|Aeneon DDR3-1600 4GB XMP RAM AXH860UD20-16H|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Memory|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 14 May 2008|
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Test Results: AXH860UD20-16H
Testing RAM is a subject which requires a bit of technical knowledge. I have recently found a few other sites using nothing except video games to benchmark the RAM product they are reviewing, and this whole practice made no sense to me at all. Video games are GPU and CPU dependant, and RAM has a very small impact on framerate performance - as I will prove to you in my own tests. So keeping all of this in mind, I use the tools that belong in a system memory review; I use system memory benchmarking applications. Additionally, I don't spend three (usually tiny) pages discussing how I overclocked or how I made it to tighter timings. Every memory module comes with its very own limit, so one size doesn't fit all and this kit may not be the same as the next.
As it turned out, the Aeneon DDR3-1600 4GB XMP RAM AXH860UD20-16H kit could overclock to from 1600 MHz to an a noteworthy 1780 MHz without adding any additional voltage and keeping the default clock latency values of 9-9-9-28. Keep in mind that the default memory voltage is only 1.5V, which means that there is still a good amount of room for safe voltage increases.
Our first results were recorded from Lavalys EVEREST using the Cache and Memory Benchmark tool. The results shown below represent the average measurement obtained from the 4 GB Aeneon DDR3 kit. After testing the default speed of 1600 MHz, I then overclocked the speed to 1780 MHz with a 445 MHz FSB. The results for the average read, write, and copy bandwidth from EVEREST are displayed below.
Everest is among my most trusted benchmark programs, and the Cache and Benchmark tool is one of the more reliable in terms of consistent results. The chart above shows that the extra 180 MHz over the stock 1600 MHz speed amounted to a sizable increase in added bandwidth; the most notable improvement is over the 1600 MHz baseline where the the read bandwidth improved by nearly 13%.
With both CPU-Z and EVEREST reporting memory clocks at 9-9-9-28, I will believe that the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 BIOS settings were configured correctly for the AXH860UD20-16H kit.
Next up was the PassMark Performance Test benchmark which runs several different system memory tests in a row. Although some of the tests are specific to the performance of the RAM, others take the CPU clock speed and front side bus into account when developing a score. Most important are the memory read and write tests, and the score based tests are bias towards CPU speed and other hardware factors.
Passmark's Performance Test offers the most consistent memory test results of the entire group, with each of the test runs resulting in a score nearly identical to the previous test run. Ideally, all of these programs should be this consistent, but until they are I would consider Performance Test to be the best tool available for testing system memory bandwidth.
SiSoftware Sandra Lite XIIc offered identical results nearly the same in regards to increased performance; according to the chart above. Although the bandwidth tests are of a different nature, the improvement of 1780 MHz over 1600 MHz still resulted in 13% in both the integer bandwidth and float buffered tests.
The last of our memory testing applications to run is RightMark Memory Analyzer. This program may not offer the same level of consistent test results that Performance Test does, but instead it offers a more technical approach to testing the system memory. Plus, this is a Benchmark Reviews favorite - because it's free.
RightMark Memory Analyzer offer nearly the same tests that EVEREST and Performance Test have, and could be considered a bit redundant, but then again this is a technology article and us geeks like our redundancy. While it's true that Memory Analyzer hasn't been updated in over a year and seems out of development, it's still not a bad tool since it gives the second most consistent results every single run (unlike Sandra). It also offers an average "real" RAM read and write bandwidth result which most enthusiasts don't appreciate because it combines the results of dozens of tests. This is the layman's alternative to the Sciencemark v2.0 test suite, which is also gone but not forgotten.
Finally, I tested the Aeneon DDR3-1600 4GB XMP RAM kit in the game World in Conflict. Realizing that games can be either CPU or GPU bound, this made it difficult for me to compare all of the memory sets since the clock speed of the processor would change as I adjust the front side bus for the desired RAM speed. In the end, a 180 MHz system memory improvement over the 1600 MHz default speed setting gave the frame rate in World in Conflict only 1 FPS more in the average frame rate. This mediocre improvement is evidence of how insignificant the system memory speed is in relation to video game performance.
But don't misunderstand me, because system memory could have a much larger impact on game performance if you use it to overclock the processor. Obviously, if you are using Aeneon PC3-10666 RAM, you aren't going to keep the CPU at the stock speed anyway; and you probably use a video card that more than makes up for the very small gains of overclocked system memory. This means that faster RAM allows for a faster CPU, and in turn produces a faster frame rate. But in the world of system memory benchmarks, comparing the different sets of RAM in a game is pointless.