Intel Core i7-3770K Review: A Small Step Up From Sandy Bridge

Ivy Bridge Memory Scaling

A deliberate effort went into extending Ivy Bridge’s memory overclocking ceiling and adding more granular settings. In theory, scaling memory bandwidth up could have a big impact on integrated graphics performance (more throughput certainly helped AMD’s A8-3850). So, is it worth spending extra on modules rated for higher data rates?

A synthetic like Sandra 2012 demonstrates sizable gains. Bandwidth literally doubles as we move from two channels of DDR3-1066 to DDR3-2133.

Real-world performance improvements trail off a lot faster though, likely because memory isn’t the most debilitating bottleneck.

Assuming you use a high-end Ivy Bridge chip with a discrete GPU, does faster memory affect our other benchmarks? WinRAR is notoriously sensitive to bandwidth changes, and it easily shows where more throughput helps…and where it ceases to make a difference.

It definitely makes sense to buy a DDR3-1600 kit, and even DDR3-1866 nudges performance forward a little. Stepping up to DDR3-2133 really doesn’t do anything though.

On the other end of the spectrum, well-threaded compute-intensive titles like 3ds Max give you nothing back in return for installing faster memory.