Conclusions on Ryzen DDR4 Scaling

It is pretty clear to see that Ryzen can be fairly dependant on memory frequency, but it depends very much on the sort of test and the nature of the workload on memory accesses. On the benchmarks where it matters, our memory kit was above to push performance up and over 20%, although despite the few benchmarks where this happened, it was outnumbered by benchmarks that had zero or a very minor effect. Some gaming titles had up to a 5-10% difference in average frame rates, but others had zero change.

To Infinity and Beyond

Determing the sweet spot for Ryzen from our small batch of testing is not so straightforward. From our quick testing, it would seem to suggest that there are performance gains to be had, with slow progress as the data rate increases. A few benchmarks seemed to hit the performance inflextion point around the DDR4-2933/3066 boundary - or basically where the Team Group Night Hawk RGB DDR4-3000 memory kit is positioned.

Aside from the fact of having fasting memory, the speed directly adjusts the potential in AMD’s Infinity Fabric. The IF is AMD's new scalable interconnect found in the Zen CPUs, Vega GPUs, and likely the next few generations of products. Infinity Fabric connects and manages the data flow from each of the cores to each other, as well as to the additional controllers on board. But the effect of faster DRAM and faster IF, on paper, should be a mutually beneficial improvement, and one would take a reasonable guess that AMD will aim to increase both as new generations of products come to market. 

Final Thoughts

Depending on how the results are digested, and how the software can effectively use the new AMD Zen microarchitecture, a relatively decent set of DDR4-3000 (or there abouts) memory seems to be a good inflection point for users that want to invest in faster memory. Obviously using tighter sub-timimgs should help as well, which we'll likely explore in a separate review.

The Team Group Night Hawk RGB memory has served our testing needs well out of the box and it seems like a very reasonable purchase for Ryzen users looking to add a high-performance memory kit. Unfortunately there is no guarantee in the quality of the ICs on board, with Team Group stating that the type of ICs could change over the life time of the product - this will mean that the overclocking capabilities may change depending on the ICs. The memory kit we used in this testing is currently available from Newegg for $173 with a white heatspreader, or $156 with a black heatspreader. Interestingly the black version running at a faster DDR4-3200 is listed at a cheaper $164, but is currently out of stock. 

DRAM Price Comparison: 2x8GB DDR4-3000 with RGB (9/27)
  Black Headspreader White Heatspreader
Team Group
Night Hawk RGB
$156 (Newegg)
$173 (Newegg)
Vengeance RGB
$160 (Amazon)
$180 (Newegg)
Trident Z RGB
$186 (Newegg)
Super Luce RGB
- $160 (Newegg)
XPG Spectrix RGB
$180 (Amazon)

For other RGB-based kits running 2x8 GB at DDR4-3000 with white heatsinks, Corsair's Vengeance RGB are $180 in white or $160 in black, with GeIL's Super Luce in black also at $160. By comparison, ADATA and G.Skill offer similar kits but in black, both at the $180 price point. 

Testing and Analysis by Gavin Bonshor
Additional Commentary by Ian Cutress

Gaming Performance
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  • Drumsticks - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    Interesting findings. I've seen Ryzen hailed on other simple forums like Reddit as having great scaling. There's definitely some at play, but not as much as I'd have thought.

    How does this compare to Intel? Are there any plans to do an Intel version of this article?
  • ScottSoapbox - Thursday, September 28, 2017 - link


    I'd like to see how much quad channel helps the (low end) X299 vs the dual channel Z370. With overlapping CPUs in that space it could be really interesting.
  • blzd - Thursday, September 28, 2017 - link

    Yes please compare to Intel memory gains, would be very interested to see if it sees less/more boost from higher speed memory.

    Great article BTW.
  • jospoortvliet - Saturday, September 30, 2017 - link

    While I wouldn't mind another test there have been plenty over the last year's as the authors also pointed out in the opening of the article and the results were simple - it makes barely any difference, far less even than for Ryzen.
  • .vodka - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    Default subtimings in Ryzen are horribly loose, and there's lots of performance left on the table apart from IF scaling through memory frequency and more bandwidth. You've got B-die here, you could try these, thanks to The Stilt:

    This has also been explored by AMD in one of their community updates, at least in games:
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    The sub-timings are determined by the memory kit at hand, and how aggressive the DRAM module manufacturer wants to make their ICs. So when you say 'default subtimings on Ryzen are horribly loose', that doesn't make sense: it's determined by the DRAM here. Sure there are adjustments that could be made to the kit. We'll be tackling sub-timings in a later piece, as I wanted Gavin's first analysis piece for us to a reasonable task but not totally off the deep end (as our Haswell scaling piece showed, 26 different DRAM/CL combinations can take upwards of a month of testing). I'll be working with Gavin next week, when I'm back in the office from an industry event the other side of the world and I'm not chasing my own deadlines, to pull percentile data from his numbers and bringing parity with some of our other testing.
  • xTRICKYxx - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    .vodka is right. Please investigate!
  • looncraz - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    AMD sets its own subtimings as memory kits were designed for Intel's IMC and the subtimings are set accordingly.

    The default subtimings are VERY loose... sometimes so loose as to even be unstable.
  • .vodka - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    Sadly, that's the situation right now. We'll see if the upcoming AGESA does anything to get things running better at default settings.

    This article as is, isn't showing the entire picture.
  • notashill - Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - link

    There's a new AGESA but AMD has said very little about what changed in it.

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