Since Techgage’s launch in early 2005, we’ve reviewed over 45 kits of memory. It might surprise you, then, to learn that the last of those was published seven years ago – almost to the day. Why? Because at some point, I was hit with the realization that “memory is memory”. What’s important is the density, not so much the speed.
Following the launch of Intel’s first Core i7 processors in late 2008, I was inspired to explore this topic further. After conducting a bunch of tests using memory clocked between DDR3-800 and DDR3-1600, I reached the conclusion that if faster RAM offers a real benefit, it’s going to be almost impossible to notice in the real-world. As such, we stopped reviewing memory.
|AnandTech: Ian Cutress
With the launch of Intel’s X99 platform and DDR4 memory, I mulled the idea of following-up on that 2008 article. After all, while RAM speed might not have mattered much then, our PCs have only become faster, and our workloads more demanding. Just maybe, things have changed?
Nope, not at all. In a very in-depth article by AnandTech‘s Ian Cutress, eight DDR4 kits are pit against each other, with speeds ranging between DDR4-2133 and DDR4-3200. Similar to what I found in 2008, the differences in real-world tests are so minor, they could be chalked up as normal benchmark variance.
It’s not just with a couple of tests that have inconclusive results; it’s with most. But even in the tests where gains can be seen, they’re differences that simply wouldn’t be noticed in the real-world. You’d expect that there’d be a noticeable difference between 2133MHz and 3200MHz, but there simply isn’t.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t care about what DDR4 you buy; it mostly means that you can stop worrying about performance. I’d always recommend going with a reputable brand for the peace of mind. If it matters to you, you can also shell out a bit more for memory you think looks better.
Ultimately, what matters most is that you have enough memory in your rig for what you want to do.