Articles: Memory

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Performance in Applications

To test the processors performance during data archiving we take WinRAR archiving utility. Using maximum compression rate we archive a folder with multiple files 1.1 GB in total size.

Different applications react differently to the changes in the memory sub-system parameters. And although the average dependency between the performance and memory frequency or timings is usually not very prominent, other situations are also possible. Archiving is actually one of these situations: you can’t underestimate the importance of the memory sub-system performance here. It is remarkable that when our Core i5-2500K overclocked to 4.7 GHz works with the slow DDR3-1067 or DDR3-1333 SDRAM, it is slower than a non-overclocked processor working in tandem with faster DDR3-1866 or DDR3-2133 SDRAM. In fact, this is not surprising at all, because the 266 MHz increase in the memory frequency leads to about 5-10% acceleration in data compression speed. The memory timings have a much smaller effect: one increment either way causes about 2-3% change in the compression time.

We measured the performance in Adobe Photoshop using our own benchmark made from Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test that has been creatively modified. It includes typical editing of four 10-megapixel images from a digital photo camera.

The memory sub-system speed does affect the overall performance during image processing, but its influence is not so visible. Even if we compare the time it takes to complete the test using the slowest memory vs. the time it takes to complete the same test using the fastest memory, the results won’t exceed 3.5% for a non-overclocked system and 5.5% for an overclocked one.

In order to measure how fast our testing participants can transcode a video into H.264 format we used x264 HD benchmark. It works with an original MPEG-2 video recorded in 720p resolution with 4 Mbps bitrate. I have to say that the results of this test are of great practical value, because the x264 codec is also part of numerous popular transcoding utilities, such as HandBrake, MeGUI, VirtualDub, etc.

The results are almost the same as we have just seen in Photoshop. This process also doesn’t care much for the memory sub-system performance.

We use special Cinebench test to measure the final rendering speed in Maxon Cinema 4D.

Looks like low dependence of the system performance on the memory sub-system speed and timings settings is typical for Sandy bridge platforms. However, it is not that much about the platform, but mostly about the actual applications: most of them do not work with large data arrays, so large cache-memory of contemporary processors can easily ensure fast access to data.

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