Overclocking & Benchmark Results
Before we look at our benches, let’s explore overclocking our T-FORCE Vulcan Z DDR4 3000MHz. We used the default timings of the Vulcan Z DDR4 3000MHz memory to increase its clocks until we reached its maximum stable speed at 1.4V. Tightening DDR’s timings tend to bring less performance gain than increasing clock speed and should probably be left until after the preliminary overclocking stability tests are complete.
Here is CPU-Z showing the Vulcan Z DDR4 3000MHz timings and speeds:
Here it is overclocked to 3333MHz with the same timings as at 3000MHz but now at 1.4V for stability:
We used our own self-imposed hard cap of 1.4V which we used to stabilize the memory overclock. After much experimentation including reaching 3200MHz with 1.385V, we finally settled on an overclock of just above 11%, or +333MHz, to stably reach DDR4 3333MHz speeds which are several speed grades above 3000MHz. It refused to post above 3333MHz, and it would probably have required more the 1.4V that we are willing to use.
We tested our final overclock using AIDA64’s System Test. It stresses the memory and also the CPU. We also confirmed that our final overclock to 3333MHz was stable by running MemTest/64 and Windows Memory Diagnostics overnight, as well as by playing games and running BTR’s other benching suites.
We believe that our overclock of +333Hz from 3000MHz to 3333MHz may be a good middle ground for many enthusiasts wanting great value, long memory life, complete stability and increased performance. A more hardcore overclocker may want to aim for the highest overclock that their own memory will reach, and afterward they may fine-tune the timings for maximum memory performance.
It is important to look at synthetic benchmarks to highlight the differences between our three memory samples and also note what happens to application and game performance as we increase the T-FORCE Vulcan Z memory’s clock speeds from 3000MHz to 3333MHz as well as to compare with higher performance DDR4.
Before we get to gaming, we want to see exactly where memory performance results differ, and there is no better tool than SiSoft’s SANDRA 20/20. SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an complete information & diagnostic utility in one complete package. It is able to provide all the information about your hardware, software and other devices for diagnosis and for benchmarking. In addition, Sandra is derived from a Greek name that implies “defender” or “helper” – a PC Wonder Woman.
There are several versions of Sandra, including a free version of Sandra Lite that anyone can download and use. It is highly recommended! SiSoft’s Sandra 20/20 R6 is the very latest version, and we are using the full engineer suite courtesy of SiSoft. The latest version features multiple improvements over earlier versions of Sandra. It will benchmark and analyze all of the important PC subsystems and even rank your PC and give recommendations for improvement.
T-FORCE Vulcan Z 3000MHz memory performance scales with overclocking and it compares favorably once overclocked with the higher speed grades.
We next feature AIDA64.
AIDA64 is the successor to Everest and it is an important industry tool for benchmarkers. Its memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, and Memory Copy) measure the maximum available memory data transfer bandwidth. AIDA64’s benchmark code methods are written in Assembly language, and they are extremely optimized for every popular AMD, Intel and VIA processor core variants by utilizing the appropriate instruction set extensions. We use the Engineer’s full version of AIDA64 courtesy of FinalWire. AIDA64 is free to to try and use for 30 days.
The AIDA64 Memory Latency benchmark measures the typical delay from when the CPU reads data from system memory. Memory latency time means the time is accurately measured from the issuing of the read command until the data arrives to the integer registers of the CPU. It also tests Memory Read, Write, and Copy speeds besides Cache.
Here is the summary of the multiple AIDA64 memory benchmarks using a single chart that were harvested from the more detailed individual memory tests:
Faster memory scores higher and T-FORCE Vulcan Z memory continues to scale with overclocking. Let’s look at PCMark 8 next to see if its benchmarks can reflect memory speed increases.
PCMark 8 has an Creative test which uses real world timed benchmarks including web browsing, video group chat, photo, batch, and video editing, music and video tests, and even mainstream gaming. The PCMark 8 Storage Test does not test the CPU nor the memory, and there is almost no difference from increasing memory clock speeds.
The T-FORCE Vulcan Z 3000MHz DDR4 is first using the Creative test. It scores 8048.
Next we overclock the Vulcan Z 3000MHz memory to 3333MHz. It scores 8127 which is a 79 point increase possibly from overclocking 333MHz.
We may perhaps infer that overclocking the RAM speed may also increase performance from the overall summary chart.
PCMark 10 benching suite is the follow-up to PCMark 8 and it also uses real world timed benchmarks which include web browsing, video group chat, photo, batch, and video editing, music and video tests, and even mainstream gaming. The PCMark 10 test offers two overall tests and we chose the extended version. In all cases, we show the test results from the desktop.
The T-FORCE Vulcan Z 3000MHz DDR4 is first using the Extended test. It scores 7718.
Next we overclock the Vulcan Z 3000MHz memory to 3333MHz. It scores an additional 173 points to 7891 after overclocking.
Here are the overall results:
The PCMark 10 overall results show an increase in scores as the memory speeds get faster although the HyperX memory at 3333MHz barely matches the Nighthawk 3200MHz score. Overclocking Vulcan Z DDR4 from 3000MHz to 3333MHz brings a performance increase.
Let’s look at our next synthetic test, RealBench.
RealBench is a benchmarking utility by ASUS Republic of Gamers which benchmarks image editing, encoding, OpenCL, Heavy Multitasking, and gives out an overall score for easy comparison off or online. Some of these tests are affected by CPU and memory speeds.
Here are the individual tests summarized.
Just like with PCMark, the individual results are inconclusive but the scores generally increase with higher memory clocks although the overclocked Vulcan Z 3333MHz memory scores lower than the stock-clocked Nighthawk 3200MHz memory.
Next we benchmark using Cinebench.
CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s professional 3D content creation suite, CINEMA 4D. This latest R20.0 version of CINEBENCH can test up to 64 processor threads accurately and automatically. It is an excellent tool to compare both CPU/memory and graphics OGL performance. We are going to focus only on the CPU which is given is cb, and higher is always better.
Overclocking the Vulcan Z 3000MHz memory to 3333MHz adds only 10 additional points to 3654.
There is very little difference between the scores as shown by the chart summarizing the Cinebench runs.
Another small performance increase with memory speed scaling is implied by the overall scores. Next, Novabench.
Novabench is a very fast benching utility that spits out a memory score showing the overall bandwidth.
Next we overclock the Vulcan Z 3000MHz memory to 3333MHz. The score increases to 378 with 33554 MB/second.
Here are the Novabench memory scores summarized in a chart.
WPrime is a multi-threaded benchmark which can show the differences in IPC between CPUs, and faster memory may also make a difference. Here are the tests using 6 threads, and we choose to calculate 1024 million digits and 32 million digits showing multiple runs.
Here is a Wprime comparison chart with the fastest numbers from each set of runs compared.
If you increase the memory speed, the CPU may crunch numbers a little faster. Let’s look at quasi game-related benchmarks starting with Star Swarm Demo next.
Star Swarm Demo
Star Swarm demo is the original genesis for Ashes of the Singularity – and unlike the finished game – it is very demanding on the CPU and will usually demonstrate increased framerates by using faster CPU and/or memory clocks.
Next we overclock the Vulcan Z 3000MHz memory to 3333MHz. It gains 1 frame to 128.19 FPS.
Here is the T-FORCE Night Hawk 3200MHz DDR4. It averages only 114.15 FPS. Although there is some variability between individual benchmark runs, the Night Hawk RGG DDR4-equipped PC consistently delivered lower framerates than the other RAM kits for this demo benchmark.
Here is the summary chart:
The Star Swarm demo does not produce identical benchmark runs so there is some extra variability built in and the Nighthawk memory scores very low compared to the other memory configurations. Next we check out the Fire Strike Physics test.
Fire Strike Physics
Fire Strike Physics depends less on the GPU and more on the CPU which can benefit from increased memory speeds.
Next we overclock the Vulcan Z 3000MHz memory to 3333MHz. It scores 20,177, a small increase to reach 64.06 FPS.
Here is the summary chart. There isn’t a lot of difference between framerates. Using CPU graphics instead of a RTX 2060 Super may show larger differences, but there will be more variability to the runs.
Our conclusion from synthetic benchmarking is that there is no performance disadvantage to having 64GB RAM at the same clockspeed as 16GB. The Vulcan Z 2x32GB memory kit at 3000MHz and overclocked to 3333MHz perform very similarly to our two similar speed 2x8GB DDR4 kits.
High-capacity RAM benefits
We note performance scaling from overclocking the RAM but it is small for game-related synthetic benching. The purpose of higher capacity RAM is for workstations and professional applications. Content creators, professional video and image editors, programmers, CAD, and other design software power users all benefit from having more RAM, especially in a work situation. Running out of system RAM slows up projects as the PC has to swap memory to disk, and RAM is always faster than the fastest SSD. Let’s take image processing as one example.
Image processing such as with Photoshop uses a lot of RAM since working with just one image may take hundreds of MB. And there may be dozens of versions of the same image in different stages that need to be processed in parallel. Working with multiple images – each with multiple versions in stages requiring parallel processing – takes many gigabytes of RAM to keep all of the image processing in the RAM memory, and using 64GB RAM (or more) may be considered usual.
Since RAM is significantly faster than disk – maybe 10X faster than a SSD and 50X faster than a hard drive – active projects should always be able to completely fit into system memory. Multiple images that may take minutes to process with 64GB RAM may take hours to write to disk in a 16GB memory system because of the high volume of data. But for gamers, the only advantage to having 64GB may be to create a RAM disk to keep the entire game in system memory. Unfortunately, game developers still optimize their games to load from mechanical hard drives – not even from SSDs. Hopefully, this will change with the next generation of console ports to PC.
Next up, we create a RAM drive, and then on to the gaming benchmarks and the summary charts.