Graphics workloads love fast memory. But how much difference can a desktop-oriented kit have on gaming performance with Intel's HD Graphics 4600 or AMD's Radeon HD 8670D? We test six 16 GB kits, two all the way up to DDR3-2400 to find out.
With data rates topping 6 GT/s on buses up to 384-bits wide, high-end graphics cards are hardly starved for memory bandwidth. Integrated engines, on the other hand, are still limited to a 128-bit aggregate pathway through two 64-bit channels. And then there are the lower data rates of DDR3 DIMMS versus GDDR5 packages. But throughput isn't the biggest issue those built-in GPUs face. They're necessarily a lot less complex, since they share die space with host processing resources. And then there's the matter of memory latency...
If we look back to when DDR2-533 CAS 3 was the way to go for exceptionally low latency, we saw a few enthusiasts trying to push those same modules down to CAS 2. These days, we see DDR3-1600 CAS 7 as a real possibility, and most tuners are having similar trouble pushing that memory to CAS 6. Even at DDR3-2133, we’re trying to hit CAS 8 when only CAS 9 appears achievable. Lo and behold, when we divide 2133 by eight, 1600 by six and 533.3 by two, we always get 266.6. Divide by two to get the bus frequency and invert the number to get cycle time, and what we’ve really been fighting for the past nine years is a memory turnaround time of 7.5 nanoseconds.
Still unable to reliably break past the 7.5 ns latency barrier, today’s performance search primarily focuses on data rates. We’ll still compare these six contenders to JEDEC-standard DDR3-1600 CAS 11 specs though. Here are each kit's specifications.
|Brand/Model||Rated MT/s||Rated CL||Rated Volts||Price|
|Adata XPG V2|
|AMD Gamer Series|
|Crucial Ballistix Tactical|
|G.Skill DDR3-1866 C10|
|Patriot Viper 3|
We chose JEDEC-standard DDR3-1600 as a starting point because we believe that anyone seriously interested in gaming on a platform with integrated graphics shouldn’t settle for less. We found a 16 GB dual-channel pair of those for $110.
- Maximizing Integrated Graphics: Data Rate Or Latency?
- Adata XPG V2 DDR3-2400
- AMD Gamer Series RG2133
- Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR3-1866
- G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1866
- Mushkin Redline Ridgeback DDR3-2133
- Patriot Viper 3 DDR3-2400
- Test Settings And Overclocking
- Results: Sandra Bandwidth
- Results: Sandra Latency
- Results: Battlefield 3
- Results: Far Cry 3
- Results: F1 2012
- Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Overall Performance Scaling
- Getting The Most Out Of Richland: Value With A10-6800K
- Getting The Most Out Of Haswell: Value With Core i7-4770K
- Scaling Integrated Graphics Performance With High-End DDR3