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How CPU Features Affect CPU Performance, Part 7

Intel Core i7, memory subsystem.

February 18, 2010



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3D games



  DDR3-800 DDR3-1066 DDR3-1333 DDR3-1600
STALKER: Clear Sky ↑ 59 60 2% 61 2% 61 0%
Devil May Cry 4 ↑ 193 194 0% 196 1% 196 0%
Far Cry 2 ↑ 57 60 5% 64 7% 67 5%
Grand Theft Auto 4 ↑ 65 66 2% 66 0% 66 0%
Lost Planet ↑ 42 43 2% 43 0% 43 0%
Unreal Tournament 3 ↑ 158 160 1% 163 2% 166 2%
Crysis: Warhead ↑ 53 54 2% 56 4% 56 0%
World in Conflict ↑ 50 51 2% 54 6% 55 2%
Group Score ↑ 114 116 2% 119 3% 120 1%

  DDR3-1333
3-ch. 6GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 4GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 6GB
STALKER: Clear Sky ↑ 61 59 -3% 59 -3%
Devil May Cry 4 ↑ 196 193 -2% 195 -1%
Far Cry 2 ↑ 64 62 -3% 62 -3%
Grand Theft Auto 4 ↑ 66 65 -2% 65 -2%
Lost Planet ↑ 43 43 0% 43 0%
Unreal Tournament 3 ↑ 163 159 -2% 157 -4%
Crysis: Warhead ↑ 56 54 -4% 53 -5%
World in Conflict ↑ 54 52 -4% 53 -2%
Group Score ↑ 119 116 -3% 116 -3%

In the previous article games were among the tests which justified using faster memory. Alas, this is not the case with Core i7. But we shouldn't be sorry about that, should we?

Conclusions



  DDR3-800 DDR3-1066 DDR3-1333 DDR3-1600
3D visualization 135 141 4% 144 2% 149 3%
3D rendering 171 173 1% 177 2% 181 2%
Scientific computations 135 138 2% 141 2% 144 2%
Bitmap processing 149 151 1% 153 1% 154 1%
Data compression 128 136 6% 145 7% 153 6%
Compiling 175 179 2% 189 6% 193 2%
Audio encoding 190 190 0% 190 0% 190 0%
Video encoding 151 156 3% 160 3% 163 2%
Java 156 160 3% 166 4% 170 2%
3D games 114 116 2% 119 3% 120 1%

  DDR3-1333
3-ch. 6GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 4GB
DDR3-1333
2-ch. 6GB
3D visualization 144 125 -13% 126 -13%
3D rendering 177 176 -1% 175 -1%
Scientific computations 141 128 -9% 130 -8%
Bitmap processing 153 131 -14% 140 -8%
Data compression 145 122 -16% 130 -10%
Compiling 189 172 -9% 173 -8%
Audio encoding 190 190 0% 187 -2%
Video encoding 160 155 -3% 154 -4%
Java 166 162 -2% 158 -5%
3D games 119 116 -3% 116 -3%

In general, the Core i7-based machine turned out to be even less sensitive to RAM than that based on Phenom II X4. The average performance drop caused by the transition from DDR2-800 to DDR2-400 was 11% on the AMD platform. Today, Intel's platform demonstrated the even lesser sensitivity of only 8%.

The performance difference between the dual and triple-channel modes is far greater. Sometimes, enabling the 3rd channel can boost performance by another 10%, though such cases are rare. On average, the worst you can expect from using Core i7 in the dual-channel mode is a 6% performance drop.

That being said, the topic of memory's effect on the performance of modern x86-64 machines may be closed for 2 or 3 years minimum. At least for processors without integrated graphics cores.

Memory modules for our testbeds provided by Corsair Memory.


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