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Memory bandwidth tests... any real differences (part 2)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
About 7 months ago I posted data comparing two memory dividers (1:1 and 3:5 @ 333 MHz) on my then Q6600/P965 based system and concluded that for the 67 % increase in memory bandwidth, the marginal gains in actual performance weren't worth the extra voltage/heat.

Since then I've upgraded my hardware to an X3360/P35 setup and wanted to revisit this issue. Again, two dividers were looked at: one pair running 8.5x333=2.83 GHz, and another running @ 8.5x400=3.40 GHz:

333 MHz FSB:
1:1 a.k.a. PC2-5300 (667 MHz)
5:8 a.k.a. PC2-8500 (1,067 MHz)

400 MHz FSB:
1:1 a.k.a. PC2-6400 (800 MHz)
4:5 a.k.a. PC2-8000 (1,000 MHz)

I figured there would be a much greater difference in the 333 FSB case since the memory bandwidth increased by 60 % vs. 25 % in the 400 MHz FSB case. All other BIOS settings were held constant with the exception of the divider (and the strap) and the given FSB. Subtimings were set to auto and as such could vary as managed by the board which I found out, was required since manually settings some of the subtimings lead to either an incomplete POST, or an unstable system.

The benchmarks were broken down into three categories:
1) "Real-World" Applications
2) 3D Games
3) Synthetic Benchmarks

The following "real-world" apps were chosen: x264, winrar, and the trial version of Photohop CS3. All were run on a freshly installed version of Windows XP Pro x64 SP2 w/ all relevant hotfixes. The 3D games were just Doom3 (an older game) and Crysis (a newer game). Finally, I threw in some synthetic benchmarks consisting of the Winrar self test, Super Pi-mod, and Everest's synthetic memory benchmark. Here is an explanation of the specifics:

Trial of Photoshop CS3 – The batch function in PSCS3 v10.0.1 was used process a total of fifty-six, 10.1 MP jpeg files (226 MB totally):

1) bicubic resize 10.1 MP to 2.2 MP (3872x2592 --> 1800x1200) which is the perfect size for a 4x6 print @ 300 dpi.
2) smart sharpen (120 %, 0.9 px radius, more accurate, lens blur setting)
3) auto levels
4) saved the resulting files as a quality 10 jpg.

Benchmark results are an average of two runs timed with a stopwatch.

RAR version 3.71 – rar.exe ran my standard backup batch file which generated about 955 MB of rars containing 5,210 files totally. Here is the commandline used:
Code:
rar a -m3 -md4096 -v100m -rv40p -msjpg;mp3;tif;avi;zip;rar;gpg;jpg "f:BackupsBackup.rar" @list.txt
where list.txt a list of all the target files/dirs included in back up set. Benchmark results are an average of two runs timed with a stopwatch.

x264 Benchmark HD – Automatically runs a 2-pass encode on the same 720p MPEG-2 (1280x720 DVD source) file four times totally. It contains two versions of x264.exe and runs it on both. The benchmark is the best three of four runs (FPS) converted to total encode time.

Shameless promotion --> you can read more about the x264 Benchmark HD at this URL which contains results for hundreds of systems. You can also download the benchmark and test your own machine.

3D Games Based Benchmarks

Doom3 - Ran timeddemo demo1 a total of three times and averaged the fps as the result. Settings were 1,280x1,024, ultra quality with 8x AA.

Crysis - Ran the included "Benchmark_CPU.bat" and "Benchmark_GPU.bat" both of which runs the pre-defined timedemo, looped four times. I took the best three of four (average FPS) and averaged them together as the benchmark. Settings were 1,024x768, very high for all (used the DX9 very high settings hack, and 2x AA.

"Synthetic" Application Based Tests

WinRAR version 3.71 – If you hit alt-B in WinRAR, it'll run a synthetic benchmark. This was run twice (stopped after 150 MB) and is the average of four runs.

SuperPI / mod1.5 XS – The 16M test was run twice, and the average of the two are the benchmark.

Everest v4.50.1330 Memory Benchmark - Ran this benchmark a total of three times and averaged the results.

Hardware specs:
Code:
D.F.I. LP LT P35-TR2 (BIOS: LP35D317)
Intel X3360 @ 8.5x400=3.40 GHz
Corsair Dominator DDR2-1066 (TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF)
   2x 2Gb @ 5-5-5-15 (all subtimings on auto)

 (tRD=8) @ 667 MHz (1:1) @ 2.100V
 (tRD=7) @ 1,066 MHz (5:8) @ 2.100V
 (tRD=8) @ 800 MHz (1:1) @ 2.100V
 (tRD=6) @ 1,000 MHz (4:5) @ 2.100V

EVGA Geforce 8800GTS (G92) w/ 512 meg
Core=770 MHz
Shader=1,923 MHz
Memory=2,000 MHz
Note: the performance levels (tRD) are set automatically by the board which wouldn't POST if I manually tweaked them. Even though they're different, I still feel the data are valid since this is the only way I can run them. In other words, if I'm going to run the higher dividers, it'll be as such or it won't POST!

Without further ado, here are the data starting first with a 333 MHz FSB comparing the 1:1 vs. 5:8 divider (DDR2-667 vs. DDR-1066):


Here are the averaged data visualized graphically:


Now on to the 400 MHz FSB comparing the 1:1 vs. 4:5 divider (DDR2-800 vs. DDR2-1000):


And graphically:


As you can see, there way nothing spectacular in either the real-world category, or the 3D games category in comparison to the massive increase in memory bandwidth (shown on the graphs in red). In fact, I was surprised to see that there were really no gains by Doom3 and minimal gains by Crysis. This is probably due to the fact that the video card shoulders the burden of these games with Doom3 being the light-weight of the two. As expected, the synthetic benchmarks did pick-up on the larger bandwidth, but only in the case of the 400 MHz FSB did I see anything approaching the theoretical increase (14 % of 25 % vs 15 % of 60 %).

If you read my first memory bandwidth post, perhaps the same conclusions can be drawn from these new data. One thing I'll add is that this new MB doesn't require extra voltage like my older P5B-Deluxe did to run the higher dividers, so it's not producing that much more heat. That said, I'm actually running the system with the 4:5 divider, since things seem to feel faster to me (windows opening, responsiveness, etc.) which are all unfortunately intangibles I can't measure.
Edited by graysky - 5/11/08 at 11:35am
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post #2 of 8
Interesting, but I wonder what Performance Level and timing did you use at those dividers and.
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
@gl - performance level 7 was used for the 5:6 @ 400 MHz run. I didn't look for the 1:1 or the 333 MHz FSB runs. In a way, it doesn't matter since I can't jump below 7 on the 333/800 strap. I can do level 6 on the 266/667 strap @ 400 MHz which puts the memory @ 1,000 MHz.
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post #4 of 8
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I edited the first post switching the highest 400 MHz FSB run from 5:6 to 4:5 (960 MHz vs. 1,000 MHz) and included some info about subtimings to make things more clear.
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post #5 of 8
See if I got this right, you used timing 5-5-5-15 at all memspeed?
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
@ghost - yep
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post #7 of 8
Then I think you should make that even more clear and put timing and PL level in those boxes were you state what memspeed you used.

I have done similary test and here´s my example, it´s a simple one thou.

Done with Crysis Benchmark Tool and Everest 4.50.1355 b on my Rampage Rig

266 9 2,4, 800 5-5-5-15 PL5

Read 6538
Write 5693
Copy 5928
Lat 76,3

1280x960 Low Q 0xAA 78,63 fps
1600x1200 High Q 0xAA 28,57 fps

475 8 3,8, 1266 5-5-5-15 PL7

Read 10351
Write 10105
Copy 10247
Lat 49,1

1280x960 Low Q 0xAA 119,75 fps
1600x1200 High Q 0xAA 28,42 fps

It´s not a noticeable difference with high resulotion and high quality even thou we have 2,4 up to 3,8 but with low resulotion and low quality there is.

I have showed similary example to folks and recommed then (if they game) to put there money on a better grahpics card then on mobo, CPU and memory.

In your example with same FSB and CPUspeed and with different memspeed the different is even smaller.

So going with for example E8400, 800 5-5-5 and a high end grahpic card with out OC is good enough as it is.

But I must if you OC your system you got for example, a more responsive and snappier system and your loading times for games gets shorter and don´t forget, the wellbeing of how good your are OC your system.


And finally I most say this is a amazing piece of work you have done here and it should be a sticky in every Intel thread (General, CPU, Motherboard and Memory and even in Grahpics card, Nvidia).

Keep up that work.
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post #8 of 8
Great thread! Rep+ to Graysky and Ghostleader, both ringing in on very valid points. Now for my ....

I agree that the timings and PL should be clarified, and adjusting timings, CAS in particular, at the same MHz should also be discussed. Adjustments in timings can greatly affect latency without effecting bandwidth, perhaps explaining the "untangible snappyness or responsiveness" you observe. Remember, CAS5 at 800MHz equates to 6.25ns(one clock=1.25ns), while at 1066MHz it is 4.69ns(one clock=0.938ns).

Theoretically, a lower CAS at the same MHz should allow for a lower tRD. I submit to you that I can only use PL7 at 1081MHz 5-5-5-15, but can enable PL6 at 1081MHz 4-5-5-15.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostleader View Post
I have showed similary example to folks and recommed then (if they game) to put there money on a better grahpics card then on mobo, CPU and memory.
I couldn't agree more. I sold my friend a rig minus videocard. I gave him my P5N-E SLI, D820, and 2x1Gb of PC4200 RAM; he put a 9600GT into it. That rig at stock crushes my sig rig for gaming.
Edited by Ravin - 5/12/08 at 9:28am
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