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CL14 vs CL16 RAM for Ryzen CPUs - Implications for gaming performance?

Go to solution Solved by Taf the Ghost,
12 minutes ago, ProtoflareX said:

So if I understand correctly, the benefits of CL14 are most noticeable in non-gaming related computer task? Can you provide an example of some programs that would benefit perceivably from CL14 RAM as opposed to CL16? Sorry for asking all of these questions, I just want to make sure that I understand what I am, and am not buying.

Lower CL only shows up in ultra-fast tasks. High FPS Gaming, most of the Adobe Stack and a few other places. 

 

The place it shows up is the "CS:GO Optimized Builds". And that's only true because of *problems* with the Programs that you're using Hardware to work through. If you're trying to maintain 400+ FPS in CS:GO, the bottlenecks are anything that adds any latency, even really little amounts here and there.

 

 

 

A look at memory scaling with standard timings. There's actually a lot of benefit to "tuning" sub-timings, but that's a discussion for another time.

I am in the process of planning a Zen 2 rig and am now at the stage of choosing RAM. To start, my research up to this point has revealed that Ryzen CPUs work better with higher frequency RAM and that they synergize especially well with RAM that contains "Samsung B-Die" technology. With those two facts in mind, I began searching for RAM that checked those two boxes and eventually came upon G.Skill's "Flare X" series, which is tailored specifically toward Ryzen CPUs. It seems like the perfect RAM to buy along with a Zen 2 CPU when they release. However, the 3200MHz Flare X has two different variants, CL16 and CL14 with the CL16 variant being nearly $80 cheaper than the CL14. Based on my research, CL16 memory seems to be invariably slower than CL14 memory; however, I was unable to deduce by how much, or if the effect on gaming would be noticeable. Hopefully you guys can help clear that stuff up for me. So, with that being said, my questions are the following:

 

1. Let's assume that my primary concern is gaming only. Is the difference in game performance (frame rates, prevention of stuttering, etc) between CL16 and CL14 RAM large enough to justify the $80 price difference? If it isn't, then in what situations would the purchase of the CL14 variant be justified? 
2. Do both the CL16 and CL14 variants contain Samsung B-Die technology? I've linked both of their spec sheets below.

 

G.Skill Flare X CL16: http://gskill.com/en/product/f4-3200c16d-16gfx
G.Skill Flare X CL14: http://gskill.com/en/product/f4-3200c14d-16gfx

 

 

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Both platforms perform better with higher speed memory. The research you found was based on early launch problems with new platform BIOS/Firmware that kept Ryzen 1st gen from generally hitting 3200 easily, at least until later. 

 

You don't need B-dies. Any 3200 CL16 kit is fine. Unless you're buying at least a 2080, you won't even need to hand-tune the memory. So it doesn't matter unless you're benchmarking or you're trying to break a game engine for competitive reasons. (i.e. the CS:GO builds)

 

B-Die isn't a technology. It's a binning of the memory silicon. They're generally the best of those available at retail, but it doesn't mean all that much. CL14 isn't worth the cost difference. 

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7 minutes ago, Taf the Ghost said:

Both platforms perform better with higher speed memory. The research you found was based on early launch problems with new platform BIOS/Firmware that kept Ryzen 1st gen from generally hitting 3200 easily, at least until later. 

 

You don't need B-dies. Any 3200 CL16 kit is fine. Unless you're buying at least a 2080, you won't even need to hand-tune the memory. So it doesn't matter unless you're benchmarking or you're trying to break a game engine for competitive reasons. (i.e. the CS:GO builds)

 

B-Die isn't a technology. It's a binning of the memory silicon. They're generally the best of those available at retail, but it doesn't mean all that much. CL14 isn't worth the cost difference. 

I probably should have mentioned this in the OP, but I am planning on purchasing an RTX 2080 TI to play at 1440p. Does that change anything?

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25 minutes ago, ProtoflareX said:

I probably should have mentioned this in the OP, but I am planning on purchasing an RTX 2080 TI to play at 1440p. Does that change anything?

Yes. You should probably buy a 9900k. Though AMD's presentation at CES is in 2 days, so we'll know a lot more about the Ryzen 3rd gen, hopefully.

 

If you do want to go with Ryzen, find a set of at least CL15/3200 memory. You'll want to look into Memory Tuning. That's enough GPU to make it useful to spend the 1-2 hours it can take.

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9 minutes ago, Taf the Ghost said:

Yes. You should probably buy a 9900k. Though AMD's presentation at CES is in 2 days, so we'll know a lot more about the Ryzen 3rd gen, hopefully.

 

If you do want to go with Ryzen, find a set of at least CL15/3200 memory. You'll want to look into Memory Tuning. That's enough GPU to make it useful to spend the 1-2 hours it can take.

Interesting. Out of curiosity, why did you recommend buying a 9900k over waiting for a Zen 2 processor? The reason I am waiting for Zen 2 is because I was told that Zen 2 has a chance of surpassing the 9900k in performance while being more affordable.

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3 minutes ago, ProtoflareX said:

Interesting. Out of curiosity, why did you recommend buying a 9900k over waiting for a Zen 2 processor? The reason I am waiting for Zen 2 is because I was told that Zen 2 has a chance of surpassing the 9900k in performance while being more affordable.

Because Zen2 could be in March through June. We already know what the 9900k will deliver, but we don't know what Zen2 will do. We don't know how well compatibility will be handled or what might come new with the next generation of AMD motherboards. 

 

Though, honestly, we're at the exact point of "wait 2 days, to see what we know". Only thing I can say for certain is AMD will not be releasing a GPU better than the 2080 Ti this year.

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4 minutes ago, Taf the Ghost said:

Because Zen2 could be in March through June. We already know what the 9900k will deliver, but we don't know what Zen2 will do. We don't know how well compatibility will be handled or what might come new with the next generation of AMD motherboards. 

 

Though, honestly, we're at the exact point of "wait 2 days, to see what we know". Only thing I can say for certain is AMD will not be releasing a GPU better than the 2080 Ti this year.

I don't really need a PC upgrade right now. I'm willing to wait until Zen 2's release to see how it compares to the 9900k. But returning to the topic of RAM, I read your earlier post, but am still not quite sure what the difference between CL16 and CL14 RAM is. There have to be reasons as to why CL14 RAM exists and why people would purchase it over CL16 RAM. Would you happen to know what those reasons are?

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2 minutes ago, ProtoflareX said:

I don't really need a PC upgrade right now. I'm willing to wait until Zen 2's release to see how it compares to the 9900k. But returning to the topic of RAM, I read your earlier post, but am still not quite sure what the difference between CL16 and CL14 RAM is. There have to be reasons as to why CL14 RAM exists and why people would purchase it over CL16 RAM. Would you happen to know what those reasons are?

CL means CAS Latency. The lower the better. The better memory has lower CL ratings. However, only some Programs get a benefit from the lower timings. 

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8 minutes ago, Taf the Ghost said:

CL means CAS Latency. The lower the better. The better memory has lower CL ratings. However, only some Programs get a benefit from the lower timings. 

So if I understand correctly, the benefits of CL14 are most noticeable in non-gaming related computer task? Can you provide an example of some programs that would benefit perceivably from CL14 RAM as opposed to CL16? Sorry for asking all of these questions, I just want to make sure that I understand what I am, and am not buying.

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12 minutes ago, ProtoflareX said:

So if I understand correctly, the benefits of CL14 are most noticeable in non-gaming related computer task? Can you provide an example of some programs that would benefit perceivably from CL14 RAM as opposed to CL16? Sorry for asking all of these questions, I just want to make sure that I understand what I am, and am not buying.

Lower CL only shows up in ultra-fast tasks. High FPS Gaming, most of the Adobe Stack and a few other places. 

 

The place it shows up is the "CS:GO Optimized Builds". And that's only true because of *problems* with the Programs that you're using Hardware to work through. If you're trying to maintain 400+ FPS in CS:GO, the bottlenecks are anything that adds any latency, even really little amounts here and there.

 

 

 

A look at memory scaling with standard timings. There's actually a lot of benefit to "tuning" sub-timings, but that's a discussion for another time.

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On tuning to topic, it should give a good idea what changing more than just the CL being lower can do. It effects things that call to the CPU to switch around really fast by calling for data from the System Memory. That's why it's really specific tasks that benefit from it. Which, again, is high FPS/high-end GPU gaming and Adobe Products.

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2 hours ago, ProtoflareX said:

.

 

 

right now i'd just wait til the zen 2 specs gets confirmed, there's no reason to do anything before that happens. i'd get CL16 4000 if zen 2 supports it and beats the 9900k (that's actually my next project), the impact from 3200 to 4000 is VERY impactful  on zen+ (when you get it stable), i wouldn't settle on 3200 for a difference of less than 100usd. I know for a fact that it impacts minimum fps, the kind of differences people pay hundreds of dollars for from a gpu.

 

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If you're considering both kits then you should also understand that one kit is 14-14-14-34 and the other is 16-18-18-38.  That tells me that one kit is Samsung b-die and the other is an inferior Hynix kit.  The Hynix kit may be overclockable to 3400MHz with the same timings, but not much else.  The Samsung kit will have a greater ability to be overclocked and it means that if you're happy with CL16 you could probably get the kit higher than 3400MHz with thsoe looser CL16 timings.  

 

Timings mean latency and speed means bandwidth.  That means the CL14 kit could be used at the same slower latencies the CL16 kit has, but with more potential bandwidth aka speed.  

 

Also, speed means faster infinity fabric.  

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4 minutes ago, Taf the Ghost said:

Lower CL only shows up in ultra-fast tasks. High FPS Gaming, most of the Adobe Stack and a few other places. 

 

The place it shows up is the "CS:GO Optimized Builds". And that's only true because of *problems* with the Programs that you're using Hardware to work through. If you're trying to maintain 400+ FPS in CS:GO, the bottlenecks are anything that adds any latency, even really little amounts here and there.

 

A look at memory scaling with standard timings. There's actually a lot of benefit to "tuning" sub-timings, but that's a discussion for another time.

Ah, I think I get it. I feel informed enough to make a decision now, so I'll go ahead and select your post as the answer. Thanks for putting up with my questions.

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1 minute ago, ProtoflareX said:

Ah, I think I get it. I feel informed enough to make a decision now, so I'll go ahead and select your post as the answer. Thanks for putting up with my questions.

Np. Glad to help.

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20 minutes ago, Taf the Ghost said:

Lower CL only shows up in ultra-fast tasks. High FPS Gaming, most of the Adobe Stack and a few other places. 

 

The place it shows up is the "CS:GO Optimized Builds". And that's only true because of *problems* with the Programs that you're using Hardware to work through. If you're trying to maintain 400+ FPS in CS:GO, the bottlenecks are anything that adds any latency, even really little amounts here and there.

 

 

 

A look at memory scaling with standard timings. There's actually a lot of benefit to "tuning" sub-timings, but that's a discussion for another time.

You can actually go too low with memory timings where they will start to introduce issues into gaming.  CS:GO specifically is sensitive to timings that are super tight (yet stable) and are so tight they introduce glitches into the game.  However, when you back off the timings you can then add more speed and that introduction of greater speeds become beneficial.  Ryzen's infinity fabric will utilize RAM speed regardless of timings.    

 

My RAM kit can be made to run stable with super tight timings that become detrimental to gaming so I have to loosen timings to prevent those problems.  The benefit to that is that if I loosen up timings it gives me room to introduce some more speed.  

 

With that said -- a CL16 kit is never gonna approach a point where tight stable timings will become detrimental to gaming, but a CL14 kit might.  And that CL14 kit can be backed off its super tight timings enough to allow for the introduction of more speed.

AMD Ryzen 3900X  |  Fractal Design S36 360 AIO w/6 Corsair SP120L fans  |  Asus Crosshair VII WiFi X470  |  G.SKILL TridentZ 3600CL15 2x8GB @ 3800MHz 14-16-14-14-34  |  EVGA 1070 Ti SC GAMING ACX 3.0 Black w/NZXT Kraken G12 Cooler  |  Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe 500GB - Boot Drive  |  Samsung 850 EVO SSD 1TB - Game Drive  |  Seagate 1TB HDD - Media Drive  |  EVGA 650 G3 PSU | Thermaltake Core P3 Case 

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