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Test Settings

Do You Really Need More Than 6 GB Of RAM?
By
Test System Configuration
CPU

Intel Core i7 920 (2.66 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 3.20 GHz (BCLK 200)

CPU Cooler

Swiftech Liquid Cooling: Apogee GTZ water block, MCP-655b pump, and 3x120 mm radiator

Motherboard

Asus P6T
Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366

RAM

3.0, 6.0, and 12.0 GB DDR3-1600 Triple-Channel Kits
CAS 8-8-8-24 at 1.65 volts

Graphics

Zotac GeForce GTX2 60 896 MB
576/999 MHz GPU/Shader, GDDR3-2484

Hard Drive

WD VelociRaptor WD30000HLFS
0.3 TB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB Cache

Sound

Integrated HD Audio

Network

Integrated Gigabit Networking

Power

Cooler Master RS-850-EMBA
ATX12V v2.2. EPS12V, 850W, 64AOptical

Optical

LG GGC-H20LK 6X Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM, 16X DVD±R

Software

Operating System

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Grpahics

Nvidia Forceware 182.08

Chipset

Intel INF 9.1.0.1007


Because we didn’t have a single brand of modules to represent all three test capacities, we were forced to use different brands to represent different sizes. Crucial Ballistix filled the 3 GB void with three 1 GB DDR3-1600 modules, while Kingston’s 2 GB DDR3-2000 modules were used in 6 GB and 12 GB configurations. In order to assure performance parity, memory timings were matched at 8-8-8-24 and 1N, and all available BIOS sub-timings were “locked” at those detected for the slowest (Crucial) modules.

We also updated several of our benchmarks to 64-bit compatible versions, ahead of the full-site transformation that’s scheduled to take place soon. Because today’s article preceded any unilateral agreement, further changes in the suite are likely to accompany future articles.

Benchmark Configuration

3D Games

Call of Duty: World at War

Patch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game
High Textures, No AA / No AF, vsync off
Ultra Textures, 4x AA / Max AF, vsync off

Crysis

Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA

Far Cry 2

DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 8x AA

World in Conflict

Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF

Audio/Video Encoding

iTunes 8

Version: 8.1.0.52 (x64)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE," 53 min
Default format AAC

LAME MP3

Version: 3.98 64-bits (07-04-2008)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE," 53 min
wave to MP3

TMPEG 4.6

Version: 4.6.3.268
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9

DivX 6.8.5

Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search

Xvid 1.2.1

Display encoding status = off

Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1

MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 KB/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)

Productivity

Autodesk 3ds Max 2009

Version: 11, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)

Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8

Version: 8.0.134, Virus base: 270.4.5/1533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files

WinRAR 3.80

Version 3.80, WinZIP Commandline Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)

WinZip 12

Version 12.0, Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings

3DMark Vantage

Version: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores

PCMark Vantage

Version: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646

SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2

Version 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

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Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    EQPlayer , April 7, 2009 6:19 AM
    I run 8GB in my rig because... having open memory slots doesn't jive well with my OCD. Haha. /facepalm
  • 31 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 6:21 AM
    Try opening a PSD file from a 21-Megapixel camera with 3 or more layers in Photoshop and see the difference.
  • 14 Hide
    Commlock , April 7, 2009 9:05 AM
    The conclusion says: "We can only recommend larger capacities of 8 GB to 12 GB for professional applications where its usefulness has already been documented and for servers."

    Therefore it is meaningless to mention about the memory requirement for 3 Adobe programs at the same time. Just read the article carefully.
Other Comments
  • 36 Hide
    EQPlayer , April 7, 2009 6:19 AM
    I run 8GB in my rig because... having open memory slots doesn't jive well with my OCD. Haha. /facepalm
  • 31 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 6:21 AM
    Try opening a PSD file from a 21-Megapixel camera with 3 or more layers in Photoshop and see the difference.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 6:27 AM
    Great info for the Vista crowd. What about DDR2 and XP? Betcha there are more of us than youse guys.
  • 1 Hide
    whitewhale1 , April 7, 2009 6:29 AM
    can someone help me with what apps will utilise more ram?

    im currently researching building a workstation for photoshop and some 3d modelling to be imported and rendered in CS4

    any help much appreciated im no hardware guru :) 
  • 4 Hide
    Crashman , April 7, 2009 6:32 AM
    Quote:
    Great info for the Vista crowd. What about DDR2 and XP? Betcha there are more of us than youse guys.


    It's generally accepted that XP uses less RAM than Vista, so you should be fine with 4GB (which, with 32-bit XP, will yield around 3GB of usefull address space).
  • 0 Hide
    shades_aus , April 7, 2009 6:59 AM
    @Thomas Soderstrom
    What the heck is that image on the front with all the memory modules!
    Can you supply a link with a bigger pic??? That's just insane!
  • 3 Hide
    curiousgeorgieo , April 7, 2009 7:14 AM
    Hey guys I was wondering: What if you had a 9g game loaded completely on a ramdrive (64bit+software) then kept the remaining 3 for regular ram?
  • -7 Hide
    Tindytim , April 7, 2009 7:20 AM
    I got 12 for all your application pleasure baby *wink*
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , April 7, 2009 7:35 AM
    shades_aus@Thomas Soderstrom What the heck is that image on the front with all the memory modules!Can you supply a link with a bigger pic??? That's just insane!


    It looks like a memory testing machine or burn-in rack to me...I'm not sure where the site found it.

    curiousgeorgieoHey guys I was wondering: What if you had a 9g game loaded completely on a ramdrive (64bit+software) then kept the remaining 3 for regular ram?


    That's a great idea! Because it takes sooo long to copy an entire game from the hard drive to "anything" (even RAM), most users won't even try it. But you would get super-fast map loads!
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 7:44 AM
    Try using several VMs in parallel and you'll be happy to have more than 3 GB. I'm using one VM for work (image of my work notebook with VPN etc.) and one for online banking (mainly because my old smartcard isn't supported in 64bit OS, little bit of a catch22).
  • 3 Hide
    knowom , April 7, 2009 8:07 AM
    CrashmanBecause it takes sooo long to copy an entire game from the hard drive to "anything" (even RAM), most users won't even try it. But you would get super-fast map loads!


    I have 8GB and use 4GB to load a MMORPG game on and the other 4 to use for system ram. It's great to cut down random disk access and helps improve load times. Like you mentioned though the downside is it takes awhile to copy your game data or whatever into the ram drive. My ramdrive is setup to copy the data automatically on startup, but startup time takes a modest amount longer due to that.
  • 3 Hide
    kureshii , April 7, 2009 8:08 AM
    What about setting up RAMdisks (as a temp folder, working directory, swap partition, etc)... surely doing this with 6-12GB of RAM would make a big difference?
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 8:25 AM
    I've got 12GB of OCZ's DDR3-1600 overclocked to 1780 in my system. With triple channel 6GB kits at under $100, there's no reason not to populate all the 6 (or 4) DIMMs on a motherboard.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 8:26 AM
    Also, if you've ever a virtual OS the windfall of having over 3Gb is huge.
  • 1 Hide
    ohim , April 7, 2009 8:34 AM
    Having more memory is about system response to load times and clealy multitasking, try to open Premiere , Photoshop and After Effects at the same time and do your work and you will see a huge impact into system response not just stupid 1 task gameing. Just 2 examples:

    http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/1300/30630315.jpg

    http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/1691/40873236.jpg

    I guess this would run just fine on 3 GB too ?
  • 0 Hide
    lcrakel , April 7, 2009 8:39 AM
    After reading this I wish I would have never bought that second kit of memory. Nothing but a waste of money.
  • 14 Hide
    Commlock , April 7, 2009 9:05 AM
    The conclusion says: "We can only recommend larger capacities of 8 GB to 12 GB for professional applications where its usefulness has already been documented and for servers."

    Therefore it is meaningless to mention about the memory requirement for 3 Adobe programs at the same time. Just read the article carefully.
  • -1 Hide
    Commlock , April 7, 2009 9:06 AM
    ohimHaving more memory is about system response to load times and clealy multitasking, try to open Premiere , Photoshop and After Effects at the same time and do your work and you will see a huge impact into system response not just stupid 1 task gameing. Just 2 examples:http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/1300/30630315.jpghttp://img5.imageshack.us/img5/1691/40873236.jpgI guess this would run just fine on 3 GB too ?


    Just read the end of the article carefully.
    "We can only recommend larger capacities of 8 GB to 12 GB for professional applications where its usefulness has already been documented and for servers"
  • 3 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , April 7, 2009 9:22 AM
    just because the x86 are old cow architecture , we should just dumb it and switch to x64 . :) 
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