With the Introduction of Intel’s Canterwood 875 and Springdale 865 chipsets, the memory landscape is changing rapidly. These mainstream chipsets bring many new features to the desktop and workstation PC, but memory support may be the biggest innovation as it takes a giant leap with standard support for Dual-Channel DDR400 memory.

It wasn’t long ago that we were talking about whether DDR400 would even become an official standard. Now, with the Intel 875/865 chipsets, we see DDR400 completely legitimized. More importantly, with the excellent performance of the Intel Pentium 4 800FSB chips, we are seeing enthusiasts actively searching for memory that can perform at DDR466/DDR500 and even higher speeds. These were memory speeds that we never thought we would be talking about on the way to DDRII, and apparently, memory manufacturers have also been caught by surprise. Introductions have been slow because chips are apparently unavailable, but we now see high-end memory manufacturers scrambling to bring out these extremely high-speed memory modules for which enthusiasts are asking.

Given this climate, we decided to take a closer look at the question of what is the best memory for the Canterwood and Springdale chipsets. In Part 1, we will try to determine the best Memory configuration for the 875/865. We were able to examine this and find some answers with Memory that we had on-hand. The answers will be important for many of you who are looking to buy memory for the new boards, so we decided to release the results of our memory configuration testing. Part 2 will investigate the performance of the new DDR466 and DDR500 modules that will be coming to market in the near future. Since we are still waiting to receive many of these new modules, or currently have only beta samples of some of the memory, it will be several weeks until Part 2 is posted.

The Best Memory Configuration for 865/875

One of the questions we are often asked is whether a particular motherboard can run with four DIMMs - or at the maximum number of memory slots for the board. Surprisingly, the answer is often ”no”, which is why AnandTech added the process of populating and testing all memory slots to the review procedures. However, with the Intel 875/865 Dual-Channel boards, we are realizing that additional questions need to be raised. Is there a performance difference in two DIMMs vs. four DIMMs? Do single-sided or double-sided DIMMs perform better on Canterwood/Springdale boards? What is the real performance difference in one DIMM, two DIMMs, and four DIMMs?

Answers to all of these questions will lead to determining the best-performing Memory configuration for Intel 875/865 boards. We set out to find the answer to this question, and what we discover may surprise you.

Test Design
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  • Wesley Fink - Friday, August 01, 2003 - link

    Thanks, Michael. Your comments are appreciated, since your memory reviews are always a "must read" for everyone in the industry.

    I got an idea for an article from your review of OCZ3700 GOLD at Lost Circuits. When it posts at AnandTech, I think you will find it interesting.

    You may want to look at some of ThugsRook's game benches posted in the Forums here. As a skeptic he was trying to prove SS/DS made no difference in game benches. What he found, however, was that SS game benches were consisitently lower than DS benches. The differences were smaller than we see with SiSoft unbuffered, as expected, but they appear to be genuine.
    Reply
  • MS - Friday, August 01, 2003 - link

    Nice review, Wes.

    One single issue I have is that if you are running SiSoft unbuffered, you constantly hammer the memory, which means that the idle counter will not go in effect and you keep the maximum number of pages open at all times (I believe it is 32 combined to 16 wide pages in dual channel mode). This is really why you see the performance benefit with double-sided DIMMs.

    However, in real life applications, this benefit is not present, at least as far as I can tell. No criticism intended, just a side-note.

    Regards
    Michael

    p.s. and the guys who did some of the performance studies at Intel used to call me quite a few times .. :-)
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 01, 2003 - link

    This reads too much like an ad by OCZ - any non-OCZ users of the P4P800 Deluxe Asus board got a recommendation for best memory sticks to get stable, solid 1 gig of DDR333 (little, if any OC)? Thanks Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, August 01, 2003 - link

    In fact OCZ announced PC-3700 Gold Quad pairs at 2003-07-03 for Intel 875 chipset.:

    SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA
    OCZ Announces Dual Channel Gold Quad kits.

    OCZ is pleased to announce the release of OCZ PC-3700 Dual Channel Gold EL DDR memory in 1GB kits featuring quad 256mb modules based on OCZ's recently developed Hyperspeed and Extended Voltage Protection (EVP) technologies.

    OCZ HyperSpeed® technology denotes specific OCZ EL DDR ICs built and selected for their ability to run at the highest possible frequency. EVP protection allows the modules to tolerate higher voltage without compromising stability.

    "OCZ PC3700 Gold has been a dominant product," said Steve Lee, Director of Strategic Business Development. "By offering hand-tested and matched quad 256mb modules, we have the best solution for dual channel configurations on the market."

    OCZ Dual Channel Gold Quad memory will be shipping in 1GB PC-3700 Dual Channel optimized kits rated at CL 2-3-7-3 with an operating frequency of 2.75 volts. Each module is backed by OCZ's Lifetime Warranty and features a Gold layered copper heatspreader. The four matched 256MB modules are tested together on the Abit IC7-G to ensure maximum stability and performance.

    OCZ Dual Channel Gold memory has been designed specifically for use with the Intel Canterwood and Springdale chipsets, and thus offers the best performance on these platforms
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - link

    512MB Dimms are usually DS, but that will be changing with higher-density chips coming out. @56MB Dimms are normally SS right now, but there are exceptions like OCZ 3700 GOLD which are 256MB and Double Bank. The last page of the article has charts which give recommendations from best to worst performance based on memory configuration. The data is from our own testing and the Intel White Papers.

    We will include some game benches in Part 2, but ThugsRook, who regularly posts in the Anand Forums, has posted some game benches at several sites showing the performance difference in SS and DS memory modules in gaming performance.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - link

    Thanks (#25) - I too have noticed that memory vendors claims and board manufacturer compatibility charts are often at odds - seems like it's left up to the builder to actually try it and see if it runs ... (ref post #19). Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - link

    I noticed that Asus in their P4C800 description (on their web page) says that some manufacturer's memory can only be used in certain configurations - some branda are limited to 2 sticks and some are limited in the total GB size.
    The reason they say is: "For optimum performance and overclocking stability". But if true it was rather surprising. For example, in the case of Kingston memory, Asus only two 512 sticks can be used.

    I pointed this out to Kingston and they simply responded that four sticks can be used for a total of 2 GB. The tech ignored making any comment about the Asus statement.

    So I suppose 4 sticks can be used as long as you run them at the stated settings. But I am not sure Asus means about "optimum performance".
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - link

    Some real world benchmarks wure would have been nice, even if only 640x480 Quake3 numbers, just to get an idea if there really is a payoff to warrant the added cost that filling 4 banks vs 2 would entail. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - link

    I'd also like to see what this means in the real world. I would be interested in some gaming benchmarks, particularly UT2003.
    Thanks for the excellent article!
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - link

    Hey Prometheus, please check this asap:
    http://www.overclockers.com/tips00438/
    great article btw ;)
    Reply

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