[The Bottleneck Effect] Gaming performance with single vs dual-channel memory

In the previous two articles, we showed you how much of a bottleneck is the Core i5-11300H compared to the Core i7-11370H, when either of them is paired with the 90W RTX 3050, and why you should check if your laptop has 1Rx8 memory, instead of 1Rx16 one. In our conquest for better performance, we want to compare single versus dual-channel performance.

This should provide an even higher bandwidth between the CPU and the GPU, which in theory, should lead to probably the best performance you can get from your laptop. Well, this is if we take cooling out of the equation.

You can buy 1Rx8 RAM modules here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

You can buy 1Rx16 RAM modules here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Contents


Specs Sheet

Testing machines Laptop 1 Laptop 2
Processor Intel Core i5-11300H / Intel Core i7-11370H Intel Core i5-11300H / Intel Core i7-11370H
Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (90W) NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (90W)
RAM 8GB 1Rx8 / 1Rx16 DDR4 3200MHz 2x 8GB 1Rx8 / 1Rx16 DDR4 3200MHz
Storage 256GB SSD 256GB SSD
Display Full HD IPS 60Hz Full HD IPS 60Hz
OS Windows 10 Windows 10

Synthetic benchmarks

Here, we see that neither memory type shows improvement in the Core i7-11370H-equipped machine. However, the biggest difference in the Core i5-11300H laptop, was when you compare 1Rx8 scores versus 1Rx16. Both in single, and dual-channel setup.

GPU Benchmarks 3DMark Firestrike (Graphics score) 3DMark Timespy (Graphics score) 3DMark Wildlife Unlimited Unigine Heaven 4 Unigine Superposition
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 12003 4923 29291 2717 2832
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 12028 4946 29448 2763 2829
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 12068 5014 30023 2765 2811
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 12134 5010 30116 2787 2823
GPU Benchmarks 3DMark Firestrike (Graphics score) 3DMark Timespy (Graphics score) 3DMark Wildlife Unlimited Unigine Heaven 4 Unigine Superposition
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 12529 5121 31592 2922 3069
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 12599 5170 31637 2995 3053
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 12545 5141 31713 2982 3045
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 12529 5121 31592 2922 3069

Gaming tests

Then comes gaming. Here we see the true magnitude of the improvement dual-channel memory brings to a system. However, there are titles like Far Cry 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which show a big improvement across all graphics settings. Ghost Recon: Wildlands, on the other hand, shows a minor bump in the fps again at all presets. However, the game that showed the biggest bottleneck of the single-channel RAM is Rise of the Tomb Raider. Especially with the low graphics quality, the bandwidth of the system is crucial, as more frames per second need to be rendered onto the display. The difference we monitored was 75% for the Core i5 and 73% for the Core i7.

Far Cry 5 Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 58 fps 57 fps 54 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 77 fps 73 fps 66 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 73 fps 69 fps 64 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 79 fps 73 fps 67 fps

 

Far Cry 5 Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 59 fps 57 fps 54 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 78 fps 72 fps 67 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 73 fps 69 fps 64 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 80 fps 74 fps 69 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 81 fps 71 fps 52 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 133 fps 97 fps 52 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 111 fps 91 fps 53 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 142 fps 101 fps 53 fps

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 81 fps 73 fps 52 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 139 fps 100 fps 55 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 119 fps 96 fps 53 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 140 fps 105 fps 55 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 63 fps 54 fps 46 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 100 fps 72 fps 57 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 83 fps 69 fps 56 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 113 fps 74 fps 61 fps

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 59 fps 53 fps 47 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 107 fps 75 fps 56 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 83 fps 70 fps 58 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 120 fps 77 fps 59 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 54 fps 51 fps 45 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 60 fps 55 fps 49 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 59 fps 55 fps 49 fps
Intel Core i5-11300H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 61 fps 57 fps 49 fps

 

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx16 55 fps 51 fps 46 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx16 61 fps 57 fps 50 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 8GB 1Rx8 61 fps 56 fps 50 fps
Intel Core i7-11370H + RTX 3050 (90W) 2x8GB 1Rx8 62 fps 57 fps 50 fps

Conclusion

Ultimately, this provides insight on what is the best way to improve the performance of your laptop, regardless of whether you have an AMD or Intel CPU – four, six, or eight cores. Dual-channel memory will provide a worthwhile improvement. However, should you pick your IdeaPad Gaming 3i with a Core i7-11370H and 8GB of single-channel memory, or with a Core i5-11300H bundled with 16GB of dual-channel RAM. Generally, in terms of performance outputs, the latter option would be better. But… you have to keep in mind that very very few modern-day laptops offer the opportunity to swap their processor. This means you are better off going for the Core i7-11370H system, as you will have the option to upgrade your memory in the future. Plus, you will get a slightly higher raw performance, which will be needed if you are going to use this laptop to create content or render 3D objects. And obviously, make sure that the memory you get is of 1Rx8 type.

But after we’ve done these experiments, and spent hours on testing every scenario, one thing was left on the table. What if the manufacturer offers the option to overclock your graphics card in their own software. Ultimately, you can do that through 3rd party apps, but it is a hassle to find the sweet spot of voltage/clock speed. So, in the next article, you will learn if it’s worth overclocking your graphics card through the software provided by the laptop maker.

You can buy 1Rx8 RAM modules here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

You can buy 1Rx16 RAM modules here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

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