The activity cited most often for improved memory speeds is IGP gaming, and as shown in both of our tests of Crystalwell (4950HQ in CRB, 4750HQ in Clevo W740SU), Intel’s version of Haswell with the 128MB of L4 cache, having big and fast memory seems to help in almost all scenarios, especially when there is access to more and more compute units.  In order to pinpoint where exactly the memory helps, we are reporting both average and minimum frame rates from the benchmarks, using the latest Intel drivers available.  All benchmarks are also run at 1360x768 due to monitor limitations (and makes more relevant frame rate numbers).

Bioshock Infinite: Average FPS

Average frame rate numbers for Bioshock Infinite puts a distinct well on anything 1333 MHz.  Move up to 1600 gives a healthy 4-6% boost, and then again to 1866 for a few more percent.  After that point the benefits tend to flatten out, but a bump up again after 2800 MHz might not be cost effective, especially using IGP.

Bioshock Infinite: Minimum FPS

Unfortunately, minimum frame rates for Bioshock Infinite are a little over the place – we see this in both of our dGPU tests, suggesting more an issue with the title itself than the hardware.

Tomb Raider: Average FPS

Similar to Bioshock Infinite, there is a distinct well at 1333 MHz memory.  Moving to 1866 MHz makes the problem go away, but as the MHz rises we get another noticeable bump over 2800 MHz.

Tomb Raider: Minimum FPS

The minimum FPS rates shows that hole at 1333 MHz still, but everything over 1866 MHz gets away from it.

Sleeping Dogs: Average FPS

Sleeping Dogs seems to love memory – 1333 MHz is a dud but 2133 MHz is the real sweet spot (but 1866 MHz still does well).  CL seems to make no difference, and after 2133 MHz the numbers take a small dive, but back up by 2933 again.

Sleeping Dogs: Minimum FPS

Like the average frame rates, it seems that 1333 MHz is a bust, 1866 MHz+ does the business, and 2133 MHz is the sweet spot.

Memory Scaling on Haswell: IGP Compute Memory Scaling on Haswell: Single dGPU Gaming
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  • ShieTar - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    I think you would have to propose a software benchmark which benefits from actually running from a Ramdisk. Testing the RD itself with some kind of synthetic HD-Benchmark will not give you much different results than a synthetic memory benchmark, unless the software implementation is rubbish.

    So if you want to see this happen, I suggest you explain to everybody what kind of software you use in combination with your Ramdisk, and why it benefits from it. And hope that this software is sufficiently relevant to get a large number of people interested in this kind of benchmark.
  • ShieTar - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    Two comments on the "Performance Index" used in this article:

    1. It is calculated as the reverse of the actual access latency (in nanoseconds). Using the reverse of a physically meaningful number will always make the relationship exhibit much more of an "diminishing return" then when using the phyical attribute directly.

    2. As no algorithm should care directly about the latency, but rather about the combined time to get the full data set it requested, it would be interesting to understand which is the typical size of a data set affecting the benchmarks indicate. If your software is randomly picking single bytes from the memory, you expect performance to only depend on the latency. On the other hand, if the software is reading complete rows (512 bytes), the bandwidth becomes more relevant than the latency.

    Of course figuring out the best performance metric for any kind of review can take a lot of time and effort. But when you do a review generating this large amount of data anyways, would it be possible to make the raw data available to the readers, so they can try to get their own understanding on the matter?
  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    First of all, great article and really good chart layout, very easy to read! :D
    But one thing seems strange, the WinRAR 3.93 test, 2800MHz/C12 performs better than 2800MHz/C11, but you call out ...C11 in the text as performing well, even though anyone can increase their latencies without incurring stability issues (that's my experience at least). Switched numbers? :)
  • willis936 - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    I too thought this was strange. You could see higher latencies clock for clock performing better which doesn't seem intuitive. I couldn't work out why those results were the way they were.
  • ShieTar - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    In reality, there really should be no reason why a longer latency should increase performance (unless you are programming some real-time code which depends on algorithm synchronization). Therefore it seems safe to interpret the difference as the measurement noise of this specific benchmark.
  • Urbanos - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    excellent article! i was waiting for one of these! great work, masterful :)
  • jaydee - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    Great work, I'd like to see a future article look at single-channel vs dual channel RAM in laptops/mITX/NUC configurations. With only two SO-DIMM slots, people have to really evaluate whether or not you want to fill both DIMM slots knowing you'd have to replace both of them if you want to upgrade but able to utilize the dual channels, or going with a single SO-DIMM, losing the dual channel but having an easier memory upgrade path down the road.

    Thanks and great work!
  • Hrel - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    How do you get such nice screenshots of the BIOS? They look much nicer than when people just use a camera so what did you use to take those screenshots?
  • merikafyeah - Friday, September 27, 2013 - link

    Probably used a video capture card. These are also used to objectively evaluate GPU frame-pacing in a way that software like FRAPS cannot.
  • Rob94hawk - Saturday, September 28, 2013 - link

    Moder BIOS allow you to upload screenshots to USB. My MSI Z87 Gaming does it. No more picture taking. It's a great feature long overdue!

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