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AMD Phenom X4 Memory Controller in the Ganged/ Unganged Mode

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In this article we'll continue studying peculiarities of AMD Phenom based configurations, in particular, the influence of certain options on performance. Today we shall focus on the BIOS option of Socket AM2+ motherboards that controls the Ganged/Unganged mode of AMD Phenom built-in memory controller.

Officially, the classic ganged mode provides the fastest memory access in single-threaded applications, while the unganged mode is called to improve the performance of multi-threaded software. Synthetic test results will be published in a separate review, and today we'll focus on real-life applications.

Note that in all other tests of AMD Phenom processors we have used the Ganged mode as default in all motherboard BIOSes we know (enabled by Load BIOS (Optimized) Defaults). And this study is also called to show, if we have made the right choice.

The testbed is identical to the one used in our Phenom X4 9850 tests, except for memory -- this time we used standard DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-10-22-2T timings. But since Phenom X4 9850 has turned out to be not very sensitive to memory speed, we do not think it's really important. (Especially as we've also re-tested the Ganged mode with DDR2-800 memory.) As usual, the test method is described here.

3D modelling

Test Ganged Unganged Ratio
3ds max
CPU Render 6.87 6.85 0.2%
Graphics 3.41 3.34 2.1%
HardwareShaders 8.54 8.48 0.8%
GFX 2.48 2.50 -0.8%
CPU 5.15 5.15 0.0%
Render 0:05:44 0:05:46 0.6%
Lightwave 0:09:21 0:09:20 -0.2%
Group Score 92.7 92.3 0.4%

As you can see, only in the interactive SPEC 3ds max test there is more or less noticeable difference between two modes. And the Ganged mode shows a higher result. But across the entire group we have a negligible difference of 0.4%.


Test Ganged Unganged Ratio
Total CPU 3.35 3.34 0.3%
TotalGraphics 1.64 1.63 0.4%
CPU Relatedtasks 751 752 0.1%
GraphicsRelatsed tasks 937 947 1.1%
Graphics 75.48 76.34 1.1%
CPU 53.93 54.16 0.4%
Group Score 93.6 93.1 0.6%

The trend is stable: the Unganged mode loses in every test of this group. However, the gap is negligible again: just up to 1.1%.


Test Ganged Unganged Ratio
VisualStudio 0:32:27 0:32:39 0.6%
Group Score 91.8 91.2 0.6%

The Ganged mode saves 12 seconds of the 30-minute time space.

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Page 1: Introduction, tests

Page 2: More tests, conclusions

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