I have my Hades Canyon NUC coming in the mail and yet I'm still struggling to choose the best RAM. Most people tend to say that you should choose the cheapest RAM your motherboard supports. However, as I'm planning to do 1440p gaming which will at times leave me at <40fps, I would gladly pay 20-50 bucks more for a significant increase in fps. In my location I have the following options...
Most people seem to choose the Crucial value RAM thinking it's the smart and cost-effective choice. Then there's the HyperX 3200 that seems to be in all of the review units and that Amazon is offering in their Hades Canyon bundles. Then you have Corsair and G.Skill in between. The G.Skill 3000 CL16 has great specs for the price. However, I've heard that using G.Skill might lead to issues such as having to manually enable XMP and having trouble getting the timings right.
Another thing to consider is that in most Youtube clips of people playing games like Witcher 3 with this NUC, the GPU is >99%. Based on what I've read, it would seem that the GPU then forms a bottleneck for faster RAM to be able to add performance (=fps). I'm basing this on a forum discussion where someone said that faster RAM is only effective when CPU/GPU isn't at 99%. Admittedly, I've seen a few RAM frequency comparisons (non-NUCs related) where the differences evened out when higher resolution (more stress for CPU/GPU) was introduced. On the other hand, I've seen tests where the difference between RAM at 2133MHz and RAM at 3000MHz was 10-20fps (again, not referring to NUCs specifically).
I would appreciate advice on this matter. Get the cheapest RAM (Crucial value RAM) or get performance RAM? Should I avoid G.Skill and go for something like the HyperX for ensuring that I get out of the box plug and play experience? I am going to use this PC as my primary desktop for at least six years or so. I only game 10% of the time but as I've been away from the PC gaming scene for a decade, there are a few older games (like Witcher 3, Arkham Knight) I want to try out. Oh, and I'm using a 27" 1440p monitor (60Hz) with AMD Freesync.
I cannot recommend using G.Skill or Kingston memory at all. I exclusively use Crucial memory because it works and I have never had any problems with it, even over time (something I cannot say for the others and that's why I don't use them). As for higher speeds, don't waste your money; it doesn't make enough of a difference to matter (and certainly won't improve FPS). Worse, it can adversely affect system stability (especially over time).
That's my opinion,
I do agree with you on principle and, in fact, have done exactly like you have in the past (always bought Crucial value/non-Ballistix RAM). However, concerning Hades Canyon which is geared towards high-performance use, I feel like the components should be high-performance as well. I mean Intel must've put that plus next to 2400MHz for a reason (as they don't do this for the regular NUCs). Still, the safe bet is certainly the Crucial value RAM.
By the way, did you mean specifically this NUC or all PCs when you wrote that faster RAM doesn't make enough of a difference and won't improve FPS? I mean the web is full of benchmarks and roundups where the difference between say a 2133MHz RAM and 3000MHz RAM can be well over 10fps if not more. That's a lot in my book if you're gaming in the 24-60fps range. This of course can vary system to system and can depend on the bottlenecks in the system. This is why I'm asking about this as I don't want to get stuck with value RAM because of a generalized opinion (I'm not saying yours is but that many just give the 'just get the cheapest RAM' comment without any concern to the system) if I could've got better performance for just 10-20 bucks more.
Hello @JMäen ,
You may calculate the RAM performance using the following formula:
CAS x 2000 / Speed(in MHz)
The lower the answer, the faster the RAM. You will get the result in nsec
HyperX RAM at 3200 CL20
20x2000/3200 = 12.5
HyperX RAM at 2666 CL15
15x2000/2666 = 11.25
Crucial value RAM at 2400MHz CL17
17x2000/2400 = 14.16
G.Skill RAM at 3000 CL16
16x2000/3000 = 10.6
In addition to calculate the performance using the above formula, I strongly advice you to refer to the table, listing memory module tested by Intel for this NUC. Doing so, you may avoid any incompatibility issues: http://compatibleproducts.intel.com/ProductDetails/ExportPeripheralInfo?moduleName=Intel%C2%AE%20NUC...
Yes, I've done those calculations. The G.Sill 3000 would be ideal. However, it's got issues with out of the box compatibility. Furthermore, there is a Tom's Hardware SODIMM roundup where G.Skill 2666 was the better performer despite having worse speed and latency on paper.
I don't consider tests performed on Desktop motherboards with PCIe add-in graphics cards as applying to this case. I welcome folks with HV NUCs to perform some real-world tests on their HV NUCs with the various SODIMMs that they have available. We can tabulate the results and see if it is really worth it to spend more on faster memory.
At the end of the day, for me, someone who is 60+ and don't game the way that you (and my kids) do, what I care about is good performance with solid reliability. As I said, since I personally don't consider Kingston or G.Skill memory as being in the "solid reliability" category, they won't be on my list.
Well, gave it another thought (or tenth thought as I've cancelled these RAM orders a bunch of times) and went with Crucial value RAM. However, I did take advantage of the + symbol next to Hades Canyon's 2400MHz spec and ordered DDR4-2666 in dual ranked (CL19). The RAM was only a few euros more expensive than DDR4-2400 single ranked so it was a no-brainer. I did found a blog post of someone testing this RAM with Hades Canyon (gave a significantly better result in Memory Mark than the DDR4-2400 counterpart). I remember reading in the Tom Hardware's laptop RAM roundup that one of the reasons they thought G.Skill DDR4-2666 beat faster RAMs was that it was dual ranked. That G.Skill RAM had about the worst latency of any other RAM in that test (CL18 I believe) so the result wasn't due to particularly low latency.
I hope everyone's happy now... Crucial value RAM (reliable, ain't paying for snake oil)? Check. DDR4-2666 dual ranked for zero to some extra performance and a little bit of futureproofing? Check. Intel's compatibility chart doesn't list RAM as validated but Crucial's website lists it as 100% compatible with Hades Canyon. By the way, pretty much every RAM module on the Intel Compatibility Chart is performance/gaming RAM.
If I had your choice, then I would have definitely picked G.Skill Ripjaws 3000(16-18-18-43), otherwise Kingston HyperX Impact 2666(15-17-17-35).
I think fastest RAM you can get for Hades Canyon is G.Skill Ripjaws 3200(16-18-18-43), only come in 8GB or 16GB kit(2x 8GB), model no: F4-3200C16S or F403200C16D(for kit).
Unfortunately I couldn't find any 3000-3200 in local shops so I bought Kingston HyperX Impact 2666(15-17-17-35).