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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  • DanNeely - Thursday, September 26, 2013 - link

    A suggestion for future articles of this type. If the results mostly show that really slow memory is bad but above that it doesn't really matter, normalizing data with a reasonably priced option that performs well as 1.0 might make clearer. ex for the current results put 1866-C9 as 1.0, and having 1333 as .9x and 3000 as 1.02. I think this would would help drive home that you're hitting diminishing returns on the cheap stuff. Reply
  • superjim - Thursday, September 26, 2013 - link

    It looks like the days of 1600 C9 being the standard are over however the Hynix fire isn't helping faster memory prices any. 4-5 months ago you could get 2x 4GB of 1600 C9 for $30-35 bucks. Reply
  • Belial88 - Tuesday, October 01, 2013 - link

    That's because just like when HDD prices skyrocketed due to the 2011 Thailand Flood, RAM prices have skyrocketed due to the 2013 Hynix Factory Fire. Prices had started to rise around early 2013 due to market consolidation and some other electronics (tablet, console, etc market needs), nothing huge, and they were actually starting to drop until the factory fire.

    As for 1600 C9 being some sort of standard, well, what Intel/AMD specifies as their rated RAM speed is no more useful than what they specify their CPU speed, as we know the chip can go way above that. JPeople who are savvy and know how to buy RAM, can buy RAM easily capable of 2400mhz CL8 by researching the RAM IC.

    PSC/BBSE is easily capable of 2400mhz CL8 and generally costs ~$60 per 8gb (ie similar to the cheapest ddr3 ram). You can find some Hynix CFRs (double sided, unlike MFR, meaning they don't hit the high mhz numbers, but way better 24/7 performance clock for clock, kinda like dual channel vs single channel) for around $65, like the Gskill Ripjaws X 2400CL11 (currently like $75 on newegg), which will easily do ~2800mhzCL13.

    RAM speed has always made an impact, the problem with reviews like the above is assuming you can't overclock RAM, and have to pay for it. In reality there is only ~5 different types of RAM (and a few subtypes). If you are smart and purchase Hynix, Samsung instead of Spektek, Qimonda, you can get RAM that easily does 2400mhz+ for the same or simliar price as the cheapest spekteks. If you assume that going from 1600 to 2400 will cost you $100+, of course it's a ripoff...

    But if you buy, say, some Gskill Pi's 1600mhz for bargain bin, and overclock them to 2400CL8, you gain a good 10+ fps for almost nothing, and that's an awesome value. All RAM is just merely rebranded Spektek/Qimonda/PSC/BBSE/Hynix/Samsung, ie the same RAM is sold as 1600 CL9, 1600 CL8 1.65v, 1866 CL10, 2000CL11, 2133 CL12, etc ad nauesum.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Monday, September 30, 2013 - link

    Relational results are helpful -I think they've been added since your comment- but I also like to see the empirical data as is also being listed.

    I know these things are currently being done in this article, I just want to make it a point not to make the decision to use one or the other, but both, again in the future.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Monday, September 30, 2013 - link

    As an amendment, I want to add that the thing I would change in the future is the colors used. The spectrum should be green:good red:hazardous/bad. If you have something at 1.00x, perhaps that should be yellow, since it's the neutral starting position. Reply
  • alfredska - Monday, September 30, 2013 - link

    Yes, this is some pretty basic stuff. It seems there's bouncing back and forth between green = good/bad right now. The author needs to stick to a convention throughout the article. I'm not really of the opinion that green and red are the best choices, but at least if a convention is used I can train my eyes. Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Thursday, September 26, 2013 - link

    It would be cool to see other IGP's including Iris Pro or HD 5000. Also, Richland may see slightly more than the 5% Haswell's HD 4600 has. Reply
  • Khenglish - Thursday, September 26, 2013 - link

    I would expect richland/trinity to have larger gains since the IGP has access to only 4MB cache instead of 6MB or 8MB found on intel processors. Reply
  • yoki - Thursday, September 26, 2013 - link

    hi, you said that the order of importance place amount of memory & their placement is most importance, but not a clue regarding how this scale in real world... for example i have 1600mhz 7Cl 6GB RAM in a x58 system,,,,should i upgrade it to 12GB ... how much i'll gain from that Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, September 26, 2013 - link

    That's ultimately up for the user to determine based on workload, gaming style, etc. I'd always suggest playing it safe, so if you plan on doing anything that would tax a system, 12gb might be a safe bet. That's X58 though, this is talking about Haswell, whose memory controller can take this high end kits ;) Reply

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