Several weeks ago, we began hearing about a brand new Corsair memory based on new Samsung chips that promised 2-2-2 memory timings at DDR400. Since common knowledge has been that 2-2-2 died with Winbond BH5, we were very interested in seeing what all of the commotion was about.
Corsair announced the availability of their new 3200XL modules on May 26th. This was followed the next day with announcements of similar products by OCZ and Mushkin, also based on the new Samsung chips. Samsung themselves also contacted AnandTech in this same time frame to ask if we would like to review their newest DDR500 memory. We asked all four manufacturers if they could supply us review samples of the new memory. Upon our return from Computex, both Corsair and Samsung had samples waiting for us.

Since the demise of Winbond BH5 memory chips, 2-2-2 memory has essentially been dead at DDR400. Corsair and others have produced DDR400 2-2-3 and 2-3-3 parts based on Winbond CH5 and other memory chips; however, 2-2-2 all but vanished as supplies of Winbond BH5 and BH6 disappeared. Other manufacturers like OCZ took a different route with innovative products like Extended Bandwidth memory that is extremely fast, but does not depend on the lowest CAS timings for best performance.

The new modules based on the new Samsung chips don't just promise DDR400 2-2-2 performance like BH5. They actually promise a great deal more with headroom to DDR500, something we never achieved with even the best modules based on Winbond BH5. Do these new products live up to their claims?

Corsair 3200XL PRO
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  • Pumpkinierre - Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - link

    Good article again, Wesley. Pity its not DDR500 at 2-2-2. I'm still holding off upgrading. I wouldnt trust that VIA chipset with the Corsair RAM. Plenty of people run their memory outside SPD specs withot problems. And don't give up on the i875 yet. There's a lot of issues with DDR2 and 915/925. I notice that ABIT have brought out a Sckt775 865 mobo. Hmm I wonder why?

    Also the P4/i875 seems to equal or better the S939 a64 in unbuffered sandra which I wouldnt have expected because of the on die a64 mem. controller etc.. Then in the buffered test the a64 clearly gets the upper hand which again is a suprise as many of the buffers are associated with MMX/SSE/SSE2 where the a64s are supposed to be weaker. I only trust the unbufferd tests but this may explain the fact that the FX chips beat the P4s on memory bandwidth but were behind on the bandwidth intensive encoding tests.

    In the one test (Samsung mem.) where you test the a64 at different bus speeds (200&240MHz), the gaming results were equal or worse in the game tests despite an ~85 increase in mem. bandwidth ! Unfortunately you had different memory timings but it reinforces the importance of latency reduction rather than bandwidth for gaming performance.
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