Conclusions on Haswell-E DDR4 Scaling

When we first start testing for a piece, it is very important to keep an open mind and not presuppose any end-results. Ideally we would go double blind, but in the tech review industry that is not always possible. We knew the results from our DDR3 testing showing that outside of integrated graphics, there are a few edge cases where upgrading to faster memory makes sense but avoiding the trap of low base memory can actually have an overall impact on the system - as long as XMP is enabled of course. 

Because Haswell-E does not have any form of integrated graphics, the results today are fairly muted. In some ways they mirror the results we saw on DDR3, but are more indicative of the faster frequency memory at hand.

For the most part, the base advice is: aim for DDR4-2400 CL15 or better.

DDR4-2133 CL15, which has a performance index of 142, has a few benchmarks where it comes out up to 3-10% slower than the rest of the field. Cases in point include video conversion (Handbrake at 4K60), fluid dynamics, complex web code and minimum frame rates on certain games.

For professional users, we saw a number of benefits moving to the higher memory ranges, although for only very minor performance gains. Cinebench R15 gave 2%, 7-zip gave 2% and our fluid dynamics Linux benchmark was up +4.3%. The only true benchmark where 2800+ memory made a significant difference was in Redis, which is a scalable database memory-key store benchmark. Only users with specific needs would need to consider this.

There is one other group of individuals where super-high frequency memory on Haswell-E makes sense – the sub-zero overclockers. For these people, relying on the best synthetic test results can mean the difference between #5 and #20 in the world rankings. The only issue here is that these individuals or teams are often seeded the best memory already. This relegates high end memory sales to system integrators who can sell it at a premium.

Personally, DDR4 offers three elements of interest. Firstly is the design, and finding good looking memory to match a system that you might want to show off can be a critical element when looking at components. Second is density, and given that Haswell-E currently supports four memory channels at two modules per channel, if we get a whiff of 16GB modules it could be a boon for high memory capactiy prosumers. The third element to the equation is integrated graphics, where the need for faster memory can actually greatly improve performance. Unfortunately we will have to wait for the industry to catch up on that one.

At this point in time, our DDR4 testing is not yet complete. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be reviewing these memory kits individually, comparing results, pricing, styling and overclockability for what it is worth. Our recent array of DDR4-3400 news from Corsair and G.Skill has also got some of the memory manufacturers interested in seeing even higher performance kits on the test bed, so we are looking forward to that. I also need to contact Mushkin and Kingston and see if those CL12/CL13 memory kits could pose a threat to the status quo. 
Edit: Mushkin actually emailed me this morning about getting some product for review.

We have a couple of updates for our testing suite in mind as well, particularly the gaming element and are waiting for new SSDs and GPUs to arrive before switching some of our game tests over to something more recent, perhaps at a higher resolution as well. When that happens, we will post some more numbers to digest.

 

The Future of DDR4
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  • Flunk - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    "There is one other group of individuals where super-high frequency memory on Haswell-E makes sense – the sub-zero overclockers."

    Yeah, I'm sure the 200 people on the planet who care about that are a real big market...

    Nice article overall though. I don't know why, but I was expecting more from DDR4. It looks like there is little reason to upgrade right now. Although I expect we'll all end up being forced into it by Intel.
    Reply
  • Antronman - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    There's a lot of consumers who want high clocked memory just because they want it.

    And there's more than 200 extreme overclockers on the planet.
    Reply
  • galta - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    The reason to upgrade today is not DDR4 per se, but 5xxx CPUs, and you might want these CPUs because of the extra cores, extra pci lanes, both, or just because you want it and can pay for it.
    These discussions over RAM get me tired. Rocks on the streets know that:
    a) fast memory makes close to no difference in real world, especially today with overclocking being so much more friendly than it was in the past
    b) whenever a new standard is introduced, it performs poorly when compared to previous standard. It was like this with DDR3 back in 2008 and it's the same today, but today you probably have less than 200 people saying they miss DDR2.
    Let's discuss more interesting and reasonable subjects.
    Reply
  • Murloc - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    200? You're severely underestimating the number of people who do that.

    Also why do car companies make cars that are going to be driven by just a few sheiks?

    With rams it's probably even easier given that you just have to bin chips and there are people who buy them just because they want the best. That's why they put increasingly cooler heatsinks and packages on the more pricey sticks. Not because they really need additional cooling in non-extreme use cases.
    Reply
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Sunday, February 15, 2015 - link

    Because the elite cater to the elite, and the clique' is small and expensive, and leeches off the masses for the advantage and opulent and greedy lifestyle and media hype and self aggrandizement.
    They can fly each other around the world for huge parties and giveaway gatherings called global contests and spend enormous sums and feel very important.
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    Wait a tick, DDR2 is 800+mhz. That is what its default to on both my systems. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    You put 200-533 MHz. My is actually at 936mhz for the overclock to. Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    DDR = Double Data Rate, i.e: two operations are done per clock cycle. Thus the frequency is 400, but the effective frequency is 800. Same applies for DDR1-DDR4.

    GDDR5 is crazier: 4 operations per clock cycle, so 1750MHz works out to 7000MHz effective.
    Reply
  • Murloc - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    so basically what we knew all along: many enthusiasts are just wasting their money. The same goes for size although few people who build PCs are that stupid when it comes to this, it's mostly gamers who buy pre-built PCs who fall into this trap (it's not like they have much of a choice anyway, everybody is selling computers with lots of RAM and a pricey CPU bottlenecked by a weak GPU because it makes them money). Reply
  • fredv78 - Thursday, February 05, 2015 - link

    seems to me most benchmarks are within the error margin (which is usually up to 3% and ideally should be quoted) Reply

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