Our final set of tests are a little more on the esoteric side, using a tri-GPU setup with a HD5970 (dual GPU) and a HD5870 in tandem.  While these cards are not necessarily the newest, they do provide some interesting results – particularly when we have memory accesses being diverted to multiple GPUs (or even to multiple GPUs on the same PCB).  The 5970 GPUs are clocked at 800/1000, with the 5870 at 1000/1250.

Dirt 3: Average FPS

It is pretty clear that memory has an effect: +13% moving from 1333 C9 to 2133 C9/2400 C10.  In fact, that 1333 C9 seems to be more of a sink than anything else – above 2133 MHz memory the performance benefits are minor at best.  It all depends if 186.53 FPS is too low for you and you need 200+.

Dirt 3: Minimum FPS

We see a similar trend in minimum FPS for Dirt3: 1333 C9 is a sink, but moving to 2133 C9/2400 C10 gives at least a 20% jump in minimum frame rates.

Bioshock Infinite: Average FPS

While differences in Bioshock Infinite Minimum FPS are minor at best, 1333 MHz and 1600 C10/C11 are certainly at the lower end.  Anything 1866 MHz or 2133 MHz seems to be the best bet here, especially in our case if we wanted to push for 120 FPS gaming.

Bioshock Infinite: Minimum FPS

Similar to Bioshock on IGP, minimum frame rates across the board seem to be very low, with minor differences giving large % rises.

Tomb Raider: Average FPS

Tomb Raider remains resilient to change across our benchmarks, with 1 FPS difference between the top and bottom average FPS results in our tri-GPU setup.

Tomb Raider: Minimum FPS

With our tri-GPU setup being a little odd (two GPUs on one PCB), Tomb Raider cannot seem to find much consistency for minimum frame rates, showing up to a 15% difference when compared to our 1600 C10 result which seems to be a lot lower than the rest.

Sleeping Dogs: Average FPS

Similar to other results, 1333 and 1600 MHz results give lower frame rates, along with the slower 1866 MHz C10/C11 options.  Anything 2133 MHz and above gives up to 8% more performance than 1333 C9.

Sleeping Dogs: Minimum FPS:

Minimum frame rates are a little random in our setup, except for one constant – 1333 MHz memory does not perform.  Everything beyond that seems to be at the whim of statistical variance.

Memory Scaling on Haswell: Single dGPU Gaming Pricing and the Effect of the Hynix Fire


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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 1, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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