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Single channel vs dual-channel DDR4 RAM on the AMD Ryzen 4800HS platform (Zephyrus G14 GA401)

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , last updated on April 23, 2020

As you might be aware, single-channel RAM notebook configurations experience a significant drop in gaming performance compared to a dual-channel implementation with similar specs, due to how the recent Windows installments manage memory on dual-graphics laptops that get both an iGPU and a dGPU.

With that in mind, many of the base-level gaming laptops available these days get a single stick of RAM which works in single-channel. Knowing that, we’re going to have a look at how single vs dual channel memory impacts the benchmarks and gaming performance on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, with a Ryzen 4800HS processor.

Keep in mind that our test-unit is the GA401IV model with RTX 2060 graphics (reviewed here), and comes with 16 GB of DDR4 3200 MHz running in dual-channel out of the box.

However, for the purpose of this test, we’ve removed the included 8GB stick and left the system running on just the 8 GB of soldered memory on single-channel, which is in fact what you’ll get with the base-level configuration of the G14, such as the GA401IH version.

Single vs Dual Channel memory in the AMD Ryzen 4880HS powered ROG Zephyrus G14

Furthermore, our findings should be consistent for other AMD Ryzen 4000 configurations that ship with only 8 GB of RAM, such as base model TUF Gaming A15 and A17, as well as the Zephyrus G15.

With that out of the way, here’s a look at some benchmarks results, on the Turbo profile in Armoury Crate.

Ryzen 7 4800HS/RTX 2060 65W, 1 TB SSD 16 GB RAM, dual-channel 8 GB RAM, single-channel
3Dmark Firestrike – Physics / Graphics 20984 / 14963 20381 / 14954
3Dmark Time Spy – CPU / Graphics 8236 / 5752 7322 / 5691
Geekbench 5 – Multi/Single Core 7701 / 1195 5821 / 1141
Geekbench 4 – Multi/Single Core 29334 / 5265 23702 / 4817
Passmark – CPU/3D GPU 19686 / 9618 15311 / 8584
PCMark 10 – Overall/Digital Content 5292 / 6558 5049 / 5996
x264 Benchmark – Pass 1/Pass 2 216.22 fps / 98.14 fps 205.32 fps / 95.92 fps
x265 Benchmark 35.58 s 37.48 s

The impact varies between these tests, from almost none in some cases, to as much as 20-25% in others. Of course, some of the differences are also caused by the increased amount of RAM on the dual-channel configuration, so take that into consideration as well.

As far as I know, tests such as Cinebench or Blender are not as dependant on memory channels, so we haven’t run them on this laptop. We’ll include them in a future version of the article that takes a deep look at the Ryzen 4800H/4600H platform, and update this article as well if necessary.

With these out of the way, let’s dive into those games. We’ve run a handful of different titles on DX11, DX12 and Vulkan, on the Turbo profile available for the Rog Zephyrus G14 GA401, and on both FHD and QHD resolutions.

Here’s what we found out.

FHD Turbo Dual FHD Turbo Single QHD Turbo Dual QHD Turbo Single
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF) 74-88 fps 72-80 fps 56-64 fps 56-62 fps
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON, DLSS OFF) 36-44 fps 34-40 fps 20-28 fps 20-28 fps
Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) 84 fps 77 fps 59 fps 58 fps
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset) N/A N/A 94 fps 92 fps
Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA) 59 fps 57 fps 44 fps 43 fps
Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High Preset, FXAA) 82 fps 69 fps 61 fps 55 fps
Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA) 70 fps 57 fps 46 fps 44 fps
Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Ultra Preset) 109 fps 106 fps 77 fps 78 fps
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4) 58-90 fps 56-82 fps 54-66 fps 46-58 fps
  • Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
  • Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.

Looking at the FHD Turbo results, titles such as Battlefield V, Witcher 3 or Red Dead Redemption show little variation between the Dual and the Single channel versions, while the Tomb Raider games or Far Cry 5 show a 10-25% increase in fps counts with dual-channel RAM.

Jumping on to the QHD resolution, the differences get even smaller between the two implementations, with Witcher 3 being pretty much the only title that shows a significant decrease in the single-channel configuration.

Nonetheless, don’t forget that single-channel memory is mostly included on lower-tier configurations with base-level graphics, and those can hardly do more than FHD with Medium/High settings. And on those configurations, single-channel memory is going to take a toll on your FHD gaming experience, that’s why we recommend upgrading the memory.

It’s not an expensive upgrade and something you can easily do yourselves in most cases, and you’ll find out how to from our reviews, which, among others, explain how to open the laptops and access the internals.

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Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

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