Author Topic: TBG's Analysis of Gaming on DDR4 Memory: 2133 vs 2666 & 3200MHZ & 8GB vs 16GB  (Read 2360 times)

Ari Altman

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Comments or questions about TBG's article "Gaming on DDR4 Memory: 2133 vs 2666 & 3200MHZ & 8GB vs 16GB"? Post them here!

skline00

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Excellent and informative review. Thanks.
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Ari Altman

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Excellent and informative review. Thanks.

Thanks, skline00! This was a really interesting review to conduct, as there's just not that much in the way of baselines out there. Glad you found it helpful!

frankster

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Great article. It provides practical data for my x99 system build. Thank you.

Ari Altman

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Great article. It provides practical data for my x99 system build. Thank you.

Welcome to The TBG Forum, frankster, and thanks for the positive feedback.

Just one update since that article was published: Broadwell-E processors seem to tolerate high-speed RAM better than Haswell-E. The very same RAM kit that could only run at DDR4-3200, 16-18-18-38 on the Core i7-5820K test system in the DDR4 article is now happily running at DDR4-3200, 16-16-16-36 on a Core i7-6900K. I still think DDR4-3200 is the limit for X99, but if you want to splurge, you can run a low-latency 3200MHz kit, which offers a slight benefit over DDR4-2666 C15 kits, for example.

frankster

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Thanks, Ari. I see that G.Skill has DDR4-3200 with CL14 timings. Might give that a shot if I can find a compatible MB.

Ari Altman

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Thanks, Ari. I see that G.Skill has DDR4-3200 with CL14 timings. Might give that a shot if I can find a compatible MB.

That's exactly right. G.Skill introduced this 4x8GB DDR4-3200 14-14-14 kit specifically for Broadwell-E, as far as I know. It almost certainly wouldn't work with a Haswell-E processor.

If you feel like maxing out your system, this is the one. Can't say it'll be that much better than 3200/16, but it's always fun to know you've got something that's top-of-the-line!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2016, 04:09:54 PM by Ari Altman »

Jury-Pool-Reject

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Do you still feel that 8GB (2x4) is still fine for gaming, and DDR4-2666 is optimal for price/performance benefit? (with a i7-6700k and Asus Z170)
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Ari Altman

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Do you still feel that 8GB (2x4) is still fine for gaming, and DDR4-2666 is optimal for price/performance benefit? (with a i7-6700k and Asus Z170)

This is a very good question, Jury-Pool-Reject. I've found that in several games I've recently benchmarked, including Rise of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield 1, more than 8GB of RAM was used during testing. I can't say for sure that performance would have suffered with less than 8GB, as that wasn't the benchmark I was running (I was testing GPUs), but I'm betting we're getting close to the point where 8GB won't quite be enough. For its part, EA has indicated that 16GB is in fact the recommended spec on Battlefield 1.

That trend, coupled with the fact that 4GB modules are no longer quite as good a value as 8GB modules in terms of GB/$, and will likely be phased out sooner rather than later (just as 2GB modules were before them), all would suggest that 16GB be the minimum spec for a serious gaming PC.

But, alas, I'm in the business of giving sound buying advice, and there's a stiff headwind facing PC builders right now: a tremendous DDR4 chip shortage is pushing prices on DDR4 modules higher than they've been all year. That means it's a bad time to invest a ton of money in DDR4. For an ultra-high-end builder, the marginal cost just isn't that significant, so yes, 16GB is the minimum I'd recommend, but TBG's most popular build, the $1,500 High-End Gaming PC Build, remains at 2x4GB. I revisit that guide every few days, giving serious consideration to what I'd change to free up another $40-$45 in the budget for 16GB. I just can't find anything I'm willing to back off on. The consolation prize for any PC gamer who feels that 8GB just isn't enough in the latest games is that adding another 8GB of RAM is always an inexpensive option, at least for an ATX build (not so for ITX!).

As for speed, well, DDR4-2666 used to be the sweet spot, but it's not anymore. Patriot's 2x4GB DDR4-2666 C15 kit is currently $48. Its 2x4GB DDR4-3000 C15 kit? $50. The only drawback to DDR4-3000 is that it requires more voltage (1.35v) as compared to DDR4-2666 (1.2v), but in terms of performance per dollar, the DDR4-3000 is the obvious choice.

Ari Altman

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Do you still feel that 8GB (2x4) is still fine for gaming, and DDR4-2666 is optimal for price/performance benefit? (with a i7-6700k and Asus Z170)

This is a very good question, Jury-Pool-Reject. I've found that in several games I've recently benchmarked, including Rise of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield 1, more than 8GB of RAM was used during testing. I can't say for sure that performance would have suffered with less than 8GB, as that wasn't the benchmark I was running (I was testing GPUs), but I'm betting we're getting close to the point where 8GB won't quite be enough. For its part, EA has indicated that 16GB is in fact the recommended spec on Battlefield 1.

That trend, coupled with the fact that 4GB modules are no longer quite as good a value as 8GB modules in terms of GB/$, and will likely be phased out sooner rather than later (just as 2GB modules were before them), all would suggest that 16GB be the minimum spec for a serious gaming PC.

But, alas, I'm in the business of giving sound buying advice, and there's a stiff headwind facing PC builders right now: a tremendous DDR4 chip shortage is pushing prices on DDR4 modules higher than they've been all year. That means it's a bad time to invest a ton of money in DDR4. For an ultra-high-end builder, the marginal cost just isn't that significant, so yes, 16GB is the minimum I'd recommend, but TBG's most popular build, the $1,500 High-End Gaming PC Build, remains at 2x4GB. I revisit that guide every few days, giving serious consideration to what I'd change to free up another $40-$45 in the budget for 16GB. I just can't find anything I'm willing to back off on. The consolation prize for any PC gamer who feels that 8GB just isn't enough in the latest games is that adding another 8GB of RAM is always an inexpensive option, at least for an ATX build (not so for ITX!).

As for speed, well, DDR4-2666 used to be the sweet spot, but it's not anymore. Patriot's 2x4GB DDR4-2666 C15 kit is currently $48. Its 2x4GB DDR4-3000 C15 kit? $50. The only drawback to DDR4-3000 is that it requires more voltage (1.35v) as compared to DDR4-2666 (1.2v), but in terms of performance per dollar, the DDR4-3000 is the obvious choice. And we're already seeing DDR4-3200, like Patriot's 2x4GB DDR4-3200 C16 kit, come in at the same price ($50), making it extremely compelling. The issue with DDR4-3200, as I believe you've come to learn of, is that it can be pretty taxing on motherboards. Not all Z170 boards were originally designed with DDR4-3200 in mind, and given that 3200/C16 actually performs on par with 3000/C15, running DDR4-3200 is more of a bragging right than anything else. The sole exception: X99-based systems, which only have the multipliers for 2133, 2666 and 3200.

Jury-Pool-Reject

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Is that Patriot kit (2x4GB) listed above too high to fit the Mini-ITX build in my Ncase M1 ? It looks a bit taller than my Corsair, but I could be wrong.
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Ari Altman

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Is that Patriot kit (2x4GB) listed above too high to fit the Mini-ITX build in my Ncase M1 ? It looks a bit taller than my Corsair, but I could be wrong.

It's definitely taller than your Corsair 2x8GB DDR4-3200 kit. Were you able to test both sticks, and did you find them to not work in your board? You should try each stick on its own to make sure neither is faulty. You should then test one stick in the first slot, and then one stick in the second slot.

As an aside, you could probably sell that NCase M1 (likely for what you paid for it), and get a case that offers a reasonable layout for your components, like the Fractal Design Core 500.