Game Testing 2GB versus 4GB of Memory on Vista 64-bit

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Test Results & Final Thoughts

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In order to find out how much more performance 4GB of memory has to offer over 2GB of memory we needed to use identical kits, just with different IC’s.  We ended up using the Corsair DOMINATOR TWIN2X4096-9136C5D and DOMINATOR TWIN2X2048-9136C5D memory kits as they are both rated at 1142MHz with 5-5-5-15 2T timings.  

2GB versus 4GB of memory for gaming

We ran all the benchmarks at 1920×1200 and found that a performance difference was seen in most of the games that we tested. The performance difference was not as large as we expected, but it was no big shock to find that Crysis v1.21 had the biggest performance increase.  Call of Duty 4 and Laura Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary also saw fairly large performance increases by doubling the amount of memory. Call of Juarez v1.1.0.0 and World in Conflict v1.007 didn’t seem to benefit from the extra memory and no increase was observed.

2GB versus 4GB of memory for gaming

Since gamers love using Futuremark’s 3DMark series of benchmarking utilities we thought it would be interesting to also include 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 2006 in our benchmarking section. 3DMark Vantage just came out in recent weeks and is a Windows Vista SP1 benchmark, which is what our test system just happens to be running.  With 3DMark Vantage being the newest benchmark of group tested it was sure to see better performance with 4GB of memory, but that wasn’t what we found.  After taking three test runs with each memory density and averaging them out a slight decrease in performance was shown.  3DMark 2006 on the other hand seemed to perform better with 4GB of memory.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions:

Inspired by the Corsair Performance Analysis of 4GB versus 2GB of memory we figured it would be fun to see for ourselves how gaming performance is impacted by adding more system memory. Corsair did a great job on memory usage and the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems, so instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, we suggest that you check out their report. The Corsair performance analysis only used three games so our goal was to use a wider selection of games and see how much, if at all, the average framerate improved. Our findings, based on nine game titles, have shown that 4GB of memory does offer framerate improvements over using 2GB of memory.  The observed difference was so small it would be hard to notice while gaming. Synthetic testing was also a wash since 3DMark 2006 gained performance while 3DMark Vantage seemed to take a slight performance hit.

Our average framerate increase of 1.6% in nine games was slightly higher than the 1.1% shown by Corsair in the three games they tested, but our test system was a little newer and we were running Vista SP1. Something else that we noted while running the benchmarks is that game loading times were also significantly enhanced by installing 4GB of system memory. While that was not the focus of this article (framerates was) we noted that Crysis v1.21 loaded 54.1% faster (14.28s versus 22.00s) on the initial level load. After the level was loaded and then restarted (as if one died and started over) the load times were within a hundredth of a second. Obviously, having more memory will also help other areas and at the end of the day it helps performance.  If you’re going to be building a new gaming PC then by all means use 4GB as it does help performance, but don’t expect a night and day difference in the gaming benchmarks.

Legit Bottom Line: The Corsair PC2-9136C5 4GB memory kit is one super fast memory kit and helps improve performance over 2GB memory kits on the majority of the 11 applications we benchmarked it on.

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