Content of the material
The DDR4 difference
Newer DDR4 memory operates with faster speeds, better channel support, and Intel’s latest chipset and controller, so we expected our tests to reveal bigger performance disparities.
Our initial tests, though, appeared to follow the blueprint already set out by the older DDR3 sticks. In the Cinebench R15 CPU test, a machine with two 4GB 2,400MHz sticks scored 1,143 points. Doubling the memory and increasing its speed to 3,000MHz, however, only saw that result jump to 1,190.
The X264 video-encoding test led to similar patterns. Our more modest PC ran through its two tests at 205 frames per second and 68 frames per second, but increasing the memory’s speed to 3,300MHz saw those results only inch forward to 211fps and 73fps – that’s hardly a jump up that will make a big real-world difference for the user.
GigaPan Stitch’s photo-editing tool only saw a couple of seconds’ worth of improvement with its memory sped up, while Geekbench exhibited similarly small gains. Our first DDR4 PC scored 22,165 points, but doubling the memory to 8GB, running at 2,666MHz, only saw the score jump to 22,849.
Do You Really Need More Than 4GB of RAM?
With the price of upgrading system RAM extremely low these days, people are always asking me whether it's really worth it to upgrade beyond 4GB; today we'll answer that question for everybody.
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What are the advantages of upgrading a RAM from …
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3. More Program Availability
Some programs require a predetermined amount of memory to run properly. By adding more RAM to your system, you’re giving these programs more headroom to run optimally.
DDR4 and gaming
We saw a big jump in just one of our gaming benchmarks, Metro: Last Light, while testing with DDR3. However, updated DDR4 memory proved even less dramatic. Improving the amount and speed of memory saw our Metro: Last Light results jump by a mere couple of frames, and our biggest improvements in BioShock Infinite and Batman also only saw increases of a frame or two, no matter the amount or speed of DDR4.
We’ll let Unigine Heaven have the last word. Our PC averaged 62.7fps with two 4GB 2,400MHz sticks installed, but this only improved to 64.2fps once we installed four 8GB 2,666MHz DIMMs.
There’s no doubt about the pure, naked speed of DDR4, but it looks like we’re at the point, for gaming especially, where any 8GB dual- or quad-channel configuration will be ample. Memory isn’t the bottleneck in gaming. Processors and graphics cards are more likely to be holding back your frame rates.
If you are ever putting together a new setup it might be tempting to buy the fastest and largest memory kit you can afford. But as many of our benchmarks illustrate, aiming for the top of the tech tree is actually an unnecessary extravagance when it comes to memory.
7. Better Printing
Printing bottlenecks happen when you routinely need to print large files. Agonizingly slow printing can be remedied by upgrading the amount of available RAM in your laptop. This will give the system the ability to buffer the print data more effectively, thereby enabling you to print larger, more hi-resolution images faster.