The Ultimate Intel Core i7 Memory Performance Guide

Julio Franco

Posts: 8,753   +1,643
Staff member
Today we are going to look at how various memory frequencies, timings, and configurations influence the memory bandwidth and the real-world performance of Core i7 processors. This is particularly important to not only help you get the most out of your Core i7 CPU, but to potentially save you a lot of money.

After all, it is possible to configure a Core i7 processor with triple-channel memory operating at 1066, 1333 and 1600MHz, or even faster. But what are the benefits of using more aggressively clocked memory?

For some time we have known that DDR2-1066 doesn't offer a substantial performance gain over DDR2-800 memory for Core 2 users. Then along came the DDR3 memory standard, but again, DDR3 failed to have much of an impact, even when compared to DDR2 memory operating at just 800MHz.

With the new Core i7 platform, DDR3 should finally get its chance to shine. As noted before, the Core i7 features an on-die memory controller with support for triple-channel DDR3 memory. In other words, three DDR3-1333 modules operating together will provide a peak bandwidth of 32GB/s matching the L2 cache performance of a Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor.

Read the full article at:

Please leave your feedback here. Thanks!


Posts: 3,379   +53
Do as well as you expect? Compared to what. The article here shows difference of performance for different memory settings. There are articles that compare them to other quad core setups. With even the lowest(Cheapest) sets of triple channel ram performing noticeable better than our previous quad core intel chips.

The article was great, its a price vs. performance thing. Extremely helpful for anyone that looks to build one.


Hi, thanks for a fantastic article!

Would you expect your findings to apply equally to the i5 / i7 8xx chips? I'm building a new rig based around i7 860 and was planning to use 1600mhz RAM but if it's going to pointless I'll save the money!



Posts: 2,050   +14
This article really confirms what I suspected for a long time. No point going for the latest and greatest unless every bit of computing power is required (or your epeen needs some stroking).

Like the article said, you will see some very minor improvements using 1600mhz RAM..... Personally I think if its not much more expensive, I'd go for the faster one.

Now I'm seriously wondering what the impact would be if FSB was raised and CPU multiplier reduced to get the same CPU speed.....