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

When Does Spending 50% More Become A Great Value?

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.

  • hmp_goose
    Neat stuff, but how sensitive is an IGP to timings?
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    Thanks.

    The question is ... does the performance with higher speed memory continue to scale as the *SIMD Engine Array* is over-clocked.

    Inquiring minds would like to know ...

    Reply
  • Onus
    And there were a few games where the faster memory was required simply to break us into our minimally-accepted 40 FPS average.
    Right there. An APU is not a top-tier gamer, so incremental improvement really matters. I could not care less about going from 60FPS to 80FPS, but 30FPS to 40FPS, the same relative improvement, is a really big deal.
    Reply
  • esrever
    Can't wait to see what DDR4 can do for APUs.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I would really like to see some 5760x1080 benchmarks.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    slomo4shoI would really like to see some 5760x1080 benchmarks.
    Individuals who would use faster memory for gaming are likely to want to push their mid/high range card to the limits, do you plan on doing a similar piece for AMD CPUs as you did in the Intel article "Does Memory Performance Bottleneck Your Games?"

    Also, I would like to see a Nvidia card at play as well. Maybe a 650 Ti or 660 Ti? In addition, it wold be nice to see the memory scaling difference between AMD and Nvidia GPUs in a single review.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    esreverCan't wait to see what DDR4 can do for APUs.Considering how DDR3-2400 is only a tiny fraction better than DDR3-2133, it's safe to assume memory stops being the bottleneck around that point. DDR4 will not noticeably improve performance or even power consumption as memory consumes almost negligible amounts of electricity to begin with.

    It's back to looking at better GPUs and CPUs for better performance.
    Bpttleneck hierarchy has always been GPU>CPU>RAM.
    The CPU has always been more reliant on the RAM than the GPU but an APU is basically a GPU+CPU in one, so RAM is more important, but as we've seen, only up to DDR3-2133. After that diminishing returns skyrocket.
    Reply
  • jubas
    slomo4shoAlso, I would like to see a Nvidia card at play as well. Maybe a 650 Ti or 660 Ti? In addition, it wold be nice to see the memory scaling difference between AMD and Nvidia GPUs in a single review.I didn't know that nVidia made APU's?
    The more you know... /rollseyes/
    Reply
  • de5_Roy
    quite promising performance from trinity.
    still, 15 gb/s out of ddr3 2400 ram is just sad. i expect amd to improve in the next gen apus. the igpus deserve the extra memory bandwidth.
    i wonder how cpu overclocking (along with igpu and ram oc) affect the games like skyrim, starcraft and f1. those seemed more memory sensitive.
    Reply
  • austenwhd
    When will they integrate a gpu to FX module, that will be blast.
    Reply