3DMark Vantage benchmark testing the system performance in gaming applications produces results that differ only by 1-2% at the most, despite the significantly different latencies and frequencies of the memory subsystems.
Real games, especially FarCry 2, reveal a little bigger performance difference between the systems equipped with different memory configurations. In this game, for instance, a system with triple-channel DDR3-1600 with 8-8-8-24 timings works 3% faster than a similar system equipped with DDR3-1200 SDRAM with 7-7-7-20 timings. And even faster DDR3-1200 SDRAM with aggressive 6-6-6-18 timings will fall behind any DDR3-1600 similar to Corsair Dominator TR3X6G1600C8D by noticeable 2.7%.
Video encoding and final rendering barely depend on the memory subsystem performance. However, it is a completely different story with archiving utilities. DDR3-1600 demonstrates 5-7% advantage here.
In conclusion we decided to run a new computation MaxPi2 benchmark that calculates 32 million digitals of the π. This benchmark came to replace the legendary SuperPi test that used to be very sensitive to the memory subsystem changes.
The new benchmark proved just as good as the old one. The effect of the memory subsystem performance on the test results is clearly seen on the diagram. Triple-channel DDR3-1600 SDRAM, like the Corsair Dominator TR3X6G1600C8D tested today, will feel totally at home in an overclocked Core i7 based system.
According to the obtained results, it is fairly hard to tell how well expensive DDR3-1600 SDRAM justifies its price. It delivers a relatively insignificant performance advantage over DDR3-1200 of 1-2% on average. Only in a several applications fast memory provides over 5% performance boost. It is enough to make up for the high price? - Well, one could argue about it, depending on the usage model for the system and the individual obsession. So, we decided to refrain from any specific recommendations in this particular matter.