Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New year, New RAM, New Benchmarks

My gaming computer has 3 years now and in that time the only change I did to it was to add an SSD because 3 years ago they were a novelty item and now are something every serious computer should have.
Well today I did the second change.

My specs up until today were:
Motherboard:ASRock X58 Extreme3
CPU: Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07GHz
RAM: 3X2GB DDR3 SDRAM PC3-12800 Corsair CMX6GX3M3C1600C7  Timings 7-8-7-20
Hard Drive: Samsung SSD 840 Series (250GB)
Hard Drive: SAMSUNG HD103SJ (1TB)

As you can probably guess by the post title I changed my RAM. I did it because it bugs the hell out of my that I can't render a video and keep using my computer because it rubs out of RAM.
Here's the big problem I had. as you can see by the specs above, my computer is from the time people thought triple channel was going to be the next big thing, so I chose a triple channel motherboard.
Well, it turns out it wasn't. And now buying RAM for these machines requires that you go hunting online for it. And I couldn't find the same type of RAM I had.

So I finally decided to get these:
Since the voltages aren't the same as my old sticks I can't keep them both on (at least now without playing a little with my BIOS settings and I have no patience for that)so I doubled the amount of RAM I had (and I have 3 sticks that I may sell)

And of course the best thing about having new computer hardware is... Benchmarks!!
Here's a video of the results (or just keep reading below)

I used 2 programs for the tests MaxxMEM² - PreView and a free trial of PassMark PerformanceTest.

The test rig is what I already listed above and I ran a control test with the setup I already had and the changed the RAM.
Control: 3X2GB DDR3 SDRAM PC3-12800 Corsair CMX6GX3M3C1600C7 Timings 7-8-7-20
Test: 3X4GB DDR3 SDRAM PC3-12800 Corsair CMZ12GX3M3A1600C9 Timings 9-9-9-24

What I wanted to know:
How much difference is there between the 2 types of RAM? Do de timings really matter?
If there is a difference is it big enough to have an impact on the actual performance of the pc?

Here are the results of the pure RAM test:

(click the image to view full size)

So clearly timings are there for a reason. You can see that the first test had better results meaning that my old RAM was actually faster than this new one.

But does that matter?
(click the image to view full size)
Well according to Passmark it does.
Changing to the slower RAM made the CPU, 2D and 3D graphics scores lower. Not by a lot... but slower anyway.

So I guess that if your going for the ultimate gaming machine (and don't care about the budget) don't forget to check the RAM timings while you're choosing.