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Four High-End Quad-Channel DDR3 Memory Kits For X79, Reviewed

Test Setup And Benchmarks

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 32 nm, 3.3 GHz base clock, 3.9 GHz maximum Turbo Boost, 15 MB Cache, LGA 2011
CPU CoolerSwiftech Apogee GTX, MCP 655b, Triple-Fan Radiator Kit
MotherboardAsus P9X79 WS, Firmware 0603 (11-11-2011)
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 580: 772 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4008
Hard DriveSamsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 285.62
ChipsetIntel INF

Asus' P9X79 WS won the memory overclocking portion of our recent high-end X79 motherboard comparison, and by doing so earned its place on this test bench.

We wanted to see what effect various memory speeds might have on program performance, and games are one of the types of programs that occasionally show this difference. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580 is fast enough to keep the pressure on our CPU and GPU.

Intel’s Core i7-3960X was locked at 34x throughout testing to keep its clock frequency stable at non-reference base clocks.

The lowest-possible game settings would show the biggest impact of memory performance on frames-per-second, but nobody actually games at those settings. Instead, we selected the lowest settings that high-end buyers would likely use (if forced to do so), along with a couple other applications that have been influenced by memory performance in the past.

Benchmark Configuration
Stability TestMemtest86+ v1.70, single pass (~45 minutes) Max Speed at CAS 9 Min Latency at DDR3-1600, -1333, -1066
Bandwidth TestSiSoftware Sandra 20011 SP4 Bandwidth Benchmark
DiRT 31680x1050, High Quality Preset, No AA
Metro 20331680x1050, DX11, High, AAA, 4xAF, no PhysX/DOF
3ds Max 2012Version 14.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinRARVersion 4.01: THG-Workload (464 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.