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DDR4 vs. DDR5 on Intel Core i9-12900K Alder Lake

W1zzard

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The Intel Alder Lake platform has support for both DDR5 and DDR4 memory. We ran 38 application benchmarks and 10 games at multiple DDR4 configurations to learn what performance to expect when using DDR4 vs. DDR5 on 12th Gen, and whether there's a point at which DDR4 performance can beat the much more expensive DDR5.

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Good work. Perhaps the next logical step would be to compare ram types and speeds on iGPU gaming.
 

W1zzard

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Perhaps the next logical step would be to compare ram types and speeds on iGPU gaming.
Indeed, that is an interesting test. Mostly for science, because the IGP is just too slow for serious gaming
 
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Indeed, that is an interesting test. Mostly for science, because the IGP is just too slow for serious gaming
Could be legitimately useful w/ RDNA2 IGPs, it's already borderline playable w/ the current anemic Vega ones like, if you're willing to use low(est) settings the Cezanne IGPs are certainly good enough for that, unlike team blue's 750/770s ...
 
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I see the igpu has hdmi 2.1 in its specs, will it output 120hz 4k via hdmi, just for desktop use?
 
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Can you have another bench 3090 vs 6900XT for 12900K/11900K/5950X ?
 
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DDR4 3200 CL14 has been my go-to for a long while.
 
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Just an idea. You can test the iGPU performance under ddr4/ddr5. There has been some rumors that iGPU performs worse under gear 2 ddr5 due to iGPU memory frequency being locked at 4/3 IMC frequency. @W1zzard
 

Airisom

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So, with the numbers we see here, your 3600+ cl14 sticks should further improve performance.
 
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I'll wait a few years and upgrade to the fastest new DDR5, DDR5 motherboard and new 4000 series GPU.
 
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Darn. Now I want to see DDR5-4400. That stock speed might be slower than the equally stock DDR4-3200!

Also, nice work. I think this is the best comparison of memory performance I have seen so far.
 
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Darn. Now I want to see DDR5-4400. That stock speed might be slower than the equally stock DDR4-3200!

Also, nice work. I think this is the best comparison of memory performance I have seen so far.

Yeah, I feel like a slower, more affordable DDR5 config is missing in this test.
Still, it's good to know that current top DDR5 is not giving huge performance benefits. No need to have second thoughts unless it's a benching rig.
 
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Indeed, that is an interesting test. Mostly for science, because the IGP is just too slow for serious gaming
Intel or in general?
 
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Intel or in general?
Both, really. Outside of casual games the ryzen iGPU works if you are willing to run games at the lowest settings possible at 720p. they work great for previosu generation games, but more recent titles are simply too demanding, and will result in framerates too low for DDR5 to really make much difference. That's already been shown with DDR4 scaling benchmarks dont by both TPu and other sites, above 3600 there really is no scaling right now. DDR5's added latency will torpedo any benefits that could be granted right now, until iGPUs grow past where they were in 2017.
 
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Both, really. Outside of casual games the ryzen iGPU works if you are willing to run games at the lowest settings possible at 720p. they work great for previosu generation games, but more recent titles are simply too demanding, and will result in framerates too low for DDR5 to really make much difference. That's already been shown with DDR4 scaling benchmarks dont by both TPu and other sites, above 3600 there really is no scaling right now. DDR5's added latency will torpedo any benefits that could be granted right now, until iGPUs grow past where they were in 2017.
Interesting.
I would have expected AMD's current gen apu would do 1600x900 with respectable fps.

Superb review BTW.
Bet that was fun
 
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Something i havent seen anyone test yet, is how it does vs high end ddr4, like 2x16 4000 cl14, for example, or 4x8 4000 cl14.
 

Garrus

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Both, really. Outside of casual games the ryzen iGPU works if you are willing to run games at the lowest settings possible at 720p. they work great for previosu generation games, but more recent titles are simply too demanding, and will result in framerates too low for DDR5 to really make much difference. That's already been shown with DDR4 scaling benchmarks dont by both TPu and other sites, above 3600 there really is no scaling right now. DDR5's added latency will torpedo any benefits that could be granted right now, until iGPUs grow past where they were in 2017.
Intel iGPU is about half the speed of AMD's right now. My i7-12700k iGPU is very slow. My Ryzen 5700G iGPU was fine to play many older games, like Mass Effect, well. Apple's iGPU is of course 4x-8x Intel, which is frustrating.

Looking forward to Raptor Lake fixing iGPU. I can't believe Intel didn't include a good iGPU with Alder Lake. With the introduction of DDR5 it would have been perfect timing. I wonder if laptop versions will use DDR5 instead.

Interesting.
I would have expected AMD's current gen apu would do 1600x900 with respectable fps.

Superb review BTW.
Bet that was fun
It does. AMD gets double the frame rate in many games with iGPU.
 
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Darn. Now I want to see DDR5-4400. That stock speed might be slower than the equally stock DDR4-3200!

Also, nice work. I think this is the best comparison of memory performance I have seen so far.
Yes, and run of the mill 4800 at run of the mill timings. Be interesting to do a dual-channel kit with single rank vs dual rank DDR5.


And so far it looks to be about double the price of ddr4 for 32GB

ninja edit - did an SR just appear in the mem bar or am I just blind? @W1zzard would it be possible to add DR for dual-ranked kits in the mem graph bars? please/thanks :)
 
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Something i havent seen anyone test yet, is how it does vs high end ddr4, like 2x16 4000 cl14, for example, or 4x8 4000 cl14.
Given the need to run gear2 at anything over 3600, the sweet spot might be 3600 with timings as low as you can get them.
 
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Until we get affordable DDR5 7200 CL32 we won't see big differences other than in a few cases where even DDR5 4800CL40 makes a difference. Let's see what happens this time next year when we hopefully have Zen4 and Raptor Lake.
 
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Thank you so much for this article, love how nuanced and thorough it was, it's much appreciated.
 

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Good rundown, but I need to ask about that DDR4-3600 result in the Cinebench test. Something else is going on, as there's no valid reason for it to be coming in so far behind the pack. Did it hit a temp/power limit partway through testing?

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Conclusion 1: if you are upgrading your system, recycle your DDR4. You’ll save a lot of money and wont “notice”any performance loss

Conclusion 2: If you are buying a new system, buy DDR4 and with the money saved, get a better processor or GPU.

Anyone see it differently?
 
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Conclusion 2: If you are buying a new system, buy DDR4 and with the money saved, get a better processor or GPU.

Anyone see it differently?
DDR4 motherboards are not as "feature rich". Expect less of a "premium feel". As for example. Why does the ASUS TUF has 2 SATA ports when 4x is part of the chipset? Save one penny...
 
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