8GB DDR2-800 and Vista - Applications and 8GB DDR2 on Vista

Article Index
8GB DDR2-800 and Vista
Crucial and Patriot DDr2-800 Kits
Road to 8GB and Test System
Synthetic Memory and Game Benchmarks
Real World 8GB Gaming Results
Applications and 8GB DDR2 on Vista

Synthetic Applications:

First up we'll take a look at a couple of very popular CPU benchmarks and see if more memory has more of an impact on performance than does sheer CPU speed.  Please keep in mind that both the 2GB Patriot system and the 4GB SuperTalent system are clocked in at 2.44GHz, while the 8GB hybrid system is at stock 2.4GHz and the 4GB Crucial system is clocked in at 2.53GHz.  These are the fastest speeds at which each memory setup was stable and represent maximum performance possible from the memory.

 PMCore
PMCore
SuperPi
SuperPi

 

The Crucial system is faster in these tests as they are more CPU intensive that memory intensive.  Interestingly, the 8GB system managed to edge out the 4GB SuperTalent system in SuperPi.  The 2GB Patriot system showed very well here and give hope to those that don't want to spend their money on 4GB of memory when they build their Vista system.

 

Workstation Applications:

In this next section we'll cover the workstation related applications Cinebench and POV-RAY.  In real application, these programs are very system intensive and can demand huge CPU and memory resources.  Take a look and see how they stack up in our tests.

Cinebench
Cinebench
POV-Ray
POV-Ray

 

As expected the Crucial system edged out the other products due to the faster clock speed of that setup and the other kits jockeyed for third and fourth place.  Cinebench multithreaded shows better performance with 8GB that with a similar clocked 2GB and 4GB setup.  That is interesting and continues through POV-Ray.  In POV-Ray, the faster CPU takes the cake, but the 8GB setup beats out both slightly faster clocked 2GB and 4GB systems.


Media Applications:

We wrap up our suite of tests with a look at ConvertXtoDVD, DVDShrink and Photoshop CS2.  Both of these programs are widely used and quite popular.

 ConvertX to DVD
ConvertX to DVD
 DVD Shrink 3.2
DVD Shrink 3.2
PhotoShop CS2
PhotoShop CS2

 

All of the above benchmarks are timed, and lower is better.  ConvertX to DVD is directly tied to the CPU and uses quite a bit of memory.  It proves to be the fastest on the Crucial setup and slowest when running on the 8GB system.  DVDShrink never ceases to amaze me.  This little application has been around long before multi-core processors, yet it proves to be fantastic when running on a Quad Core system.  It completed a "Shrink" of Shanghai Noon to a tidy DVD-5 movie in a little over 3 and a half minutes on two of our systems.  In this case, RAM doesn't appear to help at all, and the 2GB Patriot system kept up with the 4GB Crucial system.  Both the SuperTalent and 8GB hybrid setup scored quite a bit slower.  Finally we check out PhotoShop CS2 using DriverHeaven's benchmark.  The 8GB system came in ahead of the SuperTalent setup but behind the 2GB Patriot system and the 4GB Crucial system.

It seems that 8GB is more than required and is in fact a hindrance as the system takes longer to address the extra memory.

 

Final Thoughts:

As we wrap up this article, I'm left feeling a little relieved to be honest.  We've all heard the horror stories about how much of a RAM pig Vista is, and our earlier look at RC2 showed that this was true.  The truth is, Vista has been refined a bit, and although it has a long way to go, it doesn't require 8GB of memory to get you there.  I'm sure that if you run lots of applications at the same time, you will certainly need 4GB of memory, but 8GB may be a long way off for all but the hardiest of power user.

Many gamers and enthusiasts will likely end up with a 4GB system as the prices of memory have dropped recently and make this very inviting, however 8GB would only be required if you are running tons of applications and at the same time trying to play BF2142 or some other bloated EA title.  The truth is, gamers don't usually bog down their gaming systems and often spend hours cleaning them up and making them as lean as possible.  In this situation 8GB would be serious overkill.

In time we'll see more applications require more memory, and as memory prices continue to fall developers will get sloppier and care less about optimizing performance.  Instead of fixing the software issue, we will all tend to through more hardware into the beast until it runs like Windows 2000.

As far as scoring the memory kits - they all score great.  Why?  Here's the deal.  Although the SuperTalent kit was the slowest 4GB kit, it was also the cheapest and can be found for a little over $200 online.  That's an amazing value for users that need a 4GB kit.  The Crucial kit is not designed for overclockers or enthusiast and even lacks heatspreaders - but it is fast and just plain rocks.  It comes with genuine Micron DDR2 chips and a lifetime warranty.  You can't really beat that.  Finally, the 2GB Patriot kit we used for reference is a good kit.  It has pretty lose timings, but we were able to tighten them up during some preliminary testing.  You'll be seeing more Patriot memory around here very soon.

RAM Envy

As far as combining both 4GB kits goes - having 8GB of memory in your system is just plain cool.  If you show up to a LAN with 8GB of memory, you'll be the envy of your friends, enemies and fellow clanners.  You could even create a virtual RAMdrive and launch your game from RAM.  Two second level loads here we come.

I'd like to thank all the companies that had part in this review.  Crucial is super as always, and SuperTalent has come through and was actually the first company to drop a 4GB kit our way.  MemoryExpress provided the Patriot memory, so big thanks to them as well.

If you have any questions, comments or general feedback regarding this 8GB article, please head on over and post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.