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Haswell And 1.35 V Memory: Three DDR3 SO-DIMM Kits, Tested

Test Hardware And Software Configurations

Test System Configuration
Socketed CPUIntel Core i7-4770K (Haswell): 3.5 to 3.9 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, LGA 1150
Embedded CPUIntel Core i7-4770R (Haswell): 3.25 to 3.9 GHz, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache, BGA 1364
Socketed CPU CoolerThermalright MUX-120 w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste
Embedded CPU CoolerGigabyte Brix proprietary
Socketed GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 4600: 1250 MHz GPU
Embedded GraphicsIntel Iris Pro Graphics 5200: 1300 MHz GPU
Socketed MotherboardASRock Z87-M8, LGA 1150, BIOS P1.20 (08/22/2013)
Embedded MotherboardGigabyte M4HM87P-IA, BIOS F1 (10/25/2013)
Hard DriveSamsung 840 Pro MZ-7PD256, 256 GB SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8 Professional RTM x64
GraphicsIntel Graphics Driver
ChipsetIntel INF

Curious to find out how much power benefit we’d extract from low-voltage SO-DIMMs, we needed a test platform that supported both 1.35 V and 1.50 V standards. That meant deviating away from a mobile or embedded Haswell-based CPU, since those only support 1.35 V modules. A member of its M8 barebones PC kit, ASRock’s Z87-M8 motherboard supports both voltage levels on two SO-DIMM slots by using a socketed processor.

We’ve heard that SO-DIMMs aren't very overclockable, but G.Skill is confident that its modules have headroom to spare when they're paired with an LGA 1150-based platform. While we weren’t able to follow through with a stable 2133 MT/s data rate, we were at least able to use the higher 1.50 volts to push CAS 9 timings.

Everything I’ve read so far lead me to believe that lower thermal and power limitations would slow the embedded version of Intel’s Core i7-4770 by up to 5%. Conversely, I’ve also been expecting that the company's Iris Pro graphics 5200 would deliver about 20% additional performance. The only problem is that CPU model doesn't let us compare different memory voltage levels. Moreover, I didn't have one at my disposal.

That is, until something "fell out of Gigabyte’s trunk" following BlizzCon. This thing packs the wallop of a huge copper sink to prevent thermal throttling, along with support for both 2.5” and mSATA SSDs. Those two advancements roughly doubled the thickness and weight of this enthusiast-oriented Brix compared to familiar models.

Benchmark Settings
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Second Fraps Test Settings: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF)
F1 2012Steam Version, In-Game Test Test Settings: High Quality Preset, No AA
Far Cry 3V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-Second Fraps "Amanaki Outpost" Test Settings: Medium Quality, No AA, Standard ATC., SSAO
Metro: Last LightSteam Version, Built-in Benchmarking Tool DX11, Low Quality, 4x AF, Low Blur, No SSAO/Tesslation/PhysX
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CS6Version x64: Create Video which includes 3 Streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneosly
Adobe Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premeire Pro CS6Version, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Adobe Acrobat 11Version Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
File Compression
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark Professional EditionVersion: 1.1, Benchmark Only, Ice Storm, Cloud Gate tests
3DMark 11Version:, Benchmark Only
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64, Full Test
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2013.10.19.50, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Cryptography, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.