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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  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - link

    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    Yes, you read it correctly. the mixed dimms can vary from very large drops - 20 to 27% or so - to very little if any drop for closely matched pairs. Performance seems to fare best when mixed pairs are the same capacities and the same "bank" configuration. Reply
  • ViRGE - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    Very good article, Wesley, but I'm a bit confused on your mixed vs. matched DIMM comparison. On the 1st configuration, 2x256DS + 2x512DS, the timings look to be the same as in the 1st table on page 4, the DDR 400 numbers. Am I reading this correctly? It seems odd(although believable) that memory bandwidth dropped 25%, even though it stayed as 4 DS DIMMs at the same timings. Reply
  • PrometheusN - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    Thanks to a reader for pointing out one correction to this article. The Intel White Paper from the 865 chart reverses 1 and 2 memory positions compared to the 875 white paper. While I did not test 865 performance in the review, I did make reference to the White Paper Chart.

    We can also wonder, with Intel not sanctioning PAT on the 865, exactly how the 865 boards WITH PAT will behave, and if memory on an 865 with PAT changes back to the same as 875.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    You did not close your table on page eight.

    3 4 DS/td> Dual Channel

    Add a < to the "/td>" ;)

    Otherwise... Great article, very informing, thanks for taking the time to write this up.
    Reply
  • PrometheusN - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    Single-Sided or Double-Sided IS a functional description - but it normally is also a visual description. BEWARE dimms that skip every other chips on both sides. These have 4 chips on each side, but are functionally Single-Sided. Reply
  • PrometheusN - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    According to CPU-Z 1.18C, 4 Sticks of ram - single or double - do NOT disable "PAT" on the DFI 875PRO or the Asus P4C800-E. It depends on how the motherboard BIOS handles the 4 Dimms.

    Wesley Fink
    Reply
  • Shalmanese - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    Nice article but what are the real world consequences of these numbers? When DDR was 1st introduced, we only saw a ~10% peroformance increase from a 100% increase in memory bandwidth so I am thinking that the difference between 2 and 4 banks would be trivial. Reply
  • ghg - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    Hi Prom

    Nice review, as we expected from you 8-).

    Using 4 sticks of doublesided OCZ 3700 Gold disables PAT according to CPU-Z 1.18c.
    Same behavior when taking 4 sticks of singlesided OCZ 4000 ?

    Ciao

    Gary
    Reply
  • ghg - Monday, July 28, 2003 - link

    Reply

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