DDR4 Speed on the Quad-Channel X99 Platform
3DMark Fire Strike
Yes, we know, 3DMark isn't a game. But it's a fairly popular benchmark, and it just so happens to have separate Graphics and Physics tests that focus on video card and CPU/memory performance, respectively. And that's critical here, because we want to know whether the extra speed of DDR4 memory helps boost pure computation performance. We've highlighted the critical Physics Score in red here to draw your attention to it. We see a very slight (under 0.5%) boost when going from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-2666, and then the improvements end. Keep in mind that our X99 platform could not drive our 32GB (or 16GB) DDR4 kits to their maximum timings. We had to loosen them at 3200MHz, which means the increased speed may be offset by the signifiantly weaker timings.
Based on these results, we might expect that actual game benchmarks will run slower on DDR4-2133, but that 2666 an 3200 will be equivalent.
In this game, which is heavily dependent on CPU power, we see a slight boost in our 3200MHz benchmark, but otherwise performance is flat. Keep in mind that on our last page, we'll be averaging all results, so don't draw conclusions on the first game benchmark!
Battlefield 4 is also heavily reliant on more than video card power, even in the single-player mode we use for benchmarking. And the results show that memory speed simply doesn't matter.
Ryse: Son of Rome
Ryse uses an updated CryEngine platform, even more advanced than what Crysis 3 uses. And as such, it will be tougher on the entire system. We run without anti-aliasing here, and yet again we see no difference in performance.
We considered benching Project: CARS here, but frankly, we think Grid still looks bettter. Others have waxed poetical about the beauty of CARS, but we ran both games back-to-back and the cars look a whole lot better in Grid, ironically. Anyway, this game runs so fast that it puts a big strain on the CPU and memory; it's essentially CPU-bottlenecked. And sure enough, we see our two faster memory configurations getting a nice boost in performance, particularly with regard to the more important minimum numbers.
Grand Theft Auto V
GTAV remains the best-reviewed and top-selling games of a generation, due to its classic gameplay style and huge open-world design. On the PC it's also a serious system crusher, but here we see no signifiant variotions based on memory speed. Note that we used the built-in benchmark, choosing Loop 3 for our representative numbers.
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 is a brute, and we actually shut off Nvidia's Hairworks because it brings even our GTX 980 Ti to a crawl. But even without that feature turned off, memory just doesn't come into play in this game.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
We end with the newest game in our suite, one which we've been looking forward to ever since 2013's epic Tomb Raider. Bringing even bigger adventures and graphics quality never before seen on the PC, the new Tomb Raider is a title not to be missed. And not surprisingly, it requires nothing in the way of fast memory on the quad-channel X99 platform.
Let's turn now to our Z170 platform, which doesn't have the benefit of the X99's huge inherent memory bandwidth. Perhaps faster DDR4 memory will matter more there.