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Memory bandwidth vs Memory Latency

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April 5, 2008 3:40:18 PM

Hi Everyone.

Does anyone know which is more important, Memory Bandwidth or Memory Latency?

I would mainly be playing games and watching 1080p-res movies on my PC so I need to know whether I have to fork out that extra hundred bucks or two for a CL7 instead of a CL9 or will my DDR3 1600MHz bandwidth be the main concern...?

Also, if latency is more important, how much more important is it? Is it something that will increase framerates in games A LOT more or by a very tiny amount, say a typical 3-4fps...

Was thinking of going for the Corsair TW3X4G1600C9DHX 2 x 2GB kit...

So what's everyone's take on this?

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Planned Specs:
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650
ASUS Striker II Extreme LGA775
April 5, 2008 3:44:38 PM

Bandwidth should be more important. Although keep in mind, under realistic conditions, neither of them makes a noticable difference. Faster ram mostly just affects artifical benchmarks.
April 5, 2008 3:50:53 PM

Thanks for your reply. Do you reckon it will give me a Vista memory performance index of 5.9? ... or is this guaranteed with all latest DDR3 memory?

Reason I ask is in my current system which had 2 x Kingston Hyper-X CL2 (2-2-2-2-5), I put an additional 2 x CL3 OCZ sticks and the index went down from 5.9 to 5.4 or something...

Really bums ya out you know... you put it more money only to have it say your system's gotten slower.
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April 5, 2008 4:02:23 PM

Thank you!
a b } Memory
April 5, 2008 4:05:08 PM

That added memory being higher CL rating makes the CL 2 run at CL 3, Lowest common denominator. Could be wrong.
April 5, 2008 4:17:37 PM

No, you're right but I didn't think it would make THAT much of a difference. Obviously, Vista says otherwise.
April 5, 2008 5:05:53 PM

That madshrimps article has been around for a while, and it is still the best visual explanation of latency vs. bandwidth. I referred to the same article when I built my machine almost two years ago.

Keep in mind that the vista benchmarking software is almost useless. I wouldn't make any decisions based on the data presented there. It is more of a ballpark range, and not a very good ballpark at that.

The difference that memory timings will make on gaming is pretty minimal. You may pick up a frame or two, but bang for buck it has got to be one of the most expensive ways to try to increase your framerate.

Good luck on your upgrade,
Pete
!