As far as memory or RAM goes, few people know how important it is in terms of actual real-world performance. We already did a detailed post showing the impact of memory speeds and bandwidth on gaming performance a while back. In this post, we have a look at the impact of memory timings on gaming performance and analyze if they are equally important as the DRAM Frequencies (memory speeds).
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
- Memory: Trident Z Royal 8GB x 2 @ 3600MHz
- PSU: Corsair HX1000i
We’ll be testing three games, namely Assassins’ Creed: Origins, Ashes of the Singularity and Metro Exodus at 1080p ultra. The average frame rates, 1% lows and 0.1% lows will be compared at three timings:
Impact of Memory Timings on Gaming Performance @ 2400MHz
At 2400MHz, Assassins’ Creed Origins and Ashes of the Singularity show a small but clear advantage at CL16. However, the CL20 and CL18 results are inconclusive. Ashes shows better averages at CL20 but the lows are higher at CL18. Metro Exodus, on the other hand, shows no apparent difference in performance across the three timings.
Impact of Memory Timings on Gaming Performance @ 3200MHz
The results are largely the same at 3200MHz. Assassins’ Creed performs as expected. Highest frame rates at CL16, followed by CL18 and 20. Ashes of the Singularity meanders between two points. While the averages are identical at CL20 and CL16, the latter yields better lows. Lastly, Metro once again has a flat result. Nothing changes across the three benchmarks.
Impact of Memory Timings on Gaming Performance @ 3600MHz
The results at 3600MHz are even more disappointing. All three results are within 1-2 FPS of one another. In Ashes, the performance seems to degrade as we go from CL20 to CL16, but the deltas are within the margin of error, so we’ll ignore it.
For the first time though, Metro shows a slight advantage at CL16. The frame rates are notably more consistent and in the first half of the benchmark, there’s a slight drop under CL18 & 20. CL16 is unaffected.
Overall, it’s clear that memory timings aren’t as important as memory speeds and bandwidth. Very few games show a difference between CL16 and CL20, and even then it’s not considerable. As long as you have a pair of 3200MHz DIMMs in dual-channel config regardless of the latency, you should be good to go.