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LGA 1156 Memory Performance: What Speed DDR3 Should You Buy?

Test System Details

We used the Asus Maximus III Formula, a high-end P55 motherboard, and an Intel Core i7-870 processor to analyze memory performance.

To be able to set all described memory clock speeds and timings, we grabbed two Corsair CM3X2G1600C9DHX Dominator DIMMs. These are specified for DDR3-1600 speed at CL9 timings, but they can also run at CL8 settings. Keep in mind that all other system parameters, such as the processor speed, remained unchanged for the sake of consistency.

     

System Hardware
HardwareDetails
CPUIntel Core i7-870 (45 nm, 2.93 GHz, 4 x 256KB L2 and 8MB L3 Cache, TDP 95W, Rev. B1)
Motherboard (Socket 1156)Asus Maximus III Formula (Rev. 1.0) Chipset: Intel P55 BIOS: 0902 (09/24/2009)
RAM DDR3 (Dual)2 x 2GB DDR3-1600 (Corsair CM3X2G1600C9DHX)
GraphicsZotac Geforce GTX 260² GPU: Geforce GTX 260 (576 MHz) Graphics RAM: 896MB DDR3 (1998 MHz) Stream Processors: 216 Shader Clock: 1242 MHz
Hard DriveWestern Digital VelociRaptor, 300GB (WD3000HLFS) 10,000 RPM, SATA/300, 16MB Cache
Blu-ray DriveLG GGW-H20L, SATA/150
Power SupplyPC Power & Cooling, Silencer 750EPS12V 750W
System Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows Vista Enterprise Version 6.0 x64 Service Pack 2 (Build 6000)
Drivers and Settings
Nvidia GeForce DriversGeForce 185.85
Intel Chipset DriversChipset Installation Utility Ver. 9.1.0.1015
Intel storage DriversMatrix Storage Drivers Ver. 8.8.0.1009

3D Game Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
Far Cry 2Version: 1.0.1 Far Cry 2 Benchmark Tool Video Mode: 1280x800 Direct3D 9 Overall Quality: Medium Bloom activated HDR off Demo: Ranch Small
GTA IVVersion: 1.0.3 Video Mode: 1280x1024 - 1280x1024 - Aspect Ratio: Auto - All options: Medium - View Distance: 30 - Detail Distance: 100 - Vehicle Density: 100 - Shadow Density: 16 - Definition: On - Vsync: Off Ingame Benchmark
Left 4 DeadVersion: 1.0.0.5 Video Mode: 1280x800 Game Settings - Anti Aliasing none - Filtering Trilinear - Wait for vertical sync disabled - Shader Detail Medium - Effect Detail Medium - Model/Texture Detail Medium Demo: THG Demo 1
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
iTunesVersion: 8.1.0.52 Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min. Convert to AAC audio format
Lame MP3Version 3.98 Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min. convert WAV to MP3 audio format Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kbps)
Video Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
TMPEG 4.6Version: 4.6.3.268 Video: Terminator 2 SE DVD (720x576, 16:9) 5 Minutes Audio: Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, 6-channel, English Advanced Acoustic Engine MP3 Encoder (160 Kbps, 44.1 kHz)
DivX 6.8.5Version: 6.8.5 == Main Menu == default == Codec Menu == Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading Enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search == Video Menu == Quantization: MPEG-2
XviD 1.2.1Version: 1.2.1 Other Options / Encoder Menu - Display encoding status = off
Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1Version: 1.6.1 MPEG-2 to MPEG-2 (H.264) MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec 28 sec. HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2) Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2-Channel, 16 Bit, 224 Kbps) Codec: H.264 Mode: PAL (25 FPS) Profile: Settings for eight threads
Adobe Premiere Pro CS4Version: 4.0 WMV 1920x1080 (39 sec.) Export: Adobe Media Encoder == Video == H.264 Blu-ray 1440x1080i 25 High Quality Encoding Passes: one Bitrate Mode: VBR Frame: 1440x1080 Frame Rate: 25 == Audio == PCM Audio, 48 kHz, StereoEncodingPasses: one
Application Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
Grisoft AVG Anti Virus 8Version: 8.5.287 Virus base: 270.12.16/2094 Benchmark Scan: compressed ZIP and RAR archives
Winrar 3.9Version 3.90 x64 BETA 1 Best compression Benchmark: THG Workload
Winzip 12Version 12.0 (8252) WinZIP command line Version 3 Compression = Best Dictionary = 4096KB Benchmark: THG Workload
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 2009Version: 9.0, x64 Rendering Dragon Image Resolution: 1920 x 1280 (frame 1-5)
Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64-bit)Version: 11 Filtering a 16MB TIF (15000x7266) Filters: Radial Blur (Amount: 10; Method: zoom; Quality: good) Shape Blur (Radius: 46 px; custom shape: Trademark sysmbol) Median (Radius: 1px) Polar Coordinates (Rectangular to Polar)
Adobe Acrobat 9 ProfessionalVersion: 9.0.0 (Extended) == Printing Preferenced Menu == Default Settings: Standard == Adobe PDF Security - Edit Menu == Encrypt all documents (128-bit RC4) Open Password: 123 Permissions Password: 321
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarksDetails
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02 Options: Performance Graphics Test 1 Graphics Test 2 CPU Test 1 CPU Test 2
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00 PCMark Benchmark Memories Benchmark
SiSoftware Sandra 2009Version: 2009 SP3 Processor Arithmetic, Cryptography, Memory Bandwith