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LGA1156 Platform and DDR3 Memory

Is DDR3 memory really needed?

October 28, 2009



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Data compression



We all know what these applications need. No wonder that modes with 6GB of memory in all three processors turned out to be slower than with 4GB: the memory itself is slower. Even a tiny increase in latencies with two modules per channel affects results of a computer with 8GB of memory.

Compilation (VC++)



Faster memory yields performance gains in this test, but higher memory volume also has a positive effect.

Java



Memory has almost no effect, or extremely insignificant here, except for the Core i7 920 operating in the triple-channel mode.

Audio encoding



This test is even more indifferent to memory than rendering. It all depends on a processor alone, not on the volume and speed of memory.

Video encoding



Even though the triple-channel mode was the fastest on the LGA1366, the other platforms favor the dual-channel mode with a single module per channel. However, the difference is so measly that it can be discarded. The i7 860 performs well even with "slow" memory.

3D games



We pinned our hopes on games, just like on archivers, as far as DDR3-1333 was concerned. Archivers equaled them only partially, and games did not live up to our expectations. However, there is a couple percents of difference between 1066 and 1333. That's something, considering the even general background.

Conclusions



Frankly speaking, we expected a bit more from DDR3-1333 support, but the game was not worth the candle. Still, from another angle it's a very good result, because even 1066MHz memory with two modules per channel causes no trouble. That is, if you have a couple of old 1GB modules with this nominal frequency and you upgrade to LGA1156, you don't have to upgrade memory. Just buy another 4GB kit. And users of 32-bit operating systems may do fine with the old modules alone for the time being.

It apparently makes no sense to chase after higher-frequency memory for a processor running in the nominal mode: even upgrading from DDR3 1066 to DDR3-1333 yields almost nothing. DDR3 1600 will be even less beneficial. So what's the target audience of DDR3 1600, 1866, etc? Why do motherboard manufacturers report so proudly about such support? They apparently focus on overclockers. By the way, maximum you can get from memory without raising the base frequency is 1600. But if you overclock the system, even 1866 and higher memory modules may be justified. The fact is, it will be often impossible to use DDR3 1066 with the base frequency around 200 MHz (necessary to overclock a CPU to 4 GHz). And what concerns DDR3-1333, it will be necessary to choose the minimum multiplier and use it as DDR3 1200. However, faster memory modules will only start working in promised modes in such conditions, and a synchronous increase in UnCore frequency will help obtain the practical effect from it. This is not relevant for most users: officially supported popular (and inexpensive) DDR3-1333 modules (or even 1066) will easily satisfy all CPU requirements.


We express our gratitude to Kingston Technology, Apacer and
Walton Chaintech for the contribution to our testbeds.

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Page 1: Introduction, testbeds

Page 2: Tests

Page 3: More tests, conclusions



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