no software is using RAM workloads large enough to benefit from increased bandwidth (except compression) or is there another bottleneck in the subsystem or CPU that doesn't allow moving all the data the RAM is capable of?

  • vol7ron - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    Your question is long, so i didn't read it all, but does bottom of pg2 answer:

    "That brings us to another story. We had planned to incorporate a full overclocking section in this article but our DDR3-1866 and DDR3-2000 kits based on the Elpida DJ1108BASE, err Hyper ICs, have been experiencing technical difficulties as of late."

    They said some other stuff, but it seems like it wouldn't be right to post info on faulty chips.
  • TA152H - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I'd like to see a test between the crippled i5 memory controller with very fast memory, and the i7 with low cost 1333 Mhz memory. There's really no point in the 1066 memory, except for Dell, HP, etc... to throw in generic machines; it's not much cheaper than 1333 MHz, and the performance bump really seems to be biggest there. I think 1333 MHz (low latency) is a reasonable starting point for most people, the cost seems to warrant the performance. After that, you definitely see diminishing returns.

    It seems anyone buying an i5 with very expensive memory is probably a fool, but, a few benchmarks might be interesting to validate or invalidate that. Of course, the i5 might be better when released, so even then it wouldn't be proof.
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I wish I could show i5 numbers, but that ability is officially locked down now. I can say that our results today will not be that much different when i5 launches, low latency 1333 or possibly 1600 will satisfy just about everyone. :) Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    Of course, by the time you can share those numbers we will most likely have to specify whether we are talking about LGA-1366 i7 or LGA-1156 i7. Thanks Intel. Reply
  • kaoken - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I think there is a mistake with the farcry graph. The min and avg lines should be switched. Reply
  • hob196 - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    Looking closer it might be that you have the SLI min on there instead of the Non SLI min. Reply
  • halcyon - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    It's so nice to see AT calling things as they are.

    This is why we come here.

    Straight up honest talk from adults to adults, with very little marketing speech and numbers do most of the talking.

    Excellent test round up, mucho kudos.
  • darklight0tr - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    You kinda lost me at the Windows 7 admission. Why use an unreleased OS that most of us don't have access to? Reply
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  • Gary Key - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I debated about using Win7, but we have some interesting virtualization benches coming in a couple of weeks with XP mode running on it, both for these tests and looking at 12GB and 24GB loads.
    Also, memory management and several other performance metrics are just better under Win7 than Vista. I ran most of these tests under Vista 64 and the results (percentage wise) were the same as Win7. I also tried the latest RC version of Win7 (7232), no differences in performance. Not that I expected any as the core code for Win7 has been done for a while but it was to double check. I did not use 7232 since it is not "officially" available for the public. ;)
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  • darklight0tr - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    LOL. You got me there, my brain hadn't arrived at work yet when I posted that comment.

    Still, I don't see the point of replacing the released, established OS with an unreleased one. Testing on both would have made more sense if you wanted to do it that way.
  • philosofa - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    I lol'd :) Nicely done.

    Re the article itself; fantastic and thorough work as always! Great to see the debate and various titbits of benching replaced by such a systematic multi-app examination of i7 memory speed & latency effects. Also, cheers for the analysis of min frame rates - this is something that's been on-and-off for a while now, and I, like a lot of others, agree that it's as least as important as average FPS.

    Cheers Gary.

  • Matt Campbell - Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - link

    Great job as always Gary, fantastic detail. Reply
  • aileen - Friday, July 03, 2009 - link

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