How Does RAM Settings Affect Gaming Experience?

September 23rd, 2008 by goldfries | Viewed 21846 times
How Does RAM Settings Affect Gaming Experience?

I’m sure many have been pondering – how does RAM affect gaming experience? Do they affect your framerates?

I decided to shed some light to this question by conducting some tests with varying memory setting, to give us an idea on RAM and how it influences computer gaming.

Test Setup

Here’s the test setup used.

Processor Intel Core™2 Duo E7200
Graphic Card ASUS ENGTX280 TOP 1GB
RAM 2x 2GB OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 Reaper HPC Edition
Motherboard Albatron PXP35
Cooler Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Heatsink
Monitor 20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD
Operating System Windows Vista Home Basic 32bit
Driver Version GeForce 177.41

The E7200 is at stock speed. This means the GTX280 is a little under-utilized, thus we have plenty of room for the RAM to influence the framerate. This is also to facilitate the RAM setting of 533 and 800.

UPDATE : The article was recently updated, from 4 to 8 RAM settings.

8 RAM settings were used

RAM Setting FSB:RAM ratio Speed Timing
Normal (4GB) 1:1 DDR2 533 (266Mhz) 5-5-5-15
Speed (4GB) 1:1.5 DDR2 800 (400Mhz) 5-5-5-15
Timing (4GB) 1:1 DDR2 533 (266Mhz) 4-4-4-12
Speed + Timing (4GB) 1:1.5 DDR2 800 (400Mhz) 4-4-4-12
Halved (2GB) 1:1 DDR2 533 (266Mhz) 5-5-5-15
Halved Speed (2GB) 1:1.5 DDR2 800 (400Mhz) 5-5-5-15
Halved Timing (2GB) 1:1 DDR2 533 (266Mhz) 4-4-4-12
Halved Speed + Timing (2GB) 1:1.5 DDR2 800 (400Mhz) 4-4-4-12

Test Results


Graphic Detail : Maximum, 1680 x 1050 resolution, 4x AA used.

RAM Setting Average
Normal (533) 120
Speed (800) 100
Timing (4-4-4-12) 117
Speed + Timing 132
Halved (2GB) 114
Halved (2GB) Speed 121
Halved (2GB) Timing 117
Halved (2GB) Speed + Timing 126

Thoughts : I have no idea why the game end up losing framerates with faster RAM speed and faster timing.

World In Conflict

Graphic Detail : Maximum, 1680 x 1050 resolution, 4x AA used.

RAM Setting Average
Normal (533) 29
Speed (800) 32
Timing (4-4-4-12) 30
Speed + Timing 33
Halved (2GB) 24
Halved (2GB) Speed 31
Halved (2GB) Timing 27
Halved (2GB) Speed + Timing 33

Thoughts : More RAM does help. Looks like generally the game is RAM dependent. 4GB looks good but would you upgrade your RAM for 5 frame boost?

Company Of Heroes : Opposing Fronts

Graphic Detail : Maximum, 1680 x 1050 resolution, 4x AA used.

RAM Setting Average
Normal (533) 55.0
Speed (800) 55.9
Timing (4-4-4-12) 55.2
Speed + Timing 56.6
Halved (2GB) 54.1
Halved (2GB) Speed 55.5
Halved (2GB) Timing 54.8
Halved (2GB) Speed + Timing 56.2

Thoughts : The difference is negligible.

Lost Planet : Extreme Condition

Graphic Detail : Maximum, 1680 x 946 resolution, 4x AA used.

RAM Setting Average (Snow) Average (Cave)
Normal (533) 82.5 45.4
Speed (800) 84.2 50.5
Timing (4-4-4-12) 83.1 46.8
Speed + Timing 84.5 51.5
Halved (2GB) 79.5 43.1
Halved (2GB) Speed 83.4 49.1
Halved (2GB) Timing 80.0 43.7
Halved (2GB) Speed + Timing 84.1 50.5

Thoughts : It’s interesting to see framerate boost with the increase of RAM speed and timing. Neverthless, still better off upgrading your graphic card or processor if you ever need to have better gaming experience.


Demo Version – Graphic Detail : Maximum, 1680 x 1050 resolution, 4x AA used.

RAM Setting Average
Normal (533) 21.24
Speed (800) 21.31
Timing (4-4-4-12) 21.26
Speed + Timing 21.31
Halved (2GB) 21.16
Halved (2GB) Speed 21.31
Halved (2GB) Timing 19.56
Halved (2GB) Speed + Timing 21.31

Thoughts : RAM setting changes nothing to the framerates, even dropping it to 2GB barely hurt it. Probably it’ll be a little slower when it comes to loading and that’s about it.


RAM settings do affect gaming performance BUT it certainly isn’t something you attempt upgrade to improve your gaming experience. As you can see from all the tests above, RAM speed gives more boost than RAM timing.

That doesn’t mean you should use 1GB RAM for gaming purpose either, I suggest at least 2GB RAM for all your gaming needs. Some argue that 4GB would be pointless since 32bit versions of Windows XP and Vista only acknowledges a little over 3GB RAM due to the 32bit limitation but hey, additional RAM is still helpful. :)

Bear in mind that more RAM means that the system has more RAM area to meddle with data before having to access the hard disk, thus reducing the frequency of hard disk access, thus reducing the hard disk access bottleneck. This means your hard disk has lesser reads and writes to do, thus possibly prolonging its life too.

If you’re shopping for a new PC you’re probably going to come across systems that are designated “64-bit.” These are computers running 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, typically with 4GB of memory or more. Compared to 32-bit systems, which top out at around 3GB of memory, 64-bit PCs offer added responsiveness for people who are running a lot of applications at the same time and switching between them frequently.


For more understanding, please visit The 4GB Windows Memory Limit: What does it really mean?

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