Feeds

The best memory config for a Core i7 CPU

All the options tested

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

What speed memory should you use to get the best from Core i7?

We had a torrid time trying to raise the memory speed to 1600MHz on the EVGA X58 SLI. This is something of a puzzle as the EVGA manual explicitly states that the board supports memory speeds way beyond 2000MHz. Furthermore, the EVGA forums give a detailed guide to overclocking.

We spent ages trying all manner of settings and different types of memory, but we got nowhere fast. It was time to switch motherboard yet again. This time we tried an Asus P6T SE and suddenly we found that the memory would run at really high speed.

SiSoft Sandra Results
Bandwidth

SiSoft Sandra

Memory Bandwidth in Gigabytes per Second (GB/s)
Longer bars are better

Latency

SiSoft Sandra

Memory Latency in Nanoseconds (ns)
Shorter bars are better

We installed a Core i7 965 Extreme processor on the Asus along with 3x1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-2000 running 32-bit Vista and tested the memory running at 1066MHz, 1333MHz, 1600MHz and 1866MHz. SiSoft Sandra showed that the memory bandwidth increased by 10GB/s from 18GB/s to 28GB/s.

This enormous change was barely reflected in PCMark Vantage as the Overall score barely changed one iota. The most obvious benefit of the increased memory speed was in the Productivity section of the benchmark but generally speaking the results were unimpressive.

We were unconvinced by these results and installed 6x2GB of OCZ Reaper DDR3-1800 on the Asus running on 64-bit Vista. Increasing the amount of memory from 3GB to 12GB yielded improvements in Vantage's Overall results. However, the 12GB system didn’t show any benefit when we increased speed from 1066MHz to 1333MHz and onwards to 1600MHz. The figures show that the Gaming element of PCMark Vantage increased as the memory speed got higher, but the Productivity test results decreased. That’s right the results decreased where they increased on the 3GB 32-bit system. Historically, we've found that PCMark Vantage is a very good guide of system performance.

PCMark Vantage Results

PCMark Vantage

Longer bars are better

Verdict
Don’t get stressed about running a high memory speed on Core i7. You’re probably better off using 1333MHz than 1066MHz, but we are sure that 1600MHz and higher speeds are a fruitless exercise.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.