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When Does Spending 50% More Become A Great Value?

Memory Scaling, AMD's Trinity APUs, And Game Performance

When you spend 50% more on G.Skill's DDR3-2133 CAS 9 kit than a couple of 1,600 MT/s modules, you get around a 20% performance increase on an AMD A10-5800K-based gaming platform. On what planet do those numbers add up to a great value?

We’re not recommending that you rush out and replace old DDR3-1600 memory with a shiny new DDR3-2133 kit. But if you’re upgrading a low-end gaming system, there's a good chance that you're using something even older than 1,600 MT/s modules. Instead, you’re probably going upgrade your CPU, motherboard, and memory all in one fell swoop. 

We shopped around and found $40 DDR3-1600 CAS 9, $42 DDR3-1600 CAS 7, today’s $60 DDR3-2133 CAS 9 test sample, and $65 DDR3-2400 CAS 10 offerings. Our chart above represents those prices added to our $130 APU and $140 motherboard. The more parts you buy, the less attractive cheap memory becomes in a comparison of overall performance to overall price.

At the end of the day, a 20% performance increase is pretty big. Huge, even. And there were a few games where the faster memory was required simply to break us into our minimally-accepted 40 FPS average. The $20 price difference over lower-end RAM is only 10% of a $200 upgrade package, or 5% of a complete $400 budget-oriented build. That’s how a 50% component price increase that facilitates 20% more gaming performance is able to top our value charts.

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