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DDR5-4800 Clashes With DDR4-3200 In Alder Lake Benchmarks

Alder Lake
Alder Lake (Image credit: Intel)

The upcoming wave of 12th Generation Alder Lake processors from Intel have been rumored to support both DDR5 and DDR4 memory. However, a new UserBenchmark submission, courtesy of Tum_Apisak, showed that Alder Lake's performance could be affected if paired with the latter.

The Alder Lake sample reportedly features 16 CPU cores and 24 threads, which is a configuration that we've already seen before. Keeping in mind that Alder Lake is comprised of Golden Cove and Gracemont core but only the former has Hyper-Threading, the chip should be carrying eight Golden Cove cores and eight Gracemonet cores.

Today's submission marks the second appearance of an 16-core Alder Lake chip in UserBenchmark. This sample seemingly sports a 1.8 GHz base clock speed and 3.65 GHz average boost clock. The previous sample, on the other hand, has the same base clock, but a lower average boost clock that peaked at 3.05 GHz.

Given the core count, the engineering samples may be the Core i9-12900 or Core i9-12900K. Obviously, the faster chip will deliver better memory performance. Since we aren't certain if both Alder Lake samples are the same processor, we recommend a bit of salt when looking at the results.

Intel Alder Lake RAM Benchmarks

Kingston DDR4-3200 2x8GBMicron DDR5-4800 2x8GB
Multi Core Read41.533.6
Multi Core Write37.030.8
Multi Core Mixed28.830.2
Single Core Read15.415.4
Single Core Write30.231.4
Single Core Mixed22.122.4
Latency13686.7

The DDR5 platform consisted of two 8GB Micron DDR5-4800 memory modules. The C8C1084S1UC48BAW part number didn't yield any results. If the memory modules stick to JEDEC's specifications, they should be rated with a CAS Latency (CL) of 40.

The DDR4 platform, on the other hand, used a pair of 8GB Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4-3200 memory modules. We couldn't find a product page for the HP37D4U1S8ME-8XR, and several listings showed that these may be OEM memory modules.

DDR4-3200 outperformed DDR5-4800 by up to 24% in the read test and up to 20% in the write test. However, the latter delivered 5% higher performance in the mixed test. The performance deltas in the single-core tests weren't as substantial, though. There was no change in the read test, but DDR5-4800 offered 4% and 1% better write and mixed memory performance, respectively.

DDR5 put up its best performance in the latency tests. The Alder Lake with DDR5-4800 exhibited 36% lower memory latency.

Intel's Alder Lake processors might land late 2021 or early 2022. In addition to the rumored DDR5 support, the heterogeneous chips could also embrace the high-speed PCIe 5.0 standard. AMD has displaced Intel on the list of best CPUs so there are big expectations for Alder Lake even before its launch day.

  • mamasan2000
    Both are CPU throttled. And the DDR4 systems background CPU is at 57%, that is far from normal. They must be gaming or something at the same time.
    These are my results: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/45402779Ryzen 5600x, static 4.5 Ghz OC, HyperX 3600 Mhz CL18 OC'ed to 3800 Mhz CL17.
    Plus it's UserBenchmark...hard to draw any conclusions.
    Reply
  • Howardohyea
    oh userbenchmark... the April Fools joke that never ends - YouTube
    I'm sure even with unreleased hardware UBM will find a way to bias it towards Intel
    Reply
  • Drazen
    Real test must ensure both RAMs have identical latencies, only different frequency could be allowed but better to keep same.
    Also what matters is number of blocks (pages) in DDR chips.

    Also when specifying benchmark results please specify is higher number better or worse!
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    I couldn't find much info on these kingston modules but they look to be the standard Cas 16 stuff.

    And as noted above this is userbenchmark....
    Reply
  • mihen
    400mhz vs 300mhz clock. Surprise - the 400mhz clock reads and writes faster.
    Reply
  • ottonis
    If these early benchmarks are remotely indicative of performance deltas we are going see between DDR4 vs DDR5 modules on AL, then this situation reminds me slightly of the mid 1990s with Intel Pentium 60 MHz vs 486 DX-100 - two generations of CPUs clashing, with the new architecture having much higher potential but its very first iterations still having a very hard time in competing with the latest and fastest of its predecessors.

    So, back in the day, for someone owning a 486 DX-100 it was wise not to get the P60 but rather wait a couple of iterations, e.g. the Pentium 120 or 166 MHz in order to fully embrace the benefits of gen-on-Gen performance leap.

    There is some possibility that we might see a similar performance overlap between early DDR5 and latest and fastest DDR4 modules on the AL platform, with DDR5 probably needing 1-2 years until it's mature enough to substantially outperform the previous gen.
    Reply
  • roblittler77
    Drazen said:
    Real test must ensure both RAMs have identical latencies, only different frequency could be allowed but better to keep same.
    Also what matters is number of blocks (pages) in DDR chips.

    Also when specifying benchmark results please specify is higher number better or worse!
    All things being equal higher frequency RAM is always going to have higher latency timings than lower frequency RAM because the latency is absolute and the timings are relative to the frequency.
    Reply
  • escksu
    Drazen said:
    Real test must ensure both RAMs have identical latencies, only different frequency could be allowed but better to keep same.
    Also what matters is number of blocks (pages) in DDR chips.

    Also when specifying benchmark results please specify is higher number better or worse!

    Ddr5 and ddr4 have different lactencies and frequency.
    Reply
  • JerryC
    Howardohyea said:
    oh userbenchmark... the April Fools joke that never ends - YouTubeI'm sure even with unreleased hardware UBM will find a way to bias it towards Intel

    You think it is bad now. Go hunt down the articles of AMD and Apple complaining because Intel has almost every drop of fab space locked up for the next 4+ years
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    So it will take DDR4-4800 MHz to roughly equal the same performance when equipped with DDR4-3200 MHz?

    Not exactly the performance 'awe- inspiring' performance jumps from RAM-sensitive apps was looking for...thus far....; but, I vote we wait for some real applications that matter... (Like BF1 and BF5 frame rates at 1080P, Cinebench, etc...!) :)
    Reply