AMD Performance Edition 8GB Memory Reviewred1776 - April 10, 2012
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For testing the performance of the new AMD Performance Edition memory, I will be running them through the OCC battery of chosen tests at the stock speed of 1600MHz and at the highest frequency I was able to achieve to see how they compare to other makes of memory. Anyone who has spent any time overclocking previous generations on AMD systems knows that the memory controllers are very touchy and you may need to try a slew of different settings only to arrive at the same result. I started out experimenting with each of the three 8GB sets of 1600MHz memory I am using for this review to get a feel for what I had to work with, and where they would go. As luck would have it, I was left with a unique situation in that I have one set that is "optimized" for Intel, but is also AMD compatible. I have one set that is "optimized" for AMD, and is Intel compatible. And I have one set that gives its prowess equal billing for both CPU manufacturers.
As everyone wants to know "how fast will it go?" I don't wish to be anti climatic, but the answer for all three sets was a definitive 1866MHz. Without employing voltages or timings that were counter productive or damaging, two of the sets got to Prime 95 stable at 1866MHz (with different timings) and would not budge from there even with a very liberal loosening of timings. One of the sets managed one click to go on to 1904MHz, and that was it. In two of the cases, applying a bump to 1.7 volts to try to squeeze more frequency from the modules immediately shut things down. The up side to all this is that represents a 16% bump in frequency, and it makes for a completely controlled comparison as I was able to use the next offered memory clock (9.33) and all chipset speeds were kept precisely at the same speed. It will also hopefully make any optimizations very evident throughout benchmarking.
The AMD Performance Edition line of memory is optimized for the latest generation of AMD Processors (Zambezi and Llano), so I am doing the testing on my FX 8120/ GA-990-FXA-UD7/HD 6970 system both at stock speed, and the maximum overclocked speed I could attain from all of the 8GB sets I tested. Please keep in mind that while these results should carry a certian amount of proportion, these results are how the different memory kits performed and behaved on this particular configuration. As always, your results will vary, act now, supplies are limited, etc.
- Processor: AMD FX 8150
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990-FXA-UD7
- CPU Cooling: Water Cooling
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB PC12800 1600Mhz CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
- Power Supply: 1xCorsair HX650w/ 2x FSP group X5 500w (1650W) total
- Graphics Card: 4 x Sapphire HD 6970 Flex edition (CF disabled for testing)
- Hard drive: 1 x Seagate 1 TB SATA
- Optical drive: Sony Optiarc
- Case: Coolermaster Cosmos II
- OS: Windows Professional 7
- Comparison module #1: Corsair XMS3 2x4GB CMX8GX3M2A1600C9 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24 1.65v (1:4) @ 1600Mhz (3:14) @ 1866Mhz [ FSB:DRAM]
- Comparison Module #2 Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 9-9-9-24 1.5v (1:4) @ 1600Mhz (3:14) @ 1866Mhz [ FSB:DRAM]
The best hardware information tool known by enthusiasts shows information regarding settings made in the BIOS from within Windows. With this tool we can see CPU frequency, memory info and timings, motherboard and BIOS version and much more.
Task Manager: We use this utility to show physical memory, kernel memory, page file, and processor usage.
- Processor: AMD FX 8120 200 x 20.5
- Memory: AMD Performance Edition AP38G1608U2K 12800 1904Mhz 10-9-10-30--1T (1:4) @ 1600Mhz (3:14) @ 1904Mhz [ FSB: DRAM]
Overclocking the trio of same speed, but differently 'optimized' modules quickly became a case of deja vu. To get a feeling for the potential of each set, I started by raising the reference clock while lowering the NB and HT multipliers to make sure they did not become a limiting factor. As I mentioned in the testing section, all three sets reached frequencies within a click of each other. I moved on to using the next offered memory clock (x 9.33) to take the memory to 1866MHz. I found that with any method or combination of settings, timings, or voltages resulted in the unusual situation of all three 8GB sets of memory to top out within a click of 1866Mhz. on this particular system. While this makes for a rather anticlimactic overclock session and review for you speed demons out there, It does at least provide an absolute equal playing field and control value to gauge subtle metrics in performance and optimizations at the same memory frequencies.
A couple of notes here that should be seriously taken into consideration for this review and corresponding benchmarks. Because of a wayward motherboard in my OCC test rig, I am using my own machine for this review (build can be seen in the 'setup' section). While this will provide relative consistent results regarding the performance of the different memory sets, keep in mind that this is how it performed specifically in this machine and configuration of components. With that said, I will offer the ubiquitous disclaimer "your mileage may vary." After dialing in on the best frequencies and timings I could get from the three 8GB kits, I tortured them for a while using Prime 95 to confirm stability. Now lets see how they fared in our bevy of benchmarks.
And now the most uneventful overclocked chart I ever expect to see. Again, this is how these modules performed on this particular system.
The following are the benchmarks used to gauge the performance of the tested modules
- CPU-Z Version 1.58
- Windows Task Manager
- PCMark 7
- PCMark Vantage
- Geekbench 2.1
- Super Pi 1.5
- SiSoft Sandra 2012
- Aida 64
- Battlefield Bad Company 2