The Asus ROG STRIX G15 laptop with Radeon RX 6800M cannot reach its true gaming potential due to slower stock RAM and missing MUX switch
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Youtuber Jarrod’s Tech noticed in a few of his latest reviews that some AMD-based laptops could come with RAM kits that slow down the gaming as well as the productivity performance. The slower RAM kits were spotted on the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro and more recently on the Asus ROG STRIX G15 with the new RX 6800M dGPUs. Now, Jarrod is not saying that the laptop OEMs are up to some shady practices when it comes to AMD-based systems. In fact, he points out that the Lenovo Legion 7 AMD edition comes with faster RAM, so this does not seem to be one of those “Intel-sponsored schemes.” The slower RAM kits are not terrible by any means. Jarrod just wants to raise awareness about all these RAM kits that, on paper, should be performing better based on what RAM producers and OEMs list in the spec sheets, yet, due to some unspecified secondary timings that are clearly subpar compared to other seemingly identical kits, the performance could lag behind significantly.
From what Jarrod is showing, the stock RAM kits coming with the aforementioned laptops appear to be produced by Samsung, while the replacement RAM kits come from Crucial and integrate Micron chips. Both are single rank 2x 8GB kits with DDR4-3200 speeds and CL22 timings. However, the Crucial kit is 1RX8 (single rank 8 bank), whereas the Samsung stock kit is 1RX16 (single rank 16 bank), plus there is a difference with the secondary timings that is not mentioned in any public specs. In order to spot these different secondary timings, Jarrod used the ZenTimings 1.2.3 utility. He found out that tRRDS, tRRDL, tFAW, tRFC ns latency and value plus the tRFC2, tRFC4 and tSTAG timings are all significantly lower on the Crucial kit. Apparently, all the tRFC timings can make a huge difference to Ryzen CPU performance. Jarrod’s tests proved that the difference is actually around 10% in games and around 5% in content creation apps on the Lenovo laptop, but the gaming performance on the Asus model is taking a bigger hit of around 20% in select titles.
It is still unclear what prompts laptop OEMs to use the slower kits on certain models. Could be to reduce production costs and keep MSRP within certain limits. The secondary timings don’t seem to be tunable via BIOS or third party software on the AMD systems (most Intel laptops allow this though), so in order to maximize the potential, users are pretty much forced to replace the RAM kits. On top of that, Jarrod also mentions that the Asus ROG STRIX with RX 6800M dGPU does not have a MUX switch and the dGPU is further gimped by the iGPU that is directly connected to the internal display. Jarrod had to use an external screen to test the full dGPU potential. Ironically, this Asus model is sporting the Advantage Edition standard of quality for gaming laptops issued by AMD .