Test Configuration and Settings

For our testing, we used the following system.

Memory Benchmarking System Configuration
CPU Intel Core i7-2600K (Stock with Turbo Boost enabled: 3.5GHz - 3.8GHz)
Motherboard ASUS P8P67 Pro - BIOS version 1502
Memory Patriot Viper Extreme Division 2 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-2133 Kit
Graphics MSI GTX 580 Lightning - Stock clocks (832MHz/1050MHz)
SSD OCZ Agility 2 120GB
PSU Corsair HX850 Power Supply
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

You’ll notice that we list only one specific set of memory; I don't have specifically rated modules for each of the memory speeds tested. Instead, I used a pair of DDR3-2133 modules that worked flawlessly at all of the lower speeds. Thanks to Patriot for supplying the DDR3-2133 4GB kit used for today's testing. To ensure my results weren't skewed, I tested a pair of DDR3-1600 CL9 modules against the DDR3-2133 CL9 modules running at the lower DDR3-1600 CL9 speed. The results of this test were identical. There may be minor variations between memory brands, but as a baseline measurement of what to expect our testing will be sufficient. We then used the following clock speeds and timings:

Tested Memory Speeds
DDR3-1333 7-7-7-18-2T
8-8-8-18-2T
9-9-9-18-2T
DDR3-1600 7-8-7-21-2T
8-8-8-21-2T
9-9-9-21-2T
DDR3-1866 8-9-8-24-2T
9-9-9-24-2T
DDR3-2133 9-11-9-27-2T

Testing Procedures

Each of the tests were performed three times with the average of those three runs used for the final results. However, there were a few exceptions to this. First, PCMark 7 was only ran once because it loops three times before providing its score. Second, the x264 HD Benchmark was only ran once because it looped four times in a single run. Third and finally, the LINPACK Benchmark was looped twenty-five times because it was also used to test for stability. And with that out of the way, let’s get to the test results.

Investigating Sandy Bridge Memory Scaling AIDA64 Memory Benchmark
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  • Rajinder Gill - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    LOL!

    Caught with your pants down there sir.
    Reply
  • Isaac the k - Tuesday, August 02, 2011 - link

    Memory above DDR3-1333 is plentiful and cheap.
    Sandy Bridge benefits from the bump up to 1600.
    Mobo's all can handle the higher spec'ed memory.

    WHY IS INTEL SPEC'ING THE NEW I7's FOR 1333 INSTEAD OF 1600 BY DEFAULT?

    I don't want to have to futz with my BIOS just to get my memory to run at STOCK timings!
    Why the HELL are they crippling the basic utility of their chips??

    I grant you, it isn't a major increase in performance, but why set the ceiling so low? why not set it higher and let the mobo manufacturers choose what their boards are compatible with???
    Reply
  • shriganesh - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    This article is thoughtful and very good news for mid-end to high-end system builders :)
    There's absolutely no need to pay extra for those faster and better memory modules!!
    Reply
  • ryedizzel - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    Thank you very much for this article. I have been memory shopping for a couple days now and debating on different memory speeds vs. latency vs. price. I wish I had the lab setup to test them all. Thanks again! Reply
  • James D - Monday, November 28, 2011 - link

    On each speed type (1333, 1600, 1866 etc.) you used only slightly different timings! For example for speed 1333 Mhz you had:
    1) 7-7-7-18
    2) 8-8-8-18
    3) 9-9-9-18
    In this case of course you won't get much different results! Don't you know that changing CL and other timings you can change tRAS timings which is the minimum number of clock cycles needed to access a certain row of data in RAM between the data request and the precharge command.
    OF COURSE you won't get big difference if you didn't change tRAS! If you lower all other timings then most likely you can decrease tRAS which also will increase performance.

    Please rebench all these with slightly different all types of timings. It means a lot for results.
    Reply
  • poohbear - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    Thanks for running the gaming benchmarks @ 1920x1080 to show us practical results (ie there were none!). i hate it when they run these benchmarks @ 800x600 or some nonsensical low resolution to show us a difference that we really could care less about in 2011. Reply

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