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Offline alexvdl - CL  
#1 Posted : Thursday, 4 September 2014 12:47:22 AM(UTC)
alexvdl - CL

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X99/DDR4 Review

For those of you that haven't heard; X99 is upon us. There are those of us that jump on the latest technology regardless of the performance gains over
the previous generation hardware, and then there are those of us that question the increase in performance. It is for the latter group of enthusiasts
that I am presenting this X99 review. I wanted to put X99 to the test and see if it is really worth all your hard earned money! One of the most exciting
aspects of the X99 release is the introduction of DDR4 memory. Today I will be installing some next-generation 2133MHz Crucial DDR4 memory in an
X99 motherboard to see how it compares to some high speed 2400MHz DDR3 memory from Mushkin.


Test Environment and Equipment

All tests were undertaken in a test bench environment with controlled ambient temperatures. All tests were done with the following hardware:

X79 System

X99 System

Before we delve into the numbers i'd like to go over a simple info-graphic that was supplied by Crucial which goes over some of the features and claimed
performance gains over DDR3 memory.


As you can see by looking at the image above DDR4 has a much lower average power consumption when compared with DDR3 memory. 1.2V as apposed
to 1.5V for DDR3. This of course has many benefits, namely lower power consumption as less heat generated from the modules. Capacity per chip
has taken an enormous leap; from 1GB per chip to 4GB which means much higher density modules will be around the corner. Standard clock speed
has gone from 1333MHz up to 2133MHz, which is a substantial increase. Although on the flipside, latency increases which will affect performance.

Software Benchmark Suite

  • Cinebench R15
  • AIDA64 Extreme
  • PCMark 8

Cinebench R15

Cinebench is a real-world cross platform suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities, the I began by running Cinebench to
compare the performance between the i7 4960X with 2400MHz DDR3 memory, and the i7 5960X with 2133MHz DDR4. The test scenario uses all of the
system's processing power to render a photo-realistic scene, this scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores.
The extra two cores really give the 5960X the edge in this particular benchmark with the 5960X scoring over 25% higher than the 4960X.



AIDA64 Extreme

AIDA64 Extreme is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking suite that provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware
error diagnostics stress testing and sensor monitoring. AIDA64 Extreme allows end users to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency.


Th performance gains are clear here, DDR4 is definitely an improvement over DDR3. Although latency suffers slightly as the 2133Mhz Crucial memory
that we tested is CL15...

PCMark 8

PCMark 8 is the ideal system benchmark that measures system performance using real-world tasks and applications grouped into scenarios that reflect
typical PC use in the home and at the office. I had some time to squeeze an X99 PCMark 8 run in (this benchmark runs for over 30 minutes).


We have nothing to compare this score to at this stage as the X79 system was disassembled before I could run PCMark on that machine. But there is a
chance that we will compare this score with different configurations in the future!

Final Thoughts...

The launch of DDR4 has certainly been highly anticipated, and with good reason. DDR4 is certainly looking very promising. There is one downside worth
mentioning however; DDR3 uses Multi-Drop Bus topology, while the next-gen DDR4 utilises Point-to Point topology. In layman’s term, DDR4 will only
operate at Single Channel with 1 stick, Dual Channel with 2 sticks, and will only operate at Quad Channel with 4 sticks respectively. In addition,
only X99 chipset motherboards support DDR4 memory at this stage, it will be some time before DDR4 makes it's way into the mid range 'Z' series
motherboards. Staying up to date with technology of course comes at a price with entry level 2800MHz DDR4 kits starting a $749.95, but it's the price
you pay to stay ahead of the game!

But wait... there is more! We have just received some of Corsair's 2800MHz Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory, we will be adding some
benchmarks for this higher speed memory comparing it to the entry level 2133MHz DDR4 so keep an eye out for part two of this review!
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