Game Performance – Overclocked with SLI

Once again, we overclock our Core i7 920 to 3.8GHz (19x200) and run our standard game benchmarks at 1680x1050 2xAA HQ settings in single card and SLI configurations. This is a short synopsis of the results, but our other game benchmarks along with a 1920x1080 resolution performed in a similar manner. It appears in most of our games that minimum frame rates and sometimes average frame rates responded to the latency advantages inherent in 1200 C5 operation compared to the pure bandwidth advantage in 2000 C8.

FarCry 2

We set the performance feature set to Very High, graphics to High, and enable DX10 with AA set to 2x. The in-game benchmark tool is utilized with the Ranch Small level being selected for demo duties.

Average frame rates are up an astounding (had to make it interesting) 1% utilizing 1200 C5 over 2000 C8 while minimum frame rates improve by a ground shattering 0% when moving from 1200 C5 to 2000 C8 in single card results. In SLI operation, average frame rates improve by a familiar 1% as we crank up memory speed while minimum frame rates are 1% better when using 1200 C5 compared to 2000 C8. Obviously, the impact on actual game performance was nonexistent with any of our memory choices.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II

We crank all options to High, enable AA, and then run the built-in performance benchmark for our result.

In our stock tests, this game responded very well to memory changes as average frame rate performance increased by 3% and minimum frame rates by 41% when moving from 1066 C7 to 1600 C6. However, in single card mode we see a minimal impact on average frame rates while minimum frame rates improve by 12% using 1200 C5 compared to 2000 C8. In SLI mode, average frame rates increased almost 3% moving from 1200 C5 to 2000 C8 but minimum frame rates improved a little over 2% with 1200 C5 having the advantage over 2000 C8.

World in Conflict - Soviet Assault

We set our options to High, DX10, 2xAA. 4xAF, and then utilize FRAPS to track a repeatable game sequence for our results.

Our single card results have the average frame rates flat lining but we do see a drop in minimum frame rates with DDR3-1600 C8. In the SLI test, average frame rates improve by 2% and minimum frame rates by 5% when moving from 1200 C5 to 1600 C6.

Choosing a DDR3 Kit for an Overclocked CPU The End...


View All Comments

  • 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

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