|12GB Corsair Dominator 1600MHz DDR3 Memory Kit|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Memory|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 15 April 2010|
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Testing Methodology: DDR3 RAM
Before the testing really begins, there are several settings to be adjusted in the BIOS. Many combinations of the CPU base clock and multiplier are paired to the memory multiplier, giving us the desired RAM (and CPU) operating speed. In all tests, the processor was intentionally reduced to keep nearest to the original default clock speed. When I first begin this process and start benchmarking for a baseline, the memory voltage and timing are always left at the manufacturer's default values.
After each and every change to the BIOS, the system is restarted and all RAM modules are automatically tested with MemTest86+ for one full pass. Since the modules are not yet overclocked, one pass is usually sufficient to determine if a bad part exists. Later, once I begin to overclock the memory, these tests are a good way of quickly pre-screening stable configurations. Once the test pass is complete, I move onto the synthetic benchmark tests. Here at Benchmark Reviews we use the following test suites and applications:
Benchmark Reviews tests each memory kit to validate manufacturers specifications and ensure system stability. Each memory module will overclock differently, so it's unrealistic to test headroom on our memory samples when the another kit may be meet specification by yield no additional overclock.
In each synthetic benchmark test Windows 7 was booted fresh and the application was opened. Task manager was then utilized to end the explorer.exe (Windows) process so that only the most essential services were running and consuming system memory. This procedure allowed the RAM to be as isolated as possible for our testing. Once the system was ready, I perform a single test-run of the benchmark, followed by three recorded tests. At the end of the series, I average the three results for the final score.
Sometimes it is very difficult to get broad results between the memory modules tested, so we use several different speeds of memory from participating manufacturers. Benchmark Reviews is very serious about performance, which is why we test the products against as many benchmarks as reasonably possible. Not every test suite is effective in these reviews, and some often calculate processor and other system components into the score. This is what makes a RAM review difficult: unless all of the modules compared have the exact same rating and the CPU operates at the exact same speed for each and every test, the comparison is always going to be subjective.