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 Post subject: 1200/1066/800 Memory
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:14 am
Posts: 64
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Scott,

I'm currently running DDR2 800-type memory in my new Intel Q6700-based system and was thinking upgrading it to DDR2 1066-type memory.

I'm seeing some Mushkin 1066 memory at newegg at what appears to be a good price ($125):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820146785

I can make use of the old 800 memory in an older dual-core system which currently has 533.

Two questions:

1) What type of performance increase can I expect from going from 800 to 1066 in my Q6700 system?

2) What type of performance increase can I expect from going from 556 to 800 in my dual-core system?

I guess what I'm trying to find out is if the $125 for the 1066 memory is going to be worth it.

Lastly, why aren't we seeing more 1200 type memory on the markets? Are there performance/stability issues, or is it something else?

Thanks,
Ed


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 Post subject: Re: 1200/1066/800 Memory
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 7:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5880
Quote:
1) What type of performance increase can I expect from going from 800 to 1066 in my Q6700 system?

You can expect an improvement of from about 0.5% to 1% (note that is NOT a typo, I really mean "from about one-half to one percent") in overall system performance when running the following types of applications:

    Internet content creation software: Adobe Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, Microsoft PowerPoint
    Video creation software: Windows Media Encoder, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Sony Vegas
    Office productivity software: Microsoft Excel, Outlook, Word, Project, PowerPoint, WinZip
    3D modeling software: Google SketchUp, 3D Studio Max

How do I know this (you ask)? <g> From years of experience building, testing, and using systems. But can I prove this, or provide any data to corroborate? Sure I can, using accurate and well-documented benchmark tests of identical or substantially similar systems running actual applications.

The trick is to use a benchmark that uses *real* applications to do *real* work, and not some synthetic (and often otherwise meaningless) tests, and to do the testing on systems that are (other than the memory speed) as similar as possible. For hard-core benchmark testing I always turn to the BAPCO SYSmark tests: http://bapco.com

The Full Disclosure Reports (FDRs) they publish are perhaps the best way to compare systems without having to do the testing yourself. When comparing improvements due to memory speed changes, the trick is to compare tests done on systems that are as identical as possible, except of course in the speed of the memory. As a first example, look at the SYSmark 2007 Preview FDR: http://bapco.com/fdrs/SYSmark2007web.html

On the 15th and 16th lines from the top you will see the test results of two systems with the same motherboard (Intel DQ965GF), processor (Core 2 Quad Q6700), hard drive (Seagate ST3320620AS 320GB), video card/resolution (Intel GMA 3000 1280x1024), and OS (Vista Ultimate). They both have the same amount of RAM (2GB) as well. The *only* difference between them is that one has faster DDR2 800MHz (PC2-6400) memory, while the other has slower DDR2 667 (PC2-5300) memory. The performance difference when running ALL of the software listed above in extensive tests, was a score of 151 vs. 150. In otherwords, the system with the 20% faster (800MHz) memory was only 0.67% faster in overall performance.

Need more proof? For another example, see the SYSmark 2004 SE FDR: http://bapco.com/fdrs/sysmark2004SEweb.pdf

Specifically check the systems listed in the 24th and 25th lines from the top. These have the same processor (Athlon 64 X2 4600+), hard drive (150GB WD1500ADFD SATA Raptor), video card/resolution (ATI Radeon X1900 XTX PCIe graphics 1024x768), OS (XP Pro/SP2), and the same amount of memory (1GB). They differ in the speed of memory, with the faster one using DDR2 800 (PC2-6400) memory, and the slower one using DDR 400 (PC-3200) memory. In this case, even though the memory was 100% faster (800MHz vs. 400MHz), the actual system performance was only 0.73% faster (275 vs. 273) overall.

Quote:
2) What type of performance increase can I expect from going from 556 to 800 in my dual-core system?

You mean from 533MHz to 800MHz? Ditto. <g>

Quote:
I guess what I'm trying to find out is if the $125 for the 1066 memory is going to be worth it.

As you now must realize, faster memory is obviously *not* worthwhile unless it costs nearly the same as (or less than) slower memory.

I'm sure that for many people, hearing this is probably quite a revelation, as in another myth "busted". <g> The truth is that in most cases you are better off spending money on other areas of the system (i.e. faster processors) instead of on *faster* memory. I'd consider *more* memory over faster memory, but adding more memory past a certain point (i.e. more than your software can or will actually USE) does virtually nothing for performance as well.

Quote:
Lastly, why aren't we seeing more 1200 type memory on the markets? Are there performance/stability issues, or is it something else?

It is due to market expectations as well as design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. 1066MHz is pretty much the end of the line for DDR2, and the beginning of the line for DDR3. Most of the major DRAM manufacturers don't make any DDR2 memory faster than 1066MHz (PC2-8500), anything you see advertised as being faster than that is generally overclocked or remarked "boutique" memory. 1066MHz is the jumping off point for the DDR2 to DDR3 transition, since while mainstream manufacturing for DDR2 tops out at 1066MHz (PC2-8500): http://www.micron.com/products/modules/ ... R2%20SDRAM, mainstream manufacturing and availability of DDR3 is currently up to 1333MHz (PC3-10600): http://www.micron.com/products/modules/ ... R3%20SDRAM.

Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: 1200/1066/800 Memory
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:14 am
Posts: 64
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Scott,

Wow - thanks for all that good information. Thanks for taking the time to reply with such detail. I certainly didn't know that memory speeds had such little effect on overall performance.

I guess that now begs the question - why is there such a disconnect here? It seems so counter-intuitive.

Thanks,
Ed


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 Post subject: Re: 1200/1066/800 Memory
 Post Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5880
It's marketing vs. reality, totally intuitive if you ask me. <g> Scott.


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