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Does RAM speed matter?

Jul 16, 2013 7:10 AM


     Hello, I ran some tests today to see if RAM speed really made any difference when it comes to After Effects. In short, my finding are that, no, it doesn't make any difference. At least not for the type of project I tested it with. Below are my findings, but first, my system specs.


System Specs:

Water Cooled Intel Core i7-3930K (4.3GHz OC)

120GB Sata II SSD for OS and Programs

256GB Sata III SSD for Project Files and After Effects Disk Cache

16GB (4x4GB) Corsair Vengeance RAM (Stock timings are 1600MHz @ 8,8,8,24)

1GB Nvidia GTX 460 SE


Test Project:

     The project consisted of 6 AVCHD videos played simultaneously and some very basic effects like corner pinning and cc wire removal. The After Effects Memory and Multiprocessing settings were as follows. 5GB reserved for other programs, 2 CPUs reserved for other programs, 2GB per core.




1333MHz, 12, 12, 12, 24 @ 1.57V

Render Time: 3:22


1333MHz, 7, 7, 7, 24 @ 1.6V

Render Time: 3:17


1866MHz 9, 9, 9, 24, @ 1.57V

Render Timer 3:14


1866MHz 12, 12, 12, 24 @ 1.57V

Render Time: 3:19


2133, 12, 12, 12, 24 @ 1.6V

Render Time: 3:15



     So, from my testing I found that RAM stpeed really doesn't play a large role in this situation. However, after thinking about this for a bit I realized that this is probably due to the fact that my RAM needs to load data from and dump data to my SSD in this project. Even though my SSD is capable of over 500MB/s sustained R/W it's still not even remotely close to how fast any of those RAM speeds were.


     So, my question to you all then is this, can you recommend a type of project with effects that will primarily use the RAM without having to access my SSDs? While my tests show a good "real world" example of the effects of RAM speed they do not show the full picture. With your recommendations I will create a new project that will be a better gauge of the affects of RAM speed and add those findings to this thread.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 15, 2013 11:43 PM   in reply to Eric T Arroyo

    You would have to use an extremely memory hungry effect like Keylight or use extremely deep nesting with about 20 nested comps inside one another to see any delay in passing the buffers (not speaking about actually calculating them), but otherwise you won't see much influence. Nothing personal, but you are obsessing over something that is completely irrelevant for 99% of all users, including highend users. On an average project you just won't notice those 2 seconds and in most cases long before you will run into file I/O bottlenecks. Very few users will be able to have all their files on SSDs at all and most will not use highend models, but rather what they can afford. It's a moot point. Also without more detailed procedures you don't know how other processes on your system affect memory bandwidth. A single random scan of all active processes by your virus scanner could skew the result....



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    Jul 16, 2013 8:42 PM   in reply to Eric T Arroyo

    Good stuff Eric.  Much appreciate the time you took for the tests and for detailing it for us.  My take on it is this....


    Your tests clearly show that increasing the frequency of your RAM....or decreasing the timings for your RAM....will have a positive impact on your AE performance.  Small....yes.  But a positive impact none the less. So....since most RAM will easily overclock beyond the factory XMP.....why not do it?  If someone is buying memory that is rated for faster specs that is much more costly....then maybe it doesn't make sense to do.  But you might as well push your curent memory configuration as far as it can go. 


    I'm still tweaking final settings in my build....but I have an X79 board that has 8 memory slots.  The memory I have is 8x 8GB sticks rated at 1866 9,9,9,27.  What I have found, is that I can run 4 of them (32gb) at 2133 10,11,10,30......or I can run 8 of them at 1600 7,7,7, 24.   So, I have to choose bewteen 32gb at fast frequencies and slower timings.....or 64gb at slower frequencies but better timings.  At least for now.  I'm still tweaking. 


    My take away from your testing is that I may get more benefit out of the 64gb setup.    Again....good stuff. 

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    Jul 17, 2013 10:41 AM   in reply to Eric T Arroyo

    Well....we'll see how much RAM actually is utilized in new system.  Yes, it is 12 cores (3960X).   I'm moving from an X58 system with (a then unheard of) 12gb of RAM....and I run low pretty consistently.  I can remember how ludicrous it was when I build my current system to have *gasp* 12GB of RAM.  Seemed almost silly.  Funny how things change. 


    So I won't know for sure how much will be utilized by new system until I get Adobe apps installed on it and start using it.  If I opt for the 64GB setup, I might have enough to play with using a RAM disk for scratch disks and other temp files.  That would be fun. 


    Disk transfer speed will be decent in new system.  I have 16 SSD's.  Running 10 of them in a RAID5 array, 4 of them in a RAID0 array, 1 for OS/Programs, and 1 for temp/scratch/junk that won't be backed up. 

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    Jul 17, 2013 11:51 AM   in reply to Eric T Arroyo

    Transfer rates, of course, vary with the material.  But on the sequential transfer speed was getting between 1.2 and 1.4GB per second.  Fast.  The 10 SSD array can get in excess of 4 GB per second when in RAID0 for sequential transfers.  It's still pretty fast in RAID5 also. 


    I'm almost to the benchmark portion of my build log.  I'm still testing differences between two different waterblocks for my chipset right now....but then on to benchmarks.  I'll post all the results in my build log.  I may also post relevant stuff in this forum also...but the inability to posts pictures here makes it not as much fun to keep this one updated.  I invite you to follow along at -aka-the-bbbb/0_20


    And I'd have to consider myself an enthusiast, who tries to do professional grade work with family related material. 

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    Jul 18, 2013 9:33 PM   in reply to Eric T Arroyo

    SATA III.  Vertex 4's.  I'm powering 10 of them an Areca 1882-IX-16 card, 4 of them with the built-in LSI 2308 chip on the AE11 motherboard, and 2 of them with the X79 chipset drivers.  

 's a big case.  But if you want to cram in 7 radiators, 50 fans, and 4 need a little space.   

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