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What are the advantages to having super-fast memory?

  1. Feb 14, 2013 #1
    What are the advantages to having super-fast memory in a computer?

    I'm talking about RAM with speeds above 2000 MHz and beyond.

    Does PC gaming benefit from blazing-fast memory?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2013 #2


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    After 4-6GB of RAM the returns are minimal, especially if the game engines are utilizing multi-thread technology and processing in parallel... That is unless you like to play the game, listen to music, and browse the internet simultaneously, in which case more memory would be good.

    I once calculated [itex]\phi[/itex] to the one-millionth place with Mathematica using a small footprint Acer that has a Pentium Quad-core, integrated graphics card, and 6GB of RAM. Took about 20 minutes.
  4. Feb 14, 2013 #3
    Is this memory kit a good deal for an Ivy-Bridge gaming PC?

  5. Feb 14, 2013 #4


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    Those look good, 8GB is fairly standard now, but it's hard to say without knowing your MB make and model... if it's a new factory rig you have nothing to worry about. Those have a common pin count for DIMMs, so it shouldn't be an issue and would work great with Ivy-bridge.

    The release of the Ivy-bridge late last year would have been the opportune time to take advantage of the steep price drop for sandy bridge units, the performance of an upgraded GPU working in parallel would hardly be distinguishable for most applications.
  6. Feb 14, 2013 #5
    This is the motherboard I'll be using.

    http://us.msi.com/product/mb/Z77-MPOWER.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Feb 14, 2013 #6


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    Nice MB, very economicical choice.
  8. Feb 14, 2013 #7
    If the RAM is actually operating at 2000 MHz then yes it, gaming will benefit, how much it will benefit is debatable.

    If you purchase 2133 MHz and stick it in a computer, by default it will run at 1333MHz. The 2133MHz rating on the ram is the speed it has been tested to run stable at, it is not the speed it will always operate at. In order for your system to run the ram at that speed, your computer will need to be overclocked.

    If you stick DDR3 1333/1600/1866/2000/2133 MHz ram into a non-overclocked system, they will ALL run at 1333MHz regardless of what the box that the RAM came in says. 1333MHz is the default and can only be changed if the system is over clocked.
  9. Feb 14, 2013 #8
    Would a 1600MHz CL7 be faster than 2133MHz CL9?
  10. Feb 14, 2013 #9


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    I've been noticing the need to overclock systems becoming less and less, the return in FPS from giving 25-100 MHz might be in the 2-5 range at best, but still an improvement.

    After doing some CPU and GPU benchmarking you can see the real benefit comes more from an OC'd GPU.
  11. Feb 14, 2013 #10


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    Or you can change the latency cycle counts (like from CL9 (9-9-9-24)) to CL7 (7-7-7-20)) in the BIOS. Most these faster memories will state what the latency cycles can be set to versus the speed and voltage the memories are run at. In the case of LGA1155 type processors, the processors interface to memory directly and Intel warns againts using anything other than the standard 1.5 volts (± 5%).
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  12. Feb 14, 2013 #11
    Someone told me that using 1.65v DIMMs on an LGA1155 motherboard will burn out the integrated memory controller on the Ivy-Bridge processor. Is this true?
  13. Feb 14, 2013 #12


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    It's the processor that will get damaged. Intel's official note about this (direct link to the note on an Intel web page):

  14. Feb 14, 2013 #13


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    The question wasn't about MORE memory, it was about FASTER memory

    In general, the processor of a computer is WAY faster than the memory, so basically processing speed is not limited by the processor, it is limited by the memory speed, so yes, faster memory is a good thing.
  15. Feb 14, 2013 #14


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    True, but at least then speed was addressed! :redface:

    I was definitely confusing RAM size with processor speed, probably because I was thinking about padding the CPU by overclocking the RAM.
  16. Feb 14, 2013 #15
    at 1600Mhz 7 clock cycles are 4.375 ns

    at 2133Mhz 9 clock cycles are 4.212 ns

    So, the 2133 ram can query new locations 0.163ns faster. I really don't think you will notice much a difference when you're actually using the system. Benchmarks will be able to tell a difference between the two but while you're gaming, no, i don't think so.

    the 2133MHz ram will give you decent gains if you are reading sequential data blocks from RAM but if you're doing random access from varying locations, then they are about even.
  17. Feb 20, 2013 #16
    The problem is similar to a hydrolics system where pumps, cpus and gpus, can spit out water faster than conventional pipes (wires) can handle without bursting. A typical processor works in the gigahertz range and if you just hooked that up to a wire on the circuitboard the "pipe" would spring a leak and it would broadcast the entire signal into outerspace like a cellphone antenna rather send it on to the next component on the circuitboard. So ram functions sort of like a distribution wellhouse connected to a bunch of pipes that can all use the ram/wellhouse to both efficiently supply the pumps (cores) and distribute their output to improve overall flow.

    Faster ram used to be more important for gamers because it more commonly made a significant difference in performance and people routinely overclocked their ram. However, since DDR 2 1600mhz came out the benefits have declined and with DDR 3 1600mhz now the standard only a few chips benefit significantly from faster ram including notably AMD's new APUs such as trinity. The new quad channel ram has almost no benefits for gamers whatsoever. Superfast ram, again, only has benefits with the right processor.
  18. Feb 20, 2013 #17
    I was going to get a simple 8GB kit of Corsair Vengeance Platinum 1600MHz cl9 1.50V for $90.

    The performance gains for gaming after 1600MHz are completely unnoticeable.
  19. Mar 21, 2013 #18


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    There is the entire "memory hierarchy" to think of. If you are lucky, most of the program you are currently trying to run will fit into the highest level of cache memory (L1), but if it won't, some of the code will have to be shuffled back and forth with the next highest level of cache memory (L2), and if it won't fit there either, then it will actually go into RAM.

    Since avoiding cache misses saves much more than having faster RAM, having larger and better cache memory can well be as important, if not more, than installing fast RAM.

    Memory system design is a very complicated topic; entire series of advanced college-level computer architecture courses may be devoted to it.

    A good rule of thumb, though, might be: get as much and fast memory as you can, and get it, first, at the highest levels of the memory hierarchy. In general, a fast and plentiful memory hierarchy is a better bet for spending money on than, say, a faster processor in terms of achieving overall better throughput.

    It's impossible, however, to generalize about these matters. Gaming systems has very specific needs relating to graphics, network access, etc.

    Good luck!
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