Because integrated GPUs generally employ shared system memory, RAM performance has a significant effect on gaming frame rates. We're testing seven 8 GB DDR3 kits that manufacturers tell us are a perfect match for AMD’s mainstream Llano-based APUs.
The biggest surprise in AMD’s Llano architecture was its integrated GPU's ability to play real games. And by real games we mean the kinds of titles that people who call themselves enthusiasts like to play. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is actually viable at high quality and 1680x1050. What you need to understand, though, is that gaming performance is largely affected by the memory you drop into a Llano-powered machine, as discussed in Chris Angelini's launch coverage page, “Making Memory Performance Matter Again.”
Of course, the most recent titles are more demanding than Call of Duty. However, we're still able to play them at lower resolutions and detail levels. That's something no other integrated GPU has ever done satisfactorily. We've always been impressed by the graphics quality of Call of Duty, given how low-impact it seems to be on hardware. So, we're also testing some of the more demanding titles in our suite in order to put today's memory kits through the ringer.
|8 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 Rated Settings|
|Data Rate (MT/s)||Timings||Voltage|
|Adata XPG DDR3-1600+|
|G.Skill Ripjaws X|
|Geil Evo Corsa|
|Reference DDR3-1333 C9||1333||9-9-9-24||1.50 V|
Note that we also include some basic DDR3-1333 CAS 9 in today’s round-up, intended to set a performance baseline in our charts. The real question, then, is: how much more speed will these low- to mid-priced modules bring to our games?